Good Week/Bad Week
We analyse the winners and loses from the last seven days in the sporting world
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza
Last Updated: 23/12/13 4:41pm
A packed schedule of Premier League football threw up surprises aplenty, while there were spectacular results in the world of golf, boxing and the NFL.
Here is our selection of the best and the worst from the last seven days:
Liverpool & Everton
Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League standings after a fourth successive win over the weekend. Brendan Rodgers' men beat Cardiff 3-1 at Anfield and are now the second-highest scorers having racked up an impressive 17 goals in four games.
In Luis Suarez they also have the top-flight's leading marksman with 19 in just 12 appearances and he bagged another two against the Bluebirds after penning a new long-term contract at Anfield. in the same week.
For the club across Stanley Park, Ross Barkley scored a superb late free-kick as Everton won 2-1 at Swansea to return to the top four.
The England midfielder sent the set-piece over the wall and past Swans keeper Gerhard Tremmel in the 84th minute at the Liberty Stadium to put the Toffees within two points of top spot. The Roberto Martinez's revolution at Goodison Park is well underway.
Peyton Manning broke the NFL's single-season touchdown record with his 51st of the year, throwing four in Denver's 37-13 triumph at Houston. Manning broke the record of 50 touchdown passes by New England's Tom Brady in 2007, reclaiming the mark he had owned previously with 49 in 2004 while playing for Indianapolis Colts.
He has 5,211 passing yards this season, the most of any season in his career at age 37 and after four surgeries on his neck.
Manning, who threw three of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter and finished with 400 yards through the air, needs another 266 passing yards to break Drew Brees' record from 2011 of 5,476 in a season.
Europe - Royal Trophy
Europe won five of the last six singles matches for a stunning 8.5-7.5 comeback win over Asia to reclaim the Royal Trophy in China and give captain Jose Maria Olazabal his first success in the team matchplay event.
Trailing 5-3 ahead of Sunday's eight singles matches, Europe looked set for a record defeat when Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Paul Lawrie 3&2 and Thai compatriot Thongchai Jaidee overcame another Scot, Stephen Gallacher, 4&2 to make it 7-3.
With victory in sight, the pressure appeared to hit the holders at the Dragon Lake Golf Club in Guangzhou as they painfully surrendered their strong position built up over the opening fourball and foursomes matches.
Darlington bantamweight Stuart Hall completed what his promoter Dennis Hobson described as a "real-life Rocky story" by claiming the IBF bantamweight title in Leeds on Saturday night.
Hall's unlikely journey from the drink-and-drug dens of Ibiza to world title glory was realised after a unanimous points win over South Africa's Vusi Malinga in a genuine fight of the year contender.
The 33-year-old Hall fought the last three rounds with his left eye clamped tightly shut and a cut over his right eye which required stitches, as did his bruised and vanquished opponent. He took the bout 116-111 and 117-110 twice on the three judges' cards after a thrilling, action-packed war.
England cricket team
Australia head into the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne with an unassailable 3-0 lead and chasing a 5-0 clean sweep in the remaining two Tests over Christmas and New Year.
England defeated Australia 3-0 in the five-match home series in July and August before quickly handing the urn back to their rivals Down Under.
A battling maiden Test century from Ben Stokes wasn't enough to stop the hosts securing victory by 150 runs in Perth. And then, just a few days after defeat one of England's greatest spin bowlers Graeme Swann stunned the cricketing world by announcing his retirement from the game with immediate effect.
Michael Smith pulled off a major upset by dumping an off-colour Phil Taylor out of the PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.
The 16-time world champion was well below his best as he slumped to a 4-3 defeat against world youth champion Smith after an error-strewn display in the second round.
Smith, 23, finished Taylor off in style, producing 11 and 13-dart legs in the decider before clinching the set 4-2 on the bull.
Andre Villas-Boas was sacked as Tottenham manager on Monday in the wake of the embarrassing 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool the day before, which followed a 6-0 drubbing at Manchester City.
Villas-Boas used the proceeds from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in the summer to fund some £107million of new talent arriving, with the likes of Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches and Erik Lamela all joining.
However, trying to get all those new men to integrate proved in part his downfall, with the Spurs boss eventually shown the door by chairman Daniel Levy.
Four penalties from England international Billy Twelvetrees helped Gloucester leap to ninth place in the Aviva Premiership as bottom side Worcester remain without a league win.
Twelvetrees' strikes, against two from Worcester fly-half Ignacio Mieres, were all the sides could muster in a match delayed for 30 minutes in bizarre circumstances.
As part of the pre-match entertainment, fans were invited onto the pitch to try to get one of two giant inflatable balls between the posts.
They brought one side of the crossbar down at the Kingsholm Road end minutes before kick-off, with groundstaff frantically trying to repair the damage and get the game on while the teams waited in the dressing rooms.