Joe Hart has been in superb form over the last few matches for Manchester City since he came out and criticised himself and his side following the 3-2 away defeat at Real Madrid in the Champions League. How has he turned his form around?
It was obvious that following the Real Madrid loss, Hart was devastated and clearly thought that he could do much better between the posts for his side. His performance against Borussia Dortmund was one of the finest exhibitions of goalkeeping from an Englishman in living memory. He kept City in that game and looked doubly determined to turn things around.
Hart is a talented goalkeeper and he is blessed with natural skill when it comes to his all round game. It is possible that his performance away at Real Madrid was just a blip and his recent performances have shown that he is going to perform brilliantly in nine out of ten cases. Natural skill is an extreme asset of Hart, he reads the game well, he anticipates well and he moves well.
Hart has always been a very vocal ‘keeper between the goal posts. He has played a big role in Manchester City’s last couple of games in terms of keeping the defence on the edge of the box and making sure that they don’t drop too deep. By doing this he has more time to react if the ball is played in behind and if he is left one on one against the opposition striker. Hart is far too good a player to need his defence to drop on top of him.
This is similar to natural skill but Hart has been remarkably consistent when it comes to the basics of goalkeeping. He doesn’t fumble the ball, he punches well and he catches well. These skills have allowed him to come off his line and claim the ball which takes a lot of pressure away from the City defence. He did this well in the home win against Sunderland and it means City can start to counter attack almost immediately after the ball because his distribution is so good.
Hart has admitted in the past that he is always learning and always looking to improve his game. He seems to take something from the last game into his next game so if he makes a mistake in the match before, he will have that angle covered for if a similar incident pops up in the next game. This allows him to almost refine his game to the point where he has all of the bases covered and won’t make any mistakes.
Conclusion: Hart is going to be the Manchester City number one and England number one for many years to come. There are few goalkeepers around Europe and the world at the moment who have a better all round game.