By JOHN BOSCHINI
Once again, personal drama overshadowed a thrilling game between longtime rivals Manchester United and Liverpool.
Wayne Rooney scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half to give United the lead en route to a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday. The talking point across the world, though, once again involved Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, with the former snubbing the latter during the pregame handshakes after just coming off an eight-game suspension for racially abusing him. Suarez pulled a goal back for the Reds, but it was United left celebrating at the end of the match — specifically Evra, who raised his arms while in front of Suarez before referees intervened.
Elsewhere, Thierry Henry came through again for Arsenal, scoring in stoppage time to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Sunderland. Henry, who came on as a substitute in the final league game of his short-term loan deal, volleyed Andrei Arshavin's cross past Simon Mignolet. James McClean put the home side ahead 20 minutes from time, but substitute Aaron Ramsey equalized five minutes later, opening the door for Henry's winner.
In Italy, Inter Milan saw their title hopes all but vanish after a 1-0 loss to last-place Novara. The home side had the majority of possession and a staggering 30 shots, but Andrea Caracciolo's goal was all Novara needed. Inter are now in fifth place and 11 points off the leaders.
Here is a look back at all the weekend action in Europe's top leagues:
More important than Henry's dramatic goal is the fact that the win over Sunderland puts Arsenal into fourth place after Newcastle were thrashed 5-0 by Tottenham and Chelsea were abject in a 2-0 loss to Everton. The race for the final Champions League place is razor thin as the three teams are within a point of each other.
Manchester City kept its two-point lead over Manchester United intact by eking past Aston Villa through Joleon Lescott's second-half winner.
West Bromwich Albion added to Wolverhampton's recent misery with a 5-1 thrashing. Manager Mick McCarthy was sacked after winning only one game since Dec. 4 as Wolves slip deeper into the relegation zone.
Manchester United 2, Liverpool 1
Blackburn Rovers 3, Queens Park Rangers 2
Bolton Wanderers 1, Wigan Athletic 2
Everton 2, Chelsea 0
Fulham 2, Stoke City 1
Sunderland 1, Arsenal 2
Swansea City 2, Norwich City, 3
Tottenham Hotspur 5, Newcastle United 0
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1, West Bromwich Albion 5
Aston Villa 0, Manchester City 1
Barcelona's away form continues to be an Achilles' heel for the defending champions as a 3-2 loss sees them drop farther behind Real Madrid. Dejan Lekic bagged a brace for the mid-table side while Barcelona suffered from the absence of Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Real Madrid took advantage with a 4-2 win over Levante. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick in 12 minutes as Madrid extended their lead to a near-insurmountable 10 points.
Racing Santander 0, Athletico Madrid 0
Osasuna 3, Barcelona 2
Real Betis 2, Athletic Bilbao 1
Espanyol 0, Real Zaragoza 2
Malaga 3, Mallorca 1
Rayo Vallecano 2, Getafe 0
Valencia 4, Sporting Gijon 0
Real Madrid 4, Levante 2
Borussia Monchengladbach showed once again their meteoric rise into the elite of Germany was no fluke with a comfortable 3-0 win over fellow title contenders Schalke. The home side had the victory wrapped up early with all three goals coming before halftime. Bayern Munich and leaders Borussia Dortmund claimed victory but the race remains tight with three points separating the top three teams.
VfL Wolfsburg 3, SC Freiburg 2
Bayern Munich 2, Kaiserslautern 0
Borussia Dortmund 1, Bayer Leverkusen 0
Mainz 1, Hannover 96 1
VfB Stuttgart 5, Hertha Berlin 0
Werder Bremen 1, TSG Hoffenheim 1
Borussia Monchengladbach 3, Schalke 04 0
FC Augsburg 0, Nurnberg 0
FC Cologne 0, Hamburg SV 1
AC Milan are back in front of Juventus in the race for the Scudetto after a furious comeback resulted in a 2-1 victory over Udinese. Maxi Lopez and Stephan El Shaarawy scored in the final 15 minutes, cancelling out Antonio Di Natale's first-half strike. However, AC Milan's two-point lead may be somewhat misleading as second-placed Juventus, who saw their clash with Bologna postponed due to weather, have two games in hand and remain unbeaten.
Udinese 1, AC Milan 2
Cagliari 2, Palermo 1
Atalanta 0, Lecce 0
Catania 4, Genoa 0
Inter Milan 0, Novara 1
Parma vs. Fiorentina, postponed
Bologna vs. Juventus, postponed
Napoli vs. Chievo Verona, 2:45 p.m.
Siena vs. AS Roma, 2:45 p.m.
Bordeaux and Lille played undoubtedly the game of the season as Bordeaux scored deep into stoppage time to secure a 5-4 victory. The visitors jumped out to a 4-1 lead by the hour mark but Lille stormed back to tie the game in the 90th minute with a Nolan Roux goal. Bordeaux's redemption came in the form of Ludovic Obranlak's 92nd minute winner from the center of the box.
Montpellier inched closer to Paris Saint-Germain with a 3-0 win, while PSG could only manage a draw with Nice.
AJ Auxerre 1, Lorient 1
Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Marseille, postponed
Lyon 1, Caen 2
Montpellier 3, AC Ajaccio 0
Valenciennes 1, AS Nancy Lorraine 0
Brest 1, Dijon FCO 1
Stade Rennes 1, Sochaux 0
Lille 4, Bordeaux 5
Nice 0, Paris Saint-Germain 0
Toulouse 0, St. Etienne 1
PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar have opened up a five-point lead on the rest of the field and are now the undisputed front runners in the Eredivisie. FC Twente have fallen to fifth place after a 3-2 home loss to SC Heracles Almelo while the two leaders enjoyed multiple-goal victories.
FC Twente 2, SC Heracles Almelo 3
AZ Alkmaar 2, Excelsior 0
Roda JC Kerkrade 1, NEC Nijmegan 0
VVV Venlo 2, FC Groningen 0
NAC Breda 0, Ajax 2
FC Utrecht 1, ADO Den Haag 1
PSV Eindhoven 4, De Graafschap 1
RKC Waalwijk 0, Heerenveen 1
Feyenoord Rotterdam 3, Vitesse Arnhem 1
What did you think of this weekend's results? What are your thoughts on the actions of Evra and Suarez? Impressed with Henry's winner? Are Inter in danger of missing out on the Champions League?
Share your thoughts below.