American Exports: Dempsey returns, Guzan not so lucky
AMSTERDAM – The struggles continued for Brad Guzan and Aston Villa on Saturday, with the hosts dropping a woeful 3-0 decision to fellow relegation fighters Wigan.
The former Chivas USA netminder could not be faulted on the first two Latics goals, but got rounded by Arouna Koné for the 56th minute capper. Eric Lichaj put in a largely solid showing, albeit with a couple of hiccups at the back.
The Villans, who haven't scored at home in 280 minutes, have now lost three straight games by a combined 15-0 count. The defeat has them just a point above the danger zone with a -24 goal differential, worst in the league.
Elsewhere, Clint Dempsey returned from a thigh knock to work the final 14 minutes as Tottenham tentatively climbed into third place with a 2-1 rally win at Sunderland.
With Brad Friedel watching from the away dugout, the US attacker looked lively on his comeback. Spurs won for the third time in four away from home to nudge a point ahead of Sunday combatants Chelsea.
One flight down in the Championship, Tim Ream pitched in with a fine outing as Bolton stormed back from an early deficit to top guests Birmingham City 3-1.
The US defender enjoyed a foul-free shift at the back and provided plenty of good distribution as Wanderers scored three goals for the first time in over two months. Meanwhile, Jonathan Spector worked an hour in midfield for Birmingham in his return from injury.
The victory lifted Bolton two rungs to 14th, while the Brums slipped as many to 20th place.
Finally, Conor Doyle went unused as 11th place Derby County posted a 1-1 share at Charlton.