Player: Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp opted to give 19-year-old midfielder Rose a low-key Premier League debut, at home to arch-rivals Arsenal FC in a match Spurs needed to win to keep their UEFA Champions League hopes alive as well as scupper their neighbours' title bid. Ten minutes in Rose was lurking 25 metres from goal when Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia's punch after a corner flew in his direction; the England Under-21 player met it first time with a volley that swerved and zipped through a crowded box, past the goalkeeper and into the net. Tottenham went on to win 2-1 and Redknapp said: "That was a wonder strike. He will never forget that."
Team: Olympique de Marseille
Marseille have not been French champions since 1991/92 but following a perfect week, that wait could soon end. Several of their main rivals in the tight Ligue 1 race slipped up at the weekend allowing OM to consolidate first place on Sunday with a 4-1 win at OGC Nice. Then on Wednesday Stéphane Mbia's 88th-minute goal earned Marseille a 1-0 victory against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and Didier Deschamps's side are now five points clear with six games left.
Goal: Javi Martínez (Athletic Club)
Athletic are chasing UEFA Champions League football and Martínez showed the requisite class when he put the Bilbao side three up in their 4-1 win against UD Almería at the weekend. Entering the left of the box with three defenders in close attendance, he bamboozled them all with deft footwork and swivelling hips before beating goalkeeper Diego Alves at his near post.
Quote: Claudio Ranieri (AS Roma)
"Inter can feel our breath on their necks and now we've got to sink our teeth in." So said the Roma coach before last's weekend fixtures. By Sunday night Roma had overtaken FC Internazionale Milano, the first time in four years that the Nerazzurri had not been top of Serie A more than 11 games into a season.
Number: 10 (Real Madrid CF)
On Saturday Madrid's Liga hopes took a blow with a 2-0 home loss to FC Barcelona. But then the 10 April date was hardly a good omen, since Madrid's UEFA Champions League elimination by Olympique Lyonnais came on 10 March and AD Alcorcón knocked them out of the Copa del Rey on 10 November. Which shirt number does Lionel Messi wear again?
Clothes horse: Jonathan Legear (RSC Anderlecht)
Legear is helping inspire Anderlecht to a likely league title, and the European campaign that it will earn is just what the 23-year-old winger needs; for Legear likes to look beyond Belgium's borders to satisfy his sophisticated tastes. "I prefer to walk around in clothes that no one else has got, that's why I do not shop in Belgium," he said. "I go to Amsterdam, Maastricht or Paris. I like to have things no one else has – just like with my car. Inside the car I have changed so many things, that it really is unique. I want to be me, and do not want to run into someone who looks just like me. When my mother sees my wardrobe, she always says that I am worse than a woman." And there are few things worse than that, right fellas?
Fire risk: Ross County FC
Second-tier side Ross stunned Celtic FC 2-0 on Saturday to reach their first Scottish Cup final, not bad for a side whose town Dingwall has a population of about a tenth of Hampden Park's 50,000-odd capacity. However, the exodus to Glasgow did leave the historic northern dwelling rather short-handed. There was a complaint to the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service that there were no Dingwall-based firefighters on call after 7pm on Saturday. However, Richard Durham, local councillor and convener of the Highlands and Islands Fire Board, said: "Regardless of whether the entire Dingwall crew had gone to the football, there would have been cover from other stations nearby."
Art: Cesc Fàbregas, Wayne Rooney, et al
Before Arsenal took on Barcelona, Arsène Wenger said: "I believe that when you do something, whether it be writing, dancing or playing football, if you do it at the best level it becomes art." And because artists should not confine their muse to just one medium, more than 40 Premier League players and managers – including Fàbregas, Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson – donated felt-tip self-portraits to a charity book entitled The Art of Football, which was auctioned off on Monday night for €36,500. The Premier League are displaying the sketches on their website and asked graphologist Emma Bache to analyse the drawings. She praised Rooney thus: "His art might not be something he's well known for but the way he's done his face is Picasso-esque."
Life-saver: Ventsislav Stefanov (PFC Slavia Sofia)
Club president Ventsislav Stefanov was watching their junior side play PFC Levski Sofia when Slavia player Radomir Nikov collapsed on the pitch. Play was going on but Stefanov wasted no time in rushing on to ensure the unconscious Nikob did not swallow his tongue. "I saw our lad collapsing and I needed no permission from the match officials to rush on to the pitch and help him," Stefanov said. "I didn't hesitate, but in a moment like this I would do the same for anyone, not only for a Slavia player."
Record-breakers: AFC Aldermaston
The quiet southern English village of Aldermaston is best known as the home of the UK's nuclear deterrent but there has been little deadly about their local team this season. In fact, AFC Aldermaston of the tenth-tier Wessex League Division One have set an unwanted mark after losing 40 straight games, the worst run in British senior football history, not helped by an enforced break of over a month due to snow. Oddly, having broken the previous mark of 39 last Thursday, Aldermaston then returned to form two days later with a 1-1 home draw against Warminster Town FC. Adie Heath, who took over as manager five weeks ago, said: "It is the record no team would want but I suppose it has given the club a bit of attention. We will all be glad to see the back of this season and start again in the summer."
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