Brad Guzan is not having a very good holiday season. He has seen 12 shots in his net over the last three days, including today’s 4-0 loss to Tottenham. Gareth Bale netted the hat trick as Clint Dempsey sat out with a nagging groin injury. Aston Villa was under constant pressure and despite the outcome, Guzan still made several stellar saves. He has even made the Daily Mail’s Xmas XI. The other U.S. players involved with these teams, Brad Friedel and Eric Lichaj, were not used as substitutes. However, Friedel did get a one year contract extension which will make him 43 years old when it expires. The win put Tottenham back in fourth place on goal differential over Everton.
Everton escaped with a 2-1 win on Boxing Day over Wigan. Goodison Park was one of many pitches that were soaked by rain but Tim Howard was able to make enough saves on a soggy field. He did allow a goal in the 82nd minute to take away his clean sheet. The win kept Everton tied with Spurs and West Brom at 33 points. Howard finished with five saves.
Stoke City and Geoff Cameron were victorious today over Liverpool as they continue to make the slow ascension to the top of the table. Stoke’s 3-1 victory at Britannia Stadium was impressive outside of a first minute penalty by Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard. Stoke is now unbeaten in the last 16 at Britannia. The win moved Cameron’s squad within five points of Tottenham. Cameron did get a yellow in the third minute and took four consecutive throw-ins about ten minutes later in somewhat comedic ping pong-like play. Stoke returns to action on 12/29 in a very winnable match against Southampton.