Joe Hart disaster spells trouble for Man City and England
Another goalkeeping horror show hands Bayern easy win and leaves Hodgson in a pickle
Manchester City 1 Bayern Munich 3. This was a bad result for England and not just the blue half of Manchester, as the reigning European champions humiliated their hosts at the Etihad.
Though Bayern outclassed City from the start they were helped in their Group D encounter by a shocking performance from Joe Hart. The England keeper made two disastrous blunders, firstly allowing Franck Ribery's long-range effort to slip through his grasp on seven minutes, and then failing to deal with a near-post effort from Arjen Robben on the hour mark. Sandwiched between those two howlers was a fine goal from Thomas Muller and the strike from City substitute Alvaro Negredo on 79 minutes was nothing more than scant consolation.
By the time City got on the scoresheet the game was long gone, and all that remained was to wonder what's gone wrong with Hart. Not so long the 26-year-old possessed arguably the safest pair of hands in the Premier League but in recent months he's become prone to the sort of gaffes that would shame a Sunday morning shotstopper.
One can only surmise what Roy Hodgson made of it all, as the England manager desperately needs to have a reliable man between the posts when the Three Lions play their two crucial World Cup qualifiers next week. One thing's for sure, once Montenegro and Poland see the video of this game, they'll be trying their luck from all over the park in the hope of inducing another Hart howler.
The defeat, coupled with CSKA Moscow's 3-2 defeat of Viktoria Plzen in the other group match, means that Bayern are now in control of Group D with six points, three more than both City and CSKA. The pair meet in Moscow in a fortnight's time, a fixture City can't afford to lose if they're to have any hope of progressing to the knockout phases of the competition.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini closed ranks after his side's poor display and refused to point the finger at Hart. "I will talk about the team, not individuals," he said. "We played really bad, it's not the team we've seen every week in the Premier League and I think that was the worst thing. We didn't have possession and we didn't do enough to have more."
The stats backed up Pellegrini's blunt assessment. Bayern had 66 percent of the ball and they could even afford to have a player sent off in the closing stages without being punished by City. Jerome Boateng's dismissal for a foul on Yaya Toure had no impact on a game that Bayern winger Arjen Robben described as "easy". The Dutchman added: "It is a compliment to our team but we expected more from City... we were so dominant against a big team in Europe. We didn't expect an easy game like that." ·