Joe Hart dropped for Norwich clash

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Joe Hart will once again remain firmly planted upon the bench against Norwich City on Saturday after losing Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper spot to Costel Pantilimon, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Hart's mistake against Chelsea last week appeared to have finally hit manager Manuel Pellegrini's last nerve, as the English 'keeper subsequently fell to the bench for City's 2-0 victory over Newcastle in their midweek Capital One Cup clash.

Pantilimon performed admirably in his first appearance this season, committing himself to saving all of Newcastle's shots on target. The Romanian international's performance has consequently been rewarded with yet another starting berth in this week's encounter with the Canaries.

Pantilimon's performance also coincided with City's first clean sheet since their cup win over Wigan in September.

While Pellegrini refused to comment specifically on the club's Hart/Pantilimon saga, he has conceded that defensive errors have proved costly to City's title aspirations.

“I don’t want to continue talking about Joe Hart because I have not told the players who will play. Tomorrow we will see and after I can answer your question,” he was quoted by the Daily Telegraph.

“Every player of the squad has his right to play and I have to decide every week who will play. Maybe you ask Costel because he does not play too often but I always see the players every day. I'm always talking with all the players, not only when they are in a bad moment."

“Of course we are conscious about that [errors]. We lost at least four points away that we deserved but football has these things and we must recover those points. I think we are in a good way.”

Joe Hart's selection woes have translated upon the international stage, with Roy Hodgson also presumably mulling over whether to drop the struggling goalkeeper when the Three Lions face Chile later this month. John Ruddy (Norwich) and Fraser Forster (Celtic) are the touted replacement goalkeepers.

City welcome Norwich at the Etihad Stadium as they look to reduce Arsenal's six-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

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