Joe Hart’s mistake against Chelsea was another in a long line of many this season, but Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini must shoulder some of the blame.
Hart’s decision to rush out just as Matija Nastasic headed it back to him, leaving Fernando Torres with the easiest of finishes, was one of calamity.
But it was hardly that surprising.
The Manchester City and England goalkeeper looks like he has at least one high-profile error in him during every game at the moment.
Against the more switched-off teams he might get away with it, but Chelsea at Stamford Bridge don’t fall into the “switched-off” category.
The 26-year-old was a terrific goalkeeper once upon a time – Manchester City’s brick wall, strong under the high-ball and full of presence.
Now he’s full of presents.
He surely has that aforementioned talent within him somewhere but he needs better management at this stage in his career.
It’s make or break time for Hart, but if a manager can see a goalkeeper going through a rough time – and having a negative effect on team results – then dropping that player has to be the answer.
However, Pellegrini has stood by his goalkeeper, and while that too is commendable – stick with your best XI – it is seriously affecting City’s progress this season.
Managers must stick by their players by all means, but Pellegrini must now make a choice for the greater good and drop Joe Hart.
Not drop him to punish him or show him who is boss, drop him to rediscover the form that led to three successive Golden Gloves, Birmingham City’s player of the year award in 2010 and an England debut at 22-years of age.
Otherwise Hart could end up disappearing right off the radar like many goalkeepers before him, such as former England number ones Paul Robinson and Scott Carson.
Robinson, and to a lesser extent Carson, were once the goalkeeping greats of club and country.
But, like Pellegrini, Martin Jol and Juande Ramos let Robinson’s form fester to the extent that when he was dropped he was never the same goalkeeper again.
Hart can only be blamed so much; as a goalkeeper it is hard to rediscover form in the white-hot atmosphere of Premier League and Champions League games.
Pellegrini should not be playing such a vulnerable player, and now Hart needs his manager to help him more than ever by dropping him temporarily.
By doing that Pellegrini can let Hart get back to finding his form on the training ground – a place where three points aren’t at stake.