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Claudio Bravo’s struggles at Man City come to a head at Goodison

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Pep Guardiola‘s attempts to make Manchester City his own have not gone particularly well this season. The players do not seem to fully grasp the full extent of his tactics, and they look not only unable to produce a consistent cutting edge up front but also have been unusually vulnerable to counter-attacks on the other end.

Maybe the most regrettable decision Guardiola has made thus far, however, was made at the very beginning of the season. He sent Joe Hart on loan to Torino and replaced the England #1 with Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Hart has been relatively strong at Torino since settling in Serie A, but what makes the decision so painful for City fans is how poorly Bravo has performed.

Touted as one of the top goalkeepers in the world, the 33-year-old Chilean has been woeful in net for City this season. He is rated the 21st-best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season by Squawka Statistics, but that’s only the start of the ugly numbers.

Bravo has faced 61 shots on target this season, conceding 25 goals, a 59% save rate. It’s been even worse of late, with Bravo allowing 13 goals over City’s last eight Premier League games while facing 23 shots on target, a save rate of just 44%. That includes a 2-1 win over Arsenal where the Gunners scored on their only shot on target, a 1-0 loss to Liverpool where the Reds scored with their only shot on target, a 4-2 loss to Leicester City where the Foxes scored with four of six shots on target, a 3-1 loss to Chelsea where the Blues scored three times with just four shots on target, and finally the most recent calamity against Everton where the Toffees scored four goals on four shots on target, including 18-year-old Tom Davies who chipped Bravo after coming off his line, and 19-year-old Ademola Lookman who sent it through Bravo’s legs for Everton’s fourth.

Bravo has kept just four clean sheets this season, a far cry from the 12 kept by Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois or the eight for Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, although that statistic has just as much to do with the back line as it does with Bravo.

Meanwhile, Hart has kept five clean sheets with Torino over in the Italian top flight, and is rated the seventh-best goalkeeper in Serie A by Squawka’s performance score, one place behind Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon. Torino has conceded 28 goals, eighth-best in Serie A.

Back in early January, Guardiola backed Bravo, saying, “He has to adapt but all the goalkeepers, central defenders, full-backs and strikers do. I know people are focused on Claudio but why does Claudio need to adapt and others don’t?”

It’s becoming harder and harder.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.