RECAP: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa battled for a share of the spoils at Stamford Bridge while Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey came up empty handed in their travels in a full weekend of English action.
Tottenham 1 - 0 Fulham
Clint Dempsey was unable to convert any of his chances as Tottenham edged Fulham at home.
Dempsey had an early chance from distance, but his long range effort flashed wide of Huerlho Gomes' post. Gareth Bale turned out to be the difference as a clever free kick from Rafael van der Vaart was headed on by Bale in the 42nd minute.
Tottenham were forced to clear their lines with Dempsey lurking just feet away later on but the Texan was never able to break through and earn the equalizer.
Eddie Johnson failed to make the bench for Fulham who had John Pantsil booked, while Benoi Assou-Ekotto and Michael Dawson were both booked for Tottenham.
Up next for Fulham is a Tuesday home game against West Brom.
Chelsea 3 - 3 Aston Villa
Brad Friedel kept Aston Villa in the game as the visitors fought back for a share of the spoils at Stamford Bridge.
James Collison was harshly dealt with by the referee after colliding with Flourent Malouda in the box in the 22nd minute. Frank Lampard stepped up to take the penalty kick to start off the scoring.
Michael Essien was penalized for taking out Nigel Reo-Coker in the box after the Villa man was first to the ball. With only four minutes to go until half time, Ashley Young emphatically smashed home his penalty kick to ensure that Villa entered half time on level terms.
Villa came out the more determined squad when they popped into the lead 90 seconds into the second half. Stewart Downing easily slid past Ashley Cole before sending a cross deep into the Chelsea penalty area. Emile Heskey rose above the rest to head home past Petr Cech.
With just six minutes left in the game Didier Drogba decided to show up with the equalizing goal after Friedel had made a slew of quality saves, including stopping a one on one with Lampard. Friedel did well to block the first shot, but Drogba kept his composure and weaseled his shot through the crowd.
John Terry thought he had got the winner with under 60 seconds left to go in regulation. Friedel again was on hand to make the first save but Terry was unmarked on the edge of the area. Showing some skill the big center defender let loose to put his club in front once again.
With five minutes of added time put onto the board Villa continued to push forward. Second half substitute Marc Albrighton caught the Chelsea defense basking in their own glory and sent a ball over to Ciaran Clark. With absolutely no pressure on him at all, Clark had the entire goal to head toward as he made all things level.
Seven Villa players were booked in the outing in Gabriel Agbonlahor, Clark, James Collins, Friedel, Heskey, Stiliyan Petrov, and Reo-Coker while Ramires and Terry were booked for Chelsea. Up next for Villa is a home game against Sunderland.
Stoke 2 - 0 Everton
Tim Howard could do little more to keep Everton in the game as Kenwye Jones' first half header sealed the deal.
The goal was made by the brilliance of Matthew Etherton down the left flank who did well to keep the ball in play under heavy pressure. After attacking the Everton back four, the winger crossed in to his striker and Jones did the rest with a pinpoint header to the far post in the 23rd minute.
Phil Jagielka unfortunately put the ball into his own net with 20 minutes left. Jones attempted another header but as Jagielka went up with Ricardo Fuller, the ball fell and rolled off of Jagielka's leg and into the goal.
Asmir Begovic, James Collins, Rory Delap, and Dean Whitehead were booked for Stoke City while Tim Cahill was booked for Everton. Up next for Howard and company, a home meeting with Tottenham.
Hull City 0-1 Leicester City
Brad Guzan began his one-month loan for Hull City with a loss to Leicester City.
Guzan's first minutes with Hull were already action packed as Darius Vassell nearly missed after his shot went just wide in the third minute.
Vassell would score in the 11th minute when he vollied home a Richie Wellens' cross, beating Guzan.
Hull City's Liam Rosenior did not help his side's cause after he was sent off for a reckless play against Greg Cunningham in the 62nd minute.
Guzan made three saves for Hull, but Hull could not find the back of the net to help their debutant goalie.
Richard Wellens and Jack Hobbs received yellow cards for Leicester.
Hull City next plays Portsmouth on Monday while Leicester takes on Swansea.
Norwich City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Zak Whitbread returned to action in Norwich City's win over Queens Park Rangers in Championship action this weekend.
After months of rehab from hamstring and calf injuries, the American center back finally started for Norwich and went the full ninety minutes.
Norwich got the only goal of the game in the 10th minute when a Chris Martin shot was saved by QPR goalie Kaspars Gorkss and the subsequent rebound was slotted in by Russell Martin.
Just minutes later Norwich goalie John Ruddy made an impressive save on a drive from Heidar Helguson.
QPR made life more difficult for themselves after defender Matthew Connolly received a red card after taking down Grant Holt in the 50th minute.
City now climb to third in the standings and have won five out of their last six games of the season.
Clint Hill and Adel Taarabt were booked for QPR while Norwich left the game without receiving any cards.
Norwich next takes on Middlesbrough on Monday while QPR plays Bristol City on the same day.
Derby County 2-1 Preston North End
Conor Doyle helped Derby County defeat Preston North End in a New Year's Day match up.
A tough loss to Nottingham Forest last week caused Derby coach Nigel Clough to make seven changes to his lineup, including starting Doyle. The American went the full ninety minutes.
The Texas native would almost put the Rams ahead midway through the first half with a shot that just went over the bar.
After a lackluster first half, Derby went ahead in the 70th minute after Chris Porter fired home a shot from the edge of the area, giving the Rams the lead.
Fourteen minutes later Porter put the exclamation mark on the game with a shot from twelve yards that beat Preston goalie Andy Lonergan.
Preston got a goal in the dying moments of the game after Callum Davidson scored from the penalty spot after the Rams' Robbie Savage handled the ball with his hands in the box.
Derby's James Bailey received a yellow card while Paul Coutts was booked for Preston.
The Rams next play Millwall on Monday while Preston take on Crystal Palace on the same day.
Carlisle United 2-2 Huddersfield Town
Frank Simek and Mike Grella both featured in Carlisle United's tie to Huddersfield Town in League One play this weekend.
Both Americans started the game, with Simek going the full ninety minutes and Grella being subbed out in the second half.
Huddersfield's two goal lead was not enough as Carlisle came back impressively to tie the game.
Town went ahead in the 23rd minute after Lee Novak found Peter Clarke who slotted home from six yards out.
They went up two after Scott Arfield beat Carlisle goalie Adam Collin from ten yards out.
Carlisle got one back in the 72nd minute when a right wing cross from Simek was flicked on from Gary Madine and found Bernard Zoko for a header.
Only ten minutes later James Chester equalized for Carlisle, heading home a James Berrett corner.
No cards were handed out in the contest.
Carlisle next plays Tranmere on Monday while Huddersfield takes on Sheffield Wednesday on the same day.
Jonathan Spector was dropped from the West Ham lineup as they won 2-0 at Marcus Hahnemann's Wolves as he was on the bench.
Stuart Holden was not included in the Bolton roster who lost 2-1 at Liverpool after picking up an injury in their last outing.
Jemal Johnson was left on the bench as Milton Keynes Dons beat AFC Bournemouth.
Anton Peterlin did not feature in Plymouth's scoreless tie to Yeovil Town.