One of the biggest talking points of the weekend came on Saturday night, when Pep Guardiola dropped Joe Hart from the Manchester City team.
Granted, it wasn’t the biggest surprise given Hart’s awful pre season and Euro 2016, but speculation of a rift between the former Barcelona manager and the England goalkeeper was quick to circulate.
Now it seems a deal between City and Barcelona for Claudio Bravo is all but done, meaning Hart may well find himself surplus to requirements this season.
Speaking about the goalkeeping situation, Guardiola said:
I have great respect for Joe. I have no problem with him.
Willy [Caballero] has had a really good pre season. He gave me a lot of confidence with his build up plays and his personality.
Hart reacted well to the decision.
This isn’t the first time Hart’s position has come under threat, as he endured a similar loss of form two seasons ago, with Costel Pantilimon taking the 29-year-old’s place.
However, with big spending Everton potentially set to offer Hart a way out of the Etihad, this could be the end of his ten year spell at City.
Guardiola’s selection will again be a talking point on Tuesday night, when City travel to Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League qualification stage.
Speaking about his selection, the City boss said:
Maybe the next game it changes, maybe not. I needed the build-up and to use the goalkeeper to play quicker to arrive the balls behind the line.
Willy had this quality first of all, he trained more times. He arrived on the first day.
That doesn’t mean Joe can’t do that. I know the quality of Joe, he is an amazing goalkeeper. He plays for the national team and he was so important for the two Premier League (title) wins.
The personality, the character, I know about.
Guardiola also omitted Eliaquim Mangala and Yaya Toure from his squad, proving he’s not afraid of dropping big names if they don’t suit his style.
With Ilkay Gundogan and Vincent Kompany still to come back into the side as well, there could well be an expensive fire sale at the Etihad before the transfer window shuts.