AMSTERDAM – Brad Guzan backstopped Aston Villa into the better half of the Premier League table on Saturday, posting his third clean sheet in five with a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City.
The former Chivas USA star required only two saves to notch his first win in five. Thanks to his first bits of goal support in that span, late goals from Leandro Bacuna and Libor Kozák, the Villans tentatively reached 10th place.
Around the league, in-form Everton netminder Tim Howard matched his US teammate's outing, making two saves in a 0-0 stalemate at Crystal Palace. The Toffees custodian did his best clean-up work seven minutes before the break, when he swept a Jerome Thomas curler out of his top corner. In the end, Howard ran his shutout streak to 330 minutes for fifth-place Everton.
One league below in the Championship, Tim Ream set up the winner with a stunning pass as warming Bolton topped guests Millwall 3-1. The highlight of a terrific passing day for the US international came in the form of an excellent splitting pass for Jermaine Beckford to net two minutes before intermission.
Eric Lichaj came on for the final quarter-hour to help Nottingham Forest get well with a 2-0 away to second-place Leicester City. With their first win in five, the Tricky Trees rose a rung to fifth place.
Turning to the Bundesliga, Jermaine Jones enjoyed one of his top outings of the season thus far in Schalke's 3-1 triumph over Werder Bremen. Despite collecting an early yellow card, the midfielder went on to ring up nine aerial challenge wins and four tackles while repeatedly starting the attack with long passes. Thanks to their fourth win in five league matches, Schalke nudged up to fifth place.
Fabian Johnson returned from injury with an active second-half shift in attack in Hoffenheim's 3-2 defeat to visiting Hertha Berlin. With recovering US teammate John Anthony Brooks watching from the home dugout, the Hoffenheim winger forced saves with both of his shot attempts. The result dropped the hosts to 11th place, while also lifting Hertha to seventh.
Timothy Chandler and winless FC Nürnberg slipped into the basement after collapsing late in a 3-1 loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach. The visitors were 18 minutes from victory, but the Foals struck three times to flip the result.