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City score in Fergie time as Toffees taste sweet Victor-y

ESPN staff
December 22, 2012
Newcastle fans got into the festive spirit © PA Photos

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Christmas surprise for City

They did it on the final day of last season with Sergio Aguero scoring a dramatic late goal to snatch the Premier League title from Manchester United's grasp. And they were at it again on Saturday, as Gareth Barry scored a late, late goal to grab a 1-0 victory at Reading.

The home fans were not exactly full of festive cheer at Etihad Stadium as they looked to be losing further ground on leaders Manchester United, drawing blank against the leakiest defence in the Premier League.

But in the 93rd minute, Barry stepped up to meet David Silva's cross to bury a header past Adam Federici, who'd had a blinder in the previous 92 minutes.

Downing daze

It was one of those where were you moments, like when England won the Rugby World Cup or when Sir Steve Redgrave won his fifth Olympic gold medal. Where were you when Stewart Downing scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool?

Downing has been the subject of much ridicule after his £20 million move from Aston Villa in July 2011, but went some way to justify his hefty pricetag with a man-of-the-match performance as Liverpool beat Fulham 4-0. After setting captain Steven Gerrard up for Liverpool's second with a delicious throughball, Downing broke his goalscoring duck, turning inside former Reds defender John Arne Riise to blast in a powerful strike from the edge of the area.

So at a return of one goal every 18 months, we have calculated that Downing will have justified his price tag by…2042.

Franco's had ear-nuff

After 65 minutes of the lunchtime game between Wigan and Arsenal, referee Jon Moss noticed Franco Di Santo was wearing an earring. The striker was promptly sent to the touchlines to have the offending jewellery removed. Ironically, Moss wouldn't have notice the earring if Di Santo hadn't argued with him over a free-kick decision.

As Arsenal piled on the pressure, Di Santo was not allowed to return to the pitch until a stoppage in play. With Wigan spending Christmas in the relegation places, it certainly seems like the luck is against them, but Di Santo only had himself to blame for forgetting to take out the earring before the match.

Sweet Victor(y) for Anichebe

How about this for a record? When Victor Anichebe scores for Everton, they do not lose. Trailing 1-0 at West Ham, Anichebe netted the equaliser before Steven Pienaar's winner secured three points for the visitors. Anichebe has now scored 20 goals for Everton, with the Toffees winning 15 of the games in which he scored, drawing the other five.

Spot on

If only England had a player like Mikel Arteta. While the Three Lions perennially suffer penalty shootout heartache, Arteta is like a spot-kick robot. With his winner from the spot against Wigan, the Spaniard has now scored 13 of 15 career penalties in the Premier League. Not a bad return by anyone's standards.

Harry's hotline

As QPR looked to extend Harry Redknapp's unbeaten start to life at manager; the man himself could be seen chatting animatedly into his mobile phone in the dugout. Perhaps it was Nicolas Anelka on the phone as 'arry tried to convince him to come to Loftus Road. Or maybe he was desperately trying to source some last-minute Christmas presents.

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