The Szczesny treatment could be the best tonic for England and Manchester City


Joe Hart's situation at Manchester City is much like that of Wojciech Szczesny of Arsenal last season - perhaps it will have the same outcome.

At the moment there is no doubt which player is causing the most debate between me and my friends, one player for whom questions always come in my direction, for which my opinion is sought.

Maraoune Chamakh - of course I am joking, the player in question is Joe Hart.

The Manchester City and England goalkeeper was dropped at the weekend after his mistake cost City at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea - and after Costel Pantilimon had put in a stellar display in the League Cup.

Now, with the giant Romanian keeping goal at The Etihad, opinion is mixed on whether City have made the right call.

They have.

Hart is a very talented goalkeeper, and the year they won the Premier League perhaps had a case to say he was the best in the world.

But this is not a sudden and dramatic dip in form - the decision to drop Hart is long overdue.

He was poor last season, and that has continued into the new term with everything from his distribution to his shot stopping lowering in quality - most likely from a lack of competition.

Dropping him just makes perfect sense, and hopefully he will come back stronger because of it.

The parallels with Wojciech Szczesny are obvious to most of us. Last season the Polish goalkeeper found himself out of touch - at which point he was replaced by his countryman Lukasz Fabianski.

His dip in form, like Hart’s, was on all aspects of his game over a sustained period of time - and also seemed to be born out of an over-confidence bordering on arrogance, a trait the two share.

There is nothing wrong with that, but performances must back up your attitude.

The decision for Arsene Wenger was an easy one - and has now paid dividends.

Szczesny is arguably in the best form of his career and recently signed a new contract - worth a whopping £100k-a-week.

The decision to drop Hart could spell the end of his City career - of that there is no doubt. Just look at Iker Casillas at Real Madrid for proof of how hard it can be to regain a first-team spot if you are a goalkeeper.

For the nation, the ‘Szczesny treatment’ could be seen as bad, or good news.

Personally I think it is great news.

At the moment Hart is still probably our most talented all-round keeper. John Ruddy is not ready, Ben Foster is injury-prone, Fraser Forster probably just behind him in regards overall quality.

We do not have the luxury of Belgium - with Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet; or Germany - with Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Rene Adler, Roman Wiedenfeller etc or Spain - with Pepe Reina, David De Gea, Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes, Diego Lopez and so on and so on.

Our list is much more retained, so in the long and short of it, Hart will remain our number one.

But in this current form, we probably don’t want him to be - we shouldn’t anyway.

Getting dropped makes it clear that he is not indestructible, that he is not undisputed, that he is not invincible. Szczesny needed that, and you can see it has worked with his displays and attitude this season improving exponentially.

For England and City this is the best option. We all know Pantilimon is not a world-class goalkeeper - and he will soon make a mistake, that you can be sure of.

Hart will then come back, mentally checked, and hopefully back to his best.

All thanks to a play from Arsene Wenger’s little black book we could have the old Joe Hart back - not the imposter we have been watching for the past 18 months.

image: © wonker

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