Is Roberto Mancini set to put Joe Hart's position as number one up for grabs?

Joe Hart

With the FA Cup tie against Leeds United the perfect opportunity for Costel Pantliimon to prove his worth could the Romanian take over from the mistake prone Joe Hart?

Manchester City found themselves on the end of a humbling defeat this weekend at the hands of Southampton. They were the second team from Manchester to find themselves the victim of an excellent Southampton display the difference being Manchester United won their tie with Mauricio Pochettino’s men whereas City were resoundly beaten 3-1 at St Marys.

After the game Roberto Mancini was highly critical of his team for not trying hard enough for the victory:

"I will change players next week. We can't always win by playing well - that is normal. Sometimes we play well and win, but you also need to be able to win because you fight for every ball, and fight against an opponent who also wants to win the game. Every team that plays against us treats it like a Champions League final, but we should know this, it is normal. We now have 12 games left, (we) need to do well in the Premier League, and we have the FA Cup - there are games left and we can do better. We need to finish the season the way we did last year."

His promise to change players in the future after collecting just two points from their last three Premier League outings would have ringed most ominously in the ears of the City dressing room.

One player who may find himself in danger of losing his place will be England number one stopper Joe Hart, who was singled out for particular criticism.

"Joe has made too many mistakes. He has not been good enough. It was a really bad mistake from Joe. It was not good enough. It's not strange because he's done a few mistakes this year."

He had a point as Hart has not had the best of seasons. His double save against Brazil last week now long forgotten for allowing Rickie Lamberts comparatively tame effort to squirm out of his grasp into the preying path of Steven Davis.

It is not just this but his distribution in recent weeks has not been of the standard necessary.

City’s next game is against Leeds United in the FA Cup and Romanian number two Costel Pantilimon would have likely been used in the tie regardless; he did feature in the last round tie with Stoke City.

Now the fixture may take on extra prevalence for the giant stopper as a solid performance could see him keeping his place for the Premier League tie against Chelsea.

However those who remember his performance against The Blues in the curtain raising Community Shield match may be praying that is not the case.

Oh well former Everton and Arsenal stopper, 35-year-old Richard Wright, is also available.

Should City stick by Joe Hart? Do you think Mancini could drop Hart?

image: © illarterate

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