Gary Lineker's joke about Jamie Carragher leads to Twitter spat
It may not be as slick as some of his contemporaries, but it's undeniable that Marouane Fellaini has cultivated one of the most iconic images in world football.
Boasting a lanky 6ft 4in tall frame topped with a gigantic sprawling halo of thick wiry hair; it's difficult to miss Fellaini as he goes about his business.
However, it looks like the Manchester United midfielder may have updated his signature appearance, especially if these shots from a recent GQ Style magazine shoot are anything to go by.
Horror Hair: Marouane Fellaini Made To Look Adorable With 'Pig-Tail' Bunches In Magazine Photoshoot https://t.co/JpOq4ZGKqH pic.twitter.com/aBWGECgzYw
As you can see, Fellaini's trademark locks have been tamed into two large, spherical bunches that rather give him the air of a certain Mickey/Minnie Mouse.
It's definitely a strong look -- and we're going to be polite and leave it at that.
Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.
The parents of the teenage girl caught up in the Jamie Carragher spitting incident have told The Mirror they do not think he should lose his job as a Sky Sports pundit.
Former Liverpool defender Carragher has been suspended by the broadcaster after video footage emerged of him spitting towards the car in which the 14-year-old girl was travelling.
Carragher, 40, who has apologised, was taunted by the girl's father following Liverpool's defeat at Manchester United on Saturday and responded by spitting at the car, hitting the girl in the passenger seat.
"We don't want him to lose his job. It is not about that. We wanted an apology and explanation," the teenager's father, who has not been identified, said.
"He seems contrite. Everyone makes mistakes -- we are all human."
The man's wife added that Carragher "did seem extremely sorry."
Meanwhile, the president of British motoring association the AA said Carragher and the girl's father "perhaps need road safety refresher courses."
Edmund King said the incident showed the pair were not focused on the road ahead, and that filming it had been a criminal offence.
"This unsavoury incident is a stark reminder to all drivers that they should concentrate on the road ahead rather than film or road rage at other drivers," he said.
"It is a serious offence to use a hand-held phone at the wheel, which one driver certainly seems to be doing.
"The tactical display from both drivers, on attack and in defence, is diabolical. Both drivers perhaps need road safety refresher courses."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.
For weeks, Manchester City fans have been saying that the opportunity of winning the Premier League title against Manchester United would be too good to be true. As much as it would be delightful, it was never going to happen. There were too many variables that could change how the season panned out.
Either side could have picked up or dropped the wrong amount of points to have moved City's finishing line closer or further away.
But, following the 2-0 win at Stoke on Monday night, City fans are waking up to the possibility that they could seal this season's Premier League crown against their nearest rivals. It's no longer a pipe dream -- it will become reality providing Pep Guardiola's side win at Goodison Park.
A victory against Everton will ensure that three points in the Manchester derby in April will make City's lead unassailable -- though they can afford to draw or lose on Merseyside if United do the same to Swansea earlier in the day.
At this stage, you can understand City fans getting giddy at the prospect. It's always difficult to watch a club you love falling from grace, but to do that in the shadow of their city rivals consistently winning everything is a difficult pill to swallow.
Any City supporter that grew up in the 1990s will be crossing everything just to have the chance of winning the league when playing Jose Mourinho's team. After all, it's only a matter of weeks until Vincent Kompany lifts the trophy -- but clinch the title at the end of a match against the team that caused the fans so much suffering for a decade-and-a-half would be sweet.
It would mean the world to all of the supporters who, nearly every Monday morning without fail, would have to listen to gloating from friends at work or classmates in the school playground.
The balance would be somewhat redressed if City could crown the biggest domination of England's top flight in generations by exorcising the demons of the 1990s. There are Premier League records to be broken and Guardiola should have his sights set on polishing off an amazing campaign -- if nothing else, just to keep the team motivated and playing with momentum for their push in the Champions League.
As City's title-winning seasons have done in the recent past, their ultimate joy will be shaped by both Everton and United. In 2012, it took a 4-4 draw by the Toffees at Old Trafford to open the door enough for then-City boss Roberto Mancini to claw his way back into the title race.
