Landon Donovan played what was most likely his last game at Goodison Park yesterday, and the American midfielder gave the home fans something to remember him by, coming off the bench with 20 minutes left and bagging a goal and an assist to complete Everton’s 5-1 demolition of Hull City. Mikel Arteta scored twice for Everton in the rout.
The Tigers’ yank striker, Jozy Altidore, entered the game in the 62nd minute but could do little to stem the tide of blue. The loss leaves Hull in the relegation zone with 24 points.
Barring a last-minute deal between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Everton, or a work stoppage in Major League Soccer, Donovan will conclude his loan spell with the Toffees following next week’s game at Birmingham City.
After narrowly missing a chance to tie first-place Manchester United on Saturday, Wolverhampton and its American keeper Marcus Hahnemann are, like Hull City, stuck on 24 points and in the drop zone.
Man U, which was playing without superstar Wayne Rooney (he aggravated a knee injury during England’s midweek friendly with Egypt), got a goal from Paul Scholes in the 72nd minute—his 100th alltime for the club. Wolves substitute striker Sam Vokes had a great opportunity to equalize in stoppage time, but he sent his effort over the bar from six yards out, and Wolverhampton fell 1-0. The result put Man U two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, though the Blues have a game in hand.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mick McCarthy, on Red Devils manager Alex Ferguson’s contention that Man U deserved the three points:
“I think some people were watching through rose-tinted spectacles. He thought United deserved to win? That is great propaganda.”
Maybe so, but Wolves have ten games to battle their way out of the relegation zone, and it will take more than counter-propaganda to get them there.
Bolton inched further away from the drop by downing West Ham 2-1 in a lively game at Boleyn Ground. Wanderers scored twice in the first 16 minutes, then held on with ten men after Tamir Cohen got a second yellow. The Hammers pulled one back in the 88th minute but couldn’t tie it. U.S. defender Jonathan Spector started and went the distance for West Ham. Bolton’s U.S. winger, Stuart Holden, is out for six weeks with a leg fracture.
In the weekend’s only other game, Arsenal dispatched Burnley 3-1, with Cesc Fabregas (who later left with hamstring stiffness) opening the scoring in the 34th minute after a fantastic chip over the backline from Nasri. Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin also scored for the Gunners, who are tied with Chelsea in second place with 61 points, but have played one more game than Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
Week 31 continues today with Wigan Athletic hosting Liverpool. There are also two games tomorrow (Portsmouth v Birmingham City, Sunderland v Bolton) and one on Wednesday (Burnley v Stoke City).