Manchester City is playing in the UEFA Champions League tomorrow against Steau Bucharest. While the Champions League is a big deal, City is essentially going into the match with the win already in hand. The only way they can lose and not advance into the Group Stage is to allow six goals at home to the undermanned side from Romania. So new manager Pep Guardiola is using the match to rest some of the starters for this weekend’s Premier League match.
So the goalkeeper who has been with the club for the last ten seasons, which include two Premier League Championships will be in the net tomorrow at Etihad Stadium for what may be the last time. Joe Hart has been replaced this season by Willy Caballero. It is hard to argue with the results as they have won both of their Premier League matches this season and also beat Steau 5-0 in Romania.
With the addition of another goalie, Claudio Bravo, newly acquired from Barcelona, it is apparent that Joe Hart’s days are numbered at City. So Wednesday will be an audition for him as he tries to keep a clean sheet in hopes of attracting the attention of another club. It is tough to see Hart on the bench as he has been a very good goalkeeper in City’s best era. With a healthy Vincent Kompany and Hart in the goal, City has been very tough to score on in recent years. Last year, they advanced to the semifinals in this competition, losing to eventual champion Real Madrid 1-0 aggregate. That is with Kompany going down to injury in the first leg.
But City finished only fourth best in the Premier League a year ago and that was not enough. They let manager Manuel Pellegrini go and YaYA Toure as well as Hart have been sent to the bench. Look for Toure to see action in tommorrow’s game as well with the hoped he will attract attention as well. Bony, Nasri and Mangala are also expected to see action for the first time this season.
City has one match until the International Break and that will be at home on Sunday against a tough West Ham United squad. They will be looking to get three points in that one so they will be in at the worst tied for the top spot when they come back two weeks later to face Manchester United in what will be a huge match for the early lead in the standings.