England’s World Cup goalkeeper Joe Hart appears to be in grave danger of losing his place as Manchester City’s No. 1 after Manuel Pellegrini revealed he will assess his options following Chelsea’s 2-1 victory on Sunday.
Hart made an inexplicable dash from his line to cost City a point—not for the first time this season—as Fernando Torres tapped home a last-minute winner for Chelsea.
Pellegrini was asked for his thoughts on the goal afterwards, but chose neither to defend nor attack Hart despite his obvious frustration. Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail provides the quotes:
From tomorrow, we are going to see the best way to arrange things.
What do I think about the goal? I won't talk about it. What do I think about my goalkeeper's performance? I repeat, the analysis I do with individual players I do with the players.
How is the confidence? You must ask him how his confidence is. I talk just internally with the players.
We are losing stupid points. In our three away defeats, we’ve had the important responsibility for the goals the other team scored.
Pellegrini’s revelation that he will look at the “best way to arrange things” is a worrying sign for Hart. The England keeper has been at fault in three away defeats this season and is in danger of losing his spot to Costel Pantilimon.
Prior to his moment of madness at Stamford Bridge, which saw Hart cause a mix-up with Matija Nastasic, the City keeper had also misjudged a rush from his goal in a 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa.
Earlier in the season, Hart was weak under the high ball against Cardiff—another game City threw away—and Pellegrini’s men now sit six points behind leaders Arsenal.
The biggest problem for Hart is that his teammates are largely performing well, only to be undone by his erratic form.
Sergio Aguero was magnificent as he led their fightback against Chelsea, while the likes of David Silva and Yaya Toure are pulling strings in midfield.
City’s defence clearly lacks the leadership of the injured Vincent Kompany, while Gael Clichy is not always the most reliable when it comes to protecting his own flank, as shown by the ease with which Torres raced past him for Chelsea’s opener.
However, they would arguably be five points better off this season had it not been for Hart’s mistakes, which have also filtered into Europe. Twice he was beaten at his near post in a 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich.
Wojciech Szczesny benefitted from being dropped by Arsene Wenger when he entered a spell of poor form last term, revealing recently that the period on the bench made him a better keeper, per Massimo Marioni of Metro.
Now appears the time for Pellegrini to do the same with Hart, who is only going to feel more pressure as the World Cup draws closer.
He is still capable of outstanding saves, like the one that earned them victory over CSKA Moscow last week, but domestically his form can barely get worse.