Manuel Pellegrini dropped the England number 1 after a mistake that cost his team 3 points against Chelsea the previous weekend – he was replaced by Costel Pantilimon who has now kept two clean sheets in a row.
Whilst Hart’s mistake against Chelsea was a poor mistake, a misjudgment and one that cost them dear, I do feel there has been a massive over-reaction to the mistake – and certainly a reactionary backlash that is unwarranted and unnecessary.
The 26-year-old has been the best keeper in the country for two or three years now and certainly one of finest on the continent too and he is still relatively young for a stopper at a top-level title-challenging club.
Last season Hart kept no less than 18 clean sheets for City in 38 appearances in the Premier League and 6 clean sheets for England at international level.
Last season City conceded fewer goals than any other team in the Premier League (including United) letting in just 34 goals and Hart’s form was a big part of that. The previous season in 2011/12 when City won the title, Hart played a huge part in that too and whatever success City achieve this season you can bet your bottom dollar Joe Hart will have a massive influence.
No one will have been more disappointed in that Fernando Torres goal conceded in the 90th minute against a direct title rival than Joe Hart himself – you could see him giving himself a hard time immediately after it happened.
Mistakes happen in football but the pressure and scrutiny on a goalkeeper is more intense than any other position in the team because when they make mistakes, they tend to cost goals, games, and points.
Much the same happened to Arsenal’s youngster Wojceich Szczesny who is still only 23 years of age and made a couple of decisive errors last season and was subsequently dropped by Arsene Wenger for a good run of games.
The Pole has come back in to the Gunners line up at the back end of last term and so far this season has been one of the best stoppers in the league – some of the saves he has pulled out have been match-winners for the league leaders.
Bad judgment comes from inexperience and experience comes from bad judgment – Joe Hart, just like his junior Szczesny at Arsenal, will learn from this experience and he will come back stronger, work harder to win back Pellegrini’s trust with City and Roy Hodgson’s trust for England ahead of the World Cup next summer. He’s 26, he made a mistake, he’s been dropped and he’ll work his way back into the team in no time. The reaction to one mistake has been way over the top and over-reactionary. Joe Hart is a top top goalkeeper, number one for club and country. Like the terminator, he’ll be back.
image: © illarterate