Arlo believes Hat's mistakes have been too much of late but expects him to bounce back.

Manuel Pellegrini fails to back Joe Hart after error leads to another loss


Joe Hart may very well have run out of Get Out Of Jail Free cards.

Another high-profile error on the books led to a loss to Chelsea in a massively important matchup.

Following the defeat, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini failed to support his goalkeeper when given the clear opportunity to do so.

“I do it privately with the players,” Pellegrini said when asked about any possible conversation he may have had with Hart about the goal. “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.”

An exasperated Pellegrini admitted his patience is running out.

“We repeat the story. We had absolutely the control of the game. We played very, very well in the second half. We didn’t have any problem with Chelsea but finally in the last minute we lost. We are losing stupid points.”

With Manchester City now in seventh position just two points ahead of rivals Manchester United, the situation is getting dire.

Hart has been at the forefront of City’s struggles.  His errors have cost City points at Aston Villa and Cardiff, as well as against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

As The Guardian points out, Hart made a similar error to Saturday’s mishap against Blackburn three years ago which allowed Nikola Kalinic to score, suggesting he may not be learning from his mistakes.

Will Joe Hart continue in goal for Manchester City? The issue Pellegrini faces is that his only other option is the untested Romanian Costel Pantilimon who has not made a single Premier League appearance since arriving at City in January of 2012.

Pellegrini has already publicly told Hart earlier this season his job is not an assurance.  After the loss to Bayern Munich in which Hart made two key errors en route to a 3-1 defeat, Pellegrini insisted Hart’s position is not a lock and that he has confidence in Pantilimon if needed.

It’s certainly possible that Pellegrini chooses to purchase a more well-known goalkeeper in the January transfer window, giving Hart some competition for the spot – something he has not had since he earned the City job in 2007.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia