Claudio Bravo

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Bravo suffers Achilles tendon tear; Could miss season

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It’s not quite like losing Kevin De Bruyne, but Manchester City has lost another component to a significant injury.

This one could be season-ending, as second-string shot stopper Claudio Bravo ruptured his achilles tendon in training on Monday.

[ MORE: Liverpool tops Palace ]

Bravo tweeted that “life will go on” regardless of the injury, but City has a headache in terms of what it may ask of first choice keeper Ederson.

City sold goalkeepers Angus Gunn to Southampton and Joe Hart to Burnley this summer, and sent Arijanet Muric on loan to NAC Breda. Twenty-year-old Daniel Grimshaw signed a new deal with Man City this summer.

Who’s on the free agent wire? It’s a thin herd, with former Liverpool and Fluminese backstop Diego Cavalieri and twice-capped Argentina goalkeeper Oscar Ustari on the list (Ustari has not played since a serious leg injury for Atlas in November).

Man City wins fifth Community Shield

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Sergio Aguero’s 200th and 201st Manchester City goals helped the club to its fifth Community Shield with a 2-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Both sides were missing key pieces, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne amongst several stars outside the starting lineups.

Manchester City now turns its attention to Sunday’s Premier League opener at Arsenal, while Chelsea opens their league slate on Saturday at Huddersfield Town.

[ MORE: 2018-19 Premier League previews]

Man City was in control in the early throes, and that led to an early goal.

Given time to settle and line up his left peg, the Argentine took a feed off of Phil Foden‘s long dribble and struck across goal to give City its advantage.

But Chelsea would respond, albeit with chances that usually had Claudio Bravo fairly comfortable in his collection of the ball.

Bravo’s misjudgment of a long ball into the box — it bounded over his head — led to a fairly hilarious but ultimately non-threatening moment near the end line.

Aguero danced around Caballero before smashing into the side netting in the 50th minute. He doesn’t miss many of those.

City doubled its advantage when John Stones terrific break-up atop his 18 sprung a lethal counter attack completed by Bernardo Silva slipping Aguero through, again, on Caballero.

The match threatened to crawl to the finish, apart from a late Ross Barkley cross which caused trouble for City’s back line before going out for a corner kick.

Pep: Hart’s future uncertain, will play in preseason

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Joe Hart has returned to Manchester City after spending last season on loan at West Ham, and his future is very much up in the air as it stands.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was asked about Hart’s situation at the pre-match press conference prior to City’s International Champions Cup match against Borussia Dortmund. He confirmed they are shopping the English veteran. “We’re going to try and make a solution for Joe,” Guardiola told reporters, “but if not then he is with us. He’s one of the best professionals I’ve ever seen but at this moment he is with us.”

Guardiola also confirmed that Hart would play in the preseason game against Dortmund. Starting goalkeeper Ederson is not on the roster for the US preseason tour, having returned from participation in the 2018 World Cup with Brazil, although he didn’t play as he served as Alisson’s backup.

The former #1 England goalkeeper, Hart has struggled mightily in recent seasons. He last played a full Premier League season back in 2015/16, starting 35 games for Manchester City. However, he lost his place the following year and was loaned to Italian top flight club Torino. He had mixed success during his one year in Italy and was loaned out to West Ham last campaign with Ederson and Claudio Bravo entrenched at his parent club. Hart only made it half the season before losing his starting spot for the Hammers, replaced by Adrian. That saw him lose not just starting job with the England national team but his place in the squad, forcing Gareth Southgate to take a trio of inexperienced goalkeepers to the World Cup, leading to the emergence of Jordan Pickford.

West Ham returned Hart to Manchester City at the end of the season, and here he sits in limbo again. Hart has just one more year left on his contract, but according to the Manchester Evening News, wants to leave this season on a permanent deal anyway.

Tomorrow, Hart will get the opportunity – albeit a small one – to showcase himself to potential suitors. If he gets another chance to play in the ICC (Manchester City plays Liverpool and Bayern Munich before heading home to England), he will have another opportunity to plead his case.

Alexis Sanchez says he “expected better” from himself at Manchester United

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Alexis Sanchez isn’t happy with his performance so far at Manchester United.

The Chilean superstar has scored just one goal for the Red Devils in 10 appearances since joining from Arsenal, and the club has lost three of those games and has been knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla.

Speaking with Chilean media on national team duty in Sweden, Sanchez said he expects more of himself and that he’s so far let himself down. “As I am self-demanding, I expected something better,” Sanchez said. “After my arrival at United, it was hard to change everything very quickly. I even hesitated to come here [to join the national team].”

Chile missed out on World Cup qualification, and has friendlies with Sweden and Denmark scheduled over the next week. With so little at stake, Sanchez was poised to take time off from the national team, but says he was convinced by Manchester City goalkeeper and Chilean captain Claudio Bravo to stick it out.

“The change of club was something that was very abrupt – it was the first time I’ve changed clubs in January – but many things have happened in my life that are difficult,” Sanchez said. “I had asked permission to miss these games, but then I thought better and spoke with Claudio and told him that we should all be united.”

Once the international break is over, Manchester United resumes Premier League play against Swansea at the end of March before an April 7th derby meeting with Manchester City.

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

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And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.