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16 and Counting

After scoring two this weekend against Bolton, Dempsey hit the back of the net with a header against Chelsea on Monday.  With less then 10 minutes remaining Dempsey flicked a corner kick far post past a stunned Petr Cech.  Dempsey is now level with Demba Ba in 4th this season in the Premier League with 16 goals.  Dempsey is now proving he is not only the United States best player, but one of the Premier League’s most lethal strikers.  It has come out recently that he is delaying contract talks with Fulham to see the offers received from other Premier League clubs or if clubs like PSG will be making offers again this season.  Dempsey has made it clear he wants to play Champions League football, a place Fulham would not be very likely to ever qualify for.  With 5 games to play (Wigan and Sunderland home, Everton, Liverpool, and Tottenham away) it will be interesting to see what he will be able to come up with as a final tally being that Wigan is the only team in the bottom half of the table that they will play in the final stretch of the season.  Already the highest scoring American in the Premier League could he be the first to finish in the top 3?  Aguero is only one ahead at 17.

RM 

Deuces Wild


Clint Dempsey’s done it again.  Two more league goals in Fulham’s 3-0 romp of Bolton.  That brings Dempsey’s Premier League goal tally to 15 this year, 21 across all competitions.  He has set the single season record for an American already this year and now has scored more goals for Fulham in a single season then anyone else has.  Lets see if he can manage 5 more over the home stretch of the season and break 20!
RM 

PREMIER LEAGUE RECAP 2/25-2/26

After a week off from Premiership football, we’re back with another Premier League Recap. So here goes nothing…

1. Manchester City vs. Blackburn: City 3 - Rovers 0

Balotelli, Aguero, and Dzeko - Manchester City’s top three scorers - all hit their mark on Saturday in a 3-0 win over relegation side Blackburn at home. City displayed complete and utter domination of their opponent, with 78% of the possession and 28 shots to Blackburn’s 5. With the win, City remain two points clear of cross-town rivals Manchester United at 63 points, while Blackburn drop to 18th on 21 points. Carlos Tevez has been welcomed back to training, and it should be interesting to see his return to the pitch for City sometime in the near future. 

2. Wigan vs. Aston Villa: Wigan 0 - Villa 0

On a day which Wigan dominated possession but it didn’t show on the scoreboard and Villa had the better of chances but didn’t produce a goal, the squads drew on Saturday each getting a point from the match. The bigger news on the day was the injury of Darren Bent, who was hurt on a challenge in the 79th. With the draw, Villa remain in 15th with 29 points while Wigan remain in last in the table with 20 points.

3. West Brom vs. Sunderland: West Brom 4 - Sunderland 0

Albion dominated from start to finish, scoring four goals on the day thanks to a double by Peter Odemwingie. Both goals were netted three minutes in to each half, as his first goal came early in the third minute, with his second coming just after half time in the 48th. An impressive and rare home win for West Brom moves them to 13th in the table on 32 points. Sunderland remains in 9th place in the table with 33 points.

4. Fulham vs. Queens Park Rangers: Fulham 1 - QPR 0

January transfer window signing Pavel Pogrebnyak paid dividends once again for Fulham, scoring in the 7th minute to grab the three points for Fulham in this clash of London clubs. Fulham was outshot despite dominating possession over QPR. After the result, Fulham pull into 11th place on 33 points while QPR drops to 17th on 21 points.

5. Newcastle vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers: Newcastle 2 - Wolves 2

Wolves eliminated a two goal deficit in the second half after having dug themselves a hole in the first, going down 2-0 off goals in the 6th and 18th minutes. Matthew Jarvis and Kevin Doyle scored in the 50th and 66th minutes respectively to get a point for new Wolves manager Terry Connor in his first match. Newcastle remains in 6th on 43 points and Wolves move to 16th on 22 points. *Interesting Note* I’ve eaten lunch at Reading Football Club’s training ground sitting next to Kevin Doyle a few years back…pretty cool. 

6. Chelsea vs. Bolton: Chelsea 3 - Bolton 0

Three goals in the second half fueled Chelsea and quieted talks regarding manager Andres Villas-Boas as Chelsea got a much needed win and three points. Chelsea dominated this one, getting goals from David Luiz, Didier Drogba, and Frank Lampard all after half time. With the win, Chelsea remain in 5th on 46 points, while Bolton remain in 19th on 20 points.

