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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Evans arrested after Man Utd party rape claim

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans was being questioned today over the alleged rape of a woman at the club's Christmas party, sources said.

The 19-year-old was arrested yesterday following the party at the Great John Street Hotel in Manchester.

Greater Manchester Police were called to the hotel at 4.15am yesterday following reports that a 26-year-old woman had been raped.

A police spokeswoman said a man was arrested on suspicion of rape yesterday evening after presenting himself for questioning.

A Manchester United spokeswoman declined to comment.

Evans is a rising star at Manchester United, making three appearances this season.

The defender spent last season on loan at Sunderland. He has played for Northern Ireland eight times but has not got a regular place in Manchester United's first team.

The Great John Street Hotel is a boutique 'town house' hotel converted from a Victorian schoolhouse in the trendy Castlefield area of Manchester.

The Manchester Evening News reported that the entire Manchester United first team - excluding Cristiano Ronaldo - attended the club's annual Christmas party.

The players were reportedly entertained by burlesque dancers during their meal at the Manchester 235 Casino.

They were also reported to have had a drink at the Old Grapes, a pub owned by former Coronation Street actress Liz Dawn.

This morning, the Manchester United players arrived as normal at their Carrington training ground shortly after 9am. Evans was not among them. Read more...

Wes for New Castle??

The Daily Mail says Wes Brown will end his 11-year association with United by moving to Newcastle as a free agent next summer. The defender is stalling on a new contract from the champions and has told friends that he will not sign. Read more...

Fergie back for Berbatov

Sir Alex Ferguson has stepped up his efforts to sign Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov by offering Wes Brown and Louis Saha - plus £6million in exchange. Fergie wants to push through a January move for Berbatov after failing with his initial bid for the Bulgaria striker in the summer. The Manchester United manager refuses to be put off, and is now hoping Berbatov's recent unrest at White Hart Lane will smooth the path to a move. While Fergie is willing to negotiate, Spurs want United's Portuguese winger Nani to be part of any deal involving their star striker. But United are adamant that Nani, who joined for £17million from Sporting Lisbon, is staying at Old Trafford and Fergie has no interest in making the 20-year-old part of the deal.
John Cross, Daily Mirror

Osman blow hits Everton

Ahead of their trip to Old Trafford this Sunday, Everton have been hit by the withdrawal of midfielder Leon Osman through injury.

The 26-year-old's form has been key to the Toffees' 12-match unbeaten run, but a broken toe sustained against West Ham last week has ruled him out for up to six weeks.

"It's an absolutely terrible blow," manager David Moyes told the official Everton website. "He broke his toe in the first five minutes of the cup game but battled on and it shows you how tough he is. He was in a bad way but wanted to play.

"He had a scan and it showed a big crack and we think he is going to be out for between four to six weeks.

"Leon's form had been good and he has been playing a big part in everything that we have achieved recently."

The news comes as a blow to Everton, who only recently lost left-back Leighton Baines for a similar period of time after suffering a hamstring injury against Fulham. Read more...

Tevez is Christmas No.1

United's Anfield match-winner Carlos Tevez is the Premier League's top performer this season, according to Actim Index, the official player ratings system of the English top flight.

The 23-year-old struck his close-range winner two minutes before the break to hand United a valuable three points against the Reds' local rivals and fellow title contenders.

Tevez has scored nine goals this season in 21 games since joining the Reds in the summer.

Seven of them have come in the league. And of 46 shots in league matches this season, the Argentina international has hit 28 on target.

But, more than his goals, his tenacity, determination and excellent link-up play with strike partner Wayne Rooney have all proved a prominent feature of United's attacking play.

Tevez is one of three United players ranked in the top 10 of the Actim Index ratings.

Defender Rio Ferdinand has made it to eighth position with his solid and commanding displays at the heart of United's defence, while Cristiano Ronaldo is currently ranked ninth. Read more...

Park return on hold

A frozen pitch has waylaid plans for Ji-sung Park to line up for United's Reserves against Oldham Athletic on Wednesday afternoon.

The Korean international had been named in the Reds' starting line-up for the Lancashire Senior Cup clash, only for freezing weather at the Victoria Stadium to prompt the fixture's abandonment.

Park has been out of action since damaging cruciate knee ligaments against Blackburn Rovers in March, and Sir Alex Ferguson had suggested that he could be involved in the first team's festive fixture programme.

Unfortunately, the livewire midfielder will have to suffice with honing his game in training after the late postponement in Northwich. Read more...

Rio best in the world - Rooney

Wayne Rooney says United’s title hopes are enhanced because the Reds possess the best defender in the world: Rio Ferdinand.

Rio was outstanding at Anfield on Sunday as United took all three points from the clash with title rivals Liverpool. The hallmark of the victory was the Reds' defensive solidarity, with Ferdinand its central pillar.

"There's great rivalry between United and Liverpool, so it was a big result for us, especially with how tight the league is,” Rooney said in an interview with MUTV.

"We knew that if we got three points then it would put a bit of space between us and Liverpool. A draw would perhaps have been a fair result, but we defended really well and managed to get the goal.

"Vida and Rio were brilliant for us,” he added. “I think Rio is probably the best defender in the world at the moment. He's been doing really well for us. The whole defence and the whole team is defending well.”

Rooney was instrumental in United’s goal two minutes before the break, having spotted a weakness in Liverpool's armour. Ryan Giggs played a corner to the edge of the box for Rooney, whose shot was turned in by Carlos Tevez. However, Wayne says it was more quick-thinking than a training ground ploy.

"It's not something we worked on,” he admitted. “We saw how they set up on an earlier corner, with everyone in the box. So I spoke with Giggsy and we decided to play the next corner short. I had a shot and luckily Carlos was in the right place to finish it off.” Read more...