AMSTERDAM – It was a hot-and-cold Boxing Day for Americans playing in England, led by Tim Howard running his Goodison Park unbeaten streak to 14 games with a 2-1 victory over regional rivals Wigan.
The US star needed just two saves, with the best coming on Ronnie Stam's low drive near intermission. Howard has now conceded exactly one goal in seven straight EPL games without losing for the fifth-place Toffees.
Around the league, Geoff Cameron ably worked some time at both fullback positions as Stoke City extended their unbeaten streak to eight thanks to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool at the Britannia.
The former Houston Dynamo ace was shown a questionable early yellow card that sees him suspended for Saturday's visit from Southampton. The Victory lifted the Potters past Liverpool into eighth place.
A terrific first-half performance from Aston Villa netminder Brad Guzan was washed away by a Gareth Bale tidal wave in a 4-0 loss to fourth-place guests Tottenham Hotspur. Two of Guzan's five top-notch saves denied the Wales speedster, who eventually got loose for a second-half hat trick as the American's Villa Park shutout streak ended at 331 minutes.
Eric Lichaj watched on from the home dugout, while the freshly re-signed Brad Friedel acted as back-up goalkeeper for Spurs. Tottenham playmaker Clint Dempsey missed his second straight game with a groin complaint.
One league below in the Championship, Zak Whitbread was strong at the back as fifth-place Leicester City halted a two-game slide with a 0-0 draw at Hull City. The defender went into the book for a rough challenge just past the hour mark.
However, Bolton's Tim Ream had a bit of a shaky night on his return to the lineup, a 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday. With just one win in in their last five at the Reebok, Wanderers stayed tied for 16th place.