Fresh off qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Tim Howard jumps right into some tough EPL competition as he and Everton face Chelsea in one of many top matches featuring Americans.Tim Howard’s celebration after helping the U.S. national team clinch a place in the 2014 World Cup lasted one good night. He couldn’t very well relish the victory much longer with the tough task of facing mighty Chelsea looming Saturday.
Howard is just one of a handful of Americans who will be facing the English Premier League’s best this weekend. While Howard and the Toffees square off against Jose Mourinho’s Blues at Goodison Park, Geoff Cameron and Stoke City will be taking on Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium.
Cameron missed the USA’s 2-0 win versus Mexico due to suspension, but he should reprise his role as Stoke City’s starting right back against a City attack featuring the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Jesus Navas.
Howard and Everton have allowed just one goal in three matches, but maintaining that stingy record won’t be easy against a Chelsea side expected to debut summer signing Samuel Eto’o.
Another American who missed the Mexico match, but will see stiff competition this weekend, is Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore. The Black Cats face off against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, and having Altidore back from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Aug. 31 loss to Crystal Palace should provide a boost in a match that should also signal the Gunner debut of Mesut Ozil.
Jermaine Jones was one of the stars of the USA’s win over Mexico, and he has returned to Germany with hopes of helping Schalke 04 turn around a slow start to the Bundesliga campaign. Schalke faces surprising Mainz 05, which currently sits in a tie for third place in the Bundesliga.
In France, Alejandro Bedoya will look to carry on his strong run of form when Nantes faces winless Sochaux. Bedoya is coming off an impressive outing for the USA against Mexico, and will look to return to his starting midfield role for a Nantes side that can climb into the top half of the Ligue 1 table with a victory.
In Mexico, the American contingent at Club Tijuana will look to ride the momentum of last week’s 3-0 win versus Veracruz into another win Sunday against struggling Chivas Guadalajara. Edgar Castillo should return to his starting fullback role for the Xolos, while teenage sensation Paul Arriola looks to build on the increased playing time he has been receiving lately.