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Guzan could remain Villa starter despite Given's return


photo by Neil Tingle/ISIphotos.com

Shay Given has recovered from his groin injury and has returned to training for Aston Villa, but that does not necessarily mean he is going to supplant Brad Guzan as the Villans' starting goalkeeper.

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is keeping his options open in terms of who to start between the goal posts on a permanent basis as a result of Guzan's string of strong performances since filling in for Given since early December.

Guzan has helped the Villans to a 3-3-1 record since taking over, with his most recent outing being a 3-1 victory over Bristol City in the third round of FA Cup. Guzan made six saves in the game, including a penalty kick stop that continued to further establish him as a good spot-kick blocker.

McLeish might soon have to make a decision. Given, who signed with the club in the offseason for an estimated $6.1 million, could be healthy enough to play in this weekend's match against Everton.

Who do you think should be Villa's starting goalkeeper? If Guzan is dethroned, should he look for a loan during this transfer window?

Share your thoughts below?

  • bryan

    hell yeah. 35 year old GK or 27 year old? i’ll stick with the 27 year old until he starts slipping.


  • fischy

    Guzan does continue to impress on PKs. He probably has tremendous upside potential, but I think he plays with an unhealthy and unlikely combination of nervousness and slow reactions when the ball is in play. I feel I see him move for a lot of balls after they’re already past him. He appears very unsteady and unsure with balls struck low near his feet, and also with balls blasted just above his head. He does much better when he can stretch out, and yet, he also seems slow to do that sometimes. Plus, he’s terrified of playing with his right foot and that showed with his gaffe against Swansea. Teams know how weak he is with his right foot and they pressure him effectively.

    If and when he can smooth out these parts of his game, Guzan could be a great goalie. Right now, Given is a great goalie.


  • Eric

    There was a time when I would have been worried having him as one of the top back-ups for Timmy but it’s looking more and more like he’s just needed the chance to shine.


  • J.M.

    If Guzan supplants Given, you really have to feel for Given. By all accounts an excellent servant at Newcastle and a great goalkeeper, supplanted through no fault of his own by Joe Hart at City after leaving Newcastle after relegation, now he looks to get jumped by Guzan. Even though it’s great to see Guzan get rewarded for all his hard work and good play, it’s a little sad to see Given get the shaft again.


  • fischy

    I guess it’s a question of money. If they continue to play Guzan, he might develop the confidence and anticipation he needs. So, they could play him and save money by dealing Given to another team. On the other hand, if they feel they can afford Given in the long run, they should play him.


  • beachbum

    Brad waited for his opportunity, stayed ready obviously, and answered the bell, very professional

    if supplanted, and he finds interest after this body of work to a better playing opportunity, why not seek it out?


  • fischy

    I suspect that there’s a correlation between speed and dribbling skills and good hair. So, it only appears that it’s our goalies that stand out for being bald. Really, it’s all those field players with all their hair that are unusual.


  • strider

    You are likely a bit premature in thinking Given is losing out here. Just because McLeish hasn’t said that Given will get the job doesn’t mean that he won’t. When you are paying the money to Given you either play him or hold him out only to sell him, i.e. keep him from getting injured. At this point, we don’t know what is up.

    I am rooting for Guzan. He deserves a real shot at a starting job in the EPL and has done well with his opportunity. If Given takes back over, I would try to move to another EPL team where I could start.


  • DynaMatt

    Just a confused observation, Keller, Hahnemann, Howard, Guzan. . .Someone should warn Hamid, and Macmath.


  • Powderhorn Pops

    Isn’t one of the LD songs sang in Galaxy suporters sections a little ditty that goes a little something like this: “Bah-lding and scoh-ring…” With that one exception I think you might be on to something w/ the hair and technical skills of an field player correlation. In Chinese medicine (I’m and acupuncturist) one could actually make this assertion work out. It would take a to much room to explain here though.


  • Powderhorn Pops

    You’d think Given could be sold rather easily and money used in a more attack minded way.


  • kevin

    Given earns way too much to sit on the bench. Simple as that. I think Guzan should start this weekend as Given insnt 100% healthy. Guzan should continue to start until he makes a mistake, but who knows.


  • abc

    I had no idea they were 3-3-1 with Guzan. 5-7-8 overall, so that means 2-4-7 with Given.
    Considering Guzan is 27 and Given is 35, and Given probably makes 10x as much in salary, they should re-sign Guzan and sell Given.


  • gigi

    Even if he doesn’t start, after his performances im sure he has drawn interest from clubs in the epl now.


  • KenC

    They have to play Given given how much they are paying him. If not, they should sell him on, but they can’t sell until other teams see that Given is back to his normal level, so Given plays.


  • Villain-from-Texas

    A number of Villa fans believe that he has played well enough to remain the starter, but I expect that he won’t. While Guzan played quite well for us, Given, before his injury, was playing even better than we had expected . So I don’t see any reason for him to lose his spot.


  • wilyboy

    Think Guzan is nervous 1) because he hasn’t been the starting goalkeeper in the fastest league in the world yet and 2) Because he doesn’t have security in his position. If he gets a positive nod from McCleish, he’s got abilities that make up for any perceived weaknesses.


  • GW

    “Teams know how weak he is with his right foot and they pressure him effectively. ”

    Really? Howard is pretty weak with is left foot why don’t teams pressure him that way?

    You are the only critic I’ve ever read who thinks it’s vital for keepers to be two footed.

    Guzan will be fine. Given is better but much older, and injury prone and makes a lot more money.

    Villa are in 13th. They are not going to win the title. They probably won’t finish in the top four. Their main challenge this year is to avoid the relegation zone and maybe qualify for Europe.

    If McLeish determines that there is not that much difference between Guzan and Given then there is nothing to be gained by playing Given. You already know what you have with him and you need to find out what you have with Guzan.

    If the team plays well with Guzan then they can dump Given and his high salary either towards the end of the transfer window or at season’s end if they want to keep him around as insurance.


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