Hart's acrobatics are no joke for a 6'5" man.
Joe Hart is the best keeper in England.
Right, the slideshow title tells you there are five things he needs to improve. That is true, but then there are probably five things LeBron James, Miguel Cabrera and Robert Griffin III could improve on if you asked them to.
Look around the Premier League and tell me I am wrong. You want Petr Cech instead? OK. Other than perhaps Chelsea, who has a better goalkeeping situation than Manchester City? David de Gea is all right, but he is a notch below.
After that, it's a whole lot of Tim Howards and Pepe Reinas and Wojciech Szczesnys. They're all fine players, but City would not trade Hart for any of them.
So straight up you need to know that this piece is, to me, an endeavor to pick out flaws in one of the essentially flawless diamonds currently housed in the Tower of London.
Off we go then.
Hart's shot-stopping is pretty well beyond reproach, but his field generalship could use some work.
Manchester City ceded the fewest goals in the Premier League last season. Their back line is elite, but Hart deserves as much credit as anyone for the stingy nature of City's defense.
Despite that, City had terrible problems defending set pieces last season.
Quite a lot of the blame for that problem falls at the feet of the now-deposed Roberto Mancini, who seemed to flip-flop between zonal marking and man marking based on whims.
When one of your veteran defenders is quoted by ESPNFC.com's Richard Jolly as saying "We mark from zone to zone and nobody knows who needs to mark the player. We need to improve on this," well, that's damning.
But Mancini was not the one on the pitch aligning the millions of pounds worth of talent in front of him. Hart was.
And on a few notable occasions, Hart's deployment of his field players was woefully lacking.
Blaming set piece defense on whoever the manager is only goes so far. The keeper is ultimately responsible on these plays.
Hart needs to do better in the moments before the ball is played from opposing set pieces if City want to thrive in the coming season.
Perfection is a hard standard to meet, but Hart has little choice.
As I have said, Joe Hart is by and large a very solid keeper. But when he screws up, he leaves little doubt.
When a few softies get by Hart, or when his positioning lets him down, questions about what is wrong with him fall like dark winter rain in Manchester, which probably does not help matters.
City fans might have felt that Hart's iffy start to last season (which included three goals conceded both at Norwich City and at home to Manchester United) was finally behind him after Hart posted four consecutive clean sheets in the month of January.
That confidence eroded after City's thrilling, costly 2-2 February draw with Liverpool at the Etihad. Granted, the strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard were exceptional, but Hart failed to get close to either one of them.
And then the dam broke.
Steven Davis quickly capitalized on Hart's error, and City was thereafter never really competitive in a 3-1 defeat that seemed to finally doom City's Premier League title defense.
The Southampton debacle reminded City's fans that when Hart is at his best, few are better. Hart's mistakes though, such as the one he made in England's November friendly with Sweden, are often horrific.
Hart will need to play every minute at premium sharpness for City to achieve its goals in the coming season.
Hart could make things easier on himself by starting in the right place, in the first place.
I mentioned earlier how Hart's positioning of his wall prior to Robin van Persie's game-winner in the first derby last season was lacking.
Perhaps worse than that was Hart's positioning of himself.
The way that wall was set, the only daylight van Persie had to shoot for was over Hart's right shoulder. Furthermore, van Persie was approaching the ball with his left foot from Hart's left. The only likely shot from that position was to the far corner.
Which, of course, is exactly where van Persie put it on its way past Hart and into the net.
There were other times where Hart put himself in a position, literally, to fail rather than to succeed.
As described by Richard Farley of NBCSports.com, City lost disgracefully to woeful Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last December largely because Hart either misjudged or misplayed a mediocre Adam Johnson strike into a winner for the Black Cats.
The apologist in me wants to say that Hart lets these things happen to him because in his mind, he is so athletic that his positioning is not the difference between a goal and a save.
But if better positioning will make all of the tough saves easier, Hart needs to address it as soon as he can.
Maybe it is not surprising that someone as tall as Hart has trouble with the ball at his feet.
Candidly I wondered the past couple of seasons whether I was the only one to notice how shaky Hart can be with back passes and in other situations where he cannot use his hands.
Recently Martin Keown of The Daily Mail took on this very topic. Writing about Hart's play in England's June friendly with Brazil, Keown noted: "It was interesting to see how often we passed the ball back to Joe Hart in the first half...his kicking has to be better."
Keown's concern was that skilled teams could take advantage of Hart's occasional clumsiness with the ball at his feet to poach a cheap goal. "...Good teams will watch that and know that if they press England hard then they will play the ball back and ultimately lose possession," Keown fretted.
This is no less true for all of Hart's matches as the last man for Manchester City.
Granted, there is nothing Hart can do about being 6'5". He is never going to be as adroit with the ball outside his area as someone with a lower center of gravity.
We are looking for areas to improve, though, so this is a pretty good one to address.
Hart needs to ask for a breather now and then, even if he worries how some will view him for doing so.
I wrote at length about Joe Hart's workload last season. Remarkably, that piece reads as accurately now as it did then.
Roberto Mancini managed every Premier League game like it might be his last. His squad rotation was timid; if not for Africa Cup of Nations duty, Yaya Toure might never have missed a match.
But no one took the beatings more often or more heavily than Hart.
The sad thing is that some of the matches Manuel Pellegrini might have considered using to rest Hart—at Cardiff City, home to Hull City—are the second and third matches of the coming season. So Hart is sure to play them both.
At some point, though, with City playing in the Premier League and in the FA Cup and in the Champions League and in the Capital One Cup, well, Pellegrini is going to need to chance a match here or there with someone other than Hart.
That process, though, should start with Hart himself. Macho pride aside, Hart will do City little good wearing himself into a nub through another 50-match season.
If he needs a break, he needs to be willing to ask for it.