RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Tim Howard and Landon Donovan pushed Everton to a vital win over Manchester United while Brad Friedel and Aston Villa proved to be a different class as they thumped Burnley in a second half shoot out.
Everton 3 - 1 Manchester United
Tim Howard and Landonon Donovan were on hand to witness Everton claim a massive three points when high flying Manchester United came to Goodison Park.
Things seemed to be going to plan for Manchester United when Dimitar Berbatov wasted no time smashing the visitors to a 16th minute lead. The Bulgarian was left unmarked on the penalty mark, and given time to take a touch to tee himself up before smashing off the underside of the bar.
Just three minutes later Everton proved they still had fight, with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov doing Berbatov one better. The United defense failed to close down the approaching Russian who unleashed an absolute rocket that left veteran goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar cemented in place.
Donovan was a handful for the United back line during spells of the game, and proved the difference in the 76th minute. The American showed flair to mask his pass to the overlapping Steven Pienaar, and the South African did the rest with a rocket cross. Louis Saha was unable to get on the end, but second half substitute Dan Gosling was given the space at the penalty spot to smash past United for the game winner.
With the game moments from the final whistle, David Moyes looked to kill the clock by putting on Jack Rodwell. With virtually his first touch the youngster spurred straight for Johnny Evans who was caught out. The substitute wasted little time before smashing past van der Sar to end the game in style.
Rodwell was booked for taking off his shirt after scoring, joining Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Pienaar, and Saha in the book. Darren Fletcher was the only United player booked, as Everton travel to Sporting in the Europa League on Thursday.
West Ham 3 - 0 Hull City
Jonathan Spector played the full 90 minutes as Jozy Altidore was stuck on in the 64th minute when West Ham fully capitalized on 10-man Hull City.
Valon Behrami got West Ham off to a dream start snatching the opener in the third minute. The midfielder received the ball back off of a Hull City defender and the Swiss' slid home his first goal of the season.
Craig Fagan would prove to be the difference in the feisty encounter, with the forward picking up his second yellow in the 52nd. Already booked, Fagan tugged on Alessandro Diamanti's shirt provoking his second booking.
Julian Fabert sent Carlton Cole racing through after his inch perfect pass beat the Tigers back line. Vying for a place in South Africa, the English international looked to dispatch his shot with ease past Boaz Myhill.
Hulls situation was made impossible when Anthony Gardner fell awkwardly and had to be stretchered off. With Hull already using their three substitutes, they were forced to play with nine men. West Ham added a third when Faubert opened his Premier League scoring account, having the time and space to send a rocket into the top corner.
Scott Parker was the only other player booked in the game, as West Ham take on Manchester United on Tuesday. Up next for Hull, another away game against Everton next weekend.
Wolverhampton 0 - 2 Chelsea
Marcus Hahnemann played second fiddle to Petr Cech as Chelsea proved to be cut from a different cloth when the League leaders came to Molineux.
Yuri Zhirkov, playing as a make-shift left back for injured Ashley Cole, proved to be the difference five minutes from half time. The defender linked up with Ballack on a one-two, who then squared to Didier Drogba on the six yard box for an absolute tap in.
Cech then beat the entire Wolves squad with a long ball forward after picking out Drogba. Hahnemann was caught in no mans land, and Drogba did the rest with two touches before smashing home his volley to put a nail in the coffin in the 67th.
Ballack was the only player booked in the game, and Hahnemann and compnay next face Bolton next Saturday.
Aston Villa 5 - 2 Burnley
Brad Friedel was against at the helm as Aston Villa came from behind to deliver a 5-2 thumping to the visiting Burnley.
Stephen Fletcher got Burnley off to a dream start as he lost his marker at the back post. Clever ball work saw a squared ball across the six yard box beat the outstretched Friedel, and Fletcher was on hand to tap home at the back post virtually unmarked.
Ashley Young then skipped around the 18 yard box before sending in a cross that missed everyone but the back of the net. Aston Villa worked a short corner that released Young to the corner of the area, and his cross missed nearly seven players before bouncing into the back of the net in the 32nd.
Stewart Downing gave Villa a firm grip on the game as a quickfire double daw the midfielder open his League goal scoring account in the 56th. Young dribbled down the left with four defenders trailing him, and his square pass found Downing in the middle of the area. With the defenders quickly closing down, the midfielder still had it all to do, his low shot beating the keeper at a difficult angle to the back post.
He had his second just two minutes later after collecting the ball on the right edge of the area. After easily spinning off a defender, Downing took his time before rocketing a past that took a slight deflection before giving Villa the firm lead they had been looking for.
