It was a busy week. Let’s dive right in:
Clint Dempsey started, played 90 minutes, and scored two goals in Fulham’s 2-0 win over Wigan on Saturday. Both goals were excellent, and the first one was set up by Carlos Salcido of Mexico. CONCACAF in the house!
Highlights below, in stylish black-and-white video shot by Martin Scorsese and scored by Quincy Jones:
Dempsey’s performance prompted ex-Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp to call the Texan the “best American to have played over here.”
Do you agree? The MLS website conducted a poll, and Kasey Keller is currently in the lead, by a wide margin.
We say if you counted outfield players only—since American keepers have owned the Premier League for decades now, as the Yorkshireman would no doubt agree—Dempsey might just be your winner.
Brian McBride and Landon Donovan would give him a run for the money, but Donovan’s sample size is too small, and Dempsey is still in his prime with a few years left to surpass McBride’s accomplishments, if he hasn’t already.
Fulham’s other Yank, Eddie Johnson did not dress for the Wigan game.
Stuart Holden started and went the full 90 in Bolton’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool at the Reebok on Sunday. He narrowly missed tucking in a cross at the back post in the second half.
Brad Friedel started, played 120 minutes and made six saves in Aston Villa’s 2-1 extra-time win over Burnley in the fourth round of the Carling Cup this past Wednesday. He also went the distance in Villa’s 0-0 derby draw with Birmingham City on Saturday.
Brad Guzan dressed for both Villa games but did not play.
Eric Lichaj started and played 120 minutes in the 2-1 win over Burnley, and dressed but did not play against Birmingham City.
Tim Howard started, played 90 minutes and picked up his fourth shutout of the year in Everton’s 1-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday—without making a single save.
Marcus Hahnemann dressed but did not play in Wolves’ 3-2 loss to Manchester United in the Carling Cup last Tuesday. He returned to the starting lineup for league play on Saturday, when Wolverhampton upset Manchester City 2-1. He made one save in that one.
Jonathan Spector, poor Jonathan Spector, appears to have fallen down a hole at West Ham. He did not dress for the Hammers’ 3-1 win over Stoke City in the Carling Cup fourth round on Wednesday, and was also in his civvies for West Ham’s tough 1-0 loss to Arsenal in league play on Saturday.
That was the eighth straight league game he’s missed. Can a brother get a loan deal?
You-blow-one-slow-roller-in-a-World-Cup-and-that’s-all-anyone-remembers keeper Robert Green, by the way, had an unbelievable game against Arsenal, standing on his head to keep the Gunners at bay until Alex Song’s stomach-punch winner in the 87th minute. Fabio Capello was in the crowd, too.
At the top of the table, Chelsea got a late header from Branislav Ivanovic to down feisty Blackburn 2-1, and Manchester United blanked Tottenham 2-0 after a controversial, farcical late goal by Nani.
The remaining two games of the week saw Blackpool down nine-man West Brom, 2-1, yesterday, and Newcastle crush Sunderland 5-1 in the Northeast (Tyneside? Tyne-Wear?) Derby on Sunday. Kevin Nolan scored three for the winners.
In other Yanks Abroad news, midfielders Maurice Edu and Sacha Kljestan both found the net for their clubs this past weekend.
Edu scored on an 18-yard volley in Rangers’ 1-1 draw with Inverness on Saturday.
Kljestan opened the scoring for Anderlecht in the Belgian side’s 2-1 win over Racing Genk on Sunday.
Finally, Jozy Altidore, after scoring in the Copa del Rey in midweek, made his first league appearance for Villareal in some time, playing 19 minutes in the Yellow Submarine’s 1-1 tie with Sporting Gijon on Sunday