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What Aston Villa’s poor start means for Brad Guzan

Aug 25, 2012, 1:58 PM EDT

Bolton Wanderers v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

Before we talk about Everton’s amazing start to the 2012-13 Premiership season, let’s talk about the other side of Saturday’s surprising result out of Villa Park.

Everton’s 3-1 win over Aston Villa tells us the Toffies’ opening win over Manchester United was no fluke – which you knew if you watched that match. Belgian international Marouane Fellaini looked terrific again, scoring his second goal in as many matches for the Goodison Park side.

But let’s drool all over David Moyes’ side another day.

For now, let’s talk about Shay Given. And specifically, about what another clunker from Aston Villa’s No. 1 will mean for we Yanks. Because, of course, we should always talk about what these things mean for we Yanks.

Brad Guzan (pictured) is the man in waiting around Villa Park goal. He’s also the presumed second man in U.S. goal, although Nick Rimando tends to get to more matches, somewhat as a matter of logistics.

Guzan, 27, toyed with the idea of moving away from Aston Villa this year. But management convinced him he would have a real chance to start for Villa, and that holding steady was the way to go.

Well here we are. Given looked shaky at best for Ireland at Euro 2012. Against that lesser stable backdrop we arrive at Saturday, when he was completely at fault on Everton’s second goal.

So … ?

Things are not going well for the Birmingham side. There’s noise about American owner Randy Lerner and the need for a little wallet opening and some quick, transfer window hocus pocus.

But the move manager Paul Lambert could make immediately, the one that might boost confidence and won’t cost a dime, is Guzan in goal for Given.

If it happens, the U.S. backstopping becomes that much stronger, because Guzan needs games at a high level.  Let’s watch close and see if it’s his time.

  1. schmutzdeck - Aug 25, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    As I recall, this was what everyone expected Given would be starting the year as number one and as soon as he had a rough patch, Guzan would come in for him and play until he hit a rough patch.

    That is what happens when you have two # 1 keepers. Except, Given is much older and makes a ton of money and if Guzan gets in there and takes the job, Given and his big time salary are gone in January.

    This is good for the USMNT as Howard needs the competition and Guzan is the keeper best situated to challenge him.

  2. Steve Davis - Aug 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Not sure I would say Howard needs the competition. He’s a real leader and quite well liked around the US team, and his practice habits stand as one of the big reasons. BUT …
    What happens if Howard gets hurt? The United States needs a backup who is playing regularly. Right now, I’d say Nick Rimando is No. 2; If Guzan gets regular starts, he could quickly be that guy.

  3. schmutzdeck - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Howard has played better lately but he had a bad 2010 World Cup and was in my view, shaky leading up to it.

    Howard’s biggest flaw has always been the occasional gaffe, which seemed to be due to what appeared to be a lack of concentration. I felt one reason for that was that Keller had left the scene and Guzan failed to mount a challenge, leaving Howard as an automatic choice.

    Others have cited a leaky defense but Howard is an integral part of that leaky defense, so he can’t get a pass just on those grounds.

    Since JK has been around, the change seems to have energized Timmy and he seems to have relished what looks like a larger leadership role. Regardless, he appears more focused and is playing better. I do not trust that this will continue unaided so injury concerns aside, I’d feel better if Guzan provided an actual challenge to him.

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