English Premier League

EPL Update

Only two matches were played this weekend in England, as bad weather forced most of the schedule to be postponed.

While the winter weather delayed a lot of soccer, it brought out the best in the American contingent playing in England’s top division. On Saturday, Landon Donovan made his Everton debut and provided the Toffees with an assist as they earned a much-needed point against Arsenal. The 2-2 final score does justice to an exciting game, with Tomas Rosicky announcing his return to good health with a stellar run leading to his 90th minute game-tying goal. Rosicky gives Arsenal one more offensive weapon on an already loaded squad. They continue to be an exciting team to watch and Arsene Wenger’s dedication to small, quick players in an age when many teams are going Big or going home is a testament to his belief in his system and his ability to buy players that fit into his system (Eduardo being the notable exception).

The other weekend game saw Birmingham City pull even with Liverpool on points after a 1-1 tie with Manchester United. Birmingham scored just before halftime when Lee Bowyer headed a poor clearance into the box where the ball bounced around until Cameron Jerome roofed it. United tied the game on an own goal in the second half. The assistant referee actually flagged Rooney offsides on the play but Mark Clattenberg waived the flag down when the ball deflected off Birmingham’s Scott Dann and trickled into the net.

The biggest moment of the EPL week came on Tuesday when Fulham traveled to Stoke City. After Stoke went up 3-0 at halftime, the game seemed out of hand. Fulham’s leaky defense was partnered with a punchless attack that seemed intent on going forward as fast as possible without regard to shape or logic. It times like these, the most talented players reach into their bags of tricks for something around which their team can rally. And Clint Dempsey is a very talented player. Although Stoke snuck away with a 3-2 win, Dempsey’s goal is one of the best of the year, and if Fulham can hold on to him and Bobby Zamora, they can finish in the top ten for the second straight season. Video below.

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