Yanks in England: Midweek Review-Preview

Heh heh heh. He said 'Zhirkov.'

Injured U.S. winger Stuart Holden could only watch as his Bolton teammates dropped a close one to league-leaders Chelsea yesterday at Stamford Bridge, falling 1-0 on a 43rd-minute goal by Nicolas Anelka.

But Holden must have been impressed by the effort of relegation-battling Wanderers, who put up a good fight and nearly tied it at the end, when substitute Johan Elmander just missed with a header after a cross from Matthew Taylor.

Chelsea endured two injury scares in the game, as center back John Terry hurt his ankle in a collision with Taylor seven minutes in, and defender Yuri Zhirkov—the Beavis and Butthead in us always gets a laugh when English commentators say that guy’s name—took a knock to the head in the 18th minute.

Zhirkov bled through his bandages and had to go get stitched up in the 39th, but both he and Terry finished the game.

The victory puts Chelsea four points up on second-place Manchester United with four games to play. Bolton is five points clear of relegation.

There are three games today, starting with a matchup of American keepers at Villa Park, where Tim Howard and Everton will take on Brad Friedel and Aston Villa. Everton is in eighth place and Villa seventh.

Today’s other tilts feature relegation-threatened Wigan hosting last-place Portsmouth, and a huge North London derby between third-place Arsenal and fifth-place Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Be sure to check Arsenal attacker Andrey Arshavin’s one-of-a-kind blog—which The Spoiler calls the “greatest football blog going”—for pre- and postgame thoughts…. And also to read the Russian’s answers to “the questions of his site visitors about his favorite chocolate, about abs, about national identity, about jealousy, about girls’ pigtails … about loneliness, about Rasputin, and about a lot of other things….

Arshavin: "Fast as a lightning," enjoys bears.

Sample exchange:

AndyBafc: Andrey, are you frightened of bears?

AA: On the contrary, I like bears.

We have nothing to add—go check out the site.

Today’s U.S. TV Schedule (all times EST)

Wigan v Portsmouth, 2:30, Fox Soccer Channel

Aston Villa v Everton, 2:40, Fox Soccer Plus

Tottenham v Arsenal, 3:00, ESPN2

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