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Manchester City's woes exemplify Claudio Bravo's struggles yet again

Sunday 22nd January 2017
This Saturday proved to be no better than last Sunday for Manchester City as they dropped more points in their pursuit of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League. The Sky Blues now find themselves 10 points shy of the leaders having played one more game.

While it was an awful night for Pep Guardiola's side, how did the evening go for City's much-maligned goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo?

So many stats have been thrown around over the last week regarding Bravo with the goalkeeper struggling to really impose himself in goal for City. It cannot be disputed that his distribution is of a very high standard, with the Chilean able to hit his man on most occasions.

However, he has struggled hugely when it comes to the base requirement of a goalkeeper. Bravo faced six shots on target over the last two games, conceding six goals. It can be argued though that neither of Tottenham's goals were saveable, but the two strikes have added to his awful record in recent weeks.

Many questioned whether City's on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart would have saved many of the shots Bravo has faced, with the exiled player a specialist in shot-stopping. While Hart is not the most gifted player with his feet, the fans have pointed to the fact that he has saved them on more than one occasion with his glove work.

Bravo looked fairly good with his passing in the first half as City pressed Tottenham high up the pitch in an attempt to squeeze their opponents. He was a peripheral figure in the opening 45 minutes as goal-kicks and the odd pass were his only real involvements. However, come the second-half, he was once again exposed.
The ball was drilled into the box by Kyle Walker and the indecision was clear to see in the body language of the goalkeeper as he moved towards the flight of the ball before retreating back. He may be forgiven for the fact that he would have assumed one of his defenders would deal with the cross. There was no such assistance from those in front of him though as the resulting header was nodded in at the back post by Dele Alli, who continues his fantastic record against the top teams, making it three goals in two games against Chelsea and Manchester City in recent weeks.

Son Heung-Min's goal was one that left Bravo with absolutely no chance. Tottenham were very slick in their build-up play as they attacked down their right-flank before the ball made it's way to Harry Kane who flicked on to Son, with the forward finishing clinically with a strike into the bottom corner.

City had suddenly lost a two-goal lead without Bravo touching the ball with his hands to make a save. It is likely Hart would have gotten nowhere near the second goal with the ball nestling into the bottom corner. However, would his huge physical presence have put off the ensuing attackers in the build up to the first goal? It is impossible to know for sure.

What is more obvious is the fact that Guardiola has made Bravo's job more difficult than it should be. By ousting Hart in the way he did he has made the Chilean goalkeeper a target man for abuse and criticism when things go wrong. Had the manager instead opted to let the two goalkeepers battle it out for the number one jersey, then Bravo would not be such an isolated figure.

On the whole, it was a worse day for City than it was for Bravo, but the damaging draw did nothing to help the Chilean's Premier League goalkeeping woes.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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