Man City attackers catch the eye but Ederson contribution crucial for Pep
A key factor in Manchester City's 1-1 draw at Burnley, aside from the away side's inability to finish off their chances, was that their goalkeeper was able to stand up to the Claret's late pressure. A big component of any No. 1 at a club aiming to dominate possession and play attractive, attacking football is the ability to concentrate throughout the 90 minutes and be alert even when only called upon once or twice.
When Ederson reacted with a strong hand to push Ben Mee's acrobatic volley behind for a corner in the first half, the travelling fans thought that would have been the sum total of his contributions, beyond a bit of nifty footwork to keep the ball moving with City in possession.
However, he then went on to pull off one of his best stops of the season in the closing stages. With the ball bouncing around the City box, it fell to Aaron Lennon, who thundered an effort towards the top corner -- and he must have expected to score his first Burnley goal, until Ederson's left fingertips touched the shot onto the crossbar.
At the time it preserved City's lead and it gave them the chance to have made it 2-0, until Raheem Sterling's unfortunate miss. In the end, it turned out to be crucial in getting City a point.
The goalkeeper has been a revelation for Guardiola this season and the manager couldn't have expected the impact Ederson has had in such a short time with his new club. Not only did he settle in quickly, but the 24-year-old looked like he had far more experience than his relatively short career so far boasts.
It's worth noting, too, that he had immense pressure on his shoulders on his arrival at the Etihad, following a disastrous 2016-17 campaign for City goalkeepers. In bringing Ederson in to replace Claudio Bravo, Guardiola had to get the right man.
There had widespread criticism of the manager's decision to replace Joe Hart with Bravo as one of his first acts at City. It wasn't without merit, either -- while the England goalkeeper didn't cover himself in glory during his loan spell at Torino in 2016-17, he performed far better than the Chilean did at the Etihad.
Bravo was touted as the goalkeeper who would allow Guardiola's men to play from the back and put in the levels of performances fans have enjoyed this season. Instead, he turned out to be the goalkeeper the sewed uncertainty into the defenders in front of him and a man who struggled to deal with the simplest of shots on target.
On the one hand, Ederson couldn't have been worse. With Bravo having lowered fans' expectations so much, the Brazilian could have come in and been bang average and not been a disappointment -- but in his first half season he has far exceeded that. He's shown enough for supporters to feel optimistic about what he will help the team achieve.
There was a short flirtation with nervousness, as he rushed off his line and missed the ball in his first ever game for City, allowing Romelu Lukaku to open the scoring in what would turn out to be a 2-0 defeat to rivals Manchester United in a preseason friendly. But that was a one-off mistake and not in keeping with the sort of calmness he's shown since.
An incident that truly showed off the goalkeeper's impact on City this season came in the 2-1 victory over Southampton at the Etihad. The hosts dominated the ball, but the Saints posed a threat on the break -- and a long pass over the top was snuffed out when Ederson rushed off his line to clear, about 50 yards out.
But instead of just getting to the ball first and clearing it, he killed it dead out of the sky and rolled a short pass to Kyle Walker, even under pressure from Shane Long.
That's an extreme example, of course, but it highlights the sort of awareness he's showed that Bravo never did. For all of the Chilean's ability with his feet -- an arena where Hart was often criticised -- he never read the game well enough to snuff out opposition attacks by being proactive and charging from his line.
Ederson's starting position means he's rarely wrong when he's played the sweeper keeper role and his calmness when he does means he's able to find a teammate rather than clearing into touch.
Throw in some excellent vision to start breakaways and the saves he made at Burnley and City have a unique player keeping goal. There will be mistakes that get punished -- such as in the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool or in the 2-1 loss at Shakhtar Donetsk -- but they're the price to pay for the improvement he brings to Guardiola's team.
The attacking players may have had the headlines this season, but one of the biggest reasons for the club's 13-point lead is their newfound stability at the back.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney