Hearts certainly have plenty of weaknesses ahead of their trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday, but perhaps none are as glaring as goalkeeper Joel Pereira.
Pereira was signed by former manager Craig Levein back in the summer from Manchester United. The deal sees the goalkeeper contracted to Tynecastle in a loan agreement until the end of the season.
At this rate, however, Hearts certainly won’t be rushing back to Old Trafford in a desperate bid to bring him back next year.
Pereira’s stats this year look poor. He’s only secured five clean sheets from 24 games, conceding 38 goals in the process (Transfermarkt). But ever since his side’s 2-1 win over Rangers last month, he’s come under the spotlight for the wrong reasons.
Too many mistakes
The Portuguese stopper has made howlers in matches against both St Johnstone and Kilmarnock respectively. Ali McCann sent a strike right through him when he should’ve kept it out in Saints’ 3-3 draw with Hearts. Eamonn Brophy then did something similar for Killie when his strike seemed to deceive Pereira in the air. Hearts would end up losing 3-2.
That’s also not to mention the other error he made in the 3-3 game. He woefully parried a Chris Kane shot straight to McCann, who somehow managed to miss from close-range.
His latest outing came against Falkirk on Saturday. He managed one of his five clean sheets against the League One side, but even then he made a meal out of simple situations.
The Bairns threw crosses into the area that should’ve been food and drink for Pereira. Instead, he was often having to gather tame high balls at the second-attempt. He looks extremely shaky, and some in the Hearts support are clearly concerned:
The posts at Falkirk Stadium have made more saves for Hearts this season than Joel Pereira has.
— Stephen Main (@StephenMain99) February 8, 2020
On second thoughts, I would happily play without a goalkeeper as long as Joel Pereira doesn’t play in goals for Hearts tonight https://t.co/lxxrfFGE1L
— Jamie Jambo (@Jamie_Jambo) February 8, 2020
Hearts have been given great credit over the years for the part the players played in McCrae’s battalion, now the club have stepped up to the mark again in discovering a cure for the corona virus, JOEL PEREIRA is that cure, he is incapable of catching anything.
— Neil Cochran (@NeilCochran12) February 9, 2020
It doesn't help when you have a keeper who is neither capable of catching a cross or stopping a shot which is causing chaos at the back bcoz our defence don't know what he's going to do
— Harry temple (@hthejambo) February 7, 2020
Pereira must have a contract wtih Hearts that guarantees he plays. Because if Stendel genuinely believes that imposter of a keeper can win us games, then he's even more clueless than Levein.
— stuartamdouglas (@stuartamdouglas) February 7, 2020
There’s clearly a lack of confidence in Pereira rippling through the Tynecastle support. That doesn’t bode well for an assignment at Celtic Park.
The on-loan Man Utd star also looks a cert to play given he’s been their first-choice shot-stopper all season. And if he does, Celtic need to power his goal with strikes from wherever they can.
Pereira has been extremely suspect from efforts from range. With the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Callum McGregor, and Leigh Griffiths all likely to play for Celtic, we certainly have the players to make the most of that.
Pereira has been all over the place recently – it’s time for Celtic to take advantage of that uncertainty.