Football

Joe Hart blunders put pressure on City

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Cardiff City pulled off a remarkable 3-2 victory over title hopefuls Manchester City, exposing their current defensive frailties from a personnel and set-piece perspective.

In the absence of talisman and club captain Vincent Kompany and impressive 20-year-old Matija Nastasic on the bench due to lack of match fitness, City went into the match with a make-shift defence, consisting the likes of natural holding midfielder Javi Garcia and Joleon Lescott, who fell out of favour with former manager Roberto Mancini last season.

But it wasn't Garcia or Lescott who displayed the most defensive ineptitude. Ever-present England number one Joe Hart had a torrid afternoon and was arguably culpable for all three goals.

Following a disappointing season last year - in comparison to the hefty heights that Hart set in Manchester City's title-winning season - Hart seems to have carried on that disappointing level of performance into the new season, where he also made a big blunder in England's friendly against Scotland.

It's harsh to put Hart in the spotlight for Cardiff's first goal, however. A surging run down the right from the impressive Kim Bo-Kyung, should have been dealt far better from Gael Clichy who stood off Kim too much, while Pablo Zabaleta made a poor attempt of tracking the run of ex-Manchester United man Fraizer Campbell.

Regardless, Hart could have dealt with the initial shot better rather than tamely parrying into the inviting path of the on-rushing Gunnarsson.

Cardiff's second and third goals are the goals that Hart has and will get lambasted for though. The former Shrewsbury completely misjudged the flight of the ball which hopelessly evaded Hart's catch and then presenting itself on a platter for eventual man-of-the-match.

While the defensive set-piece work on the second and third goals will come under scrutiny; particularly the third. Hart's reaction to Campbell's free header - or lack of it - will compound further misery on the Englishman who watched the ball hit the back of the net while making next to no attempt at saving.

Manuel Pellegrini rued his sides frailties from set pieces, adding "Of course nobody can believe they can score two goals against us in set-pieces, but football is like that.

"You must be concentrating those kind of places and I think Cardiff won the match, but I think we played better," he said post-match.

David Platt made a damning assessment of the under-pressure keeper when saying 'If Mancini and I were still at City, Hart wouldn't be there. We decided to sign Begovic'.

That might be over-critical, but quality competition is something that Hart might thrive once again. When Hart made a name for himself at City he had to displace one Shay Given and continued his rich vein of form when there was sufficient competition.

That or an extended leave from the first team could be of benefit for Hart. This has been a case in point in recent seasons. Towards the end of last season, Wenger sided with Fabianski after some shaky form from the Polish stopper Wojceich Szczesny.

An extended break from the side allowed the Pole to return in better form, cementing a place in the side while being integral in Arsenal's unbeatable run.

The same applies to the once lambasted David de Gea, who endured a torrid time at the start of his Manchester United tenure. So much so, that Anders Lindegaard was favoured and while it took time for the Spaniard to endear himself to the fans and media alike. In the long term it paid dividends.

Liverpool's summer acquisition of Simon Mignolet was initiially thought of as competition for Pepe Reina and both would push for the number one jersey. Of course it remains to be seen how that would have worked out due to Reina's move to Napoli, but it is a case in point.

If City do not want to drop silly points, added competition in the goalkeeping department, or a lengthy time out of the first team are two options for Pellegrini to ponder.

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Topics:
Manchester City
Premier League
Football
Joe Hart
Cardiff City

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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