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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Aston Villa: Who would we miss more - Benteke or Guzan?


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It may sound like a strange question to ask but with rumours of a few clubs sniffing around Villa keeper Brad Guzan the thought of losing him briefly popped into the heads of a few Villa fans.

The shot-stopper has been in top form since Villa manager Paul Lambert took a huge leap of faith by dropping the experienced Shay Given and giving the American the number one spot last summer.

Guzan has gone from strength-to-strength and it’s perhaps a sad indictment on the Villa defence that we have conceded so many goals, yet the keeper has played so well.

Brad guzanEven against Tottenham at the weekend, where it has to be said Villa were simply beaten by a better side, he was in fine form. He got down at his near post to deny the in-form Andros Townsend and he couldn’t be blamed for the opener because the defence was nowhere to be seen when the cross came in – something Villa fans have sadly become accustomed to.

He’s continued where he left off last year and he appears to have started shouting at his defence more - and that back line needs a strong voice at times.

If Guzan ever left it really would leave a huge hole in the heart of Villa’s defence because he is one of the first names on the team sheet every week.

The fact he came out straight away when even a hint of interest was shown in him, declaring he was going nowhere, also speaks volumes for the player. It’s very rare for a player to be so committed to a club these days so his comments were a breath of fresh air.

Guzan also seems to be growing in confidence each game he plays and it can’t be long before he keeps his place in the USA first team.

Benteke is perhaps the complete opposite of Guzan, not just because he’s an out-and-out striker, but because he burst straight on the scene and cemented his place at the start of his Villa career.

Benteke on kneesIt seems strange he’s only been in the side for just over 12 months because it feels like he’s been Villa’s go to man for years.

When he came on against Spurs it lifted the whole ground – for a brief five minute burst anyway – but the difference he makes upfront is huge.

Once again though it shows how frustrating Villa have been at home already this season when, in desperation, sections of the home crowd began chanting his name after just 10 minutes.

That kind of reaction can make the other players feel completely inferior. Bringing him on on Sunday after 60-odd minutes seemed to make sense with him coming back from injury. But for him to come on against one of his summer suitors, Spurs, who had an interest in snapping him up during the close season, can’t have done much good for Villa’s chances of keeping hold of him.

The difference in quality between Villa and Tottenham was there for everyone to see because, although the home side gave it their all, the visitors' play in the final third was what really separated the sides.

Benteke doesn’t really create too many of his own chances but he’s one of the best at finishing through balls and crosses.

He must be wondering what it would be like to team up with Tottenham’s attacking line-up or another of the top teams.

Again, he showed a fair bit of respect to Villa for not jumping ship at the first opportunity and his value, much like his wages, has only gone up since the summer.

It would be great to be able to build a team around him but there is a dearth of quality at Villa Park these days, which is more down to finances than anything else.

But if we had to choose between Guzan or Benteke leaving it would be a difficult choice. Do you lose the most important man in a weak defence, or your side’s biggest goal threat?

The great managers always say who can’t win games unless you score goals so Benteke just about nicks it, which speaks volumes for how well thought of Guzan is at Villa Park.

Hopefully they can both rally the troops for the next home game against Everton because if we lose that as well, it’ll be four defeats in five Premier League home games, which would not be acceptable.

Article by James Fisher

Calling all Villa fans: If you had to lose either Benteke or Guzan, who would you let go and why? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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