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Football Comparisons 5 - Alisson v Ederson
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Comparison 5 – Alisson v Ederson


These two became an argument with life of its own, similar to the old Paul Scholes v Frank Lampard v Steven Gerrard debate. With these two, thanks to David de Gea’s collapse in form, standing out as the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, the argument over which was better raged all last season. However it must be said that this season the discussion has died down, with Ederson finally being tested and found wanting for Manchester City, while Alisson has saved Liverpool on a number of occasions.

There used to be a very direct comparison, but with scant evidence to really prove whether or not Ederson was as good as pundits suggested. No one was really taking the game to City to test his prowess. This season that has changed and now the comparison seems out of date, as Ederson has been shown to be nowhere near as good as was claimed. It is now clear to see why Alisson is Brazil’s number 1 ahead of him.

Command of Area: Alisson is a clear winner here, though this is not one of his stronger suits when it comes to corners, most of the rest of the time he is very much in command in there. Ederson, on the other hand, is hindered by having a very ropey bunch of defenders in front of him and seems to struggle to work with them. Because of that, I would say that it is difficult for Ederson and that is probably a bigger difference between the two than actual ability in this respect.

Communication: This is one area I believe both could improve on. You can often see Alisson and Virgil van Dijk gesturing to each other to deal with a ball, disputing over who should be there first. Alisson needs to be more clear when he feels it is not his to get to. Ederson, on the other hand, is fine with that part of communication, but balls into the box he is often having to go through teammates who had no idea the Brazilian was trying to get to it. Neither win in this particular facet and both need to work on it.

Eccentricity: Being eccentric is something that seems common to all keepers, good or bad, but I am not sure whether it is a plus to be more eccentric or a negative. Seems to be a bit of both! I would have to say that Ederson is clearly more eccentric of the two, Alisson seems a bit staid by comparison.

First Touch: Normally I would not bother with this for a keeper, but these two are different and as much part of the outfield team as they are goalkeepers. Their ability to control the ball is vital. Both have excellent first touches, but both have had a number of moments when they lose concentration at the vital moment and miscontrol an easy pass causing themselves problems. Over the last few months, Ederson has been prone to more mistakes of the two, they are almost becoming commonplace. It seems like he needs a wake up call, as quite a few have led to goals and Ederson has yet to react to those mistakes by sharpening up his control and concentration. Alisson, on the other hand, has made fewer as time has gone on. When he does make a mistake, you can see him visibly react to it and it makes him much more careful with his play for a while. Ederson just does not seem to learn.

Handling: Both of them are competent in this area. You very rarely see either fumble a catch, though that may be down to the fact that the more difficult balls they punch clear rather than attempting to catch. I am sure the defenders in front of them feel confident that when they do come out, there is a good chance of them dealing with the ball.

Kicking: This is an area of strength for both but Alisson has a clear advantage here. There is a reason he picked up so many assists in Italy and has managed some since arriving at Liverpool. When he gets the ball in his hands, if there is an open runner then he can find him with a highly accurate long kick. I think he is probably the best I have ever seen, which is why he has an advantage over Ederson, who is also often very good with his long pass.

One-on-ones: This is extremely difficult to judge, both play for such dominant sides that they very rarely get put in these situations. I do not think it would be fair to judge on what I have seen, as it is not really enough to make a genuine decision.

Passing: Put the ball at their feet and both of them can play, probably as well as most outfield players. However, I have to give a slight edge to Ederson here, which is why he is so well suited to a Guardiola team. While Alisson is excellent for a keeper, Ederson is even better. It is his best quality as a goalkeeper.

Reflexes: Both are excellent, with lightning reflexes. You would back them both to make reflex saves most other keepers would not manage to get to. There is little to pick between them.

Rushing Out: The pair of them are quick to come off their line and also tend to be off their line looking to sweep up behind the defence, which means they are never far from the action. They can be rash, but usually they get to the ball. Ederson is slightly more reckless than Alisson, which gives the edge to Alisson, but there is little in it.

Throwing: Another part of the game that both keepers excel in. They can launch quick counters with a long and accurate throw. However it is rare that either get the chance, as teams do not tend to get high enough up the pitch against either Liverpool or Manchester City to allow a throw out.

Composure: While both can get ruffled when put under pressure on the ball and make a mistake (like any player), Alisson has a clear advantage in this field. While Ederson can fall to pieces after a mistake and have a poor game, Alisson very rarely makes more than one mistake in a game. Usually he learns from his mistakes as well. Ederson’s rashness tends to come to the fore after an error as he has lost his composure.

Concentration: Both have shown themselves to be very good at keeping themselves focused, despite having little to do. This season in particular, Alisson has massively impressed with his ability to pull a save out of nowhere after spending long periods watching the game with little to do.

Decisions: Another area both could improve on. They can both come for balls they are never going to get to, though Ederson needs to learn when to stop and retreat in those cases.

Positioning: This is a weakness of Ederson’s game and why he is not as likely to pull off saves as Alisson. Ederson simply does not get himself positioned as well. Cutting down angles, both keepers are excellent at, but just general positioning is a real strength of Alisson’s game, but not of Ederson’s. I am probably being harsh calling it a weakness, as he is positioning himself well enough to be a Premier League level keeper, but when you are talking about being the best then you have to get this absolutely spot on. Ederson is just not quite there. There are a number of times he will get himself off to one side by a noticeable amount. Strikers that work with a goalkeeper coach, such as Xavi Valero, who gives them information about opposition keepers, will learn that weakness and prey on it by hitting shots to his other side.

Vision: Alisson has shown at Roma and (when he gets the chance) with Liverpool that he has excellent vision and can spot an open forward making a run when he has the ball. That is why he picks up assists each season. Ederson has not really had the opportunities to do so, but he has shown little inclination to even attempt those kind of ball with Man City. Perhaps that is simply a consequence of the way the team plays, but you do think if he could see the opportunity in training they would play for it in matches.

Acceleration: Both are surprisingly quick for keepers but Ederson has an edge here. You would expect people that big to take a while to get going but they come flying out of their area when needed.

Agility: Both excel and are agile enough to keep most shots out and, in Ederson’s case, mainly make up for his slight weakness in positioning. While Alisson can use his to pull wonder saves out of the bag at times, Ederson rarely does, but that is mainly down to that slight positional weakness, which leaves him reaching.

Overall: There is one clear winner here, as was proven over the season played so far. Alisson is Brazil’s number one for a good reason. He is simply a better goalkeeper than Ederson, though they are both at the right teams for their way of playing. If you swapped them around, Alisson would still be seen as world class at Man City, but Ederson’s weaknesses would be exposed much more at Liverpool. That is a key difference for me.


Suggested by Deependra

Written by Tris Burke April 20 2020 11:23:26


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