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Pep Guardiola vs Joe Hart: Personal Reasons or Tactical Reasons?

You gotta wonder what they’re discussing.

“English footballers plying their trade in the Almighty English Premier League are untouchable.” That’s what I used to think. Add to that the fact that, amongst all the rules and regulations binding upon the Premier League, there’s one that insists that clubs maintain a specific amount of Englishmen in their ranks, and you’ll understand the angle I used to see things from.

Well, all that changed when Josep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City and chose Caballero, instead of Hart as his first choice goalkeeper. There was an uproar amidst English media and long-term beliefs like mine were rubbished. Pep seemed to be castigated for leaving the “homeboy” out in the cold, and choosing an “outsider” (who wasn’t even as good as some said) in his stead. But the Philospher was saving his best move for the last.

I expected quite a number of changes in the Citizens’ set-up with Guardiola’s arrival. Pep is not a cpach afraid of breaking away from the norm. He will do things his own way, however crazy it may seem, and it has always worked for him (has it?). He’s that special (Move over Jose!) With all these in mind, the Pep-Hart still came as a shock. A surprise shock. The media, understandably, and as usual, came up with several theories to absorb the shock and make sense of the news. “Pep needs a goalkeeper whose ball distribution is solid.” “Guardiola always wants more from his goalkeepers.” “Pep is rebuilding the City.”

What is Pep up to?

No one knew exactly why Pep made such move… until news of Claudio Bravo’s arrival started sounding serious. Stats, charts and numbers popped. Comparisons between the English goalie and the Chilean captain filled the air. The result? This newcomer was better, by far, in one aspect: pass accuracy. There was a staggering difference between Joe Hart’s 52.6% pass accuracy and Claudio Bravo’s 80% pass accuracy (although the numbers varied with different sources). With these figures, Bravo’ fitted perfectly into Pep’s “I-want-the-ball-for-90-minutes” plans. Some of the media’s guess had been proven right: Pep really needed a goalie who could pass the ball! And with building up play from behind gradually becoming Man. City’s style of play, Joe Hart was not good enough. Pep needed someone who will fit into his system. Claudio Bravo was a better choice for his system.

But, can there be other reasons, perhaps personal ones, behind the Philosopher’s move? It’s hard, almost impossible, to cite Guardiola’s personal reasons for dumping Hart. I’ll never really know why. And of course, he’ll never tell us, the media. Maybe his thirst for glory (personal reason) did not allow room for any let ups in any area of the squad (tactical reasons). Just maybe!

Too little too late?

But as things stand, Joe Hart is on his way out (I’m still skeptical about this one). Claudio Bravo will become Manchester City’s new No. 1 and Caballero will return to his usual cadre, being City’s second choice goalie. Unless something strange happens. But what could that strange thing be?

By the way, what do you think about Pep’s move? Is he being fair? Does Joe Hart deserve better? Is this one for the team? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Rotimi "Papi the Great" Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal. A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.

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