In Depth

Claudio Bravo: The stats that damn City's 'false number one'

Guardiola's goalie may have a reputation for fancy footwork but his poor save success rate is making Man City suffer

Claudio Bravo has endured a difficult season since replacing Joe Hart between the sticks at the Etihad. The Manchester City goalkeeper will be under even more pressure this weekend for the visit of Spurs as the statistics mount up against him.

Bravo was bought by City because of his ability with the ball at his feet, a key attribute for coach Pep Guardiola. There is growing concern, however, that his footballing skills are largely irrelevant as City continue to leak goals – conceding four against Everton last week.

He is "a goalkeeper whose supposed competence with the ball at his feet does not in any way compensate for how little he gets his hands to it", said Oliver Kay of The Times earlier in the week.

According to Chris Bevan of BBC Sport, Bravo is "a shot-stopper who does not stop shots" and the stats back that up.

According to Opta's "expected goals" system, which evaluates the quality of each shot on target, City should have conceded 16 goals this season.

Unfortunately for the Chilean goalkeeper, he has been beaten 23 times and that does "not paint a pretty picture for Bravo", says Sam Lee of Goal.com. "Bravo has conceded seven more goals than expected, based on the quality of the chance."

Things have been getting even worse for the former Barcelona keeper. In City's past eight games he has conceded 14 goals from 22 shots on target, and in four of those matches City's opponents have scored with their first chance of the match.

Bravo's stats put him in the lower echelons of Premier League keepers. It's doubtful that many fans will be won over by the fact that his pass accuracy rate is an impressive 71 per cent.

To rub salt into the wound Joe Hart, who was exiled to Torino in Italy, has been having a much better time of it, reports the BBC. He and Bravo have played exactly the same number of minutes and have conceded the same number of goals so far this season. 

But what is telling is that Hart has faced 24 more shots than Bravo and that, according to Opta, the Italian side should have conceded more goals. Hart is in credit, while Bravo is in debt.

The scrutiny Bravo faces this weekend will only be heightened by the fact that his opposite number at Spurs, Hugo Lloris, is at the top of his game.

Lloris has faced 51 shots and conceded 13 goals this season, although Spurs should, according to Opta, have conceded 16 goals, meaning that Lloris has been an asset to his team. To make matters even worse he also has a better pass completion rate than the supposedly sure-footed Bravo.

But possibly more damning than any stats was the withering put-down from Ian Wright in The Sun this week, who ridiculed both Bravo and his coach with one pithy comment.

"Pep Guardiola is the manager credited with introducing the false number nine to modern football," he wrote, in reference to the position he created for Lionel Messi. "Well, in my opinion, they can add another to that list – as the man who brought in the false number one."

That appears to be a nickname that will stick.

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?
Football’s Fifa World Cup and rugby union’s Webb Ellis Cup trophies
Pros and cons

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs
Pin badges showing face of Cristiano Ronaldo
Expert’s view

The Ronaldo effect: what big players mean for the finances of major football clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming
Ronaldo
In Brief

Cristiano Ronaldo’s second coming

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner