Wayne Rooney’s spectacular late winner put Manchester United’s Premier League title assault back on course and left Manchester City devastated at Old Trafford.David Silva’s deflected equaliser put Roberto Mancini’s side in sight of a point after Nani’s first-half goal gave United a slender advantage in a tight and tense encounter.It was Rooney, however, who produced a moment of inspiration to score a stunning overhead kick that will live forever in the memory of United’s fans and extended City’s dismal sequence of only one league win in their last 27 visits to Old Trafford.Silva’s fortunate leveller, unwittingly deflecting in substitute Edin Dzeko’s shot via his back, had given City momentum but they were stopped in their tracks in the most dramatic fashion with only 12 minutes left.Nani’s cross from the right flank was high and behind Rooney as he lurked near the penalty spot, but he elevated an indifferent personal display to the heights by readjusting his position and sending an acrobatic, unstoppable overhead kick high past startled City keeper Joe Hart.The quality of the goal was worthy of winning any game and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson may even look back on it as a strike that won the title after they bounced back from their first Premier League defeat of the season at Wolves last Saturday. Rooney, superbly shackled by City defender Vincent Kompany for so long as Ferguson surprisingly left Dimitar Berbatov on the bench, had previously cut a forlorn and frustrated figure but his natural instincts continue to serve him and United so well.And if his love affair with Old Trafford was strained by the saga of his demand to leave earlier this season, the bond was rekindled as United claimed a vital victory.It enabled them to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points at the final whistle – and also inflicted a serious blow to City’s own lingering hopes of mounting a challenge as they now stand eight points behind United having played a game more.City were left to regret failing to make the most of some early supremacy when Silva squandered the perfect opportunity to strike a crucial blow early on in the second minute.United boss Ferguson entrusted Rooney with a lone attacking role – and in the opening stages it was City who made all the running and should have taken the lead in the opening moments. Silva, a significant influence as City dominated, exchanged passes with Carlos Tevez inside the area and was left with only Edwin van der Sar to beat. The angle was acute but the gifted Spaniard was wasteful as he rolled a tame finish across the face of goal and inches wide.The hulking figure of Yaya Toure also cast a giant shadow over United’s midfield as they struggled to assert any authority and he was frustrated when referee Andre Marriner ignored his penalty appeals when his cross struck Chris Smalling.As United finally started to pose a threat, Darren Fletcher headed straight at City keeper Hart from Ryan Giggs’ cross – and the seemingly ageless Old Trafford veteran was instrumental when they took the lead four minutes before the interval.Rooney challenged for Van der Sar’s clearance and Giggs pounced to deliver an inviting pass for Nani, who escape the attentions of Pablo Zabaleta to slide a composed finish past Hart.City boss Mancini, who watched his team fail to capitalise on so much early possession, made a change early in the second half when he replaced Aleksandar Kolarov with Shaun Wright-Phillips. And in an attempt to actually call Van der Sar into serious action, something City had failed to do, he then introduced Dzeko for James Milner.The impact was exactly what City required as both substitutes were involved when they drew level after 65 minutes. Wright-Phillips’ cross fell to Dzeko and his effort took a vital touch of Silva’s back to wrong-foot Van der Sar.Ferguson immediately introduced Berbatov for Anderson, but it was that moment of brilliance from Rooney that put them back in front and visibly deflated City.City were stunned at being struck by such a blow and their threat fizzled out as Old Trafford buzzed with excitement at what had unfolded. United survived in comfort to close out a crucial victory.Source: BBC
MADRID (AP):Diego Costa has been left out of the Spain squad because of an injury, coach Vicente del Bosque said yesterday. Del Bosque announced his squad for upcoming friendlies against Italy and Romania.”Diego came off from a match with an injury in his quadriceps muscle, but four days later, because Chelsea had much at stake, he was made to play again and finished in some pain,” del Bosque said. “Although the doctors said he was getting better, we have opted not to include him.”Last Saturday, Costa was sent off in Chelsea’s FA Cup loss to Everton for “improper conduct”. He was given a second yellow card after thrusting his head towards Gareth Barry before appearing to make a biting motion on the side of the midfielder’s neck. Both players later said there was no bite.Del Bosque said Costa’s behaviour was not a cause of concern.”There are two months to go before I choose my final squad for the European Championship and absolutely no one – not even Diego Costa – is currently excluded,” Del Bosque said.Costa’s place in attack was taken by Aritz Aduriz, who scored a hat-trick in Athletic Bilbao’s 4-1 win over Deportivo La Coruna and then clinched his team’s Europa League win with an away goal against Valencia.De Bosque said playmaker Andres Iniesta had also been left out because of a muscle problem.”He had discomfort and we considered it appropriate not to include him,” Del Bosque said.
