Joe Hart is clearly capable of being absolutely brilliant between the sticks, with the 0-0 draw with Tottenham on the opening day of the 2010/11 Premier League season and the performance against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in the last campaign instantly springing to mind.
However, he is arguably more prone than the majority of goalkeepers regarded to be in the ‘world class’ bracket to making errors. Last season certainly had more lows than highs and things have not started too swimmingly in the current campaign either.
Hart was at fault for James Morrison’s opener in England’s recent win over Scotland and then failed to cover himself in glory in Manchester City’s defeat at Cardiff either, particularly the second goal where he came flapping for a corner and got nowhere near the ball.
From a shot-stopping perspective, few would argue about Hart’s credentials, but he has always looked a little suspect from set pieces.
One of the big problems for Hart is that he has never really been under any competition for his place, which could have allowed complacency to set in.
His understudy Costel Pantilimon stepped in solidly when utilised in the FA Cup last year and he was arguably harshly dropped for Hart in the final, which Man City went on to lose to Wigan.
However, Pantilimon has never really looked like dislodging Hart as the club’s number one and a spell sitting on the substitute’s bench may not do him any harm.
Real Madrid have already shown with Iker Casillas that even the best goalkeepers are not assured of a starting spot.
Regaining his confidence is clearly what Hart needs and reported comments from David Platt that Roberto Mancini would have replaced Hart with Stoke’s Asmir Begovic if he was still in charge, will not help from this perspective.
Neither will a below-strength defence, with Man City already having to call upon midfielder Javi Garcia to play at centre half in just the second game of the season, despite the vast sums being shelled out this summer to boost the club’s attacking riches.
Man City remain 11/5 to win the Premier League despite their hiccup at Cardiff and Manuel Pellegrini now has a decision to make in whether to stick with Hart or try to bring in a new goalkeeper in the final week of the transfer window.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Bet Now. New customers can bet £10 and get £30 in free bets