Gazza back in firing line

Daily Echo: Paulo Gazzaniga Paulo Gazzaniga

Paulo Gazzaniga will no doubt experience a taste of deja vu tonight as he again makes his first league start of a season at home to Aston Villa.

The 21-year-old Argentine makes his first Premier League start of the season due to injuries to Artur Boruc and Kelvin Davis.

Gazzaniga replaced Boruc during last Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Chelsea, being beaten inside four minutes of coming on by John Terry and then conceding again late on to Demba Ba.

That match was Gazzaniga’s first league appearance since early December 2012 when he played in Saints’ 1-0 loss at Anfield.

That was his ninth and last Premier League outing of his debut season at St Mary’s, during which he only conceded 12 goals.

Nigel Adkins had handed the youngster his league debut at home to Villa in September 2012.

With Saints having lost their first four league games, conceding 14 goals in the process, Adkins made a brave decision in dropping veteran Davis in favour of someone who had only previously appeared for Gillingham in the fourth division.

Gazzaniga promptly helped Saints beat Villa 4-1 before also featuring in a 3-1 loss at Everton and 2-2 home draw with Fulham.

Dropped after that game, Gazzaniga was back in goal a few weeks later against West Bromwich Albion after Boruc had been left out as Saints conducted an internal investigation into an alleged bottle throwing incident at home to Tottenham.

Gazzaniga played in the next six league games, with mixed results.

He committed a costly error in the 1-1 home draw with Swansea, a poor pass out of goal beingmiscontrolled by Maya Yoshida and allowing ex-Saint Nathan Dyer to score.

A week later, at QPR, the keeper came for a cross he was never going to get and Junior Hoilett nodded in.

Gazzaniga’s biggest error, though, was against Norwich in another 1-1 home draw when he allowed a Robert Snodgrass free-kick to get past him.

Afterwards, Adkins - a former keeper himself - defended his player.

“He made a mistake ... but Paulo is great because he is only 20 and he's been big enough to stand up and say ‘yeah, I messed up there’, but it hasn’t fazed him and that is the important thing. “He has a growing confidence about himself and that's an important thing for us.”

Gazzaniga kept his place for the following game at Liverpool, but had not played again prior to last Sunday’s dramatic re-introduction in front of the live Sky cameras.

Comments (1)

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12:21pm Wed 4 Dec 13

OSPREYSAINT says...

I, 4 - 1 would like a repeat, but that's wishful thinking!
I, 4 - 1 would like a repeat, but that's wishful thinking! OSPREYSAINT

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