Their primary focus this season remains the Premier League, but Manchester City already has one piece of silverware in the cupboard after a dazzling 3-1 win over Sunderland in the Carling Cup final overnight. A game of high quality saw the Black Cats take a surprising 1-0 lead into the half-time break courtesy of a Fabio Borini goal, but the class of City told in the end with Yaya Toure’s incredible long-range strike in the 55th-minute leveling the scores before Samir Nasri made it 2-1 just 90 seconds later. Navas added a third on the break to seal victory as Manuel Pelligrini continued to make his mark at the club.
City can now return their focus to the EPL where they will no doubt have noted Arsenal’s slip-up at the weekend, beaten 1-0 at Stoke. That loss allowed Liverpool to leapfrog them into second behind Chelsea, who beat Fulham 3-1, after the Reds easily accounted for Southampton 3-0 with Luis Suarez breaking his recent goal drought.
A big weekend of European football also saw more intrigue in Spain’s La Liga where Atletico Madrid missed a golden opportunity to join Real at the top of the league in a classic Madrid derby. Atletico led 2-1 late in the game, mainly thanks to a stunning strike from Gabi Fernandez right on half-time, but a Cristiano Ronaldo goal salvaged a 2-2 draw to ensure Real remained on top. Still, it was a good result for rivals Barcelona who thrashed Almeria 4-1 to move to within one point of their bitter rivals.
Just when you thought his career was winding down, Roger Federer wound back the clock with a stunning win at the Dubai Tennis Championships. Federer showed he can still match it with the best in the world as he produced some classic form to down Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, then came from a set down to beat Tomas Berdych in the final.
Our man Graeme McDowell couldn’t get the job done at the Honda Classic, but it was a great week for American youngster Russell Henley who emerged from a four-man play-off victorious thanks to a birdie on the first play-off hole. Henley finished the 72 holes equal with Rory McIlroy, Russell Knock and Ryan Palmer on 11-under, then showed nerves of steel to claim his second PGA Tour win and earn an automatic start in April’s US Masters.
And the big guns of the NBA flexed their muscle over the weekend with Miami, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, San Antonio and Indiana all scoring big wins. It wasn’t all good news for the Heat’s LeBron James, however, who has been ordered to replace the face mask he has been wearing to protect a broken nose. James paraded a black, carbon-fibre mask against the Knicks on Thursday but has since been told he must wear a clear mask instead. James has reluctantly agreed and it doesn’t appear to have affected him too much after he led his side to an easy win over Orlando on Saturday.