After a string of errors made by Manchester City first choice goalkeeper Joe Hart, Manuel Pellegrini has elected to drop him to the bench for Saturday’s match against Norwich. Although the City boss refused, in his Friday press conference, to confirm that Hart would sit out this week, English media are reporting that Hart has been informed of the decision and is disappointed, yet “appreciative of the manner” in which Pellegrini explained his decision.
Hart’s misfortune began back in August, when, in the England shirt, he reacted too slowly to deny Scotland’s James Morrison a goal. Two weeks later, the blunder came from a corner in Cardiff City’s eventual 3-2 win over Manchester City. His errors helped Bayern Munich coast to a 3-1 Champions League victory last month. But the final straw, for Pellegrini at least, was last week at Chelsea. City came back in the first half and were well on their way to a point when a miscommunication between Hart, rushing out of goal, and defender Matija Nastasic caused the Serb to head the ball past the keeper, with Fernando Torres latching on to score Chelsea’s winner in the 90th minute.
That was enough for Pellegrini, it seems. His impressive squad sits just seventh in the table, six points out of first. With Manchester City not known for having all that much patience with managers, the Chilean knows he needs to get things turned around. Enter Costel Pantilimon.
The Citizens’ back up keeper stepped into action against Newcastle in the League Cup on Wednesday evening and did a solid job. The 26 year old rescued a sharp strike from Shola Ameobi in the first half and denied Papiss Cisse a goal in extra time, allowing City to eventually run out 2-0 winners. But with relegation threatened Norwich having scored just six goals this season, it’s unlikely the Romanian will have all that much to do.