It’s a big decision for the boss because it’s City’s last chance to win anything in what has been an otherwise very frustrating season.
So far in the competition he has shown a lot of faith to Pantilimon who hasn’t done a lot wrong as the club has secured its place in yet another FA Cup final, which means a chance to put another trophy in the cabinet.
It’s that consistency that Pantilimon has shown throughout this FA Cup run, which is probably the reason he will get the nod over anything else, because the boss does owe that debt of loyalty to him.
However, this is no meagre match, it’s the FA Cup final, quite possibly the biggest domestic cup final in world football.
The occasion of playing at Wembley and the pressure that goes along with that could easily intimidate 26-year-old Pantilimon and that’s exactly what Mancini does not need going into the game.
Yes, he did play in the semi-final at Wembley and performed admirably but this is a completely different form of pressure because of the fact it’s the final.
City’s semi-final against Chelsea was clearly a potentially more difficult game but on a sub-conscious level Pantilimon will have in the back of his mind, ‘this is the final’, and that’s something which could affect him.
Joe Hart is the club’s number one and it’s for that reason he deserves to be considered for a game of this size and importance.
Hart has played under all sorts of pressure in various competitions this season and he will not choke.
Granted, he’s made some mistakes but then so has David De Gea of Manchester United and he’s been named goalkeeper of the season. Those mistakes should make Hart all the more determined to set the record straight.
It’s a fine one to balance for Mancini because either way he is going to let someone down and annoy them, which could have a negative effect on the rest of the squad.
If he snubs Pantilimon then a lot of people are going to say that’s very unfair and they will point to his record in the competition this season.
If he snubs Hart then he could have a bigger problem, similar to the supposed effect of Sir Alex Ferguson leaving Wayne Rooney out of that Champions League clash against Real Madrid.
His decision could also come down to who he sees as better in a penalty shoot out situation but even then there isn’t really any reason to drop Pantilimon, who is arguably harder to beat in a shoot out situation due to his size.
Who would you go with?
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