U.S. striker Jozy Altidore helped Hull City pick up a vital three points on Saturday, scoring his first goal in 18 league appearances for the Tigers and sending them on their way to a 2-1 win over visiting Manchester City.
Here is Altidore’s goal, a great finish after excellent post-up work by Jan Venegoor of Hesselink:
George Boateng scored the other goal for Hull, a rocket from distance in the 54th minute. The win gives the Tigers 24 points and moves them into 14th place, out of the relegation zone for now.
The bottom of the table remains uncomfortably tight, though, as only four points separate 13th-place Sunderland from Wolverhampton and West Ham in 19th. Last-place Portsmouth was predictably thumped by Manchester United, 5-0, as Wayne Rooney scored his league-leading 21st goal of the season.
At Anfield, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher set the tone for Saturday’s Merseyside Derby in the first minute, thumping Everton’s Steven Pienaar with a full body check after the Toffees midfielder released the ball. There was no call on the play and the rest of the game was a physical, choppy affair, with several reckless challenges. In the 35th minute Liverpool defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos made a two-footed lunge at a 50-50 ball contested with Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who appeared to go studs-up over the ball himself. Fellaini left the game with an injury after the play and Kyrgiakos was shown red.
Despite the man advantage for 55 minutes, Everton could not break down Liverpool’s defense, and a Dirk Kuyt header off a corner kick nine minutes after halftime handed Liverpool three points—moving the Reds into the final Champions League spot ahead of Tottenham—and Everton its first loss in nine league games.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard and defender (and Roger Daltrey doppelganger) Phil Neville shared the blame in the goal for failing to close down Kuyt in the goalmouth.
American midfielder Landon Donovan started, went the distance and had a solid game, with two blazing runs down the right that troubled the Reds’ backline.
Bolton and Fulham played to a 0-0 draw at the Reebok. Wanderers captain Kevin Davies had a late goal disallowed, and Bolton had the better of the play against the Cottagers, who are missing seven players, including U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey. Yank winger Stuart Holden did not dress for Bolton.
Jonathan Spector and West Ham stand tied for 19th place with Marcus Hahnemann and Wolves after both teams fell by 2-1 scorelines, to Burnley and Birmingham City, respectively. Spector and Hahnemann both started and played the full 90. Hahnemann made four saves.
Is it too late to get keeper Brad Friedel to un-retire from international duty? The 38-year-old American almost singlehandedly preserved Aston Villa’s scoreless draw vs Spurs on Saturday, making five saves, two of which were excellent.
In the marquee match of the weekend, Chelsea defeated Arsenal 2-0 on goals by Didier Drogba in the seventh and 22nd minutes. The Blues were content to cede the bulk of possession to Arsenal and hit them on the counter, much as Manchester United did the week before. Arsenal now stands nine points back of leaders Chelsea and seven behind second-place Man U.
The weekend’s other games had Stoke City blanking Blackburn and former D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen 3-0, and Sunderland and Wigan playing to a 1-1 tie. Trinidad and Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones got the equalizer for Sunderland with a header in the 64th minute.