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The Final Three: #3 Joe Hart

The final candidate on our Etihad Player of the Season (in association with the Official Supporters' Club) short-list, we look at Joe Hart's season in detail...

Here's how Joe had perhaps his best season yet for the Blues...

Season overview:

Hart began his season as he meant to go on, with a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Newcastle, though shut-outs were something of a rarity as City stuttered through the opening months of the campaign. 

In fact, by the time the Blues travelled to Southampton at the end of October, there had been only three Premier League clean sheets in 12 matches, though Hart's performances were consistently high and he made his first penalty save of the season when he kept out Robert Soldado's spot-kick at home to Spurs with the score at 2-1 - City went on to win 4-1 and keep the pressure on leaders Chelsea.

Hart's agility kept the Blues in the Champions League with important saves to prevent Bayern Munich increasing a 2-1 lead at the Etihad and, of course, two late Aguero goals meant qualification was still possible.

And when City beat Everton 1-0 at the Etihad in December, Romelu Lukaku was left shaking his head at Hart's wonderful save from point blank range that preserved a 1-0 win over the Toffees and he was again in masterful form keeping clean sheets in the wins over Roma and Leicester.

Following City's 3-0 win over Crystal Palace just before Christmas, it would be another 11 games before the champions' faltering title defence would result in another shut-out, but Hart's season continued to go from strength to strength as he produced a terrific first leg display against Barcelona at the Etihad - saving a last-minute Lionel Messi penalty - before playing the game of his life in the return leg against Barca where he made save after stunning save to keep the Blues in the tie.

His form in the remaining games was excellent and he came from behind to secure the Golden Glove award for the fourth time on the final day of the campaign against Southampton having kept more clean sheets than any other keeper in the Premier League.

High point:

The Hart v Barcelona second leg performance was undoubtedly Joe's finest 90 minutes in a City shirt - after the game Messi claimed Hart was a 'phenomenon' - nobody argued the greatest player on the planet was wrong, either.

Joe thanks the fans and hugs the badge

Could it have been even better?

Joe will suggest it could have been - being a perfectionist. Plus no goalkeeper likes to concede goals and as this wasn't the Blues' best defensive campaign, again, he is likely to be critical of himself. He'll be the only one, though!

Why you should vote:

You could argue the Barca display alone could merit this prize, but Hart has been a rock and, if anything, is getting better by the season. Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he is also a great ambassador for Manchester City FC.

He's up against two other crowd idols in Sergio Aguero and David Silva, but the truth is Joe would also be a worthy recipient of the Etihad Player of the Season award.

Hart save

Media verdict:

Barcelona (March): "When this narrow scoreline is inscribed in the Champions League history books, it needs to be accompanied by an asterisk denoting the influence of Joe Hart. Manchester City are out of Europe and were lucky it was not a rout. Only the greatest performance of Hart’s career rescued City from an almighty mauling." Henry Winter, The Telegraph

Now watch…

Vote here

You can see the eventual winner revealed at this year's City Live in August. Tickets available so don't miss out.

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