Brad Guzan just had the season of a lifetime with Aston Villa, displacing incumbent veteran Shay Given early in the process and then proceeding to save the Villa bacon time and again, providing Paul Lambert’s young men some time to grow into their feet.
And then Guzan stacked more check marks beside the 2013 report card with a pair of inspiring performances in U.S. goal, both in potentially nervy World Cup qualifiers. How sure handed did the guy look against the white (and probably treacherous) backdrop of snow-covered DSG Park against Costa Rica? And a few days later down in Cauldron Azteca, didn’t Guzan strike you as a man who has been doing this for years and years?
Yawn. … Stretch. … Collect another shutout at Azteca. … “Hey, boys, where ya’ll want to eat tonight?”
So it set the wonder wheel to whirring, didn’t it? Would Jurgen Klinsmann think about a shift in the goalkeeping order? A “shift” that would fall under the “seismic” category, by the way, considering that Howard has been the program’s No. 1 since 2007.
As shifts go, that would be like moving the national team’s training base from sunny Southern California to Wichita, Kan. And yet we began to wonder. Hmmmm …
We are in a great position with our goalies. We are thrilled with Tim Howard and Brad Guzan and how they are doing with their clubs in the Premier League. I’ve said it many times: Tim Howard deserves to be in the top five in the world and Brad Guzan is catching up.”
Heading into his second stint in the Premier League, Burnley boss Sean Dyche said there is a different feeling this time around after a “business-like” season at Turf Moor.
The expectation rises from everyone, the money available to the club for its future – all of the things that it brings.
The mentality of the players has been firm all year. We were questioned heavily around Christmas, but I never blinked.
I knew what we were about, I knew the group we’d got, I knew the mentality and I knew we could go all the way.
Last time we were under the radar, it was a fairytale. This one was organized, it was business-like and it was well-fashioned from all involved, especially the players.
If Burnley was questioned at Christmas, they certainly had an answer. After losing to Hull City on Boxing Day, the Clarets have gone unbeaten in 22 matches to climb to the top of the Championship table.
Burnley’s campaign this season has been eerily similar to their last promotion to the PL after the 2013-14 season. If the Clarets win their final game next weekend, they will finish with an identical record from 2014 of 26-15-5, good for 93 points. Dyche’s next job will be keeping Burnley up, as they have been relegated after each of their previous three seasons in the top flight.
We know how they got here, but an interesting question is which moment will live in your memory when you’re reminded of Leicester’s run?
Game 5 — Dyer win Derby in stoppage
It had been a remarkable early season for Claudio Ranieri‘s troops when the Foxes came back from a 2-0 deficit against Midlands rivals Aston Villa, and substitute Nathan Dyer capped off the 3-2 win in style.
Game 14 — Vardy sets a Premier League record
Ruud van Nistelrooy taking a backseat to Jamie Vardy was unfathomable even a month beforehand, but Vardy’s goal gave him a Premier League record 11-straight matches with a goal (and all in one season). Not bad for the man deemed too old by a 2.Bundesliga team.
Game 25 — Blowout at the Etihad
Certainly many had this date circled as the beginning of a downturn for Leicester, but Riyad Mahrez dazzled while Robert Huth scored a pair of goals in a 3-1 ride past Manchester City on the road. It was on.
Game 27 — Ulloa starts earthquakes
Leicester looked destined to somehow find a draw from a dominant performance when Leonardo Ulloa lifted the Foxes to a late win over Norwich, causing mini earthquakes at the King Power Stadium.
Game 34 — Chaos at King Power
A game easily categorized in short, insane outbursts, or just the name Jon Moss
Vardy sent off for diving ?!? Penalty to West Ham for what?!? Penalty to Leicester for what?!?
LONDON (AP) The English Football Association has charged Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini and Leicester defender Robert Huth with violent conduct after they clashed during a Premier League game at the weekend.
Fellaini reacted to getting his hair pulled by Huth by appearing to strike the defender with his elbow as they jostled at a set-piece during the 1-1 draw between the teams on Sunday.