7. Stoke City vs. Swansea City: Stoke 2 - Swansea 0

Two goals in the first half from Matthew Upson and Peter Crouch led Stoke to their first win in four matches. Despite dominating possession, Swansea could not sustain a dangerous attack, getting through legitimate chances on nine shots. With the win, Stoke move to 12th on 33 points while Swansea fall to 14th with 30 points.

8. Norwich City vs. Manchester United: United 2 - Norwich 1

The old fellas bailed out United this week, keeping them on pace in the title run as Ryan Giggs scored in stoppage time to grab the three points. Paul Scholes scored in the 7th minute which held firm until the 83rd, when Norwich’s Grant Holt scored the equalizer. It looked like this one was going to end in a draw, until Giggs saved the day in extra time in his 900th appearance for the Reds. United get three points and remain in 2nd place, two points behind City, while Norwich remain in 8th on 35 points.

9. Arsenal vs. Tottenham HotSpurs: Gunners 5 - Spurs 2

Arsenal erased a 2 goal deficit, climbing back to grab two goals before the end of the first half, and getting three more in the second half to total 5 goals on the day. Theo Walcott was the high man, scoring two goals in the 2nd half. With the win, Arsenal remain in 4th on 46 points, and 7 points back of their opponent on the day, Spurs, who are in 3rd with 53 points.

*NOTE: Liverpool vs. Everton was postponed due to Liverpool’s Carling Cup Final.

AG

What To Make of LD vs CD

For the first time since Clint Dempsey still played in the MLS the two strongest offensive players for the United States National team played against each other this past weekend both teams looking to advance to the round of 16.  Donovan on loan from the LA Galaxy to Everton was the stronger of the two players on this day. He finished the game with two assists while Dempsey only managed to create a few half chances.  Dempsey has a chance to put one header on goal during the first half, but caught it off the top of his head and it sailed over the crossbar.  He struggled to get on the ball and loose his man on multiple occasions and often found himself double teamed with no Fulham player to pass too. The only other chance he really had in the second half was a shot from the top of the 18 yard box that was blocked with relative ease.  Dempsey looked isolated and even though fellow striker Andy Johnson looked good on the ball when he had it, he often did not open up space for Dempsey to attack and with Bobby Zamora coming on with only ten minutes remaining had little time to have an effect on the game besides chance down balls around midfield with his fresh legs. 

Donovan on the other was a real danger when on the ball.  For a player that usually plays better in open space and with the ball being played into him in that space, he was very composed on the ball and delivered two stellar crosses that led to the two goals.  He dealt with pressure from the Fulham defenders well and set up the free kick that was played quickly back to him before the second goal.  His crosses were pinpoint and even let a rocket fly from just outside the box that Stockdale was not able to hold that resulted in a dangerous rebound, but with no Everton player crashing the net nothing resulted from it.  This was the Donovan that Everton was familiar with last in 2010 when he went on loan.  In conclusion, this win does not mean that Donovan prevails as the best American player.  Everton was the better team on the day and given the free space and lack of closing down on Donovan had compared to the quick collapsing type defending on Dempsey it is not a shock that this was the result.  This does however give another reason for Dempsey to play with a chip on his shoulder which he has proved to be a real strength. 

For example, what would have happened if when Jozy Altidore crossed the ball to Dempsey in the 91st minute of the Algeria World Cup game, he scored instead?  What if instead of the goalie coming out and sliding to block his shot low, Dempsey just chipped it over him and he was the one sliding on his chest into the corner flag?  Don’t forget that in that game he scored a goal in the first half that should have counted after a bogus offside call was made as well as striking the upper 90 section of the crossbar/post midway through the second half of that game.  What if that goal had counted or if that shot had hit the underside of the bar and went in…
The final chapter of this book is yet to be written.

RM

A Day for Dempsey!

Just a day after being named United States Player of the Year, US international Clint Dempsey caught fire as he scored three times to propel premiership club Fulham over Newcastle 5-2. With the hat trick, Dempsey becomes the first American player to achieve the feat in the English Premier League. Goals for Dempsey came in the 59th, 65th, and 89th minutes with Fulham scoring four goals in a 16 minute span. Fulham’s defeat over 6th place Newcastle jumps them to 12th on 26 points.