During the 64th minute of Manchester City’s 5-0 trouncing of Swansea, Bernardo Silva tapped the ball in for an easy goal after Gabriel Jesus smashed his penalty off the inside post. The miss might have been less embarrassing for the Brazilian striker if the City faithful hadn’t chanted for his international teammate, Ederson, to take the kick instead. Little known to many, it was Ederson who had initiated a tactics change at half-time.
During a post-match interview, Ederson expressed his desire to step up and score a goal for the Citizens.
“If the manager had asked me to go there, I would have definitely scored,” he said. “City have their regular penalty takers and we have good options, but if Pep asked me to take it, I’m there.”
The Brazilian keeper says that although he isn’t a set piece specialist, he would relish the chance to have a shot at goal from 12-yards. With four games left in the season and the title in the bag, Spanish coach Pep Guardiola may reward Ederson’s fantastic debut season with an opportunity to become the sixth goalscoring goalkeeper in Premier League history.
Source suggest, however, that Ederson’s comments have sparked an unusual discussion in the City dressing room. With 360-minutes of consequence-free football left to play this season, the league leaders are planning to test some other unusual tactics. Here is a list of a few ideas Pep and his coaching staff have brainstormed:
1) Aymeric Laporte on throw-in duty: Apparently the Frenchman has one mean throw in. Laporte has reportedly been practicing the somersault toss seen occasionally in Sunday league games that travel the half the distance of the pitch. A throw-in at halfway will now allow aerial threats like Vincent Kompany to charge into the box in search of a goal.
2) Benjamin Mendy to live stream games: Now this one isn’t directly related to football, but with Mendy still trying to recover from his ligament injury he will likely struggle to see 90-minutes of regular football. The Manchester City marketing department, recognizing Mendy’s social media prowess, has requested the French fullback stream game footage from the bench, adding a whole new viewing experience for fans.
3) Leroy Sane to move to left back: After observing Ashley Young success in a defensive role, Guardiola is reluctantly taking a note out of Jose Mourinho’s notebook. Despite his goalscoring record, the German is set to duke it out for a starting spot in the back line.
4) Sergio Aguero to start using his left foot: Despite being right root dominant, Aguero is being asked to use his left more frequently. Guardiola, in a desperate effort to reconstruct what it would be like to work with Lionel Messi again, is trying to turn Aguero into a carbon copy of his Argentinian counterpart.
5) Two goalkeepers: Now, unorthodox as it may be, this is one of the most intriguing choices the Catalonian coach has made. While technically only one player can touch the ball with his hands, Pep believes he can send two players out on the field dressed as goalkeepers (he is wrong, but I’m not going to be the one to tell him that). Guardiola hopes this tactic confuses the opposition as much as it confuses us. Luckily, if Pep is looking a man to dress as a goalkeeper, be good with his feet and not worry about saving shots, Claudio Bravo is still on his roster.
These are only five of the many bizarre tactics being talked about in East Manchester, but be on the lookout for even more unusual Guardiola master classes in the weeks to follow.