He took poll position by beating United 1-0 at the Etihad not long after.
In 2014, Manuel Pellegrini's City had to banish their awful record at Goodison Park in order to keep their title chances in their own hands. Liverpool were breathing down their necks and only a win against Everton would keep the team in command. It came in the shape of a 3-2 victory.
It's undeniable that Goodison is a bogey ground for City. Guardiola won't have fond memories, having lost 4-0 on his only previous trip there, while the travelling fans remember year after year of gritty defeats, often courtesy of a Tim Cahill header somewhere along the way.
But this season is an anomaly. City have passed pretty much every test they've come up against with flying colours, accruing a record points total and goals haul for this stage of the campaign, and opening a gap at the top of the table seen only once in a blue moon.
The 4-3 defeat at Anfield -- City's other huge bogey ground -- is almost the exception that proves the rule.
Winning home and away against Stoke, following the 7-2 victory at the Etihad earlier in the season, Guardiola has become the first City boss since Joe Royle to claim a league double over the Potters. The last came when the club was at their lowest ever ebb in the 1998-99 campaign -- it would be a cute echo if the latest came in what could be their most extraordinary season of all.
It's now an agonising wait for City's next game, on March 31. But that gives the manager chance to prepare. Supporters are now praying he gets it right against Everton just to have the opportunity for payback for the misery of years gone by.
Who would have expected the derby rivalry could be so intense with such a big points difference in the table?
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney
Former Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has emerged as the leading contender for the vacant manager's job at Southampton, sources close to the club have told ESPN FC.
Southampton are searching for a new manager following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday night 48 hours after the 3-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Newcastle United.
A number of names have been linked with the vacancy at St Mary's and sources have told ESPN FC that the club are likely to move for a manager who is currently out of work as it be will hard to prise someone away from another club in their current situation.
Hughes fits the bill as he has been out of work since leaving Stoke in January after four-and-a-half years in charge of the Potters. He guided Stoke to three straight ninth-placed finishes, dropping to 13th last season before being axed following a poor run of form this season.
The 54-year-old Welshman is a former Southampton player having enjoyed a two-year spell on the South Coast between 1998-2000 and he has previously managed Wales, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke.
Former Watford boss Marco Silva has been linked with the role, but is reported to be considering other offers, while ex-West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has expressed an interest in the job as he seeks a return to management.
Southampton are keen to make a swift appointment as they look to save their season and they hope to have their new management team in place for this weekend's FA Cup quarterfinal clash with Wigan.
The defeat to Newcastle left Southampton just a point outside the relegation places with only eight games of the Premier League season remaining and the club have decided to act to bring in a new man to save them from relegation after just one win in their last 17 Premier League games.
Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.
Amid the fallout that ensued after Jamie Carragher's saliva-based indiscretion over the weekend, fellow footballer-turned-media-figure Gary Lineker managed to get himself embroiled in a Twitter spat (pun intended) on Monday.
The Match of the Day and BT Sport host attempted to make light of the Carragher scandal by referencing the shamed pundit being dropped for Sky Sports' coverage of Manchester City's game against Stoke City.
Seems @Carra23 can't do it on a cold, damp Monday night at Stoke.
Lineker's quip was quickly pounced upon by a colleague of Carragher's, Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves, who very definitely failed to see the funny side.
Good luck with your halo. Threw your toys out the pram when @mrjakehumphrey commented on a graphics mistake.
Lineker then implored Shreeves to read his follow-up Tweet, in which he offered a more sober assessment of the situation, only to be shouted down again for the joke being "never right and never funny" by the Sky man.
On a serious note, we all make mistakes, @Carra23 made a big one. He's apologised and is clearly contrite. Sure he'll be back soon and rightly so.
Clearly taken back by Shreeves' emotional investment in the situation, Lineker was left to utter a bemused one-word reply: "Blimey".
Mercifully, the pair then fell silent and let us all get on with our lives once again.
Chris covers the funny side of the game for ESPN FC in the Toe Poke blog.