How Donovan/Henry/Keane Faired Back in the English Premier League

After Robbie Keane’s farewell performance for Aston Villa at Wigan Athletic this afternoon, he waved goodbye to the West Midlands club and followed fellow Major League Soccer stars Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan to return back to the United States following a loan spell back in the English Premier League.

Landon Donovan was the first player to cross the pond this January when he headed from Los Angeles, California to Merseyside, England to switch Galaxy for Everton.

The United States’ all-time national team top goalscorer and third-highest scoring in the history of Major League Soccer had previously spent a spell with Everton in January 2010, scoring twice in ten league appearances.

Previous spells in Europe for Donovan saw him fail to hold a regular first team place or score a single goal at both Bayer Leverkusen (1999-2005) and Bayern Munich (2009/10) in the German Bundesliga.

An agreement made in December 2011 allowed Landon Donovan to join Everton on loan at the start of January during the English Premier League winter transfer window. He was thrown straight into the first team for the Toffees’ league match with Bolton Wanderers. His second debut for the resulted in a 2-1 home loss in which he forced one save from goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Everton’s quality of football started to improve with the more games Landon Donovan got under his belt. During his stay in England, Donovan started and completed 9 games, but missed the final opportunity, an FA Cup win over Blackpool due to illness.

By this stage, Donovan and Everton were on a 6-game unbeaten streak, which included a 1-0 win over league leaders Manchester City, and in the American’s final game, a 2-0 victory over Champions League side Chelsea, in what turned out to be his final game before heading back to Los Angeles.

Donovan failed to score a single goal in 7 Premier League games and 2 FA Cup ties, forcing just two saves from goalkeepers in the league. However, the former San Jose Earthquakes goalscorer provided a delightful through ball assist for Victor Anichebe’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa in mid-January, as well as setting up goals in victories against Manchester City and Chelsea.

The productive performances from Landon Donovan, as he did so 2 years ago in a similar loan spell under David Moyes continued his popularity amongst the supporters.

(Key: MP: Minutes Played GS: Goals Scored SonT: Shots on Target SoffT: Shots off Target AP: Accurate Passes PC: Pass Completion CC: Chances Created A: Assists)

Date Competition Opposition Result MP GS SonT SoffT AP PC CC A
04/01/2012 Premier League Bolton Wanderers (H) 1-2 90 0 1 0 18 82% 2 0
07/01/2012 FA Cup Tamworth (H) 2-0 90 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
11/01/2012 Premier League Tottenham Hotspur (A) 0-2 90 0 0 1 27 87% 2 0
14/01/2012 Premier League Aston Villa (A) 1-1 90 0 0 0 32 80% 1 1
21/01/2012 Premier League Blackburn Rovers (H) 1-1 90 0 0 1 23 79% 5 0
27/01/2012 FA Cup Fulham (H) 2-1 90 0 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
31/01/2012 Premier League Manchester City (H) 1-0 90 0 0 0 25 76% 1 1
04/02/2012 Premier League Wigan Athletic (A) 1-1 90 0 0 0 23 88% 1 0
11/02/2012 Premier League Chelsea (H) 2-0 90 0 1 1 17 65% 1 1

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry made a second return to the Emirates Stadium this season in early January.

The fan favourite previously returned with the New York Red Bulls when they won Emirates Cup at the end of July 2011.

Thierry Henry left Arsenal as a club legend in the summer of 2007 to join Spanish giants Barcelona, where he would go on to lift La Liga title twice and the Champions League trophy for the first time in his career in 2009, starting the final in a 2-0 win over Manchester United.

During his first spell at the club, an eight-year stay, Thierry Henry amassed a club record 174 league goals and a club record 226 goals in all competitions, winning the Premier League crown on two occasions and the FA Cup three times. Since departing, Arsenal have not lifted a single trophy.

Henry’s second debut for the Gunners came as a substitute in an FA Cup third round tie with Leeds United. The script was prepared when Henry made his entrance in the 68th minute with the score at 0-0 and the French World Cup winner duly delivered with his tidy finish with 12 minutes remaining as he lead Arsenal to a 1-0 victory.

Less than a week later, Henry came on as a late substitute but couldn’t prevent Arsenal going down 3-2 in Swansea. In the process, the Liberty Stadium is now the Premier League ground for Thierry Henry to play at but not score.

Thierry Henry scored his first Premier League goal during this loan spell as the final goal of Arsenal’s 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn Rovers on 4 February. A week later, Henry signed off his short Premier League stay with a dramatic 90th minute winner at Sunderland.

Four days later, Henry signed off in a 4-0 thrashing in Milan as Arsenal were all but eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of AC Milan in the second round.

In all, Thierry Henry played 168 minutes and scored 3 goals for Arsenal before heading back to New York.

(Key: MP: Minutes Played GS: Goals Scored SonT: Shots on Target SoffT: Shots off Target AP: Accurate Passes PC: Pass Completion CC: Chances Created A: Assists)

Date Competition Opposition Result MP GS SonT SoffT AP PC CC A
09/01/2012 FA Cup Leeds United (H) 1-0 22 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
15/01/2012 Premier League Swansea City (A) 2-3 27 0 0 0 7 64% 0 0
22/01/2012 Premier League Manchester United (H) 1-2 0
29/01/2012 FA Cup Aston Villa (H) 3-2 1 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
01/02/2012 Premier League Bolton Wanderers (A) 0-0 21 0 0 0 3 50% 0 0
04/02/2012 Premier League Blackburn Rovers (H) 7-1 22 1 1 0 7 58% 0 0
11/02/2012 Premier League Sunderland (A) 1-2 25 1 1 1 6 67% 0 0
15/02/2012 Champions League AC Milan (A) 0-4 45 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

The third loanee to the English Premier League from the MLS, Robbie Keane’s loan ended in a frustrating goalless draw at Wigan Athletic.

Aston Villa are the eight Premier League side Robbie Keane has now played for. His 3 goals during this spell has taken his total up to 126 Premier League goals.

Robbie Keane’s standout performance came during his first start, playing 89 minutes and scoring with both his shots on target, including a 20-yard screamer in off the bar to win the game in the 84th minute.

With Darren Bent as the main figure up front, Keane played behind and involved himself in the game with several short passes throughout each of his games.

Robbie Keane won just 1 of the 7 games he participated in for Aston Villa in 2012, but manager Alex McLeish has said he would like to bring the 31-year old Republic of Ireland international back to Villa Park in the future.

(Key: MP: Minutes Played GS: Goals Scored SonT: Shots on Target SoffT: Shots off Target AP: Accurate Passes PC: Pass Completion CC: Chances Created A: Assists)

Date Competition Opposition Result MP GS SonT SoffT AP PC CC A
14/01/2012 Premier League Everton (H) 1-1 9 0 0 0 6 100% 0 0
21/01/2012 Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers (A) 3-2 89 2 2 1 44 81% 0 0
29/01/2012 FA Cup Arsenal (A) 2-3 90 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
01/02/2012 Premier League Queens Park Rangers (H) 2-2 90 0 2 0 51 86% 4 0
05/02/2012 Premier League Newcastle United (A) 1-2 90 1 2 1 35 83% 2 0
12/02/2012 Premier League Manchester City (H) 0-1 90 0 0 0 15 68% 1 0
25/02/2012 Premier League Wigan Athletic (A) 0-0 90 0 1 1 21 72% 2 0

Stats provided by Opta Sports