Manchester City shrugged off a penalty miss, an injury to striker Sergio Aguero and falling 2-1 behind in the second half, to register a thrilling 3-2 opening win over Southampton Sunday in their defense of the English Premier League title.
When the NCAA men's basketball tournament takes center stage in about a month, we'll hear plenty usage of the term "blind résumé." It is a comparison method for decision-makers to look at the body of work for teams on the tournament-field bubble without being clouded by predetermined bias linked to a school's name or conference affiliation.
Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick as Manchester United thrashed 10-man Wigan Athletic 5-0 at Old Trafford to draw level with rivals Manchester City at the top of the English Premier League.
Just before the 2008-09 season started, the Barclays Premier League launched its Get On With The Game initiative, designed to discourage "unacceptable behavior" from players and managers, usually directed at the officials. It had minimal impact (in fact, this might very well be the first you've heard of it), but given some of last season's dramas -- there were managers who made shrieking pantomime dames look like subtle artisans -- the scheme was revived last week. "There are always going to be incidents," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore last week, but he was "confident" that players, managers and referees were committed to improving relations/not behaving like infants.
Christmas is a time for sharing, a time for caring and a time for firing your manager before the yawning jaws of relegation snap shut. Since the weather put paid to seven of the weekend's nine fixtures, let's have a look at who's in the danger zone:
Watch the television coverage of any English Premier League game between a side near the top of the table and a side near the bottom and you can guarantee that before kickoff one of the pundits will say something along these lines: "The great thing about this league is that on any given day anybody can beat anybody." Except it's not true, not anymore.
With the final day's Premier League action looming, it had seemed appropriate to engineer a way to have dramatic music boom out at you as you clicked on this page. But after Tottenham went and beat Manchester City on Wednesday to secure at least fourth place and a berth in the Champions League, bringing resolution to one suspenseful storyline, we didn't bother.
With just a few matches remaining of this Premiership season, the time has come for a spot of deliberation, cogitation and digestion. What's happened since last August to confound the surest of expectations and put paid to the sincerest of hopes? Quite a bit, is the simple answer; this season has provided a lasting ride for more than half of a league that has spent several years fending off accusations of soul-crushing predictability. Things we didn't expect:
How the crowing must be reverberating around London's N17 postcode, the home of Tottenham Hotspur and 36,000 fans who don't know whether to stock their medicine cabinet with uppers or downers these days. One minute they're having to cope with defeat to Sunderland and a muted reverse at the hands of Portsmouth in the FA Cup semifinal, the next they've secured spine-tingling 2-1 wins over beloved neighbors Arsenal and old chums Chelsea.
First Blood to Manchester United, as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs made them the John Rambo to Chelsea's bumbling small town sheriff in last Sunday's EPL finale. At the moment it's anyone's guess who'll play the muscle-bound Vietnam veteran, and who'll be the hapless Vietnamese soldiers in next week's sequel.
Manchester United is running rampant. Last Saturday, the Red Devils demolished eighth-place Aston Villa 4-0 at Old Trafford and remain five points clear of Chelsea in the English Premier League race. The standard of United's soccer was so sublime, the score line actually flattered the losers.