American Exports: Clint Dempsey leads Fulham into battle vs. league leaders Arsenal
AMSTERDAM – Premier League action dominates the weekend slate of European games involving Americans, with Clint Dempsey continuing his quest for a first career goal against league leaders Arsenal.
All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Jozy Altidore – Sunderland vs. Southampton (Saturday, 7:45 am on NBCSN)
The US striker is vying for the start as Sunderland aim to climb out of the drop zone for the first time since August. Altidore set up both goals as the Black Cats knocked Southampton out of the League Cup in November. The Saints usually are a tough task at the Stadium of Light, where they are unbeaten in the last five league clashes.
Clint Dempsey – Fulham at Arsenal (Saturday, 10 am on MBCSN/Mun2)
Dempsey is hoping his 13th appearance against the Gunners goes better than others have in the past. He's never scored against Arsenal -- the Gunners are actually one of the few EPL teams yet to suffer one of his strikes -- and he has celebrated only two wins against them to date. The Cottagers have dropped five of their last six league games on the road and they have never won at Arsenal. But despite losing 22 of 27 there, Fulham have posted consecutive draws at the Emirates.
Brad Guzan – Aston Villa at Liverpool (Saturday, 12:30 pm on NBC/Mun2)
Guzan & Co. will hope to extend favorable trends when they visit Anfield. He backstopped a 3-1 victory there last season and he's 7-4-4 in Villa's last 15 EPL away matches dating back to last season. What's more, the netminder has kept league chart-topper Luis Suárez from scoring in three straight meetings.
Tim Howard – Everton at West Bromwich Albion (Monday, 3 pm on NBCSN)
The soccer continues past the weekend, with Howard trying to help keep Everton within shouting distance of the penthouse. He is undefeated in their last six road games, but has lost two of three at The Hawthorns in his career. Nevertheless, the US star is 3-1-1 in his last five against the Baggies, with three shutouts. The home team traditionally dominates this series, and true to form just one visitor has emerged victorious in the last seven games between the two.
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Alejandro Bedoya – Nantes at Paris Saint-Germain (Sunday, 3 pm on Univision Deportes/beIN Sport Play)
The Canaries can cement their status as one of Europe's season darlings when they visit the giant that resides atop the Ligue 1 hill. It is unclear whether Bedoya will again take up a right wingback position, as he did to some fanfare in the 2-1 PSG win at Nantes back in August. The Sunday visitors have lost five straight at Parc des Princes, and have not scored there in 360 minutes.
Aron Jóhannsson – AZ Alkmaar vs. NAC Breda (Saturday, 12:45 pm)
The Phantom of the Stadion is back from winter break and ready to prey on another visitor; Jóhannsson has 15 goals in 14 career matches at the AFAS. He did not score in his only appearance against NAC, who have won five times in a seven-match unbeaten streak. The Yellow Army have also won three in a row at home to AZ, who arrive for this tilt carrying the weight of a four-game run of Eredivisie defeats.
BEST OF THE REST
Geoff Cameron – Stoke City at Crystal Palace, Sat. 10 am on Premier League Extra Time
Sacha Kljestan – Anderlecht at Mechelen, Sun. 8:30 am