Fernandinho

Getty Images

Man City’s Ederson: “I was born to play with my feet”

Leave a comment

MANCHESTER — The gray skies over the City Football Academy would have produced a grimace from most, but a towering Brazilian goalkeeper was smiling from ear to ear.

Ederson Santana de Moraes strode into the room with a wink and a smile to imitate the smiley face emoji tattooed just behind his left ear.

The boy from Sao Paulo feels at home in Manchester after his $46 million move from Benfica in the summer (which made him the most expensive goalkeeper on the planet) and just over a week since he made his debut for the Brazilian national team he is being lauded by fans and pundits across the world.

Siting back in his chair as he looked out at the dour Manchester sky and the meeting room lights glistened off the braces on his teeth, the 24-year-old is a long way from Lisbon or Sao Paulo.

“It has been a really positive experience so far,” Ederson said, via a translator. “Obviously the cities are a little different. Lisbon is more tropical, here it is more cold and rainy. But I am settled in well, I like life here and I am ready and prepare for any circumstances. I am settling in here very well.”

[ LIVE: Stream every Premier League game

Ederson played the hero for Man City less than 24 hours earlier as he saved a penalty kick in their hugely important UEFA Champions League win against Napoli. Today he was back at the training ground and was taking part in a SkillsCity app challenge in conjunction with the club launching its first-ever US SkillCity final this December in California.

The competition (presented by Nexen) is open until November 19 for young players aged 5-14 across the U.S. who can submit their best skills, following guidance from City’s coaches, via the app ahead of the final in California where eight winners will be announced from 32 players selected from across the USA. It’s a novel idea and the prize will be a VIP trip to Manchester in 2018 to see a game, stay at the CFA and more.

“I remember when I was a kid I couldn’t watch much on TV because the games were not on,” Ederson explained. “Having these kind of apps these days help a lot to develop skills and help the kids to practice, to improve and test their skills. It is really positive.”

Ederson’s skills have certainly been positive since he arrived at City as the Brazilian has been hailed as the missing piece of the jigsaw in Guardiola’s side.

His composure with the ball at his feet and ability to come charging out of his goal has provided plenty of confidence to City’s defense.

“I was born with those skills, being able to play with my feet. When I started playing as a player I was playing as a defender or a full back. That helped me with my adaptation to play with my feet. Through time I have developed those skills and even now I keep training with my feet because it is very important,” Ederson said. “In the past maybe I didn’t spend so much time training with the players that were in front of me. Now we are more involved and maybe that is why I can now show my qualities with the football.”

Ederson’s confidence in coming off his line saw him injured in City’s 5-0 win against Liverpool earlier this season as he was clattered by Sadio Mane and suffered a deep gash on his face which required several stitches.

That resulted in Mane being sent off and Ederson being carried off but his quick recovery impressed City’s fans and enhanced his growing reputation as a steely competitor who is a formidable last line of defense.

“It has been a good start for me here at City. It has been a very positive experience for me so far and the fans help me a lot and their support is very important for me. What happened in the Liverpool game with Sadio Mane, those things can happen in football,” Ederson said. “I got injured and I could have continued playing but the cut was quite big so they wouldn’t let me continue.”

Ederson’s speedy recovery saw him play a few days later at Feyenoord and the improvement in City’s defense has been stark since his arrival with just four goals conceded in eight games in the PL so far.

“I think I am a calm goalkeeper and a calm person as well and I try to give calm to my teammates,” Ederson said. “I help a lot in the build up and the long balls as well. But mainly I would say a goalkeeper must be a calm person to cope with the pressure to handle when you make a mistake. I think that’s really important and it helps you a lot to develop your skills.

“I think modern football has evolved a lot. Goalkeepers do several things during the game. They help in the build up. That is very important, to play with your feet, it is very important to know how to read the game and obviously save balls and also handle the pressure when it comes to the crunch time.”

Where does Ederson’s extreme ability and composure with the ball at his feet come from?

Look no further than the club where he came through the ranks and who he supported as a kid, Sao Paulo, to find his idol.

“Rogerio Ceni who played for Sao Paulo. He was my idol. He was the guy I looked up to and he played for the same club, Sao Paulo, for 25 years. He won a lot of trophies and had a lot of chances to leave the club but he stayed there. He became the main idol of the club. All the skills I have now, I would say that’s because I saw him,” Ederson smiled. “He played well with his feet and was good in the build up and he was even a goalscorer with penalty kicks and free kicks. He made history at the club and he was my main idol.”

