Zack Steffen’s starts at Manchester City have been few and far between, but after delivering a shutout win over the weekend, the American goalkeeper continues to have the backing of manager Pep Guardiola going forward this season.
Steffen made his first EPL start of the new campaign, registering a two-save clean sheet in a 2-0 home win over Burnley. With No. 1 goalkeeper Ederson not in the squad due to his late arrival back from international duty with Brazil, Steffen got the start in front of the Man City faithful and made the most of his latest opportunity.
It might’ve only been Steffen’s third appearance this season in all competitions, but he was confident on and off the ball as the Citizens remained in the top-four.
“The last games he played in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup and today [Saturday], he is growing incredibly fast and well as a keeper,” Guardiola said. “He is growing incredibly fast and well as a keeper working alongside Xabi Mancisidor and Richard [Wright].
“He is a much better keeper than when he arrived because we have maybe the best keeper trainer in the world,” Guardiola said. “We have incredible confidence in him because the moments he has to save the ball he does. We are delighted with him.”
It was Steffen’s first action since September 21st and his third appearance of the new season after appearing in the third round of the Carabao Cup against Wycombe Wanderers and the Community Shield against Leicester City. Steffen was rarely troubled by Sean Dyche’s squad on Saturday, but delivered his best save in the first-half with the Citizens clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Maxwel Cornet’s breakaway attempt was denied by Steffen, who made himself big enough to repel the forward’s one-on-one opportunity. It was the best chance Burnley had in front of goal all afternoon, showing how important Steffen’s actions were in keeping the clean sheet.
Now with a Champions League group stage match at Club Brugge on the horizon, Guardiola will have a difficult decision to make in regards to his starting goalkeeper spot. Ederson arguably remains the No. 1 option going forward, but Steffen’s recent heroics have boosted his stock as the Citizens remain in three different competitions.
The Citizens take on Club Brugge on Tuesday before a league trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on October 23. Should Steffen not get the call in either match, he could return in goal for the Citizens’ fourth-round League Cup trip to West Ham United on October 27.