American Exports: Brad Guzan's Aston Villa waste a chance, Tim Howard's Everton seize one
After Charles N'Zogbia struck in the 55th minute, Brad Guzan and Aston Villa looked poised to continue their steep trajectory away from the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday. But an own-goal from Fabian Delph 11 minutes later undid the Villans at home, and they had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Fulham.
It should never have been so close, as Villa pounded the visitors. Fulham managed only three shots on target, and US No. 2 goalkeeper Guzan was not credited with even a single save on the afternoon.
The result leaves Villa on 34 points, three points above the drop zone, and in a precarious position given that the two clubs behind them in the standings Sunderland (31 pts.) and Wigan (31 pts), have one and two games in hand, respectively.
Meanwhile, Guzan's USMNT goalkeeping compadre Tim Howard made five saves as Everton won, 2-0 at home to Queens Park Rangers.
Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe hit the goals as the sixth-place Toffees jumped within three points of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur in the standings. Given Spurs' recent struggles, Everton are definitly now in the running to finish in fifth, which would earn them a spot in the Europa League.
Down in the English Championship, loanee Stuart Holden made his third straight start for Sheffield Wednesday, and 72 minutes in a 2-1 loss at Leeds United. The Owls went ahead in the 27th minute through Jermaine Johnson, but Luke Varney hit twice for the hosts in the second half. Wednesday remain in 16th place, four points above the relegation zone.
In the German Bundesliga, Fabian Johnson and went the 90 minutes for Hoffenheim in a disappointing 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg. Hoffenheim, in 16th place and battling to avoid relegation, had a 2-1 lead until conceding an 86th-minute equalizer to Brazilian defender Naldo on a corner kick. Hoffenheim are now six points behind 15th-place Fortuna Dusseldorf.
For Nürnburg's Timothy Chandler, perhaps it was best that he didn't come on until the start of the second half at Bayern Munich, as the visitors were down three goals at the break on their way to a comprehensive 4-0 loss. It was the first substitute appearance Chandler has made in league play all season.
Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones again missed out through injury, as the fourth-place Miners came back from a two-goal deficit to salvage a 2-2 draw at home against third-place Bayer Leverkusen.
Onetime US captain Carlos Bocanegra was in the backline for Racing Santander, but Los Verdiblancos gave up a 63rd-minute goal and lost 1-0 at home to Girona. Racing remain in the relegation zone, three points from safety.
In Sweden, Alejandro Bedoya went the distance for Helsingborg in a 1-1 draw at Osters IF. Just two matches into the season, di Mjölkkossan (The Milk Cow) sit in fourth place.
Staying in Scandinavia, let's go over to Norway, where Molde's Josh Gatt picked up a yellow card in a 2-1 home loss to Sogndal. Four matches into the new season, it was definitely not the result the still winless Molde side were looking for: They sit alone in the basement of the Tippeligaen.
Over in Turkey, a lingering groin injury kept Maurice Edu out of Bursaspor's lineup again as they pulled out a 1-0 win over last-place Mersin Idmanyurdu.