I have been a Manchester City fan since I was 11 years old and I am angry. Not because Chelsea beat us 3-1 and proved yet again that they are contenders for the Premier League title but mainly because we have an iffy goalkeeper who shouldn’t be in the team.
This might sound unreasonable with the club still very much in contention for the title but I have to admit that I am beginning to have some doubts about Pep Guardiola.
This is a guy who was football’s most wanted manager when he joined City but on Saturday he was clearly second best to the impressive Antonio Conte.
I was appalled by Sergio Aguero’s flying assault on Chelsea’s David Luiz and have absolutely no idea what Fernandinho was doing repeatedly grabbing Cesc Fabregas by the throat and pushing him over an advertising hoarding. They were deservedly sent off and City will have to do without them for a while but that’s not what’s worrying me.
The main reason I am beginning to question Guardiola’s judgement, and I know I am not alone in this, is that I fail to understand why he got rid of Joe Hart, one of, if not the best goalkeeper in City’s history and replaced him with Clownio… sorry, Claudio Bravo. So far I haven’t seen anything that comes even close to justifying what currently looks like a ludicrous decision.
One of the reasons for Hart’s exit was apparently that he couldn’t distribute the ball well enough with his feet which is what Guardiola likes his goalkeepers to do. Sorry, but I thought goalkeepers were employed because of their ability to make saves which Hart was pretty good at which is why he is England’s goalkeeper.
Not suggesting Joe Hart is without his faults by any means - but what actually is it that might make Claudio Bravo better than him?— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) December 3, 2016
But even if you accept that Guardiola is right, Bravo looks like a blunder waiting to happen every time he gets the ball at his feet. And he isn’t much better when asked to make a save. On Saturday, he was hopeless when Willian scored Chelsea’s second.
He was poorly positioned which was bad enough but Willian’s shot was so close to him that he should have saved it but it looked like he didn’t even try. It was almost as if he couldn’t be bothered.
I just don’t think Bravo is good enough to play in the Premier League, never mind pull on a Manchester City jersey and as a result it makes the club’s already questionable defence even more vulnerable.
John Stones has hardly torn up any trees, Nicolas Otamendi looks slow and Aleksandar Kolarov is inconsistent. Eden Hazard, Willian and Diego Costa took them apart on Saturday which left Bravo exposed so I will give him a smidgen of sympathy.
However, so far Bravo has been sent off for a ludicrous hand ball outside the box against Barcelona in the Champions League after an outstanding example of distributing the ball with his feet – straight to Luis Suarez, gifted Zlatan Ibrahimovic a goal after a pathetic attempt to catch the ball during the Manchester derby and has generally had a nightmare.
Guardiola can defend him all he likes, but I just don’t understand why a goalkeeper of highly questionable ability is doing playing for Manchester City while Joe Hart apparently thrives at Serie A side Torino on loan.
There have been enough mistakes to suggest Bravo is a liability and it is time the City boss admitted the Chilean has been disappointing, to say the least.
A strong defence and reliable goalkeeper is absolutely essential if City are going to challenge for the EPL title and the Champions League and at the moment they have neither. Recalling Hart, if possible, would be the first stage of putting that right.
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