Football

BREAKING NEWS: Robin van Persie to be sold in January (and everything’s okay with Joe Hart)

Questions have been asked this week about Joe Hart and whether he should be dropped for club and country.

Robin van Persie is rubbish. He should be dropped and sold in January. How can I say that, you may ask? Well, it’s simple, he hasn’t scored since September 17th. Therefore, by current logic in football, he should be dropped because he is just terrible.

As I’m sure you can probably tell, I’m being sarcastic. I guess you football fans out there can guess I am also making reference to Joe Hart. I’ll say this now as well – I am a member of the goalkeepers union – and I’m proud to be. I want to give you a goalkeepers insight.

Joe Hart has had a tough week, as you may expect after a loss at Aston Villa last weekend, followed by a demolition at the hands of European champions Bayern Munich. If that weren’t enough, the spotlight has been firmly on him for what many perceived to be errors that he has made, namely Weimann’s goal for Villa, and Ribery and Robben’s strikes on Tuesday night.

Weimann was able to take advantage of quick thinking from Villa keeper Brad Guzan, and in all honesty, it was some pretty shoddy defending from City, allowing a long punt to get to the 18-yard box without anyone getting a foot on it, Hart did what any goalkeeper should, and what we are taught to do from a young age – narrow the angle. As it happened, Weimann got there first and was able to just poke it into the net. It’s one of those things.

The Ribery goal, I will admit, Hart could perhaps have done a little better. In fairness though, it was a very good strike. Sometimes a shot can be hit with so much power that you can’t get all of your hand to it. In this case, he got some glove on it, and it still snuck under the bar, later in the season, the same thing might happen and it’ll go over. Those are 50-50. Some go for you, some against.

Pretty much the same can be said for the Robben goal. Was Hart beaten at his near post? Yes. Should he be beaten at his near post? No, not really. But it was very nearly a very good save. Again he got a glove to it, but it just squeezed inside the post. It was powerfully struck, sometimes half a glove is enough, other times it’s not.

A question was also raised in Saturday’s game for the goal he conceded to Lukaku. On Match of the Day a big deal was made of the fact that he again got a hand to it but didn’t save it, but little was made of the complete lack of any kind of challenge from Joleon Lescott that just allowed Lukaku to waltz through and score. I don’t think Hart could have done more.

(Interestingly, just as a side in that game, Tim Howard also conceded a goal low to his right, but this was not apparently deemed worthy of mention on MOTD.)

Because of the goals that City have conceded and the subsequent questions that have been raised about Hart, naturally the talk turned towards England, especially with 2 crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up. The main talk has been whether Hart should be dropped for those games, with Ruddy from Norwich, or Fraser Forster from Celtic (who incidentally made a terrific double save against Barça) being touted as possible replacements.

Roy Hodgson has publicly stated that he has full confidence in Joe Hart, and that he will almost certainly be between the sticks for the 2 qualifiers, “this is a time for experience”. I couldn’t agree more.

What England (and Man City) fans need to remember is that Joe Hart is an exceptional goalkeeper. He is the best England keeper for many a generation. Nobody will be more disappointed about his performances than Joe himself, but a few less than spectacular games a bad goalkeeper does not make. This is a blip in form. The fact that these questions are being raised and this criticism is being levelled at him just goes to prove how magnificent he has been for a number of years now, that a few off colour performances have caused a lot of people to panic.

Keep calm and trust Joe.

“What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future.” – Lev Yashin

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