Aston Villa boss Remi Garde singles out Brad Guzan for praise after Southampton draw

The 31-year-old goalkeeper's recent return to form continued with a strong display in Saturday's 1-1 draw at St Mary's.

Brad Guzan has endured plenty of criticism from Aston Villa fans for his shaky form in 2015, but after proving one of the bright spots of Remi Garde’s first four games in charge, the American goalkeeper looks to have won over his new manager.

Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton saw the 31-year-old help Villa survive an early onslaught with three crucial saves, and while he was fortunate to go unpunished for a misjudged punch in the first half, he was otherwise dominant on crosses and corners.

Speaking to the club’s official website after seeing Saints substitute Oriol Romeu’s 73rd-minute strike cancel out Joleon Lescott’s 44th-minute opener, Garde was full of praise for the US international and singled him out as one of the team’s top performers in recent weeks.

“He is very important - you're right to mention Brad,” said the Frenchman. “He made a very good save. He was helpful in the air because they had many crosses.

“When you're bottom of the league you have a lot to do. He did well today and I'm very pleased with that.”

 Vs Southampton SavesPunchesTotal Cross ClaimsCross Claim SuccessTotal Keeper SweepersAccurate Keeper SweepersBall RecoveriesGoal Kick AccuracyMins Played
Brad Guzan 3 1 5 100% 1 1 16 38% 90

Guzan, who joined Villa from Chivas USA in the summer of 2008, earned a reputation as one of the Premier League’s elite keepers after helping save the club from relegation in Paul Lambert’s first two seasons in charge with his shot-stopping heroics, but a stark decline in form over the course of last term has led to questions about his long-term future in the Midlands.

After losing his place to now Stoke City no. 2 Shay Given during the 2014-15 run-in, there were suggestions that the Chicago native would be shipped out over the summer [h/t The Mirror], and while he was back in the line-up for the start of the new campaign, recent reports have linked the club with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain's Salvatore Sirigu [h/t France Football].

Whether his performances under Garde have changed things remains to be seen, but having also impressed for the US national team since the summer’s Gold Cup, there is reason to believe that we could be witnessing the return of the pre-2015 Guzan.

Fans would certainly love to see him reproduce the displays that earned him Villa’s 2012-13 Player of the Year award amid their current relegation battle, and with a home game against Arsenal coming up next weekend, that would be a great place to start.

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