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Is it the same old story for Manchester City in goal?

Friday 21st July 2017
It is becoming far too common an occurrence for Manchester City. Their huge financial backing allows teams to sell to the English side at hugely inflated prices because they know City will invariably pay the amount they are asking for. It means that foreign players arrive at the Etihad Stadium with a huge price-tag hanging over them, often weighing heavily on their mind. 

Even the players that have already been plying their trade in the Premier League struggle to perform. Raheem Sterling and John Stones are the best examples of this, with the two coming in for a lot of criticism for their performances following massive money moves.

Indeed, the two have a very long way to go before they can justify their price-tags, however, both Stones and Sterling are still very much in the development stages of their career in which they can still improve and learn.

The same cannot be said for City's maligned goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. The Chilean was lambasted last season for some awful performances in which his all-round goalkeeping was questioned. His glovework was weak and his decision making was just as poor at times.

Pep Guardiola brought the goalkeeper in for his ability with the ball at his feet and praised him constantly for it, but the traditional aspects of play are not the strongest facets of his game. By way of comparison, Joe Hart is the exact opposite, with his saving and commanding presence a feature of his game, while his distribution was highlighted as not good enough by Guardiola.

The City manager since decided to bring in youngster Ederson Moraes from Benfica. The goalkeeper is seen as a real future prospect and could provide the Citizens with a goalkeeper for years to come. However, their game against Manchester United last night displayed that there are still problems between the sticks for City.
For Romelu Lukaku's first goal, Ederson came flying out to try and clear a lofted through pass, only to be beaten to the ball by the Belgian before he finished from a tight angle.

He did not cover himself in glory for Marcus Rashford's goal either. The forward lashed an effort beyond the goalkeeper from an angle with replays showing that he might have done better with the attempted save. However, the effort was struck firmly and the City defence had left Ederson exposed meaning he should not have been put in that position to begin with.

Positively, Ederson was kept busy throughout his appearance and made some good saves. While he arguably made two mistakes in the game, he did display that his glovework is of a decent standard.

While a Manchester derby is a good place to start for the goalkeeper, the pre-season game will have been nothing like a full Premier League game in which both sides go hell for leather to get a result.

Bravo found the physicality of the league difficult to deal with, while he was at times put under huge pressure when taking too long to use the ball.

Bravo perhaps struggled because, when with Barcelona, the opposition teams would have shown more respect and would be wary of chasing the ball as it would leave space for the Catalans to exploit. In the Premier League though, the pace of the game is far higher and means teams do look to close down the goalkeeper.

It is vital that Guardiola finds a way to settle his man between the sticks and fast. Be it Bravo or Ederson, City will not win the title if they are constantly chopping and changing failing goalkeepers.

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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