American Exports: Brad Guzan notches shutout as Aston Villa keep distance from EPL drop zone

Brad Guzan, US national team (March 26, 2013)

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USA TODAY Sports

AMSTERDAM – Aston Villa netminder Brad Guzan made sure nothing got past him on Saturday afternoon, snapping a four-game slide with a scoreless Premier League stalemate against visiting Southampton.

The former Chivas USA logged his ninth shutout, one away from double his EPL total from last season. Guzan registered two saves and four cross captures, with his most dazzling stop reserved for a point-blank denial of Steven Davis just past the half hour. The point gained kept Villa five points clear of the trap door, with a game in hand on both 18th and 19th place.

Around the league, Geoff Cameron pitched in with a solid two-way show at right back as Stoke City settled for a 1-1 spot-kick swap at Cardiff City.

Though burned once midway through the opening frame, Cameron rallied to enjoy a strong day on the ball while adding a team-high four pass interceptions. Tenth-place Stoke have lost just one of their last eight games.

Also, Brad Friedel watched from the home dugout as Tottenham moved to within four points of a Champions League slot by topping derby guests Fulham, 3-1.

One flight down in the Championship, Jonathan Spector worked a decent shift at right back in Birmingham City's 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.

With Will Packwood looking on from the Brums bench, Spector rang up a half dozen clearances and a pair of successful offside traps. Thanks to their ninth loss in 13 matches, Birmingham stayed only one point above the drop zone.

Over in the Bundesliga, John Anthony Brooks returned to the lineup with a positive performance in Hertha Berlin's 0-0 draw at Augsburg.

The youngster – who missed out last week because of training absences from a fresh tattoo – shared the team lead in both clearances and blocked shots as The Old Lady posted their first shutout in nine. Still winless in nine games, Hertha held firm in 10th place.

Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim saw their slim Europa league hopes dashed with a galling 3-1 loss at Werder Bremen.

The right back was unable to make much hay in attack, but picked off a game-best six passes and added four clearances. After missing an 86th-minute penalty shot at the equalizer, Hoffenheim leaked another goal in stoppage time to drop their first Bundesliga match in seven.