Patrick Kinmartin does not shock me at all about Ireland.
Stephen Ireland is already again fading heavily in his role of propelling the attack as the front playmaker in midfield. The reasons, of course, could be complex, numerous and not all necessarily his doing.
But in the meantime, no matter how much collective improvement was shown against Swansea, a sturdy anchor/distributor gearing possession remains yet to be found. Below is a look at how Ireland’s involvement has dissipated in his three appearances so far.
@West Ham: 79
@West Ham: 3
@West Ham: 65
MAN OF STATURE
Brad Guzan is often a bit mistaken as a player due to his scrappy, hyper nature. However bullish, the emerging 28-year-old has come this far on a refined skill set that is the most valued among other keepers in his generation segment throughout North America.
Consider this: In the annual Major League Soccer draft, Guzan remains the highest-ever selected keeper since Chivas USA chose him No. 2 in the opening round of the event in 2005. Also, Guzan is still the second-youngest player in MLS history to win the Goalkeeper of the Year honor — only Everton star Tim Howard, who won the award six years prior at age 22 before coming to England, received that acclaim sooner in his career. Below is a look specifically how high Guzan ranks in both accounts.
Goalkeepers Selected in 1st Round
In Order Of Selection #
2 Brad Guzan, Chivas/California (2005)
3 Adin Brown, Colorado (2000)
4 Chris Seitz, Salt Lake (2007)
5 Zac McMath, Philadelphia (2011)
8 Josh Lambo, Dallas (2008)
10 Steve Cronin, San Jose (2004)
12 Dominic Servi, Chicago (2008)
MLS Goalkeeper of the Year
22 Tim Howard, New York/New Jersey (2001)
23 *Brad Guzan, Chivas/California (2007)
23 *Troy Perkins, Washington DC (2006)
25 Kevin Hartman, Los Angeles (1999)
25 Zach Thornton, Chicago (1998)
*Guzan was 2 months younger than Perkins’s winning age
In a first for Paul Lambert’s burgeoning reign, the starting unit has been unchanged now for two straight games. In that regard, the 1956-1957 campaign was an absolute anomaly to appreciate. The same starting group that season went unchanged in the opening nine matches.
Sims, Aldis, Hogg, Baxter, Dugdale, Saward, Smith, Sewell, Pace, Dixon, McParland — not even the slightest alteration or injury — from Aug. 18 until Sept. 22. In the Post-World War II era, only one other Villa team (1976-1977) has had an unchanged starting lineup for more than five straight games.
Below is a log of those nine games in 1956 that the same starters endured through together (and considering that the results were somewhat sheepish, no wonder noted Villa historian John Lerwill once hailed then-manager Eric Houghton as having “patience that would become legendary.”)
W 3-1 vCharlton
G: Dixon, Baxter, OG (O’Linn)
L 2-0 @West Brom
D 1-1 @Manchester City
D 0-0 vWest Brom
W 3-2 vBlackpool
G: McParland 2, Sewell
D 0-0 @Luton
W 4-0 @Everton
G: Sewell 2, Dixon, Smith
L 4-2 vTottenham
G: Pace, McParland
L 1-0 @Leeds
(On May 4, 1957 of the season, Villa defeated Manchester United 2-1 in the
FA Cup final)
—Patrick Kinmartin (PKtype@Gmail.com …. Facebook.com/TypePK)