By FRANCO PANIZO
The new year is almost upon us and so too is the return of action in La Liga, meaning we could see Jozy Altidore make his third appearance this season in the opening days of 2011.
Altidore and Villarreal get back to work after a brief break by taking on struggling Almeria on Monday. Almeria is barely above the relegation zone and has won just once in its past 11 games, so Altidore could make a lengthy cameo off the bench should Villarreal take a multi-goal lead. Villarreal, currently in third place, needs a win because anything short of three points would likely squash any remaining title hopes.
Eric Lichaj and Aston Villa aren't thinking of winning their respective league, but they do need a win so as to further themselves from the drop zone. Aston Villa squares off with Chelsea this weekend, and that means Lichaj would be matched up against Flourent Malouda if the American were to start.
If you're a fan of the lower leagues in England then you'll likely enjoy this weekend as many teams in the Championship and League One play twice in two days. Conor Doyle and Derby County are one of those teams, battling Preston North End on Saturday before playing Millwall on Monday.
Here is a rundown of who the Americans Abroad play this weekend:
Stuart Holden and Bolton Wanderers play Liverpool.
Tim Howard and Everton play Stoke City.
Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Fulham play Tottenham Hotspur.
Jonathan Spector and West Ham United play Marcus Hahnemann and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Brad Guzan and Hull City play Leicester City.
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City play Queens Park Rangers. (Whitbread is out injured.)
Conor Doyle and Derby County play Preston North End.
Frank Simek, Mike Grella and Carlisle United play Huddersfield Town.
Jemal Johnson and Milton Keynes Dons play Bristol Rovers.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth Argyle play Yeovil Town.
Brad Friedel, Eric Lichaj and Aston Villa play Chelsea.
Maurice Edu and Rangers play Celtic.
Dominic Cervi and Dundee play Ross County.
Conor Doyle and Derby County play Millwall.
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City play Middlesbrough. (Whitbread is out injured.)
Brad Guzan and Hull City play Portsmouth.
Frank Simek, Mike Grella and Carlisle United play Tranmere Rovers.
Jemal Johnson and Milton Keynes Dons play Yeovil Town.
Jozy Altidore and Villarreal play Almeria.
Do you see Altidore getting a lengthy cameo against Almeria? How do you think Lichaj will fare against Malouda should the two square off? Think playing two games in two days like Derby County and Doyle are doing is a bit much?
Share your thoughts below.