Loyalty to Brad Guzan or Given returns?

Loyalty to Brad Guzan or Given returns?

Alex McLeish will this week be given a difficult choice to make with Shay Given expected to return after his month on sidelines following his injury sustained during Manchester United’s 1-0 win against Aston Villa with a small hamstring tear.

Shay Given has, himself, targeted a return to first team action against Everton on Saturday too.

The big-frame of Brad Guzan has been on hand to step into Shay Given’s boots and to be fair he has done a good job between the sticks.  When Brad Guzan made his entrance at the Manchester United game it was his Premier League debut for Aston Villa at Villa Park since joining in 2008 for a fee believe to be in region of £600,000.  Villa found themselves 1-0 behind before Guzan substitute appearance but was only called upon a handful of times.

Brad Guzan made his full Premier League appearance away to Bolton the following game, ensuring Villa got the three points with a 2-1.

Brad Guzan has gone on to feature in games against Liverpool, Arsenal, Stoke City, Chelsea, Swansea and most recently in Aston Villa’s FA Cup trip to Bristol Rovers.

Guzan has been able to steer Aston Villa to a total of 7 points out of 21 with 2 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses in a congested December period. On Saturday Guzan displayed his penalty heroics again saving a penalty late on in the game at the Memorial Ground ensuring that Villa’s name was in hat for yesterday’s 4th round draw.

Brad has been starved of first team action since joining Aston Villa as their no.1 was Brad Friedel who was in full attendance for Aston Villa since joining from Blackburn. Friedel joined Tottenham Hotspur in the summer and Villa’s replacement was Shay Given.  Guzan featured in Aston Villa’s winning side in the Peace Cup in 2009 beating European Giants Juventus on penalties and Guzan saved the penalty from their legend; Alessandro Del Piero.

Brad  Guzan was out of loan in the second half of last season to Hull City to gain first team action.  Guzan who’s contract is due to expire in the summer has a big decision to make in regards to his future since the American joined Villa back in 2008. Guzan has featured just 30 times for Aston Villa but only made 6 first team appearances all of which have come this season as part of Given’s injury his appearances are via various cup competitions.

However Guzan did enter contract talks with Aston Villa in early December but seems there is a big decision for Guzan to make about wanting to be a reliable no.2 to Shay Given or does the American want to establish himself as a first team regular somewhere else.

So with Given set to be returning for the Everton game this therefore gives Villa boss Alex McLeish a headache he hasn’t been troubled with for sometime.  Although, Guzan’s stand-in record has not come out smelling of roses, Villa fans will need to remember that they have had a tough December facing Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd & Chelsea. All four teams are quality opposition and he has pulled of some amazing saves that Shay himself would have been proud of emulating.

So will Given walk back into the side or will McLeish show loyalty to the stand-in American Guzan?

Guzan’s record this season reads started 6 and substitute appearance 1 meaning that Guzan has been on the field in the Premier League for 592 minutes conceeding 8 goals with an average goal per game ratio of 1.3. Guzan has made his towering height an advantage standing at 6″4 frame his advantage enabling him to come out an get the ball from a high cross catches making 5 and getting 100% success rate.  Guzan has got a 44.5% goal kick accuracy percentage after attempting 59 goal kicks and has only been successful with 26 of these.

We’re going to leave you with a quick look at Given Vs Guzan from the Statistical Comparison area here at EPLIndex.com (well worth a subscription, subscribe now):

Given Vs Guzan

For us, Given wins the comparison statistically and his clean sheet ratio is much higher however Brad did have to face the tougher opposition during December. We’ll let you decide who you think should play, please do leave a comment about what you think!