The last few weeks at Manchester City there has been a lot of focus on the goalkeeping situation and the spotlight would have been cast even further after Claudio Bravo’s debut in the Manchester derby on Saturday Afternoon.
It was certainly a baptism of fire for the Chilean international as he made his first appearance since signing from Barcelona late last month and the jury will be out after his somewhat erratic display at Old Trafford.
After going 2-0 up City were well in control but then United found the one chink in their armour and that was none other than Bravo himself. His failure to deal with a free kick meant the ball fell at Ibrahimovic’s feet and once he volleyed home to reduce the arrears we had a contest on our hands.
You could perhaps mark that one down to opening day nerves but if the first half was unfortunate albeit clumsy then the second half from Bravo was incredibly erratic. On many occasions he would have left City fans with hearts in mouths after seemingly being caught in possession.
The biggest talking point of the second half was whether or not United should have been awarded a penalty after Bravo’s almost desperate lunge on Wayne Rooney. It was apparent that Bravo had lost control of the ball and then seemed to lunge at Rooney with his feet at the ground.
On any other part of the pitch it would have been deemed a Red Card and an early bath but rightly or wrongly goalkeepers seem to be afforded more protection and it was an incredibly lucky let off from referee Mark Clattenburg as the tackle went unpunished.
If they were the negatives you have to take into account that it was Bravo’s neat footwork which started the move fro City’s opener so it’s not as if he had an awful game but for someone who came to The Etihad under much fanfare you do have to ask yourself on the basis of that performance was it worth all the hassle.
It’s quite apparent that Bravo plays much more in keeping with the way that Pep Guardiola wants a keeper to play and it’s not as if Joe Hart would be that comfortable on the ball and able to start off moves like the one that led to Kevin De Bruyne putting City ahead.
Also a keeper doesn’t become bad after just 1 game, this is someone who has won just about everything you can win with Barcelona not to mention Copa America success with Chile so this is one of the world’s top keepers but his overall performance yesterday certainly didn’t suggest that.
Perhaps it was the frenetic pace of the Premier League that Bravo has to adjust to. He was constantly harassed in the second half as United looked to put the squeeze on him and the City defence to cut off all the supply lines and it was a tactic that very nearly worked.
You have to imagine that other teams will now look to implement that same tactic when going up against City and Bravo. It’s a style of goalkeeping that is high risk but can also bring high reward as you in effect have another outfield player as an outlet
We pretty much saw the best and worst of Bravo in those first frenetic 90 minutes yesterday, he will be glad he just about cleared that first hurdle and can now acclimitise to life in English Football but you get the feeling that he might not be so lucky throughout the duration of the season. If he plays like that every week then surely he will be caught out on more than one occasion.
It was a chaotic display by Bravo but it certainly wasn’t a dull one, he will no doubt light up the Premier League with his performances but whether or not he grabs the headlines for the right reasons remains to be seen.