RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Stuart Holden scored his first Premier League goal at the expense of another Marcus Hahneman and Wolves loss while Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey settled for draws in a full weekend in England.
Aston Villa 2 - 2 Manchester United
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa yet again failed to secure a win as Manchester United came from two behind to steal an away draw.
Friedel had to be on point in the first half, saving multiple goals from close-up ranges. Dimitar Berbatov had the best chance, but Friedel rushed out on the Bulgarian and the striker sent his shot wide.
Villa heaped on the pressure, missing many chances while hitting the post twice. The breakthrough came after 72nd minute when Wes Brown knocked into Ashley Young, picking up a yellow card as the referee awarded the penalty kick. Young confidently stepped up to the spot and slotted home the opening goal.
Just five minutes later Marc Albrighton made it two as Villa continued to push forward. Second half substitute Federico Macheda gave up the ball as United pressed for the equalizer, and Young broke the lightning quick counter attack. The young Englishman kept his cool, slotting past the scurrying United defenders to the unmarked Albrighton who had a tap-in at the back post unmarked.
Macheda made up for his previous indiscretions by thumping Manchester United back into the game with just nine minutes to play. Darren Fletcher kept his composure as he backheeled the young striker the ball, and Macheda did the rest, smacking his shot into Friedel's top corner.
The game was leveled up four minutes later as Luis Nani stamped his name on the game. Struggling in the early stages of the game, Nani stepped it up by using a bit of skill to create space for himself down the left flank, and his left footed cross met Nemanja Vidic's diving header to make everything equal.
Barry Bannan, Ashley Young and Luke Young were all booked for Villa, while Brown, Javier Hernandez, Nani, and Vidic were all booked for United. Eric Lichaj, who will be joining the US national team squad in Cape Town, made a late cameo for Villa who next face Blackburn away.
Wolverhampton 2 - 3 Bolton
Stuart Holden earned his first Premier League goal as Bolton outgunned Marcus Hahnemann's Wolves at Molineux.
Bolton got off to a dream start as they got on the front foot through a Richard Stearman own goal. Wolves failed to deal with the early pressure, and with a cross in from the right flank, Stearman was forced to get a head on the ball with Matt Taylor close behind.
Bolton doubled their lead in the 62nd run with Holden making a great midfield run into the box. Supplying a backwards pass to Johan Elmander, the Swedish striker did the rest. Slicing and dicing through three Wolves defenders, Hahnemann had little chance as the 29 year old curled his shot to the back post.
Holden added the insurance goal just five minutes later, being in the right place at the right time. Quality team play saw Chung-Yong Lee released deep into the penalty area, which drew Hahnemann out of his net. The South Korean midfielder picked out Holden and the American slotted into an empty net.
Wolves fought back, getting a goal back in the 69th minute. Kevin Foley made a hugely attacking run from left back, receiving the ball just inside the 18 and finishing his curling shot with the accuracy of a first string striker. Steven Fletcher made it an interesting final 13 minutes with a back post header in the 77th minute.
Only Stephen Hunt was booked in the match, as his Wolves take on Blackpool next Saturday in a must win game. Bolton are sitting pretty in fifth place, just behind Manchester City. Up next for Holden and company is a home game against Newcastle United.
Newcastle 0 - 0 Fulham
Clint Dempsey was again unable to find the back of the net after trying his hardest to break the deadlock against Newcastle.
In the first half Dempsey was denied by Tim Krull who bravely came off his line to stop a sure fire goal from the American. Mark Schwarzer had to be aware later in the half as two chances ended with goal line blocks with the keeper's reaction save being enough to snuff out the attack.
Newcastle had the majority of the chances but Moussa Dembele did hit the cross bar, coming the closest. Cheick Tiote and Mike Williamson were both booked for Newcastle,w hile Brede Hangeland and Danny Murphy were booked for Fulham.
Eddie Johnson was a second half sub, playing out the dying minutes of the contest. Up next for Fulham is a home match against Manchester City.
Everton 1 - 2 Arsenal
Tim Howard could do little as Everton were unable to come away with anything at home against Arsenal.
It could have been a different story in the opening stages as Seamus Coleman's 50 yard run outstripped Cesc Fabregas and his chipped ball to the unmarked Tim Cahill resulted in a text book header. Unfortunately his normal goal scoring technique failed him as the ball went over the crossbar.
The near miss woke Arsenal up and they finally capatalized after multiple early chances. Bacary Sagna got the goal in the 36th minute after Howard saved a Samir Nasri shot. Sagna looked for his cross, but the defender just decided to blast his shot near post for the game winner.
Arsenal doubled their advantage in the 48th minute with Howard unable to reach the shot. Mikel Arteta was stripped of possession in midfield, and Arsenal strung together a few passes inside the Everton penalty area. Fabregas was the benefactor as his first time volley was shielded by an Everton defender and Howard could not react fast enough to keep the shot away.
Lukasz Fabianski made a slew of saves but Everton did get one back in the dying minutes as Louis Saha headed a corner back across the face of goal for Cahill to finally get his goal. It was too little too late as Arsenal held on for all three points.
Coleman and John Heitinga were boked for Everton,w hile Sebastien Squillaci and Fabregas were booked for Arsenal. Up next for Howard and company next travel to Sunderland.
Carlisle United 3-2 Southampton
Mike Grella and Frank Simek helped Carlisle United take down Southampton in League One action this weekend.
Both Americans started and went the full ninety minutes.
Carlisle took the lead in the 21st minute when Gary Madine found Ben Marshall who finished from inside the area.
The 30th minute saw the Cumbrians get a lucky break. Grella sent in a cross into the box that Southampton's Dan Harding attempted to clear, but scored on his own goal.
In the 48th minute, Southampton got on the scoreboard when Adam Lallana found Alex Chamberlain for a header.
James Chester's header in the 59th minute though headed the Cumbrians 3rd goal of the game, putting the lead out of reach.
Southampton's Dean Hammond was able to score one more but it was not enough in the end.
Bernard Zoko and Lubomir Michalik were booked for Carlisle while Harding and Jose Miguel da Rocha Fonte received yellow cards for the Saints.
Carlisle now is only two points from second in the standings and plays Walsall next weekend in League One play. Southampton host Peterborough United next week in league play as well.
Jonathan Spector made the bench in West Ham's 0-0 home draw with Blackpool.
Jemal Johnson did not feature as Milton Keynes Dons beat Brentford.
Anton Peterlin did not make the game-day roster as Plymouth lost to Tranmere.