Ederson is a player Manchester City can’t afford to miss after his late saves at Leicester…
- The strength of a team can be measured by the quality of players who are not in the beginning XI
- It would be hard to find a better collection of substitutes in Europe this weekend
- Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were among the subs for Manchester City
- They don’t have to prioritize the Premier League or the Champions League
Anyone doubting Manchester City’s ability to complete a Premier League and Champions League double this season need only look to his substitutes’ bench for the trip to Leicester.
The strength of a squad can always be measured by the quality of players who don’t make the starting position for a given match and it would be hard to find a better collection of replacements across Europe this weekend.
Let’s start with Kevin De Bruyne. For much of his time at City, the Belgian has been the Premier League’s top maker, but was not included here from the start, as he is slowly returning to full fitness after recent injury problems. If De Bruyne had belonged to virtually any other club, he would have started the game.
Ederson is a player Man City really can’t do without late saves in Leicester’s win
Fernandinho (front, centre) and Raheem Sterling (right) came on the field and showed City’s bench strength
How about Raheem Sterling? Despite scoring three goals at Euro 2020 and being one of the players of the tournament, the 26-year-old had to wait until the 64th minute for his chance, when he was sent on to Ferran Torres immediately after Bernardo Silva scored the only goal. .
Like Sterling, John Stones was a key figure for England, at the heart of a defense that conceded just two goals in seven games en route to the final. That didn’t stop Pep Guardiola from choosing Aymeric Laporte alongside Ruben Dias in the middle of his four-man defense.
With that trio, Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez, Oleksandr Zinchennko and Phil Foden jog up and down the sidelines. Due to injury, Foden has not played in a competitive game since the Euro 2020 semi-final victory over Denmark, but as long as he is fit he will certainly play a big role for City again this season.
Phil Foden (right) has not played in a competitive match since the Euro 2020 semi-final due to injury
After claiming nine goals and six assists to help City regain the title last season, Mahrez will also become champions to play. Fernandinho, meanwhile, has long been one of the best midfielders in the game and even at 36 years old, he remains highly effective. Zinchenko is the least known member of this group, but never looked out of place when given his chance.
And to think that City failed to secure their main summer transfer target as Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy resisted their attempts to sign England captain Harry Kane.
The great thing for City – and the nightmare for their challengers – is that with a side like this they don’t have to prioritize the Premier League or the Champions League because they have the tools to focus on both.
The great thing about City is that with a team like this they have the tools to win the league and the Champions League
In the coronavirus economy, it is the clubs with the super-rich backers that have become increasingly powerful, and it’s hard to imagine the winners of Europe’s premier club competition coming from outside City, Paris St Germain and Chelsea.
However, there is one player that City really can’t live without. As Leicester pushed for an equaliser, Ederson raced off his line to deny substitute Ademola Lookman a debut goal, then did well to stop another sub, Kelechi Iheanacho.
Without an 11-hour deal between City, FIFA and the Brazilian FA, Ederson and Gabriel Jesus would not have been available for this match. Had FIFA invoked their five-day rule, the pair would have been banned for choosing not to answer their international call last month.
City has also found a way around that problem. Whatever the question, they usually seem to come up with the right answer.