American Exports: Guzan finally gets his chance for Villa
AMSTERDAM — It was quite a Saturday for American netminders in England, with Brad Guzan hopping off the bench to perform well in relief as ninth place Aston Villa dropped a 1-0 home decision to holders Manchester United.
The former Chivas USA star, who came on for injured starter Shay Given in the 38th minute, made two saves in his first league appearance for Villa since March of 2009. It remains to be seen whether the Ireland international's thigh strain will force Guzan into the lineup for next weekend's trip to Bolton, but early indicators are that Given could be out up to four weeks.
Elsewhere in the EPL, Brad Friedel won for the sixth straight time as Tottenham stayed unbeaten in the league since August with a 3-0 walk past 10-man Bolton.
With Wanderers top cop Gary Cahill shown the gate with his side already down one after 18 minutes, Spurs spent most of the afternoon shelling the away goal. Friedel logged four saves, with his best a robbery job on Chris Eagles' deflected attempt at an equalizer just past the half-hour.
Also, Zak Whitbread returned from injury to dress, but did not appear as Norwich City fell 5-1 at first-place Manchester City.
Next door in the Scottish Premier League, Maurice Edu worked a solid game in central midfield as Rangers topped visiting Dunfermline 2-1.
With Carlos Bocanegra nursing an injury and Alejandro Bedoya a dugout spectator, the US midfielder kept the middle tidy in tandem with Steven Davis as the champs moved seven points clear at the top.
Over in the Bundesliga, Steve Cherundolo ably held down right back as Hannover 96 posted a 1-1 draw at Freiburg. Still in eighth, the Reds are now winless in five league matches.
One league below, eight Luis Robles saves were not enough to help Karlsruhe out of the danger zone in a 2-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt. The goalkeeper's shining moment came eight minutes after the break on a point-blank stop of Alexander Meier.
Finally, Chris Rolfe and Aalborg BK spurned a chance to regain third place, falling 4-2 at Silkeborg. Putting in a full shift at right midfield, the former Chicago Fire man was denied on a golden chance to get his side back in the game 20 minutes from time.