ANDREW VORCE - Wednesday, February 10, 2010
After failing to score against 10 man Liverpool, Landon Donovan and Tim Howard atoned against league leaders Chelsea while Brad Friedel helped Aston Villa split the points with Manchester United.
Everton 2 - 1 Chelsea
Landon Donovan played with fire and creativity at times in a stiff test against league leaders Chelsea at Goodison Park as the Toffees downed the Blues.
Both Donovan and goalkeeper Tim Howard were slotted in the starting 11 by head coach David Moyes and ecah went the distance in the thrilling victory.
Chelsea started the game off by dominating possession. Flortent Malouda capitalized in the 17th minute with a powerful left footed one touch shot that Howard had no chance to stop.
Playing from behind, Everton turned up the aggression and earned a corner in the 33rd minute. Donovan took the chance to find Louis Saha for an equalizing header.
After the goal, Everton continued to apply pressure as Donovan seemed to be all over the field, looking to create chances with Saha and getting back to defend as well. Their frantic efforts were rewarded as Donovan was brought down by Ricardo Carvalho in the box in the 45th.
Saha took the penalty, but Peter Cech deflected his left footed try to the bottom right corner.
The Frenchman was able to shake off the missed penalty and still give his team the lead with a goal in the 75th minute.
Saha managed to beat a shaky John Terry in taking a diagonal ball from midfield. He took a touch to get in the box and scored with a blast back across his body.
Didier Drogba nearly leveled the score from a corner three minutes later only to see Howard watch the striker's header bounce over the crossbar.
Chelsea applied constant pressure the rest of the way, but with Everton putting 11 men behind the ball, the hosts were able to withstand the onslaught.
Donovan picked up a yellow card in the 64th minute but drew a card from a frustrated Malouda in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Aston Villa 1 - 1 Manchester United
Brad Friedel was again the savior of Aston Villa as 10 man United failed to get past the American shot stopper.
Aston Villa got the ball rolling in the 19th minute when Manchester United failed to clear their lines after a corner kick. Rafal's wayward clearance went as far as Carlos Cuellar, who redirected the ball with a looping header over Edwin van der Sar and into the back post.
A flourishing attack saw Manchester United get back in it with a string of passes ending at the feet of Luis Nani. The Portuguese winger crossed from the right flank to pick out Ryan Giggs, who's first time volley came off the knee of James Collins and into his own net.
A spirited evening saw Fridel make many saves after Nani was sent off in the 29th minute for a lunging tackle on Stiliyan Petrov. Jonny Evans was the only other player to pick up a yellow card, as Fridel and company look towards the FA Cup when Villa travels to Crystal Palace.
West Ham 2 - 0 Birmingham
Jonathan Spector was brought in just after the beginning of the second half as West Ham got a vital home win at Upton Park.
On the stroke of half time Alessandro Diamanti gave the Hammeres the all-important lead before half time. Scott Parker was brought down by Scott Dann, and Diamanti sent in a curling free kick to give West Ham the lead.
In the 67th minute Julien Faubert picked out by Carlton Cole to give West Ham the breathing space. After the cross came in, Cole made an ancrobatic diving header that went off the far post and in.
Matthew Upson was booked for the Hammers, as Lee Bowyer and Scott Dann were booked for Birmingham. Up next for West Ham is a home test against Hull.
Wolverhampton 1 - 0 Tottenham
Marcus Hahnemann made three saves in a clean sheet in Molineux Stadium.
Matthew Jarvis's cross found David Jones in the 25th minute for a left-footed strike that would prove to be the difference maker.
Wolves are now above the relegation zone while Harry Redknapp's team has hurt their top four aspirations with just one win over the last six matches.
Blackburn 1 - 0 Hull City
Jozy Altidore and Hull could not sustain their weekend momentum and fell on Wednesday evening to Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
Altidore started at forward and went the distance for head coach Phil Brown in an overall lackluster effort by the Tigers.
The US international was also shown a yellow card in the early part of the second half for not clearing enough distance between himself and the ball prior to a Blackburn free kick.
Replayed showed that the New Jersey native was in fact more than ten yards apart, but was cautioned nonetheless by the referee.
Martin Olsson scored the game's lone goal in the 17th minute when he charged down the left side and managed to squeeze shot into the goal right before crossing the end line.
The defeat leaves Hull mired in 17th place with 24 points as Altidore and company are off until next Saturday February 20th when they travel to West Ham.
Watford 2 - 0 Bristol City
Jay DeMerit had a helping hand in finding Watford two first half goals to secure all three points at home to Bristol City.
Adrian Mariappa did well to get past Alvaro Saborio to pick out on loan Queens Park Rangers Heidar Helguson inside the area. Helguson was able to find space from the Robins defense and send a downward header beyond Dean Gerken in the 14th.
DeMerit then drew the foul in the 34th minute that gave Watford the space they needed to ride out the rest of the game. Saborio was again the culprit as he brought down the American, and Henri Lansbury picked out Martin Taylor with a quickly taken free kick. Taylor wasted no time, muscling out Lewin Nyatanga before sending his volley home.
Marvin Elliott, Liam Fontaine, Nyatanga, Saborio, and Cole Skuse saw all Bristol players booked in the affair. Up next for Watford, a trip to Queens Park Rangers.
Reading 2 - 1 Plymouth
Kenny Cooper was a second half substitution just after the break as Plymouth were once again undone at the death to let points slip away to Reading.
Cooper came on in the 45th minute for Rory Fallon, but it was Reading who drew first blood. Shane Long was the first to react to a free ball in midfield, and sped past Kari Arnason to get into a beneficial shooting angle to smash bast David Stockdale into the corner in the 51st.
Cooper had a helping hand in drawing Plymouth level, but his shot from close range was deflected by the goalkeeper and Carl Fletcher was on hand to tuck in the rebound in the 68th.
The game was put to rest in the dying seconds when Chris Clark knocked down Hal Robson-Kanu, allowing Long to step up and send home the second of the night from the spot.
Clarke and Craig Noone were the only players booked both for Plymouth. Up next for Cooper is a trip to Barnsley.
Stuart Holden did not dress when Bolton Wanderers lost 2-0 at Manchester City.
Clint Dempsey is out injured as Fulham won 3-0 at home to Burnley.
Frank Simek was dropped to the bench in Sheffield Wednesday's 2-1 win at Blackpool.
Seb Harris did not take part in Northampton Town's 4-0 win over Accrington Stanley.