A revelation with his feet in the Premier League so far, will Ederson, like his hero, be coming up to take penalties and free kicks anytime soon?

“No free kicks… but if there is a chance to ever take a penalty I am going to ask the manager and I would do it!” Ederson laughs.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Pointing to the tattoos all over his body and explaining their significance, including a passage from the bible on the back of his left calf and other markings to honor his family, it is easy to forgot how far Ederson has come in such a short space of time.

He moved to Benfica from Brazil as a 16-year-old and then dropped down to the third division with Ribeirao on loan before moving to Rio Ave where he made his name playing regularly, before heading back to Benfica and taking his chance after an injury to the regular starter.

Discussing his hometown of Osasco, Ederson revealed he has no plans to return to Brazil when his playing days are over.

“I left my hometown very early. I cannot remember much. I have friends and family there so when I have holidays I try to go there to my home village. It is very calm but because I left very early I don’t miss it that much,” Ederson said. “To be honest, I am not planning to go back and live there when I retire. The plan is to stay here in Europe with my family because it is calm and safer so in my future, my family and I are thinking about when I retire we will move to Portugal because of the language and the lifestyle.”

When asked what he and his teammates can achieve this season after winning seven of their opening eight PL matches and all three of their UEFA Champions League group games, Ederson is confident Pep Guardiola has built a side who can dominate now and for many years to come.

“I think Man City has built a really great team, a really young team both for the present and the future. I think we are ready to fight for everything,” Ederson said.” The Premier League, the cups, the Champions League. If we keep doing the good work we are doing, we will have a lot of chances to win one, two or three trophies. We must keep working hard and focus on the targets.”

Ederson achieved one of his long-term targets last week by making his debut for the Brazilian national team in their World Cup qualifying win against Chile.

He is dreaming of being on the Selecao’s plane to Russia for the 2018 World Cup next summer.

“I was very happy to play my first game with Brazil and also that it was in my city, Sao Paulo, with my family watching at the stadium. We won and we got a clean sheet, so it was perfect,” Ederson smiled. “I’m following this path towards looking at the World Cup on the horizon and I would be very happy if I was chosen in the final list. But we have to wait because the season is long but it would be a dream come true to play in the World Cup because I have been working so hard in the last years to be able to be there.”

“My Brazilian teammates [Gabriel Jesus, Danilo, Fernandinho] helped me a lot here to adapt and settle in. I knew them before from the national team, so obviously they make my life easier here.”

Ederson’s confident and commanding displays are making City’s chances of winning it all a lot easier this season.

Pep seems to have finally found the playmaking goalkeeper he has craved since he arrived in Manchester.

Man City 7-2 Stoke City: De Bruyne leads rout

Leave a comment
  • Gabriel Jesus scores twice
  • De Bruyne provides two assists
  • Man City have scored 24 goals in last five PL games

Manchester City obliterated Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Kevin De Bruyne the chief architect in humiliating the Potters.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice, plus goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, David Silva, Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva did the damage. City had led 3-0 but Stoke fought back through a Mame Diouf goal and a Kyle Walker own goal to make it 3-2 early in the second half but that only angered Man City.

Pep Guardiola‘s men are top of the Premier League with seven wins from eight and are in scintillating, sensational form. City have scored 29 goals in their opening eight games of the season. That’s the first time that has happened in the top-flight since Everton in 1894.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

City dominated early on Leroy Sane should have put them 1-0 up. Kevin de Bruyne’s cross found the German winger but he smashed over.

Soon after City did led as Kyle Walker intercepted a pass from Darren Fletcher and he played a one-two with de Bruyne before cutting the ball back for Jesus to tap home. 1-0.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Soon after it was 2-0 as Sane and KDB combined with the latter knocking through a wonderful reverse ball and Sane found Sterling to tap home. 2-0 to City as they totally dominated.

It was soon 3-0 as another flowing move saw Jesus play in Sane who crossed the ball to Sterling and his pass found Silva who finished superbly.

Before the break Stoke did pull one back as Diouf and Jese combined with the former seeing his shot deflected over Ederson and in. There was time for Jack Butland to make a fine stop from de Bruyne as City continued to pour forward.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Stoke made it 3-2 two minutes into the second half as 18-year-old Stoke debutant Tom Edwards sent in a cross from the right and Diouf’s header deflected off Walker and in. The shock comeback was well and truly on.

