BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, September 9, 2011
Despite rumors of a move, Clint Dempsey did not part ways with Fulham and on Sunday he will hope to reverse the team's early season struggles in a full weekend of English action.
Fulham - Blackburn
Two struggling teams in Fulham and Blackburn are set to square off on Sunday at London's Craven Cottage.
Clint Dempsey was the subject of intense transfer rumors towards the end of the transfer window but ended up remaining with the Cottagers.
Fulham opened the season with a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa but since then have suffered two road losses to Wolverhampton and Newcastle United.
Fulham are set to receive a major boost with the return of Bobby Zamora from injury and the addition of Byran Ruiz who was acquired at the deadline from FC Twente.
As bad as things have been for Fulham, it has been even worse for Blackburn who have lost all three points and have conceded five goals while scoring only two.
Blackburn list Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn as doubtful for the game. Ryan Nelsen's knee injury has him as questionable.
Everton - Aston Villa
With the close of the summer transfer window now in the past, Everton will be looking to climb into the top ten of the English Premier League when they host Aston Villa on Saturday at Goodison Park.
Tim Howard played two games for the United States over the recent international break and he will start for Everton.
Brad Guzan will be on the bench for Aston Villa and will be the backup for Shay Given.
Entering into the game, Everton have three points but have played only twice. In their most recent game they picked up a 1-0 road victory over Blackburn after Mikel Arteta scored on a penalty in second half injury time.
Aston Villa have yet to lose a game in the Premier League this season. Through three games, they have a win and two draws. In their most recent game, however, they played to a disappointing 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton at Villa Park.
For the game on Saturday, Everton are without Victor Anichebe who is out three months with groin pull. Aston Villa will not have American Eric Lichaj who is set to miss four months with a hip injury.
Wolverhampton - Tottenham
Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to pick up their first points on the season after a dreadful first two games that has them currently sitting in last place in the English Premier League.
Brad Friedel is expected to start once again for Tottenham but the former US international has allowed eight goals in his first two games.
Tottenham are trying to erase the memories of their most recent game when they were drubbed at home to Manchester City by a score of 5-1.
On Saturday they will face one of the more surprising teams in the early season in Wolverhampton. Through three games, Wolverhampton have won twice and drawn once. Their seven points currently have them sitting in fifth place.
Wolves will be without Dave Edwards while Adlene Guedioura and Ronald Zubar are questionable.
For Tottenham, Ledley King will miss the game with a strained hamstring, Brazilian Sandro will not take part with a knee injury, and Steven Pienaar is out with groin injury. William Gallas is also on the injured list with a calf strain.
Birmingham City - Millwall
With only four points through for games, Birmingham City will be looking to begin a climb in the Championship standings on Saturday when they host Millwall.
After being relegated out of the Premier League last season, Birmingham City's start to their Championship campaign has not gone as well as expected.
Jonathan Spector has returned Birmingham City after not seeing any minutes with the US national team during the international break. The Chicago native should start on Sunday in the midfield.
It has been a frustrating start to the season for 11th place Millwall who have one win, three draws, and a loss on the season. Two of the draws have come after they squandered two goal leads late in the game.
Millwall will be without injured Shaun Batt and Therry Racon.
Birmingham City will be without Jordan Mutch, Keith Fahey, and Enric Valles who are all on the injured list.
Robbie Findley could see action off the bench for Nottingham Forest on Saturday when they visit Southampton.
Conor Doyle is still struggling with an ankle injury and probably won't take part for Derby County when they visit Coventry on Saturday.
Mike Grella will likely begin the game on the bench for Brentford when the club visits Wycombe.
Zak Whitbread is still injured and is unlikely to play for Norwich City this weekend when they host West Brom.
John Paul Pittman should be in the matchday 18 for Oxford United when they host Burton Albion on Saturday.
Jemal Johnson will likely be a substitute for Southend United when they visit Swindon Town on Saturday.