Goal: Darron Gibson (Everton FC)
Barring two loan spells, Gibson was a one-club man until joining Everton last month. That club? Manchester United FC. In only his fourth appearance for the Toffees, the midfielder came up against United's city, and title, rivals Manchester City FC. The 24-year-old duly scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park, allowing United to draw level with the Premier League leaders. Cue gratitude aplenty from his former employers, with Rio Ferdinand tweeting that he was "organising a free meal at my restaurant for Darron Gibson", and Sir Alex Ferguson claiming "it was all part of the plan".
Player: John Guidetti (Feyenoord)
Guidetti, on loan from City, has been making waves in the Eredivisie. It was last weekend's exploits, however – a second successive hat-trick, in a 4-2 triumph over AFC Ajax in Rotterdam – that catapulted the Swede into UEFA EURO 2012 contention, possibly alongside Zlatan Ibrahimović, who also made his name in the Netherlands. "He's told Dutch reporters this is a good league for me to develop in," said Guidetti. "It feels bizarre that he even knows who I am. But then again, it's probably a good thing for him to know the name of his future strike partner!"
Saturday's 2-1 home win against Udinese Calcio earned the Bianconeri breathing space at the Serie A summit and extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 22 matches this season. Their fixture at Parma FC on Tuesday was postponed because of snow yet their week got even better when nearest challengers AC Milan lost 2-0 at S.S. Lazio. Antonio Conte's men are now a point clear with a game in hand, although their coach still favours the Rossoneri and their secret weapon. "Milan are favourites because they have Zlatan Ibrahimović, who sometimes looks like Gulliver to me," he said.
From 28 February 2010 to 29 January 2012, FC Porto did not lose in the Portuguese Liga. Not once. Gil Vicente FC brought an end to that last Sunday, though, winning 3-1 at home against Vítor Pereira's side to leave Porto five points adrift of table toppers SL Benfica. "We showed an apathy that doesn't befit a team that wants to be champions," said the coach. The Dragons' 55-game unbeaten sequence surpassed their club record of 53 matches under Sir Bobby Robson but is some way short of Europe's most indomitable outfits.
"Don't shout bingo until you have completed a line."
Wise words from Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC coach Ran Ben Shimon, whose team, founded in 2000, claimed a second straight Israeli League Cup a few weeks back and continue to upset the natural order in Israel's Premier League, though they are far from home and hosed.
Quick impression: Nolan Roux (LOSC Lille Métropole)
The transfer window closed this week yet not before a host of new acquisitions had already paid off. Roux's debut was the most eye-catching, the Lille striker scoring twice in as many minutes in a 3-0 home success against AS Saint-Étienne on Saturday. "I couldn't dream of a better debut but now it's up to me to keep it up," the 23-year-old said. Former Ligue 1 favourite Djibril Cissé, meanwhile, also started like a train upon returning to the Premier League. The France forward, 30, struck 12 minutes into his first outing for Queens Park Rangers FC, having done likewise for Sunderland AFC and Liverpool FC.
Record crowd: Spaladium Arena
UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 got under way in Croatia this week and on opening night a tournament-record 8,000 crowd flocked to the Spaladium Arena to watch the hosts' 2-1 victory over Romania. Goalkeeper Ivo Jukić was in no doubt that local support helped his side over the line. "I told the media before the match that nobody can come to Split in front of our crowd and be favourites against us," he said. "That was proved tonight. The crowd gave us a boost just when we needed it."
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