Bravo Claudio

on Monday, 05 December 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

I wonder when Pep Guardiola is gong to realise he made a dreadful mistake when he signed Claudio Bravo? We know Guardiola is a stubborn man. We know also that he has an unshakable belief in what he does, but he dropped a b*****k when he signed Bravo. He simply isn't good enough to keep goal for a team with City's ambitions.

You see, that's the key for me - 'keep goal'. Isn't that a 'goalkeepers' primary function? I can't remember another keeper ever because being signed because 'he's good with his feet'. I haven't seen much evidence that Bravo is, but that's another matter.

What I have seen is one blunder after another. I've seen an 'ordinary' goalkeeper not as good as the man he replaced.

I know I've previously said that it was no surprise to me that Guardiola wanted Joe Hart out. So did Mancini and I don't believe Pellegrini was ever that convinced Hart either.

He was a big presence in the dressing room and that's why I believe Guardiola had made his mind up to move him out even before he got to the club. He'd had that problem before, with Messi, and he wasn't about to let it happen again.

But to replace him with Bravo? I just don't understand.

Bravo announced himself to City fans by gift wrapping a present for Ibra in the derby. He's gone on to make one error after another and if we're honest, he was hopeless again at the weekend. What exactly was he trying to do as Willian scored Chelsea's 2nd?

In stark contrast I watched David de Gea rescue a point for United at Goodison - at least that's how it turned out. At 1-0 down he pulled off a stunning save from Kevin Mirallas - ironically with his feet! Baines pen meant United had to settle for a point, so that save became even more important.

For two seasons now de Gea has been United's best player. He 'saves' them time and again. Is he as good as Bravo with his feet? I've no idea, but I don't believe United have suffered too much if he isn't.

Do you remember Brian Clough signing Peter Shilton when he was at Forest and immediately announcing that the England keeper would be worth 10 points a season to them?  He was.

I can't remember a team ever winning anything without a top keeper. Schemeichel - did he play 'because he was good with his feet'? His son isn't bad either. Cech. Seaman. Flowers. Courtois. Van de Sar. Lehmann. These are a selection of top keepers. What do they have in common?   Of course, they all won P Lge title medals.

If a defence doesn't feel confident about the man behind them they're going to make mistakes. They're going to constantly feel on edge.

I've mentioned before that Guardiola is proud of the defensive records he had at both at Barca and Bayern. When he won his third Spanish title with Barca his team conceded just 21 goals in 38 matches - a rate of 0.55 goals per game. At Bayern he set a club and Bundesliga record 17 goals in 34 games. Of course he did - Neuer is a magnificent keeper, which helped - but if you've got the football for as long as Bayern and Barca always had it - against largely ordinary opposition - you won't concede goals. That's not rocket science is it? Our Premier Leagie is different. There are no easy games and there are more challengers for the big prizes.

Guardiola is a Cruyff disciple. He too believed in a 'keeper being able to 'play'. Jan Jongbloed could do that, but he couldn't keep goal. As a player Cruyff held tremendous sway in the Dutch dressing room and always insisted on Jongbloed playing during that glorious era for the Dutch in the 70's.  I'm not saying he lost them big games on his own, but he didn't 'win' many of them.

Bravo Claudio for having a go, but I don't believe City will look secure again until they change the keeper.

Well done Alan Pardew - what a relief for Palace fans that their team at last won at the weekend. I was pleased doe David Moyes and Sunderland as well. They're on a tidy run now.

Keep your eyes on Watford. I'm not convinced they can sustain their early season good fortune. There's always one team that drops like a stone. They're my pick this season.

As for West Ham - well - I'm not getting as much stick from Hammers' fans as I did a year ago. Maybe I was just one season out when I said they should 'be careful what they wished for' post Big Sam?

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