Claudio Bravo

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Bravo fit again, but will he start Chile’s Confed Cup group finale?

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MOSCOW (AP) Claudio Bravo is fit again and could start in goal against Australia at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said Saturday.

Bravo – who is Chile’s joint most-capped player with Alexis Sanchez – hasn’t played since April 27, when he injured his calf for Manchester City in a derby game with Manchester United.

“Claudio is fit, he’s managed to train the last couple of days just like his other teammates,” Pizzi said. “He’s ready and available to play.”

Pizzi brushed off concerns about a lack of match fitness, saying that “quite obviously we take into account that factor” but players like Bravo are “are of such good quality that it isn’t that important they haven’t played in the last couple of months.”

Stand-in Johnny Herrera played in Chile’s 2-0 group stage win over Cameroon and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.

Gary Medel was substituted with a minor injury while playing in defense for Chile against Germany. Teammate Francisco Silva said Saturday that Medel had complained of “a very small muscle contraction issue” but was now fit.

Pizzi said he will aim to tire out Australia with Chile’s trademark all-action style, even though his team struggled for energy in the latter stages against Germany.

“This energy drop we had in the second half didn’t damage us too much because the opposing team couldn’t maintain a high pace because of the demands we’d imposed on them,” Pizzi said of the Germany game.

“We’re going to try to get (the Australians) tired as well and use this to beat our opponent, and we hope this is going to translate into goals.”

Benfica keeper Ederson joins Man City for world-record fee

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Manchester City has been busy early on this summer, and Pep Guardiola appears to have retrieved the goalkeeper he has wanted for the foreseeable future.

[ MORE: Diego Costa says he has “to find a way out” of Chelsea ]

The four-time Premier League champions announced on Thursday the club has signed Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Portuguese champions Benfica.

The transfer fee is reportedly valued at over $45 million after City acquired the 23-year-old on a six-year contract.

Ederson is expected to be Guardiola’s goalkeeper of choice heading into next season after 2016 signing Claudio Bravo underwhelmed in his first season at the Etihad Stadium.

Meanwhile, Guardiola is short on other goalkeeping options after City recently released Willy Caballero and the status of Joe Hart remains uncertain.

The Citizens have already gone out and signed Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva from Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco ahead of the 2017/18 season.

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Guardiola: Man City suffers from inconsistency; Bravo out for season

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The calf injury that sidelined Claudio Bravo during the Manchester Derby will keep the Chilean off the field for the remainder of the Premier League season.

It’s been a rocky PL debut season for Pep Guardiola‘s handpicked goalkeeper, in some ways mirroring his manager’s run in the league.

While Man City is in strong position to qualify for another season in the UEFA Champions League, the blue side of Manchester will fall short in their goals of a Premier League title.

[ MORE: Messi suspension lifted ]

Perhaps that was too much to expect given Guardiola’s system’s first real run through England (and Wales), but with Antonio Conte‘s success comes a harsher curve. From the BBC:

“I thought home games would be easier than away. We will try to keep our away record and improve our home record next season.

“The team was more inconsistent than consistent this season. That’s why we suffered. I realize how they play here and I have to adapt.”

City will a more consistent side with a full year of Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus, as well as another summer of recruitment. Any doubts City will take another step in Guardiola’s second season? Lay them below.

Man City hosts Crystal Palace at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday. The full schedule is here.

Premier League Preview: The Manchester Derby

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  • City won 2-1 in PL on Sept. 10
  • United won 1-0 in EFL Cup on Oct. 26
  • First Mourinho-Pep match at the Etihad
  • United leads all-time 71W-51D-50L

Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola get a tactical rubber match with plenty on the line when Manchester United and Manchester City meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

There will be no Paul Pogba nor Zlatan Ibrahimovic for United, while Gabriel Jesus is set to return for City.

Fourth-place City enters the day one point ahead of United, and both trail Liverpool but have played two less matches.

In case you’ve forgotten, here are the other two meetings between Guardiola and Mourinho this season:

  • Iheanacho, De Bruyne lead City’s 2-1 win in September. Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it interesting by pulling back a goal, but Pep Guardiola’s bunch fired the first shots of the season’s derbies with a win at Old Trafford.
  • It was the same venue six weeks later, when Juan Mata‘s 54th minute goal was the only marker as United knocked Manchester City out en route to its EFL Cup title.

Ander Herrera calls Thursday’s battle the “game of the season.” Here’s what other participants have on their minds.

What they’re saying

United boss Mourinho on finishing above City: “If we finish fifth and they finish sixth, we are above them, and it means nothing. But if they finish third and we finish fourth, they are above us but it means a lot.”

City keeper Claudio Bravo on Guardiola’s City: “Our team plays differently to the rest of the teams, but at the same time it’s not easy. We are still in a stage of construction, keep improving and keep growing day by day. I think all the experiences we have got this season are going to help us a lot to grow in the future and get closer to trophies”

Prediction

United is without two of the most influential players in the world, and on the road. Those obstacles are a lot to overcome, and United will have to overload the midfield — maybe with both Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick — and use a classic Mourinho parking of the bus to get a result. But Marcus Rashford can be a menace on the counter, and just may find his way past Bravo. City 2-1.

Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Swansea City (Lineups & Live Stream)

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With Liverpool and Arsenal slipping on Saturday, Manchester City has a chance to capitalize on their mistakes and jump into third place with a win on Sunday. Unfortunately, they’ll have to do so against one of the hotter Premier League teams not named Chelsea as they host Swansea City at the Etihad at 8:30 a.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

[ WATCH LIVE: Manchester City vs. Swansea City live online at NBCSports.com ]

The Swans have won three of their last four league games and have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone, revived under Paul Clement. Despite the good form, there’s some pressure on today, with Swansea knowing two of the three teams below them won the day before.

With his new signing coming out swinging, Man City boss Pep Guardiola has selected Gabriel Jesus ahead of Sergio Aguero up front for the second straight match. In addition, Guardiola has left struggling goalkeeper Claudio Bravo on the bench, starting Willy Caballero for the second straight game.

Fernandinho returns to the starting lineup for the first time since his straight red card over a month ago, while Vincent Kompany is left on the bench yet again as he struggles through an injury-plagued campaign.

Swansea City is unchanged from its win last time out over Southampton, the third consecutive match Clement has decided against any changes. He could eventually be forced into a move, with captain Leon Britton back on the bench after finding himself injured on New Year’s Eve.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Caballero; Stones, Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure; Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane; Jesus.
Subs: Bravo, Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernando, Delph, Navas, Aguero.

Swansea City: Fabianski; Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson; Carroll, Cork, Fer; Routledge, Sigurdsson, Llorente.
Subs: Nordfeldt, Kingsley, Amat, Britton, Narsingh, Dyer, Borja.