Claudio Bravo has had a dreadful season. It is no secret to anyone that he has let in some soft goals. However, Pep Guardiola would not have wasted money on a bad goalkeeper. No manager would intentionally do so. Sometimes a transfer just does not work out.
From the off, Bravo had an uphill battle to be accepted by the City fans. Bravo had to come in and try to replace a City hero in the form of Joe Hart. Hart was a player many supporters did not want to go. Pep, however, did not think Joe fit his system and he was loaned.
From the very second he stepped foot on the pitch, Bravo was compared to Joe Hart, whether it was fair or not. This kind of pressure is tough for anyone to deal with unless you are Mario Balotelli from the penalty spot.
Whenever a shot went in against Bravo, the phrase “Hart would have saved that” would always be uttered. Try to think how Bravo must feel because City fans never accepted him.
Confidence is arguably the most important factor in a footballer’s performance. A dip in confidence can lead to a player overthinking every small action of their game, which leads to mistakes. Everyone saw this with Kevin De Bruyne in several games this season, with him unable to complete even the simplest of passes.
Bravo also apparently suffered from confidence issues. Many shots he conceded were in an area where a save could have been made. Not many players start for Barcelona, over Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as well, if you are a bad goalkeeper.
The Chileans track record proves he has the ability to perform at a top level. Anyone watching Barcelona during his tenure knows he is capable of excellent play. His performances for his national team in the Copa America bordered brilliant at times.
Many would go further to argue that several goals conceded by Bravo were just the result of well-placed shots. Sometimes in football luck is not on your side. Since he had struggled though, City fans just heaped more pressure on Bravo – further damaging his confidence.
One area where Bravo is undoubtedly better than Hart is with the ball at his feet. It took a game or two but it got to the point where a ball passed back to Bravo did not leave anyone worried in the slightest.
It is truly delightful to see a keeper send a defender the wrong way, or see him chip a ball to himself over a defender’s head. These are all things Bravo has done this season.
Only the most enthusiastic Bravo detractor would try and argue his build-up play is bad. The perfect example of what Bravo can offer to this team is the goal against Hull. Every City player touches the ball including Bravo who beats the press with a ball out to the left. It is this quality that Pep Guardiola loves and is essential to our new style of play.
Footballers like to complain or even dig at their own supporters. For all of the criticism and pressure heaped onto Bravo, not once has he whined or blamed the fans.
Bravo should be given a second chance. City fans should support him and keep sarcastic cheering out of the stadium. Bravo’s past track record shows a good ‘keeper is in there, and few in world football rival his build-up play. If he were to struggle next season then yes, it’s probably best for all parties to go separate ways. For the upcoming season, just give the man a chance to prove his worth.