THE SHARPE END: How Ederson became a cog in Man City's passing machine

THE SHARPE END: How Ederson became a key cog in Man City’s passing machine – and why Erik ten Hag is desperate for Andre Onana to replicate it at Old Trafford

  • City rarely have to worry about stopping shots, and Ederson can leave his line 
  • The Brazil international is even more involved than previous seasons at the club 
  • Follow Mail Sport’s new Man United’s WhatsApp channel for the breaking news 

These days, it’s more about what a keeper does with his feet than with his hands. That’s rarely more clear than when it comes to Manchester City and United. For years, Ederson has been a key cog in City’s passing machine. 

They rarely face any shots so who cares, really, if their keeper can’t keep them all out? How he links up play is much more important to Pep Guardiola.

Erik ten Hag is trying to do the same after signing Andre Onana. 

United were terrible at building from the back, much to do with David De Gea’s uneasiness on the ball. Onana is Ten Hag’s fix.

It’s not going to plan yet.

Ederson’s passing percentages have skyrocketed for Manchester City this 2023/24 season

United face heaps of shots and Onana has let a few sneak in. 

He’s not helped, though, by a constantly changing — and injured — backline.

For City, Ederson is involved more than ever before. 

He’s averaging more passes per game in 2023-24 than in any of his previous seasons at the club. 

This is because Guardiola has, again, reinvented how City play. 

It’s no longer enough to have John Stones step into midfield. 

Opponents have started to press City high instead of dropping off in retreat.

Guardiola now asks Ederson to step up into the back four in possession and create a 4-2-5 formation. 

How things have changed under Guardiola. 

The derby in March 2016 marked the last time the sides met before he took charge of City. 

One of his first acts was to drop Joe Hart, while Erik ten Hag has replaced De Gea with a better ball-player in Onana. 

As analysis of United’s 1-0 win shows, both teams’ keepers in 2016 hit more of their passes long than today’s do — with much less accuracy. 


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