Pep Guardiola took everyone by surprise when he decided to bench Claudio Bravo for Wednesday's Premier League game against West Ham United. Manchester City destroyed the Hammers and Willy Caballero kept a clean sheet without having to make a real save and facing just one shot on target throughout the match.
Caballero hasn't conceded a single goal for the third straight game in which he's started, and Bravo has allowed 16 of the last 24 shots he's faced to go in. The stats are clearly in favor of Caballero, and Bravo continues to deal poorly with the pressure of replacing Joe Hart.
At the moment it seems like it's an easy decision to keep Caballero on the team, but he has been City's backup for a long time and it's tough to know if Willy can really be a consistent number one keeper. Plus, Bravo has shown in his career at club and country that he is a quality shot-stopper, and he could turn his fortunes around and win over the hearts of City fans and critics.
The decision to keep Caballero or bring Bravo back is up to Guardiola in the end, and the manager is yet to know who will be the man between the sticks on Sunday's match against Swansea City, but he knows that Bravo will not be affected by a second straight game on the bench:
"He is strong enough. One of the biggest qualities of Claudio is his strong personality. If not, he could not play as the Chile captain winning the Copa America and playing for teams like Barcelona where the pressure is a thousand times higher than here, and playing there without a problem and playing in front with his quality so in those terms I’m not worried about that.
"I talked to him before [the West Ham game] and he understood. I felt that Willy should play. Of course confidence is important. I still have the same confidence in Willy and Bravo but I thought it was time to play with Willy."
So who starts against Swansea, Pep?
"I’ll choose depending on how I see them. Still I didn’t decide [for Sunday]. I am happy because in the big clubs they always have good goalkeepers and I have it and I am going to decide, it depends on what I see."
So you're telling me there's a chance Bravo will play? Oh, boy.