• Premier League Plays of the Day

Rooney's turkey disaster and City's Groundhog Day

ESPN staff
December 26, 2012

Premier League round-up: Hernandez strikes late for United as City falter

No Way-ne

After an "off day" (his words not ours) at the weekend when Manchester United were frustrated by Swansea, Wayne Rooney vowed to bounce back against Newcastle.

However, when the teams were announced, there was no Rooney in the squad, with Javier Hernandez starting up front alongside Robin van Persie, prompting suspicions at ESPN Towers that the striker had suffered a nasty injury while carving the turkey in the Rooney household on Christmas Day.

It was later revealed that Rooney suffered a knee injury in training last week and will be out of action for a couple of weeks. With forwards Ashley Young (injured) and Danny Welbeck (ill) unavailable, there were no forwards among the substitutes for United. It's just a good job that Robin van Persie survived the assassination attempt at Swansea at the weekend.

Evans above

Jonny Evans played a dramatic role in United's 4-3 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford. Having the scored the first equaliser, he then put the ball into his own net, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Evans thought he had been let off the hook when he deflected Danny Simpson's shot past David De Gea - the assistant referee flagging Papiss Cisse offside. However, referee Mike Dean felt Cisse was not interfering with play, and allowed the goal to stand.

In scoring at both ends, Evans joins Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale as the third player to achieve the dubious honour this season.

Brunt steers Baggies out of a jam

With West Ham's Boxing Day clash with Arsenal called up in the wake of a tube strike in London, West Brom discovered the travails of driving in the capital when they got held up in traffic making their way to Loftus Road, meaning kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes. Baggies forward Peter Odemwingie's running commentary on Twitter sounded uncannily like West Brom's opening goal.

"Some skilful driving from our pilot made a difference, but after some pressure from the decision makers. Without that, no way forward!" It was after some skill from skipper - read pilot - Chris Brunt that West Brom took the lead with a impressive drive from 30 yards as they beat QPR 2-1.

Don't know you from Adam

Manchester City clearly don't like going to Sunderland. Having lost their last two visits to the Stadium of Light, 1-0, it was like Groundhog Day as they went down by the same scoreline for a third successive season.

But to add insult to injury, it was Adam Johnson, the winger who City sold in the summer, who did the damage, beating former team-mate Joe Hart at his near post after cutting in from the right.

You'll Neville Walk Alone

Many felt Phil Neville was in the autumn of his career when he left Manchester United for Everton in 2005, but the former England international has been a key part of Toffees' renaissance under David Moyes.

Neville marked his 500th Premier League appearance with an assist as Everton beat Wigan 2-1 at Goodison. He joins an exclusive list of seven, including Ryan Giggs, David James, Gary Speed, Frank Lampard, Emile Heskey and Sol Campbell.

Keep calm

Dimitar Berbatov took a leaf out of Mario Balotelli's book when he displayed a cryptic message on his undershirt after scoring the opener against Southampton. After netting from close range, Berbatov lifted his shirt to reveal a T-shirt which read, 'Keep calm and pass me the ball'. The former Manchester United striker was booked for his troubles.

It probably says much about the disparity between wages at Manchester City and Fulham, that while Balotelli's message was printed, Berbatov's was handwritten with a marker pen.

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