De Bruyne almost made it 4-2 moments later but Butland saved well, but the Belgian was on hand soon after as his cross from the right was tapped home by Jesus. 4-2 to Man City.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

The goals kept on coming for Man City as Fernandino smashed home a stunning strike to make it 5-2 and then KDB slotted a magnificent through ball for Sane to score and make it 6-2.

U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron went close to pulling another one back for Stoke but hit his shot into the side-netting as City saw out yet another convincing win in style with substitute Silva slotting home to make it 7-2.

Chelsea 0-1 Man City: De Bruyne gets it done

Leave a comment
  • City outshoots Chelsea 8-2 in first half
  • 17-4 for entire match
  • De Bruyne provides break through
  • Four saves for Courtois

Kevin De Bruyne‘s second half goal lifted Manchester City to a deserved 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

City moves back atop Manchester United on goal differential to lead the table with 19 points, five more than fourth-place Chelsea. Spurs are third with 14 points, ahead of the Blues on GD.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Morata supplied a pair of early threats. The first was stifled by John Stones, while the second was a header which drifted wide of the frame.

Chelsea’s midfield was very active and caused havoc to deny Man City early possession, plus Morata dropped deep to help in the build up and transition. Possession, of course, would soon arrive for City.

Man City’s John Stones hurt his hand in an attacking third collision and had to come off the field in the 21st minute for repairs.

A bounding shot through traffic forced Ederson into a late reaction save, and a counter attack nearly saw Raheem Sterling‘s cross lead to an opener.

Morata’s lively early day ended after 34 minutes when the Spaniard asked to be withdrawn due to a left leg injury. Willian entered the fray.

A 45th minute corner forced Thibaut Courtois into a strong save, as Kevin De Bruyne’s offering was ripped on frame by the head of Fernandinho.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

A 61st minute short free kick led to an Eden Hazard rip that Ederson parried out of the 18.

At the other end, Marcos Alonso slid to block a dangerous David Silva shot. It was a precursor to De Bruyne’s goal, as the Belgian took a touch following a 1-2 with Jesus before whirring a shot past Courtois.

Antonio Rudiger made an outstanding clearance of a Jesus volley six minutes from time to keep the match in the balance.

Watch Live: Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea and Manchester City contest the Premier League weekend’s most anticipated match on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

David Luiz remains suspended for Chelsea, sliding Andreas Christensen into the Starting XI, while Tiemoue Bakayoko is part of a heavy midfield.

Sergio Aguero’s rib injury and car accident have pushed Gabriel Jesus to center forward, while Fabian Delph remains in defense for City.

Twenty-year-old Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko is on the bench for Man City.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Morata. Subs: Caballero, Zappacosta, Kenedy, Moses, Willian, Pedro, Batshuayi.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Delph, Otamendi, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, D. Silva, Sane, Sterling, Jesus. Subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala, B. Silva, Zinchenko, Toure.

Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace: City helps Eagles make history

Leave a comment
  • De Bruyne pulling strings
  • Sterling scores two
  • Sane goal, assist

Leroy Sane’s magical playmaking lifted rampant Manchester City to a 5-0 win over Crystal Palace, whose futility made history at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling scored twice, while Sergio Aguero, Fabian Delph, and Sane also scored as leaders City moved past Manchester United on goal differential.

Palace remains winless and goalless, the first Premier League team to start a season without a goal through six matches.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Mamadou Sakho‘s attempt to deal with a Kevin De Bruyne cross beat his own keeper, and Wayne Hennessey was happy to see the ball bump off his far post.

Hennessey was then in position to block Fernandinho‘s point blank attempt off a corner kick.

Palace did have a chance thanks to one of its early stars of their slow-starting season, but Ruben Loftus-Cheeks’ shot from outside the 18 bounded off the post.

A tough angle for Aguero saw him chop Leroy Sane’s cutback over the bar from seven yards. Sane was the one who made it 1-0 minutes later.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Sterling made it 2-0 just after halftime, as Sane put it on a platter with a square ball from the left.

He added his second when De Bruyne found Aguero with a diagonal ball and the Argentine cut back for Sterling to touch into the goal.

Play had hardly restarted when Sane was stopped by a sliding Hennessey at the doorstep.

And Sane sent a marvelous, powerful cross for Aguero to head home in the 79th minute.

Delph curled a gorgeous shot home in the 89th minute to put an exclamation point on the result.