Manchester City closed the gap on Arsenal to just two points with a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle United in the early kick off. Goals from Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were enough to secure a win in match that saw City dominate for the most part.
City scored with their only two attempts on target but with Foden back in the team and on top form, they looked sharp. This now marks three wins in a row in all competitions and could be the start of a winning run that sees them overhaul Arsenal, who face Bournemouth at 3pm.
But there's one question that went under the radar today, as Newcastle mustered just one effort on target. Having record 100 Premier League clean sheets for the club, is Ederson Moraes up to scratch, or will he cost Man City this season?
‘He’s so good he could play in midfield!’
It’s a saying we’ve become accustomed to when talking about Ederson in the Manchester City goal. The Brazilian has without a doubt changed the way we think about goalkeepers in the Premier League and his astonishing passing range has landed him three assists.
He’s been integral to Pep Guardiola’s dominance over the past few years and a clear upgrade on the likes of Claudio Bravo, with whom the Spaniard struggled so much with at the start of his reign. But another question has reared its head over the past two seasons. Is Ederson actually any good at being a goalkeeper?
Against Newcastle United in the early kick off, Phil Foden stole the headlines with a wonderful opening goal in a 2-0 win, and Ederson was relatively untested.
All he had to do in a dominant Man City first half performance was come and claim a first half free-kick. He dropped it and presented Newcastle with the ball inside the box. A second half stop from Alexander Isak kept his clean sheet intact, but fans are still unconvinced about his ability as a top level goalkeeper.
- Newcastle Might Need The Swiftest Of Responses To Wembley Defeat
- When Alf Ramsey’s England Were Thrashed In His First Game As Manager
- Betfred's Latest Premier League Odds*
The statistics don’t make for pretty reading. Before the Newcastle match, according to expected goals against (xGA) Man City should have conceded just 23.5 goals this season, based on chances afforded to their opponents. That’s the lowest in the entire division and yet in real life, they’ve conceded 25, more than Newcastle and Arsenal and the same as Chelsea.
So if the defence isn’t giving up many chances - surely all blame lies with the goalkeeper failing to save shots? Last season he boasted the 10th best save ratio in the league at 69.8%. This season he is down to 19th at a woeful 57.6%. That doesn’t just make him average. It makes him one of the worst shot-stoppers in the division.
In the four games before this weekend, City have conceded from their opponent’s first shot on target. It’s something they’ve allowed to happen in ten league matches this season - 42% of their matches. That’s shambolic for a goalkeeper that is meant to be one of the world’s best.
The Post Shot Expected Goals (PSxG) stat also makes for interesting reading. It takes how many goals a goalkeeper should save based on the quality of shots they face, and takes away the number of actual goals conceded. A positive number means you have a good goalkeeper, a negative one means you have a bad one. Alisson currently leads that stat on +9.5, Nick Pope is on +3.3 and Aaron Ramsdale is on +1.1.
Eight keepers in total are in the positive. Ederson is currently sitting at -4.6, putting him 16th in the table. Judging by that stat alone, you can begin to understand why Brazil manager Tite prefers Alisson as his number one. He’s by far the superior goalkeeper and arguably the best in the world.
Meanwhile Ederson is a fantastic kicker of the ball and in terms of passing, there aren’t many that come close. But in terms of shot-stopping, he’s well below average and that isn’t good enough for Man City if they want to win the big trophies this season. Guardiola knows the qualities he has, but in terms of shot-stopping, he is currently letting his side down. City defend well as a whole, but consistently this season the Brazilian has conceded goals and made errors that he shouldn't.
Against Newcastle, the lowest scorers in the Premier League, it wasn't an issue and his 100th Premier League clean sheet was welcome. In weeks to come, as the title race and the Champions League both hot up - Ederson's performances will be more under scrutiny.
*18+ | Be Gamble Aware