Manchester City kept its place above Manchester United with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa Sunday. Carlos Tevez is expected to return this week to practice and should be playing as early as March for City after refusing to warm up for a Champions League match against Bayern Munich in September. City coach Roberto Mancini is calling on Tevez to apologize and hinted that he might not see minutes until he does.
Across the way, Manchester United saw a tense match against Liverpool, with the spotlight on Luis Suarez for his first game since racially abusing Red Devils player Patrice Evra. For his first game back since December, after serving an eight game suspension, Luis Suarez had told team officials that he would shake Evra’s hand in the pre-game ceremony. Rumors circled that fights nearly broke out in the tunnel before the game.
During the hand-shaking, Suarez skipped right past Evra, ignoring him altogether. Clearly disappointed by Suarez, Evra sought revenge by making a challenge on Suarez, only to collide with his own Rio Ferdinand. At the end of the match, United 2-1 Liverpool, Evra got revenge by celebrating the victory blatantly across the path of Suarez.
The match itself, though overshadowed by the drama of the Handshake Gate, was rather exciting. Wayne Rooney put away two goals (47′ & 50′) keeping him second for goals on the season (17) behind only Robin van Persie (24). Suarez was able to produce late in the second half (80′) though it would not be enough. With their win, United is still two points back from City.
Chelsea was unable to fend off Landon Donovan and crew in their 0-2 loss to Everton. The loss sheds light on the Blues coach Andre Villas Boas’ unsuccessful attempt to restore the glory of Chelsea. With aging talents like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and others, AVB is not producing the results his club and fans might expect. Now tied for fourth in the league with Arsenal, Chelsea might not even see a Champions League berth.
Most exciting was probably Tottenham’s 5-0 victory over Newcastle. The excitement from coach Harry Redknapp was a reminder of how much work he’s put into this team, making for a tough decision as England nears the European Championships only four months away. With two goals in the first 10 minutes, and two more in the first half, Tottenham looked great. The success and triumph of the Spurs is only a reminder of why Redknapp stands alone as the choice for England’s national team.
Though most of the soccer news from the weekend was overshadowed by Suarez/Evra, there was plenty of good old fashioned football in the rest of the English Premier League.