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Premier League’s Best Joe Hart Cannot Escape Criticism After Week Of Mistakes

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Without a shadow of a doubt Joe Hart is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and one of the best in the world today. However just because he’s one of the best doesn’t mean that he should escape criticism every now and again?

After all when strikers play badly they’re criticised aren’t they?

So why shouldn’t goalkeepers be exempt from criticism when they make high-profile mistakes, after all it’s the same for strikers, when they miss a sitter or go through a bad patch it’s only fair that their performances come under question.

Hart as we know is an outstanding goalkeeper. He was promoted to Manchester City’s first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Shay Given by Roberto Mancini because he was at the time the better choice out of the two. Age never came into it, he was the better option and after a fantastic season out on loan at Birmingham City in 2009/10 came back to City a far more level-headed and better individual than the one which left.

His form last season undoubtedly saved City’s bacon on several occasions and he has put in some stellar performances this season, most notably in the Champions League against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. But for his heroics, City would have deservedly have lost both games by a heavy margin and deep down both their fans and Mancini know this.

I am not stating that Hart has become a bad keeper in the last couple of weeks, far from it but against Spurs at the weekend and last night in England’s defeat to Sweden he has made three high-profile mistakes and doesn’t appear to be as steady with the gloves as he was last season when he barley made an error at all. Lest we forget he was to blame for Poland’s goal against England recently as well.

Take Steven Caulker’s goal for Spurs at the weekend. Yes it was a good header and run by the young defender but his header was straight at Hart who 9/10 would have parried that header well wide of the post instead of fumbling it into his own net.

Afterwards on Sky Sports, Jamie Redknapp and Ray Wilkins did their best to avoid answering Ed Chamberlain’s question about whether Hart could have done better to keep Caulker’s header out. Harry’s son avoided answering the question completely with Wilkins defending Hart by saying that: ‘the ball was coming at him quickly, so there wasn’t anything he could do.’

What a load of tosh! Just because he’s England’s #1 doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be criticised Jamie and Ray. Credit has to be given to Chamberlain who with a producer firmly in his ear asked the question twice before the advertisements at the break aired. He was doing his best to get an answer worthy of merit! Had David De Gea made that mistake then you can bet your life on it both pundits would have ripped into him for the umpteenth time!

Now let’s look at Hart’s performance last night against Sweden. He was to blame for two of Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals. The first one he could have done nothing about, the second perhaps he could have kept that one out but it was a great finish from the PSG hitman.

The third, a free-kick from about 30-35 yards out, he will have been very disappointed to have conceded. For a goalkeeper of Hart’s quality to not keep out that effort was poor. Yes it was a well-hit effort but again 9/10 Hart keeps those out and had he reacted a half of a second quicker he’d have kept it out.

Ibrahimovic’s fourth was a sensational finish. To score a bicycle-kick from as far out as he did last night was a sensational effort, however he was gifted the opportunity after a howler from Hart who rushed out of his goal to deal with a long-ball only to head it up straight for the enigmatic forward to smash home.

Hart simply doesn’t make those mistakes, so why is he making them now? Could City’s poor defensive record be the reason as if it is then that would explain why his confidence is taking a dip or has this week’s performances just been one-offs, as City fans would believe them to be.

Perhaps those same City fans now wish that perhaps Celtic’s Fraser Forster could have come on for their hero last night at half-time when England were leading 2-1. They won’t admit that of course will they, despite Forster’s impressive start to the season. Dare I say it perhaps Hart could do with a rest to recharge his batteries?

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87

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