U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann fought off a drive from eight yards out by Burnley’s Robbie Blake in the waning moments to preserve Wolverhampton’s 2-1 road win in a pivotal relegation tussle on Saturday. Hahnemann made several other saves, as the home side fired 12 shots on target but could not find an equalizer.
The win lifts Wolves out of the drop zone for now, putting them three points ahead of Burnley and Hull City, which lost to Arsenal 2-1 on Saturday and then lost its manager today, as the club announced it was relieving Phil Brown of coaching duties. Assistants Brian Horton and Steve Parkin will be in charge for next week’s game against last-place Portsmouth.
U.S. striker Jozy Altidore started and played a solid 82 minutes for the Tigers, who, despite losing midfielder George Boateng to a second yellow just before halftime, were level with Arsenal until stoppage time. That was when Gunners forward Nicklas Bendtner hit the winner that probably cost Brown his job, and ensured that Arsenal kept pace at the top of the table with Manchester United and Chelsea, both of which thumped teams with Americans on their rosters.
On Saturday, Chelsea got an early goal from it Brazilian defender Alex, saw West Ham’s Scott Parker tie it with a brilliant strike in the 29th minute, and then reeled off three unanswered to defeat the Hammers and U.S. defender Jonathan Spector, 4-1.
Didier Drogba scored two for Chelsea to run his season total to 21. Spector started and went the distance for West Ham.
Clint Dempsey returned to Premier League action for Fulham on Sunday, when the Cottagers paid a visit to Old Trafford to take on Man U and the scorching Wayne Rooney.
The England striker did not disappoint, unlocking a 0-0 game with a goal in the first minute of the second half. He added another in the 83rd, and Dimitar Berbatov made it 3-0 in the 88th. Rooney now has 25 league goals and 32 in all competitions.
Injured U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden watched his Bolton teammates pick up a huge three points in a 4-0 rout of Wigan—which puts them eight points clear of the relegation zone—while Brad Friedel backstopped Aston Villa in a 0-0 tie with Stoke City.
In other games, Tottenham beat Blackburn 3-1 to leap over Manchester City (which tied Sunderland 1-1) into fourth place and the final Champions League spot.
Liverpool also overtook Man City, ripping Portsmouth 4-1 today to claim fifth place. Man City has a game in hand on Spurs and two on Liverpool.