Oct 5, 2013 at 12.45pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
3-1
Everton
Negredo (16'), Aguero (44'), Howard (68' og.)
Kompany (23'), Silva (74'), Zabaleta (78'), Fernandinho (89')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Lukaku (15')
Howard (68'), Distin (68'), Naismith (87')

Pablo Zabaleta: 'Joe Hart still the best'

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta believes under-fire Joe Hart is "still the best" despite question marks over the England number one's recent displays.

Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta has suggested that his under-fire teammate Joe Hart is still among the best goalkeepers in the world because he makes him "feel safe".

Hart's performances have been questioned of late, including after his side's 3-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, and manager Manuel Pellegrini has refused to confirm whether he will start between the posts in the clash with Everton on Saturday.

However, England boss Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Hart remains his first choice, and the 26-year-old is still number one in Zabaleta's eyes too, with City's vice-captain insisting that almost every player suffers a dip in form.

"He's still the best. Right now is not his best moment but this happens," Zabaleta told BBC Sport.

"Sometimes Joe Hart, like any player, can make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. It is impossible to be at the top level for 60 games a season over many years. Maybe sometimes [Lionel] Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo do it.

"But I've known Joe Hart for five years and have seen him playing at his best form and know that he is the best. The feeling for me and my team-mates is that, looking at him in the goal, I feel safe."

Costel Pantilimon is on standby if Hart, who has started 120 consecutive Premier League games for City since returning from his breakthrough loan spell at Birmingham City in 2010, is dropped this weekend.

Joe Hart of Manchester City shows his dissapointment during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Munchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool24138354292547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
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16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton24410102435-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2455141535-2020
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