RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
The weather was the big winner in England this weekend as Landon Donovan made a promising debut for Everton with an assist while Jon-Paul Pittman scored a fine goal for Wycombe.
Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Tim Howard went the distance, and Donovan played the first sixty-eight minutes as the visitors were unlucky not to leave with a win from Emirates Stadium.
The Toffees scored in the 12th minute with a fine goal from midfielder Leon Osman. Louis Saha had a shot blocked by William Gallas, and from the resulting right wing corner kick from Donovan, the midfielder powered a header into the top left corner of the net from ten yards, despite a valiant effort from Neves Denilson to head the ball off the line.
Denilson equalized for the Gunners in the 28th minute with a shot that took a wicked deflection when Howard appeared to have it covered. Denilson blocked a clearance that fell to Andrey Arshavin, who fed Eduardo, and the forward's pass to the midfielder was struck with venom from twenty yards before being deflected into the bottom-right of the net.
In the 81st minute the visitors looked to have grabbed a late winner as Steven Pienaar scored. Arsenal had pushed up defensively to the halfway line, and Tim Cahill played the ball over the defense for the South African to run on to, and chip the ball over the advancing Manuel Almunia into the lower center of the goal from 19 yards.
The Merseysiders had two good chances to sew the game up, but Almunia made a fine save from James Vaughan, and Pienaar shot over the bar when clear.
Arsenal made them pay for the misses in the 92nd minute from Tomas Rosicky. Vassiriki Diaby received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, and beat two men before passing to the Czech winger, who scored from 15 yards when his shot deflected off Lucas Neill and looped over the helpless Howard into the top-center of the net.
Everton are 12th in the standings, and will host fifth ranked Manchester City next Saturday evening.
Leeds United 1-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Jon-Paul Pittman put in a man of the match performance as he played the full ninety minutes, and was a threat to the Hosts' defense all afternoon, while Mike Grella played only the last five minutes for the home team. The contest was played in a great spirit, and resulted in a fine end-to-end game with both teams capable of winning it.
Leeds are unbeaten at home in a year, and it was expected that they would have an easy win over a team struggling in the relegation zone, especially after a morale-boosting FA Cup win last weekend at Manchester United.
This feeling must have been further enhanced when Jonny Howson scored in the fourth minute. The young midfielder received the ball twenty-five yards out, slightly right of the goal, and hit a powerful drive low into the bottom-left corner.
The Chairboys had not read the script, however, and put in their best display of the season. In the eighth minute Pittman hit a shot that cannoned off the left post and bounced back into play before being cleared by the home defense.
The American's pace was clearly upsetting the Yorkshiremen, and he had another shot in the 30th minute of the game that was well saved by Casper Ankergren.
Wanderers got their reward in the 63rd minute as Pittman scored a beauty. A long pass from Scott Davies found the striker just to the left of goal five yards out, and he cut inside two defenders before firing past Ankergren into the bottom-right corner for his eighth goal in all competitions this season.
Wycombe remain in 23rd place in the standings, and will host thirrd raked Charlton Athletic next Saturday, meaning that they will have played all of the top three teams in the standings in successive weeks.
All other games involving American players fell foul of the weather.