The Manchester City and England keeper continues to come under pressure for his performances in goal, with his recent appearances on the international stage certainly not inspiring a great deal of confidence.
It’s led many to question if Hart is a world class shot-stopper and whether or not he should be considered as an “elite” goalkeeper?
Have to say joe hart has been incredible. For me best keeper in the world
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 3, 2012
Last season, Hart finished with the most clean sheets out of any Premier League goalkeeper. His Performance Score of 882 was the fourth highest in the league—higher than the likes of Manchester United’s David De Gea, Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris or Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny. The Englishman also succeeded in 95% of his attempted claims last year.
Firstly, looking at the number of saves Hart made in comparison to the other elite keepers, it's clear that the Englishman was kept very busy throughout last season. Hart made 45 saves, the second highest out of the selection of players. This, alongside the fact that Hart kept the most clean-sheets suggests that the Man City keeper is an effective shot-stopper, able to save his team when their backs are against the wall.
The mobility of Hart is clearly visible within the stats too. Last term he made 27 diving saves, which shows that Hart is able to cover his goal effectively and has the reflexes to effectively shut out any danger that comes his way.
In terms of claiming the ball from crosses and other attacks, this is perhaps where Hart suffers. The Man City man, made 60 successful claims - not a bad tally.
However, when it comes to failed claims, Hart's vulnerability can be seen. The England keeper failed with three of his claims, only Casillas made more failed claims. This suggests that Hart struggles to dominate his area when the ball is in the air.
But it must be noted, three unsuccessful claims in 38 league games is not a bad record, it just shows this is an area of his game which needs a bit of work and polishing.
Now, focusing on goalkeeper distribution, this is quite clearly one of Hart's biggest weak points. The City number one had a 68% success rate, which was far worse than Cech, Neuer and Buffon.
Perhaps if Hart focused on his ball-playing abilities and improved in this department he would become more of an invaluable asset for Man City, especially with the attacking potential that they have. Last season, Hart had a 62% pass accuracy, only Cech had a lower pass accuracy (59%) out of the select keepers. Progress is needed in this area.
Possibly the most significant statistic for fans when it comes to keepers is defensive errors.
Last season, Hart made the most defensive errors out of the select keepers. Furthermore, he made double the errors that second place Petr Cech made. This is a massive problem for Man City and Hart.
In order to be considered as a top-class keeper, you simply cannot make a high number of mistakes, last-term five of the six errors Hart made lead to a goal being conceded.
Mistakes like this are extremely costly at the top of the table. To put Hart's defensive errors into perspective, he made the fifth highest errors in the Premier League last-term.
Compared to the more widely-recognised elite keepers in Europe, Joe Hart fares pretty well. He has one of the best clean sheet records in Europe, while he also makes a high number of saves, proving that he does make a significant contribution when Man City have to defend.
But as Hart's defensive errors, claim success and pass accuracy highlights, he still lacks some of the key components to be seen as an out-right world-class goalkeeper. But at 26, Hart certainly has the potential to grow into one of the best keepers on the planet. But the England international needs to show more consistency and versatility in his game.