Tuesday media watch [02.04.13 AM]: Young Lions hailed
Sky Sports: Brad Guzan claims Aston Villa are not overly concerned by their league standing, with there still all to play for. With just seven games of the season remaining, Villa find themselves inside the Premier League relegation zone. They are, however, only inside the bottom three on goal difference and still have fixtures against the likes of Stoke City, Sunderland, Norwich City and Wigan Athletic to come. Guzan is confident they can take enough points from those crucial games to preserve their top-flight status, with Villa's fate resting in their own hands.
ESPN: Aston Villa's U19s gave their flagging senior side a boost as they won the NextGen Series with a 2-0 win over Chelsea in Como on Monday. Chelsea dominated the first half of the contest at the Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia, but felt the force of their tiring 4-3 semi-final clash with Arsenal which went to extra-time, as the game wore on. Unable to break the deadlock before half-time, the Blues fell behind shortly after the break as Alex Davey fouled the impressive Callum Robinson in the box and Graham Burke slotted home the resulting penalty. Irish striker Burke then netted his seventh goal of the tournament, again from the spot, in the closing minutes to seal the title after Chelsea's Alex Kiwomya had been sent off for a second yellow card.
Guardian: Two second-half penalties for Aston Villa decided the destination of the NextGen Series trophy, the U19 European competition reaching its climax on the banks of Lake Como in Italy. Chelsea had a tough passage through the knockout stages, where they defeated Barcelona, Juventus and Arsenal, and in the first half especially they gave Villa plenty of problems with pacy attacking play. However chances were not taken and Villa, coached by the former Chelsea player Tony McAndrew, deserved credit for their resilience and the way they matched the London club in the second half.
Daily Mail: Two second-half penalties from Graham Burke saw Aston Villa crowned the best youth team in Europe in the final of the NextGen Series. The club's youngsters emulated the achievement of the senior side who won the European Cup in 1982, and for all the senior team's current travails in the Premier League, Tony McAndrew and his young stars offer real optimism for the future. They withheld a barrage of Chelsea pressure and struck back after the break. With Villa boss Paul Lambert in the crowd, Burke was composed from the penalty spot and scored his sixth and seventh goals of this season's tournament at either end of the second half. However, it was the winger Callum Robinson who truly shone and he coaxed Chelsea defender Alex Davey into a foul for the first spot-kick. Burke sent keeper Mitchell Beeney the wrong way and repeated the trick in the final minute
Goal.com: Two Graham Burke penalties proved enough for a disciplined Aston Villa to emerge victorious over Chelsea in an all-English final of the NextGen Series in Como. Burke calmly slotted in three minutes after half-time after Alex Davey had felled Callum Robinson, and added a second in injury time after Daniel Pappoe hauled down Josh Barton. Chelsea dominated possession in the match, but Villa were well worth a win founded on disciplined defending in numbers and clinical finishing from 12 yards. The result sees Villa become the first ever English NextGen champions, and might also provide a silver lining for the club's fans on a weekend which saw the senior side drop into the Premier League drop zone.
Daily Star: Even Brad Guzan's heroics haven't been able to stop Aston Villa getting an unenviable record. The keeper has been earning rave reviews despite struggling Villa going 20 matches without a clean sheet. The last time Guzan managed a shutout was in a home draw with Stoke in December. Villa go to Stoke on Saturday with Guzan hoping his defence can turn in a repeat display. And he remains confident Villa can pull clear of the drop zone.
Daily Mirror: In-form Brad Guzan insists he does not mind shipping goals as long as Aston Villa avoid relegation. American shot-stopper Guzan has been in outstanding form this season in the Premier League. He is a strong contender to be named keeper in the PFA team of the season after displacing Shay Given at Villa. But despite his brilliant saves and displays, Villa are yet to record a clean sheet in 20 matches.
The Sun: Brad Guzan insists Aston Villa will get out of the drop zone when it matters. Defeat to Liverpool on Easter Sunday means Villa now face another battle to get out of the bottom three, having already climbed clear of the relegation zone four times this season. And keeper Guzan said: "We know it has to be better. We know as players it wasn't good enough. "But we've shown before that we can bounce back. Regardless of whether we're in the bottom three, look at the table and see how tight it is. "There's a lot of football to be played and a lot of points to pick up."
Birmingham Mail: Brad Guzan admits Villa's standards slipped as their battle to secure their Premier League safety stalled against Liverpool. Successive wins for Wigan have also conspired to put the claret and blues back in trouble but Guzan reckons they only had themselves to blame at the weekend.
Daily Express: Goalkeeper Brad Guzan says Aston Villa must cut out the mistakes to beat the drop. Nathan Baker's poor tackle on Luis Suarez handed Liverpool their penalty winner in the 2-1 defeat on Sunday, the first time the Reds have come from behind to win a Premier League game this season. Guzan said: "We know as players it wasn't good enough. For 90 minutes you have to be able to put together a more solid performance."
Birmingham Mail: Villa have now failed to keep a clean sheet for 20 games - and Paul Lambert wants a shutout when their survival scrap stops off at Stoke this weekend. After watching Villa let in two goals in Sunday's defeat to Liverpool, Lambert was asked if the claret and blues need to keep more clean sheets. He replied: "Definitely. If you could win 1-0 with a clean sheet having played poorly, you'd take it. That would be great."
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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