Wedding planning is over. The international lulls, for the most part, have passed. The Onion Bag returns for what will hopefully be a weekly series.
Noisy Neighbors: Just weeks after handing Arsene Wenger the worst afternoon of his Premier League managerial career, Sir Alex Ferguson had it done to him by Roberto Mancini. Man U defender Jonny Evans, his team already 1-0 down, was sent off in the 46th minute, to bring them down to ten. City poured it on from there for an eventual 6-1 win at Old Trafford. For Man United fans, that train ride back to London undoubtedly felt a bit longer than usual.
To put this in context…This was Ferguson’s worst defeat in his 25 years at Man U, to their biggest rivals at home. It was also a six-pointer in the EPL title race. Manchester City is now five points clear after nine games and have dropped just two points, outscoring opponents 33-7. For those feeling Mario Balotelli may not have displayed the proper focus, he scored twice and forced Jonny Evans’ penalty. Right now City are cruising, but 10 of their 12 games against the top seven have yet to be played..
Racist Slurs: John Terry seems like a swell fellow. Apparently, taunting Americans about 9/11, peeing in nightclubs, seducing 17-year-olds, impregnating a teammate’s girlfriend, displaying a wanton disregard for England’s disabled, allegedly accepting bribes and attempting a mid-World Cup coup is not enough for the Chelsea captain. He also might have let loose a racial slur last weekend.
Cameras clearly caught Terry calling QPR defender Anton Ferdinand a “f-cking black c-nt.” Terry’s defense is that he was not calling Ferdinand a “f-cking black c-nt” but informing him that he had not, as Ferdinand alleged, called him a “f-cking black c-nt” beforehand. Why he needed to repeat “f-cking black c-nt” to inform him of that is unclear. The “hey, you” inserted in front of “f-cking black c-nt” seems to discredit that sequence of events. Terry is “disappointed that people have leapt to the wrong conclusions.” No idea why anyone would do that.
French-African striker Frederic Kanoute also accused new Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas of calling him a terrorist. Fabregas’ denial seems a bit more considered than Terry’s.
“I can proudly say that after many years in football, I always maintained the best relationships with my team-mates who came from different backgrounds, races, religions and nationalities.
“No one has ever accused me of being racist or bigoted in all my years of playing in the game.
“There is a simple explanation for that. I have never behaved in that manner. I share a dressing room with a Malian player, I have an Arab tattoo and my partner is Lebanese. There is no better indication that it makes no sense.
“I will not tolerate anyone accusing me of things that I’m not. If they r frustrated by a decision that has gone against them on the football pitch then there r others ways to deal with it.
“To cry racism is cowardly and an easy option to excuse your own poor behaviour. My conscience is completely clear. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Speaking of Barcelona… The Catalans drew 0-0 with Sevilla, dropping themselves, incredibly, to third place in the Spanish Liga, third-place because Real Madrid is in second. The class of the Spanish League is now last year’s 14th place finisher Levante. The Frogs, who might have blatantly stolen Barcelona’s color scheme, crushed Villarreal 3-0 away on Sunday and have now won six in a row, including a 1-0 home win over Real Madrid. They have outscored opponents 14-3. Just barely sustaining promotion last year, it’s hard to see Levante mounting a season-long challenge, but we will be rooting.
His Name is Prince: This would be what is meant by “impact sub.” Lecce took a 3-0 lead over AC Milan into halftime. Ghanaian international Kevin-Prince Boateng came on in the second-half and evened the score with a barrage of three goals in fourteen minutes. The defending scudetto winners eventually won 4-3 on Mario Yepes’ header and the three points could prove critical, in Serie A’s emerging logjam. Nine clubs are within five points of the top, fourteen are within six. Adding to the urgency, only the top three teams from Serie A will qualify for next year’s Champions League.
Goal of the Week: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) vs. Malaga
[Photo via Getty]