In sharp contrast to their Bundesliga counterparts where Ricardo Clark went the full 90 in his debut for Eintracht Frankfurt (a 3-3 draw with Mainz) and Michael Bradley helped M'Gladbach surprisingly tie Bayern, it was a rough day for CONCACAF alum in English Premiership action Saturday. Here's some quick thoughts on the day's action.
1. Jozy Altidore's Hull career is probably over. In a move that will hardly endear him to the Hull faithful, Altidore foolishly got himself sent off just before halftime against Sunderland for a retaliatory head butt on defender Alan Hutton. Already trailing to a Darren Bent goal at the time, Altidore's costly dismissal effectively ended Hull's hopes of salvaging the game. With West Ham picking up three points by beating Wigan, Hull is almost certainly headed for relegation (though the team still remains mathematically alive). Furthermore, Altidore's mandatory three-match ban for a straight red means it's more than likely that he's played his last game for Hull. Relegation for Hull will end any likelihood that the team could have the means to retain Altidore. It's a shame that Altidore's season will end in this fashion. He'd previously endeared himself to Hull and its fans with his infectious enthusiasm and had become a key member of the lineup. Although he's likely to find himself back in the Premiership with another team on loan next season, Altidore will have to start over from scratch, learn a new system and prove himself to new teammates and a new manager -- never an easy task.
2. Jonathan Spector gets a break ... of sorts. One U.S. player that has generally not been endearing himself to his club's fans is Spector. To be fair to Spector, he's been asked to fill in at left back for John Illunga, and it's not his natural position. However, he's clearly had problems at the spot and earned a reputation among West Ham fans for being mistake-prone. On Saturday, he was at it again, gifting Wigan an early lead with a horrendous own goal. You could argue he was unlucky, but when a defender heads a ball downwards and goalbound while facing his own net from six yards out, can he really expect any other outcome? Luckily for Spector, the Hammers rallied for a pulsating 3-2 win and look to have secured Premiership status for another season.
3. Tottenham's Wilson Palacios is the odd man out. Managers are usually loathe to change a winning formula, so given Spurs' back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, it was surprising to see Harry Redknapp buck the trend and change his lineup for the pivotal clash against Man United. In what presumably was a bid to increase his side's ball retention in midfield, Redknapp decided to recall Honduran enforcer Palacios against United. However, this move had a decidedly detrimental knock-on effect on the entire Spurs' lineup. With Lukas Modric pushed out wide left, Gareth Bale -- so dynamic at left wing and key to Spur's success in recent weeks -- was moved to left back, with the left-footed Benoit Assou-Ekotto moved to an unfamiliar right-back spot. Making things worse, Palacios had such a shocker of a game (bar one powerful surge in the second half), it wouldn't have been a surprise to see him removed at the half. To compound matters, when Palacios was later moved to right back, he inexplicably decided that the best way to deal with a Nani run into the box was to jump on his back and haul him down. Of course, the only reason Palacios had been moved to right back was because of Assou-Ekotto's issues on the right. Redknapphad been forced to put Assou-Ekotto back at left back after the Cameroon defender recklessly gave away a penalty of his own.
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.