Are Man City Missing Joe Hart?

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As Manchester City crumbled against Leicester City yesterday, a lot of people were questioning Pep Guardiola’s decision to allow Joe Hart to leave the Citizens on a season long loan.

Despite the loss on Saturday, Man City are still one of the favourites to win the English Premier League. Check out the best free bets to see where you’d place your bet for a Man City title win.

Now it’s important that we look on Saturday’s mauling as a team loss, you certainly can’t lay all the blame at Claudio Bravo’s door.

It wasn’t the keeper’s fault that his defence and midfield struggled to intercept through balls, failed to put in challenges and made continual mistakes (I’m looking at you John Stones).

Guardiola’s comments after the game showed that he’s still adapting or stubbornly not adapting to the English game:

“The second balls is a concept here in England, I’m not a coach for the tackles so I don’t train the tackles,”

I’m British, so it is extremely foreign to me to think of no tackling training sessions for the defenders/midfielders but I might just be old fashioned or maybe Pep’s pulling our legs.

Ultimately you cannot win things without tackling. When you look at Pep’s Barcelona side they had Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol who liked to make a tackle.

Ok getting back to Bravo, I don’t think he’s been as terrible as some have suggested. That being said he hasn’t been this marvellous sweeper keeper that others were lauding when the Chilean arrived in Manchester in the summer.

The thirty-three year old international doesn’t command his area, he’s often looked nervy, his distribution hasn’t always been great and he doesn’t seem to have an authoritative voice in the penalty box.

But the major issue that I’ve seen in recent months has been Bravo’s inability to close down strikers in a quick fashion. He also seems to get smaller the closer a forward gets to him during one on one situations.

In the Premier League we are used to goalkeepers to come out, stay big and then spread themselves thus making the space in the goal-frame seem smaller. You get the impression that Jamie Vardy thought that the Man City goalmouth was huge yesterday as he faced Bravo.

Joe Hart has his faults, we all remember the fluffs he made during Euro 2016. His distribution isn’t the best, Pep made sure we knew that!

Surely the first concern for the goalkeeper has to be keeping the ball out of the net.

When it comes to being a passing goalkeeper, I think a lot of it is down to instruction and the defenders around you. They need to be close and in space. I think you could have taught that to Hart and let him evolve. But there have been suggestions that Hart didn’t take the hint under Manuel Pellegrini.

According to Guardiola he didn’t have enough time to teach Hart these aspects of his system but now you can see with Bravo that the Chilean needs to have a similar period to learn about the English game.

Hart has done well at Torino in Serie A. While he might have only kept three clean-sheets (same number as Gianluigi Buffon), the England number one has never conceded more than two a game in between the sticks for ‘Il Toro’.

Torino are up to seventh in the league and have recorded wins over Roma and Fiorentina. They play Juventus in the big Turin derby later today.

Hart has conceded fifteen goals in his thirteen Serie A appearances, while Bravo has conceded sixteen in his twelve Premier League starts. Claudio has also only managed to keep two clean-sheets.

Interestingly though Bravo has a 74% passing success rate compared to Hart’s 63%. That is the stat that will make Pep think he’s made the right choice.

For me, I can’t see Hart conceding as many as Bravo has this season and certainly not in the same manner. Hart would have a better handle on those playing around him and he’d be better in one on one situations. The defence would still be fragile though and they wouldn’t practice tackling just because Hart was there.

So while Hart might have been better in the short-term, Pep is a long term thinker and he has the conviction to stick with Bravo.

We cannot forget that Pep Guardiola has a footballing philosophy and it has a great history of winning.

Both Pep and Claudio deserve more time to get used to the Premier League and prove to everyone why they have such illustrious CVs. Hart will hopefully learn from his Italian stint and start improving that passing success rate stat!

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