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Dyche: Hart has “nothing to prove” in return to Man City

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Anytime a player faces his former club, there exists a certain edge and desire within the player to get one over on his former team — especially when said player was driven out of the club the way Joe Hart was done at Manchester City.

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Players and managers can — and typically do — say there’s no animosity and that they only have fond memories of those earlier days of their career, but, assuming that top-level athletes are indeed still humans, rarely should they be believed. Especially when that player is Joe Hart.

Alas, ahead of Hart’s clash with Man City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold), Burnley manager Sean Dyche insists that Hart “has no point to prove” and that his first trip back to the Etihad Stadium after 12 years at the club will be just another outing in Hart’s 15-year career — quotes from the BBC:

“He has no point to prove. He just wants to get on with it.”

“I was pretty sure he was still a top-class keeper. There can be different reasons why you play well at some places and not others. Sometimes you just fit naturally. You can sense it.

“For keepers, sometimes what is in front of you helps. He wants a defensive unit he has faith with. I think there is a nice connection here. Possibly at other clubs he didn’t find that connection.

“But a lot of credit goes to him for finding his way again.”

Hart was welcomed back to the Etihad on Thursday, when a small ceremony was held to honor his return and a training field, bearing a mosaic of Hart from his time at the club, was named after him.

Could Joe Hart return to the England squad?

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Gareth Southgate is planning a trip to Turf Moor this Saturday, and that could mean big things for 31-year-old goalkeeper Joe Hart.

The former Manchester City starter and longtime England #1 has fallen out of the setup after a dip in form that led to not only his fall down the England depth chart, but also his exit from the Etihad. After losing his starting spot at City in 2016, a loan move to Italian club Torino was the beginning of the end for Hart’s international job.

Or was it?

Jordan Pickford, who was one of the best goalkeepers at the World Cup this summer, is firmly entrenched in the starting spot. However, there are murky waters surrounding the backup job, and that’s where Hart could find himself back in the mix.

England boss Gareth Southgate has insisted publicly that the position is open for the taking. Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is expected to be the man Southgate calls upon during the October international break, but that’s nowhere near set in stone. Burnely’s Nick Pope, who served as backup at the World Cup without seeing game action, is out injured for a significant amount of time with a dislocated shoulder. Jack Butland‘s stock has dropped after Stoke City was relegated, and now the Potters toil in the bottom third of the Championship standings. Fulham shot-stopper Marcus Bettinelli was called up in early September, but he did not feature, and the 26-year-old hardly even has the confidence of his own club manager.

So, could Hart earn himself a spot in the rotation? With Pope injured, the 31-year-old has stepped in at Burnley and performed at a decent level despite just a single point for the club through the first five Premier League matches. With few concrete options, it’s possible a familiar face could be back in the England squad.

Wolves ease past punchless Burnley

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  • Mexico’s Jimenez scores
  • Hart stars in loss (again)
  • Wolves out shoot Clarets 28-7

They finally found a way past Joe Hart and the Burnley defense.

Shot after shot, save after save, goal line clearance after goal line clearance, Burnley threatened to stymy creative Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday at the Molineux, but Mexican striker Raul Jimenez converted a second half chance to give Wolves a 1-0 win on Sunday.

Wolves rise ninth with eight points, while Burnley has just one point this season.

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The hosts were on the front foot early, with Burnley backstop Joe Hart making a fine stop off a 10th minute corner.

Hart made another impressive stop on Raul Jimenez in the 30th minute, with a goal line clearance from James Tarkowski denying the rebound bid. Hart made two further saves — with another goal line clearance from a Burnley back mixed in — in the ensuing stanza.

Burnley would be screaming for halftime by the break, with Wolves tempting the scoreboard on several occasions.

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A miserable giveaway from Phil Bardsley led to a gorgeous chance for Wolves, but a poor first touch and slow square ball ended with Jimenez blazing over the bar.

It was Jimenez who would find the break through just after the hour mark, rewarding the Molineux for its patience and him for his effort.

The Mexican international, on loan from Benfica, scored his second of the Premier League season on a feed from Matt Doherty.

Adama Traore forced Hart into another save in the 71st minute.

Bravo suffers Achilles tendon tear; Could miss season

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It’s not quite like losing Kevin De Bruyne, but Manchester City has lost another component to a significant injury.

This one could be season-ending, as second-string shot stopper Claudio Bravo ruptured his achilles tendon in training on Monday.

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Bravo tweeted that “life will go on” regardless of the injury, but City has a headache in terms of what it may ask of first choice keeper Ederson.

City sold goalkeepers Angus Gunn to Southampton and Joe Hart to Burnley this summer, and sent Arijanet Muric on loan to NAC Breda. Twenty-year-old Daniel Grimshaw signed a new deal with Man City this summer.

Who’s on the free agent wire? It’s a thin herd, with former Liverpool and Fluminese backstop Diego Cavalieri and twice-capped Argentina goalkeeper Oscar Ustari on the list (Ustari has not played since a serious leg injury for Atlas in November).

Burnley 1-3 Watford: Hornets buzz through Turf Moor

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  • Watford scores 3 mins into each half
  • Tarkowski scores for Burnley
  • Hughes bags beauty

Will Hughes put an exclamation point on Watford’s excellent start to the season as Javi Gracia‘s dynamic Hornets belted Burnley 3-1 on Sunday at Turf Moor.

Andre Gray and Troy Deeney also scored for Watford, while James Tarkowski‘s seventh minute goal for Burnley had it 1-1 early.

Burnley is off to Fulham on Aug. 26, the same day Watford attempts to go 3-0 with a match against Crystal Palace at Vicarage Road.

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Watford took the lead inside of five minutes, with Andre Gray leaving his feet to direct a pinpoint volley past Joe Hart. That ended the goalkeeper’s shutout streak at 303 minutes and gave Watford its first away league goal since January.

It was 1-1 within minutes, as James Tarkowski leapt to pop a header past the reach of Ben Foster.

Jeff Hendrick has a penalty shout go unheard after deciding not to take a first touch shot near the penalty spot.

Burnley came close to producing 2-1 before halftime, as Stephen Ward slipped Hendrick into the box but Watford cleared the ball before Aaron Lennon could latch onto a back post pass.

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Deeney made it 2-1 with a classy settling of a Abdoulaye Doucoure effort into the box, sliding his shot around a splayed Joe Hart.

Hughes’ goal was magnificent, albeit given plenty of room to operate from Burnley.

Sam Vokes headed wide of the far post in the 70th minute.