Tuesday Kickoff: EPL Boxing Day roundup, Kaka on the market and more

Tuesday Kickoff: EPL Boxing Day roundup, Kaka on the market and more

European Soccer

Tuesday Kickoff: EPL Boxing Day roundup, Kaka on the market and more

By

Berbatov getty

 

Boxing Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for soccer fans as all 20 Premier League teams take to the field over a two-day period and Monday's offerings did not disappoint.

Manchester United are now tied at the top of the Premier League title after a 5-0 destruction of Wigan. Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat trick in a rare start for the defending champions. Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia added rounded out the goal total for United.

Manchester City were shut out for the first time all season in a scoreless draw with West Brom. Both teams had chances, the best being Jerome Thomas' shot that beat Joe Hart but found the post instead of the side netting. Manchester City are still top at the end of 2011 thanks to a superior goal difference.

Chelsea may very well be out of the title race after another lackluster performance saw them draw 1-1 with Fulham at Stanford Bridge. Juan Mata opened the scoring just after halftime with a curling shot but Clint Dempsey equalized just a few minutes later. This was the third-straight 1-1 draw for Andres Villas-Boas.

Steve Kean may well have earned a stay of execution as Blackburn Rovers manager after his team's heroic defensive performance in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Charlie Adam put the ball into his own net in the 45th minute but Maxi Rodriguez equalized not long after. Liverpool almost nabbed a late winner but Mark Bunn's stunning save on Andy Carroll's point-blank shot and a goal-line clearance preserved a point for the Premier League bottom-dwellers.

Stoke City and Aston Villa played to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium in a game devoid of chances for the most part. Ben Arfa and Demba Ba scored within two minutes of each other in the second half to give Newcastle a 2-0 win over Bolton and Leighton Baines scored a controversial penalty in a 1-1 draw between Everton and Sunderland.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Tuesday

GIGGS OFFERED NEW CONTRACT

Ryan Giggs may be pushing 40 but Manchester United doesn't want the Welsh veteran to go anywhere. Giggs has been operating off continuous one-year extensions since he was 30, eight years ago with the club offering another for 2012-2013. This could be a move to stave off interest from the Welsh FA as Giggs has been linked with the vacant national team job following the untimely death of Gary Speed.

MARTINO TURNS DOWN COLOMBIA JOB

The Colombian FA is certainly persistent in its pursuit of Gerardo Martino but it doesn't seem to be working. The ex-Paraguay national team coach has turned down the opportunity to take over as Colombia's national team manager for the second time in two months, choosing instead to take charge of Argentinian club Newell's Old Boys instead.

Martino, who led Paraguay to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and the final of this summer's Copa America, was offered the job back in August. Following his rejection, Colombia appointed Leonel Alvarez but the former national-team star was fired after only three competitive games.

REAL MADRID WILLING TO SELL KAKA

Kaka's tumultuous tenure at Real Madrid could be coming to an end in January as the La Liga leaders are reportedly willing to listen to offers for the Brazilian international. Chelsea are the reported front runners with Madrid demanding a transfer fee of around $35 million. Paris St. Germain and AC Milan are also reportedly in the running. Kaka has struggled with injury and form since arriving in Spain for a fee of $88 million in 2009.

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