Hull Ties Wigan 2-2, Officially Relegated

With a deficit in goal difference of -23 to West Ham going into the match, Hull was effectively relegated before today’s meeting with Wigan, but now, it’s official: after a 2-2 draw with the Latics, the Tigers are going down.

Hull gave up a stoppage-time equalizer to Wigan’s Steve Gohouri, and now have no mathematical chance of catching West Ham.

U.S. striker Jozy Altidore was suspsended for the match, and according to some reports, has already been shipped back to Villareal (and fined for his actions last week against Sunderland).

A terrible ending to a mediocre season for Altidore. He scored just two goals in all competitions, and never nailed down a starting spot. On the other hand, the Tigers have been awful over all in 2010, and their forwards starved of decent service. The team has 34 goals this year, the same total as last-place Portsmouth.

Altidore will no doubt be eager to forget this season, get into camp with the U.S. national team, and look for redemption at South Africa 2010.

Altidore Goes Out with a Bang, then a Tweet

Jozy Altidore was red-carded in first-half stoppage time of Hull City’s game against Sunderland on Saturday. The 20-year-old U.S. striker head-butted Sunderland right back Alan Sutton after Sutton threw the ball at him following a scuffle for possession.

According to Sunderland coach Steve Bruce, the blow left Sutton with a broken nose, a chipped tooth and a cut above his eye. Sutton was also red-carded in the incident.

Needless to say, this was not the way Altidore wanted to go out in the Tigers’ biggest game of the year—they ended up losing 1-0 on a seventh-minute goal by Darren Bent and are now effectively relegated. To stay up, Hull City would need to not only win its last two games while West Ham loses its last two, but also somehow engineer a 23-goal swing in goal differential in the process.

In other words, the Tigers are done in the Premier League.

And after his performance, the on-loan Altidore may be done at Hull. On Sunday, he apologized via twitter; click here for the text.

He no doubt realizes he made a mistake and how much more costly it would have been if Sutton hadn’t also been sent off, but the incident casts doubts on his credentials as the top (healthy) striker in the U.S. national team pool. World Cup opponents will no doubt keep this incident in mind when they face Altidore in South Africa.

Hull City Failing to Churn Relegation Cream into Butter

You saw Catch Me if You Can, right? Click here for a refresher on the “two little mice” story. Gentlemen, as of this moment, Hull City is not that second mouse.

It’s not that they’ve quit, or haven’t struggled hard, but after yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa, the Tigers are thisclose to drowning—three points below safety with three games to play.

U.S. keeper Brad Friedel made four saves to get the shutout for Villa, while his fellow Yank, Hull striker Jozy Altidore, came on in the 55th minute for injured Name Hall of Famer Jan Venegoor of Hesselink.

Hull hosts Sunderland this Saturday, while Jonathan Spector and West Ham, who are three points above the Tigers in the standings, welcome Wigan Athletic, fresh from an incredible comeback that killed Arsenal’s title chances last week.

(The Latics were down 2-0 in the 80th minute, then ripped off three goals. Click here for the techno-highlights.)

The win over Hull bumped Aston Villa into sixth place, two points ahead of Liverpool and three points behind Tottenham in the final Champions League spot.

In the You May Have Heard category, Tottenham knocked off Chelsea 2-1 last week on goals by Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale (side note: ‘Gareth’ is to English soccer League what ‘Dale’ is to American stock-car racing; discuss amongst yourselves).

That result, combined with Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Man City earlier in the day, tightened things back up at the top of the table: Chelsea leads the Red Devils by one point with three games to play.

Paul Scholes hit the stoppage time winner for Man U in that one, then got a bit more than he bargained for in Gary Neville’s congratulations:

Not that there’s anything wrong with that….