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30th Nov 2017

Two moments that show no-one is allowed say again that Man City were wrong to let Joe Hart go

This nonsense has to f****** stop

Robert Redmond

There’s a lot about the Premier League that would leave you confused.

On Wednesday night, Everton beat West Ham 4-0. But the current Everton team winning by such a comfortable margin wasn’t even the most surprising thing about the match.

  • It’s 2017, and David Moyes, with Stuart Pearce as his assistant, is a Premier League manager, despite being an abject failure in his last three positions.
  • Sam Allardyce, who announced his retirement from management last May, is Everton manager, after the club’s owner realised Diego Simeone wouldn’t be interested in a relegation battle.
  • Robbie Savage was a co-commentator on the West Ham defeat. He screamed for 90 minutes and said “desire” 800 times.
  • Then, on Match of the Day, Danny Murphy said that “Moyesy” needs to bring “Nobes” (Mark Noble) back into the West Ham team.

This is the Premier League in 2017. This is what billions in television money gets you.

Such mediocrity is perplexing. But perhaps none of it is as confusing as people who still think Pep Guardiola was wrong to let Joe Hart leave Manchester City.

In fairness, most football fans know that Hart isn’t the top-level goalkeeper some pundits claim he is, but there are still some out there who reckon Pep made an error in getting rid of England’s number one. They’re usually found in a TV studio covering football on Saturday afternoon, ranting about the lack of British managers in the Premier League.

Then there are some who claim that other clubs should have signed Hart. For example, Phil Neville, who showed his Manchester United allegiance by making a recommendation that would make Liverpool’s defence worse.

However, it’s time to completely end both arguments. Not only was Guardiola right to seek an upgrade on Hart, but other top clubs were right to avoid signing him. Two moments on Wednesday night conveyed this.

Hart’s assist for Wayne Rooney’s 60-yard goal showed that Pep’s reservations about the Englishman’s ability with his feet were correct. The West Ham ‘keeper raced out of his penalty area and reached the ball ahead of the onrushing Everton attacker. But Hart hit it straight down the pitch and into the path of Rooney.

The former England captain’s finish was spectacular, but there was no mention of Hart during commentary. the West Ham ‘keeper, who gave away a penalty earlier in the match, made Rooney’s job an awful lot easier with his poor clearance.

It’s no wonder the London club have conceded 30 goals in 14 games, more than any other Premier League team this season, with goalkeeping like this.

Then there was this moment from Ederson, which showed that Guardiola knew what he was doing all along, even when Hart’s original replacement, Claudio Bravo, didn’t work out.

Ederson has been excellent this season and showed Hart how a goalkeeper is meant to deal with a ball outside of the penalty area. Shane Long chased a long ball over the top, but Ederson was ready for the pacey Southampton forward. The City goalkeeper casually killed the ball dead with a touch and played a pass to his teammate. Easy.

It turns out Pep knew what he was doing letting Hart leave, despite what the Proper Football Men of the world have said since.