Richard Buxton: City’s Ederson becoming their Achilles’ heel
The Brazilian goalkeeper's tendency to concede penalties could haunt them one day
In life as much as football, Gary Neville has rarely put a foot wrong.
As dependable a broadcaster as he had been a player at Manchester United, the former defender's reluctance to misstep followed him off the pitch and into the television studio.
But even a dyed-in-the-wool Red Devil can be guilty of allowing himself to be blinded by brilliance.
Neville's claim that Manchester City have no weaknesses ahead of their eventual 3-1 win over his former club yesterday morning (Singapore time) neglected one crucial detail.
A pursuit of infallibility remains a work in progress for Pep Guardiola's side, even after extending their unbeaten run to 12 games and chalking up a fourth straight victory.
For a second consecutive week, Ederson revealed himself as the glaring chink in City's armour.
The Brazil international is living through a personal Groundhog Day with another game at the Etihad Stadium; another through-ball and another careless foul on an advancing striker.
Romelu Lukaku simply reprised the role of Southampton's Danny Ings just seven days before.
It may not have had an overall bearing on the EPL champions' latest triumph, but needlessly throwing himself at the mercy of the Belgian should set alarm bells ringing with Guardiola.
City's manager recently conceded that he may have got it wrong in changing goalkeepers too quickly.
Ruthlessness saw Guardiola dispose of Joe Hart without even giving England's erstwhile No. 1 a chance to prove he could integrate himself into the new philosophy.
His replacement failed to vindicate that call with Claudio Bravo's wealth of experience failing to guard against bouts of absent-mindedness which saw him routinely rush out to clear the danger, only to cause more problems than the stopper was brought in to remedy.
A blundering return to the Nou Camp invariably left the writing on the wall for the Chilean as Barcelona were gifted a comfortable 4-0 win in the Champions League group stages in October 2016.
Ederson, however, is not Bravo. More than a decade in age separates the pair's careers.
Statistically, the current incumbent has recorded a shot-stopping ratio far superior to both his predecessor's forgettable debut City campaign as well as Hart's final season at the Etihad.
Passing accuracy, too, is significantly higher than the men he ultimately succeeded, with the 23-year-old redefining Guardiola's on-field vision of playing from the back more than most.
It is for this reason that his position will not be under any immediate threat, especially with City looking well-placed to retain the title in spite of a resurgent chasing pack this season.
He is also not alone by occasionally faltering in the sweeper- keeper role, especially among those plotting to dethrone Guardiola's side.
Hugo Lloris' well-documented struggles with the ball at his feet have somewhat undermined Tottenham Hotspur's current attempt to challenge.
Ederson's compatriot Alisson, similarly, has been guilty of similar failings away from his goal-line despite Liverpool successfully maintaining pace with the leaders at the league's summit.
That still does not excuse Guardiola's need to work with him on eradicating those mistakes.
Two goals may not dent his side's current tally, but it could return to haunt them when fine margins prove decisive against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool later in the campaign.If City are to become the greatest EPL champions of all-time, there must again be little margin for error.