Gabriel Agbonlahor used his blistering pace to get free down the right flank, and squared up international hopeful Emile Heskey on the penalty spot. Heskey let the ball roll across his body before side footing it into the far post. Agbonlahor got his own goal in the 68th as Milner smashed a cross along the goal line and the front man was never going to miss from a yard out.
Mattin Paterson got a consolation goal in the dying minutes as the Villa defense turned off. A one two split the back line open, and Crok's delightful ball fell invitingly to Martin Paterson to slot home at the back post.
The cards were all one way as Clarke Carlisle, Fletcher, and Frederic Nimani were all booked for Burnley. Up next for Villa, their FA Cup replay at home to Crystal Palace.
Sheffield Wednesday 0 - 1 Ipswich
Frank Simek was a 90 minute man but saw Ipswich claim a smash and grab job at Hillsborough on Saturday morning.
Marcus Tudgay hit the post in his last game, and was denied the equalizer for Wednesday by the woodwork. Damien Delaney hit the crossbar in the second half, but it was Carlos Edwards' first goal for Ipswich which proved the difference.
The Owls back line were unable to defend against the agressive midfielder's runs, and it took him just 15 minutes before he justified Roy Keane's decision to recall him to the team. Cutting in from the right, Edwards riffled past Lee Grant and into the right hand corner.
No cards were given in the match and Wednesday have a week to prepare for the trip to The Madejski Stadium to take on Reading.
Scunthorpe 2 - 2 Watford
Jay DeMerit the culprit in a game that saw 10 man Watford lose their slender lead just moments before the final whistle at Glanford Park.
Gary Hooper was the Iron's hero, and got the scoring started just three minutes before half time. Scunthorpe had failed to get into the game, but Paul Hayes slotted his fellow striker into the penalty area for Hooper to slot home his 12th of the season with the first shot of the game for the Irons.
DeMerit could have gotten Watford back into it after sending his header from a Tom Cleverly corner wide. Ian Cowie then had a corner in the 64th minute, and Scunthorpe failed to clear their lines and Graham was on hand to slot home from 12 yards out.
Watford were forced to play a man down after Cleverly was shown red after a rash challenge on O'Connor. Playing down galvanized the squad, and John Eustace rose above the rest to nod home a 90th minute header from a John Harley cross. With seconds left on the clock, captain DeMerit was adjudged for handling inside the area, and Hooper stepped up to smash home the penalty to see a share of the spoils.
Cleverly, DeMerit, Eustace, and Scott Loach were all booked for Watford, while Cliff Byrne, Hooper, Matthew Sparrow, and Marcus Williams were booked for United. Up next for Watford, a visit for league leaders Newcastle United.
Plymouth 1 - 1 Leicester
Kenny Cooper came off the bench as two first half goals saw Plymouth earn a valuable point as Leicester came to Home Park.
Plymouth were their own worst enemy after 32 minutes when Argyle's Kari Arnason was not on the same page as his goalkeeper. A long ball over the Pilgrims defense saw Arnason make the decision to play it back to his keeper, but David Stockdale was running out to pick up the loose ball. The two Pilgrims got their signals crossed and Arnason ended up slotting past his goalkeeper in the attempted back pass for an own goal.
The home team responded well and restored parity seven minutes later. Chris Clark sent in a deep cross, and Craig Noone was on the back post to nod past the helpless Chris Weale.
Arnason was booked for the Pilgrims, while Wayne Brown and Paul Gallagher were booked for Leicester. Up next for Plymouth, a trip to Sheffield Wednesday next weekend.
Exeter 0 - 1 Stockport
Jemal Johnson proved to be the difference as Stockport earned a vital three points away at Exeter.
Both teams didn't look like they wanted to win, and until 13 minutes from time no real magic had appeared. Taking his chance against the run of play, Johnson let fly with a 25 yard screamer that beat Andy Marriott for sheer power.
Richard Logan was booked for Exeter, while Owain Fon Williams was booked for County. Up next for the Hatters is a trip to County Ground to take on Swindon.
Stuart Holden did not suit up in Blackburn's 3-0 thumping of Bolton.
Clint Dempsey was out injured for Fulhams 2-1 win at home against Birmingham.
Seb Harris was rewarded for a hard weeks practice playing out the final seven minutes in Northampton's 3-2 loss at Crewe.
Jon-Paul Pittman played the dying minutes of Wycombe's colossal 1-0 win at home to Millwall.
Zak Whitbread has been sidelined with a calf injury and did not participate in Norwich's 2-0 loss at home to Southampton.
Mike Grella remained on the bench as Leeds title hopes saw another setback as Leeds salvaged a late 1-1 draw at home to the visiting Brighton.
Ian Joyce was replaced by Kelvin Jack on the bench as southend fell 3-1 at Milton Keynes Dons.