Arsenal loanees Daniel Ballard and Mark McGuinness both kept helped their teams keep clean sheets this weekend, in very different circumstances.
Centre-backs Daniel Ballard and Mark McGuinness made the starting lineups for Blackpool and Ipswich Town this weekend, after a contrasting few months for the pair.
Ballard has made himself a guaranteed starter, making 12 starts in Blackpool’s last 15 games. They’ve had an excellent defensive record in that period, and the only three matches he missed were due to his international call-ups for Northern Ireland.
So it was no surprise to see him in against Sunderland, and they kept yet another clean sheet in a 1-0 win.
Ballard has helped Blackpool keep 10 clean sheets in his 20 appearances in League One this season, and he was nominated for their Man of the Match award on Saturday.
Meanwhile, McGuinness has had a much tougher time getting minutes lately. After his start against Northampton Town in mid-February, he dropped out of the squad, playing for the u23s or featuring on the bench without ever coming off it.
After 14 games without a single minute on the pitch, McGuinness got a chance to redeem himself on Saturday by starting against Charlton. He made it count with a clean sheet, though it was only enough for a 0-0 draw.
Whilst the build-up to the two individual performances couldn’t have been much different, the result this weekend was the same.
Ideally, they’ll both now get a run in their respective teams to the end of the season, but will they get a chance at Arsenal next season? They are certainly giving Mikel Arteta something to think about.