Latest Premier League news 3 Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade PositionWhen it comes to his use for Arsenal, it’s likely we could see an incredibly fluid forward line with Pavon and Henrikh Mkhitaryan switching flanks at will and penetrating defences in the Premier League. This will allow Mesut Ozil to drift more freely in a central role to feed Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang. All four stars are extremely capable of occupying each others roles, with Pavon also used as forward on occasion, this versatility could be a key reason behind Emery’s interest. talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener NEW ERA How Liverpool could line up at Leicester with midfielder set for lengthy absence 3 smart causal silverware Will Pavon be a star if he signs for Arsenal. England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won gameday Argentina World Cup 2018 star Cristian Pavon is the latest star being linked with joining the Arsenal revolution under Unai Emery.The winger, 22, is capable of playing on either flank and has seen the Gunners bid £27million – but it may take a bigger fee to land him. 3 Boca Juniors star Cristian Pavon celebrates scoring for the club. predicted How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? KEY STATS How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures FinishingMost of Pavon’s goals are similar in style, he delights in cutting inside from the left flank and firing shots, with plenty of pace, into the far corner. But where he is most lethal is on the counter attack, slipping between defenders, having run off the shoulder, and powering the ball beyond the goalkeeper with his stronger right foot. He’s pretty capable from long-range too but his reliance on his powerful shooting might see a few strikes cannon over the crossbar. He is, though, extremely unlikely to score with his head, preferring to run from deep for back post crosses or mill around in the area for knockdowns.DribblingThe 22-year-old Argentine is fairly reliant on his pace when it comes to beating a man, poking the ball past the defender into space and running onto it rather using his close control, which he does seem to lack. This could see him come a cropper against tighter defences like Burnley’s where he can’t get in behind and will need to beat a man with skill.Crossing and passing in the final thirdPavon’s delivery from wide areas really needs some work with him preferring to hit the ball towards dangerous areas, rather than towards specific team-mates. However, thankfully, it’s more likely his passes will be shorter combinations with other team-mates. He does, though, like to play passes in front of them to run onto rather than neat and tidy and to feet, which could cause him issues in the Premier League. possible standings Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes Arsenal have reportedly bid £27million for Boca Juniors and Argentina star Cristian Pavon. Age – 22Place of birth – Cordoba, ArgentinaClub – Boca JuniorsAppearances – 65 league gamesGoals – 17Honours – Superliga Argentina de Futbol – 2016/17 and 2017/18International caps – nineInternational goals – none REVEALED How Chelsea could line up against Southampton – what system will Lampard play? But why is Spanish boss Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger earlier this year, so keen on signing Pavon?We’ve been running through the tapes and got our notepad out to discover exactly what he would offer Arsenal and how he would fit in at the Emirates. ALTERED possible xi Pressing and tacklingMore important than ever, Pavon’s pressing is certainly a key attribute and is often found rutting around on the wing in an attempt to stifle opponents, regain the ball and start counters. A penchant for sliding in on his foe is a minor mark on his card here, but overall he’ll do well for Arsenal as they look to stymie opponents high up the pitch. The 22-year-old will happily use his strength in shoulder-to-shoulder challenges, but whether his level of physicality will be allowed by Premier League referees remains to be seen. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem which can’t be corrected as he comes to terms with the English game.ConclusionWith Unai Emery expected to make the Gunners a side who hit their opponents on the counter attack, Pavon could fit in neatly on left wing and help get the ball forward quickly and lay it on to his team-mates, or go it alone. In defensive situations, he’ll do well for the Gunners and is happy to press and tackle back, which could help make Emery’s Arsenal a lot tighter, although some of his challenges are a little risky. His direct running will certainly put teams on the back foot, but the major worry surrounding Pavon will be when he faces teams who defend deep and don’t give opponents much space – such as Burnley. His youth means he can certainly adapt but initially he may take a bit of time to get used to Premier League. How Man United could line up for Newcastle clash – will Pogba start? who plays? Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era?