RECAP: MIDWEEK ENGLISH ACTION
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ANDREW VORCE - Thursday, February 3, 2011
Clint Dempsey and Stuart Holden's teams each got big results at home during the midweek while the American goalkeepers let in five goals in Premier League action.

Arsenal 2 - 1 Everton

Tim Howard and Everton were unable to hold on to a first half lead as Arsenal out gunned their opponents.

Louis Saha opened the scoring for Everton after Seamus Coleman's pass was deflected on to the striker by Laurent Koscielny. Saha would have been in an offsides position had the Arsenal man not touched the ball but the forward wasted little time in dispatching his shot home after 24 minutes.

Cesc Fabregas provided a lovely ball over the top to Andrey Arshavin who had only just come on as a sub. Jack Rodwell's header only helped the front man who volleyed past Howard from close range in the 70th minute.

Arsenal never took their foot off of the gas after that, scoring the game winner just minutes later. Robin van Persie's corner was met by Koscielny who snapped his header past Howard towards the back post in the 75th minute.

Mikel Arteta, Sylvain Distin, Howard, Leon Osman, and Rodwell were all booked for Everton while Jack Wilshere joined Tomas Rosicky and van Persie in the book. Up next for Everton is a home game against Blackpool.

Manchester United 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Brad Friedel and Aston Villa were immediately on the back foot at Old Trafford after a lightning-quick start from Manchester United.

Michael Bradley was not selected to dress for Aston Villa who gave up a goal just 50 seconds in. Edwin van der Sar launched a perfect long ball forward to Wayne Rooney who showed a master touch to settle the ball into space in front of him. Without breaking stride, the United frontman unleashed a rocket volley that left Friedel with no chance for a save.

Luis Nani was denied a penalty after being smashed off of the ball in the penalty area, but the winger kept his composure to deliver a sublime pass at the end of the first half to give Rooney his second on the night.

Riding a challenge from Villa, Nani got back to his feet to send in a curling cross field pass that Rooney met with pin point accuracy to send the home team in to half time with a two goal lead.

Darren Bent continued his goal scoring displays for his new club on a poor effot by the Manchester United back line. Stewart Downing kept his composure after beating his marker and picked out Bent who was miles ahead of John O'Shea to tap home in the 58th minute.

United's third came from one of the most unlikeliest of sources, the feet of Nemanja Vidic. The defender cushioned his header towards Rooney whose back was to goal. The striker laid the ball back to his captain who took no chance before curling in United's third of the evening just five minutes later.

No cards were issued in the game as Bradley will look to play against his compatriots when Fulham come to Villa Park.

Blackburn 0 - 1 Tottenham

Jermaine Jones and Blackburn were left to rue their home loss to Tottenham after failing to convert on multiple chances.

Peter Crouch only needed one chance to put Tottenham ahead and it came in the third minute. Using his height to his advantage the England international leapt over his defender to head home from inside the six yard box over the head of Christopher Samba.

Tottenham defended for their lives with Heurelho Gomes being forced into multiple saves to keep Tottenham's slender lead alive. Jones and Steven N'Zonzi were booked for Blackburn while Vedran Corluka was booked for Tottenham.

Up next for Rovers is an away trip to Wigan.

Bolton 1 - 0 Wolverhampton

Stuart Holden's Bolton were ruthless when Marcus Hahnemann's Wolves finally made a mistake.

Ronald Zubar decided to pass back to his keeper Wayne Hennessey when under pressure with little time to go, but it was all on-loan Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge needed. Sensing the back pass was on, the second half substitute rushed past the stagnant back four to tuck the intercepted pass past Hennessey for the game winner.

Paul Robinson was the only Bolton player booked while Zubar was joined in the book by Karl Henry and Richard Stearman. Wolves and company have a difficult game against Manchester United on Saturday ahead while Bolton travel to Tottenham.

Fulham 1 - 0 Newcastle

Clint Dempsey and Fulham were able to pick up a major three points at home when a newly-depleted Newcastle came to town.

Having just lost star striker Andy Carrol to Liverpool in a smash and grab January transfer, Newcastle took the field searching for a new identity.

In the end, it was a former Newcastle player who proved the difference as Damien Duff scored the 67th minute game winner. A big ball over the top fell kindly to the front man who tucked away from close range past Steve Harper.

No Fulham player was booked as Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan, and Danny Simpson were all booked for Newcastle. Dempsey and company will look to continue their winning ways at Villa Park against Aston Villa.

Notes:

Jonathan Spector was not included in the West Ham squad who won 3-1 at Blackpool.
FajkusRules
Friday February 4, 2011 9:02 am
Louis Saha was definitely offside -- the referee's assistant who allowed that play to continue made a mistake. Defensive players who block, deflect or otherwise touch balls originally played by an opponent do not "wipe out" the offside status of other opponents. The key aspect of that play is, was Saha offside at the moment his teammate played the ball forward to him? Only if the defender takes clear possession of the ball and has a chance to dribble or play the ball to a teammate would you possibly ignore the offside position of the attacker.
Ed C.
Thursday February 3, 2011 10:50 am
Mr Vorce - your analysis of the Everton goal is inaccurate. The fact that Koscielny touched the ball is irrelevant. Saha was in an offsides position and the flag should have gone up. He was off by a mile! The only way the Arsenal defenders touch should have been allowed to be played would have been if it was a back-pass. It was obvious to everybody, even David Moyes, that it wasn't a back-pass and should not have been allowed. Even Saha was shocked that it counted.
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