Expectations For 14/15: Joe Hart

Adam Pretty

A sincere tip of the hat to the imperious Lowetide

Ah, man. Joe, where do we start to begin with you. Bad to good to, partially, redeemed in some observers eyes. That was some 13/14 season.

Numbers

hart save%

Save% (goals against/shots on target against) is a shitty measure by which to judge a goalkeeper. If we take into account the tiny samples involved then one should be even more wary of using save% as an accurate tell on a goalkeeper's performance. Alas, it is what we have, just don't use it to form the basis of any dull or boneheaded twitter argument.

Total save% is a shade below league average. The first 9 games saw Hart post a pretty underwhelming save% (a million different defensive combinations, Kompany woes, Demichelis's bedding in, Nastasic forgetting the self-assuredness and command he had previously held over himself, insane set peice conversion variance). But once restored to the side for the fixture against Fulham, Hart posted better numbers in a far more stable defensive unit.


Questions

Those numbers are good right?

Well, last seasons numbers were average, but be wary in using these small sample numbers to prove your pre-conceived opinion on the player.

You say those numbers are average?

Yep, Joe posted just about a bang average save% for the 13/14 PL season.

Well....is he a league average goalkeeper?

My heart says no, he may be an above average 'keeper who makes some pretty high profile howlers. Hart's Man City career save% is pretty good. But the rolling 38 game number has looked pretty scary in comparison to his earlier years at Man City.

joe hart save% 15#

Is Hart good enough to be Man City's #1 'keeper?

My gut says yes, my head says probably not, the Man City decision makers probably think "we'll see".

What are Hart's best attributes?

My eyes tell me he is a very good one-on-one stopper, has excellent in-close reflexes.

What are Hart's weaknesses?

Footwork, shots from distance, concentration (isn't it for everyone). There's also rumblings about distribution.

Wait, isn't Hart is young for a 'keeper?

You know he probably is young for a 'keeper, but....

Then he will improve form now on?

Will he?

Of course, he is still young enough to do so, right?

A few smart guys have looked at the theory that goalies improve as they age in the sport of ice hockey. (LINK). Colby Cosh:

If you pay attention, you will often hear sportswriters and hockey broadcasters ASSURE you that goalies peak late and need time to "learn" the NHL. Every day they name some struggling "young" 25-year-old who might still leap to stardom. This sort of talk, I now think, is mostly nonsense.

It is possible that Joe Hart has already peaked. He enjoyed some golden years during his last season at Birmingham and his first two seasons at Man City. It is possible those performances may not be repeated.

Why is this is all getting a little negative now?

I am trying to be fair here. I think Joe Hart is an above average 'keeper, albeit very slightly above average. It is also possible we have already seen the best that this player has to offer.

What does Willy Caballero's signing mean for Joe Hart?

I think - and this is only my opinion - that there are doubts about either Hart's talent, or his ability to consistently display that talent, that has led City to secure an alternative should any major dips in form take place. Caballero is good, some say good enough to displace Joe Hart. I guess we'll see.

Will Joe Hart still be #1 at the seasons end?

I'm not sure.

Will Joe Hart be #1 at the start of the season?

Yes, and this is probably fair.

So if the potential is there for Hart to lose the #1 spot then why are we seeing contract extension rumours?

Ask Txiki. Hart has two years to run on his contract which is plenty of time. I don't think Man City are entirely convinced that Hart is the truly great 'keeper that they need. If we also say there is a possibility that Hart loses the #1 job then why should City extend his contract now?

Maybe this is the way these things are done, maybe it is due to HG status, maybe City are more convinced by Hart than signing a competitor for the #1 job indicates.

But Hart has just two years left on his deal, he could leave cheaply in just one years time?

Let him earn the new deal. Does Hart want to leave? Where would he go? Where would he be paid more to play his football? City hold the good cards, let Joe earn any extension.

What kind of season can we expect from Joe Hart in 14/15?

A better season than we saw last year. An improved defensive solidity in the back four (selection, coaching) should see Hart put in fewer positions of stress, which in turn should lead to less glaring mistakes which were caused by faulty or slow decision making. But will fewer mistakes be enough to ensure he holds onto the #1 position? I dunno, I really don't know.

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