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Hart only just favourite to start in Man City goal against Norwich

| 30.10.2013

A few factors may have contributed to the notable improvement in Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea in the past 12 months, whether it be a more hard-working attitude in training, a better understanding of the English language or an improved diet.

Another thing that doesn’t appear to have done him any harm is some goalkeeping rotation with Anders Lindegaard in the Red Devils’ first-team. Few can argue that the 22-year-old is now a more stable presence in goal.

The big question now is whether a leave of absence from the Manchester City first-team will have a similarly positive impact on Joe Hart, as his rush of blood in the final moments against Chelsea easily takes his error count for this season alone onto two hands.

Manuel Pellegrini has already tried publicly backing Hart after a mistake, but this has not reduced his number of mishaps and the other issue is that he is failing in almost every element of being a top goalkeeper.

Hart has been beaten at his near post, made poor decisions in terms of playing the keeper-sweeper role and has looked suspect from crosses.

He was almost certain to miss the Capital One Cup fourth-round clash with Newcastle in any case, but it is just 1/2 that Hart now starts Man City’s next Premier League game at home to Norwich.

Alternatively, it is 6/4 that he is left out, with Costel Pantilimon the most likely deputy, who showed his credentials with some promising displays in the FA Cup last season.

There has been speculation previously that Roberto Mancini had considered selling Hart ahead of the start of this season and there may be some doubts as to where Hart’s future lies again.

The price is 25/1 that Hart leaves Man City in January, but a far shorter 3/1 that he makes a summer Man City exit, where goalkeepers including Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes, Thibaut Courtois and Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be on the market.

Furthermore, it is 5/6 either way as to whether Hart is named in goal for England’s next international friendly with Chile in November.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.