Eddie Johnson—remember him? —made his first Premier League appearance for Fulham in nearly 11 months, coming on for fellow Yank Clint Dempsey in the 82nd minute of Fulham’s 2-1 win over Wolverhampton and U.S. keeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Fulham dominated the early stages, yet went down 1-0 on a goal by Jean Claude Jelle van Damme in the 10th minute. They tied it just after halftime on a goal by new signing Moussa Dembele of Belgium, who went on to win it in stoppage time with a rocket of a free kick.
The Cottagers will need Dembele (and Dempsey, and probably Johnson) to step up, as they lost England international Bobby Zamora to a broken leg after a challenge by Wolves midfielder Karl Henry in the 28th minute. Zamora will miss at least four months.
The game was a chippy affair over all, with nine yellow cards shown, along with one red, to Wolves’ Christophe Berra in the last minutes.
In North London, American Stuart Holden again got the start in central midfield and went the distance for Bolton but, after hanging tough for an hour, Wanderers lost defender Gary Cahill to a red card and were overwhelmed 4-1 by Arsenal.
Tim Howard and Everton hosted the U.S. keeper’s old team, Manchester United, and staged an electrifying comeback to gain a 3-3 tie. Trailing 3-1 as stoppage time began, the Toffees got goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta in the dying minutes to snatch a point.
They were on the attack again when the referee blew the final whistle—literally, as Everton charged upfield—moments after Arteta’s goal. Everton coach David Moyes was not pleased with that, but he will, of course, take the point.
Howard made a circus kick save off a deflected Paul Scholes tracer from distance in the first half.
Chelsea removed most of the drama from its encounter with former coach Avram Grant and last-place West Ham just two minutes in, when Michael Essien buried a cross from Didier Drogba.
Salomon Kalou doubled the margin in the 17th minute, and Essien struck again in the 83rd.
The Hammers’ ever reliable midfielder Scott Parker pulled one back for the home team—and became the first player to score against Chelsea in four games this year (that’s 17 for, 1 against for the Blues)—in the 84th, but it was too little too late.
Jonathan Spector did not dress for West Ham, which is pointless on the season and has given up 12 goals in four games.
In non-U.S.-related games, plucky Blackpool climbed to fourth in the table with a 2-0 win over fellow promotion team Newcastle, prompting the first entry in the Ian Holloway campaign for quote of the season:
“I am more than delighted with that. If there was a better word than delighted, I would like to think about it now and say it. I might make my own up—‘phantasmagorical,’ whatever. If you think about the end of last season, the trouncing we got here, if you look at how short a period of time it is, if you look at the quality they have got, I am absolutely delighted. My boys get stronger and better all the time and I have got to be careful that I don’t burst with pride about them.”
It may not be the winner, but it’s a solid start.
Blackburn and MLS alum Ryan Nelsen tied big-spending Manchester City on the road, 1-1, but Nelsen had to leave the game just before halftime after a rough challenge left him dinged up.
West Brom held visiting Tottenham to a 1-1 draw, and nearly won the game with three clear chances in the final 10 minutes.
Sunderland traveled to Wigan and got a goal from a player familiar to U.S. fans, one Asamoah Gyan, aka “Baby Jet,” who was making his debut for the Black Cats. The goal did not stand up, though, as Antolin Alcaraz headed in an 86th minute equalizer and the teams split the points.
Finally, Liverpool reflected the malaise at the club in the wake of its American owners’ debt woes, turning in a lackluster performance in a 0-0 road draw with Birmingham.
As the league site put it, “Liverpool were indebted to a superb display from goalkeeper Jose Reina for earning a point from a goalless draw with Birmingham City.”
See what they did there? Indebted? Cheeky. From the official website, no less. We doubt NFL.com would ever do something like that.
Birmingham dominated the game and blew three solid chances, as well as an opportunity to tie Man U in third place in the standings. They’re currently in fifth.
U.S. keepers Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan, along with young American defender Eric Lichaj, travel to Britannia Stadium with Aston Villa to take on Stoke City today.