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MANCHESTER, England - The English Premier League season is approaching its halfway point and a number of storylines are beginning to take shape.Chelsea and Manchester City are unstoppable forces and will fight it out for the title. Manchester Uniteds resurgence, based on its glut of attacking riches, is offering a tantalizing glimpse of what to expect next season with its defence sorted out.And the fight for the final Champions League place could involve five or six teams and be the most thrilling in years.The second part of the festive fixture pileup takes place on Sunday, when squad strength is set to come into play as 18 of the leagues 20 teams play their second matches in the space of 48 hours.Chelsea holds a three-point lead over City heading into a tricky-looking away match at Southampton, which has recovered from a blip and is back in the top four. With City on a seven-match winning streak and at home to relegation-threatened Burnley, there is a chance of a twist in the title race.Third-place United is unbeaten in eight matches, winning seven of them, but faces a test of its new-found credentials in an away match at Tottenham — one of a slew of teams in the chasing pack in the hunt for European football next season.Elsewhere, West Ham meets Arsenal in a match pitting fifth vs. sixth respectively, while Liverpool hosts Swansea in another game between two teams in the top nine and in reach of the top four.Here are some things to know about the 19th round of games, which marks the mid-point of the campaign:___VINTAGE TERRYScoring goals at one end and keeping them out at the other, John Terry is a player reborn at Chelsea.Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sees my John of 2004, 05, 06 in the recent displays of the former England captain, who has been a rock in the teams superb start to the season.Terry has scored goals in each of his last two games and helped Chelsea keep clean sheets in six of its last seven matches.Terry was Chelseas captain during Mourinhos first spell as manager at Stamford Bridge, helping the team to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 06.Key to Chelseas obduracy in defence is the form of holding midfielder Nemanja Matic, who has been one of the star players in the Premier League this season and a brilliant protector of the back four.Hes been a revelation for us, Terry said.___SOUTHAMPTON RECOVERYSouthampton was Chelseas nearest challenger only a month ago, before a defeat to Man City sparked a run of four league losses that burst the bubble at St. Marys Stadium.The south-coast side is back in form after successive wins against Everton and Crystal Palace, scoring three goals in both games, and could give Chelsea problems.For everybody, Chelsea are the biggest test, Southampton manager Ronald Koeman said. In my opinion, they are the best team in the Premier League until now, but we believe in ourselves and it will be a great game.Southampton has struggled against the top teams this season, though, losing to Liverpool, City, Arsenal and Man United.___ROONEY REVELLINGWayne Rooney has dropped back into central midfield as Man United manager Louis van Gaal looks to find a spot for all his attacking players — and the England captain is responding with some of his best form in years.Rooney scored twice in Fridays 3-1 win over Newcastle to take his team-high tally to nine goals for the season. He has scored eight times in his last eight games for club and country, and is keeping up his scoring form despite playing in midfield for United.Its a role that Ive played many times and I know I can play, said Rooney, who has played behind Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie for the last two games. The manager has given me even more license to get forward and get into the box from that role.Comparing himself to United great Paul Scholes, Rooney added: As Paul did many times over his career, he could see the ball when it was wide and see the space and run into it.___EVERTON STRUGGLINGIts been a tough season for the Merseyside clubs — but while Liverpool appears to be on the rise, nothing is going right for Everton.The blue half of Merseyside has lost four of its last six Premier League games to drop to 12th place in the standings. The team is 13 points behind where it was last season after 18 games, with its regression perhaps due to its involvement in the Europa League.Everton lost 1-0 at home to Stoke on Friday during which defender Phil Jagielka, American goalkeeper Tim Howard and winger Kevin Mirallas were injured and are all set to miss Sundays trip to Newcastle.It is a pivotal moment in the season for us, Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. Cavaliers Jerseys From China . 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John Henson contributed a double-double with 15 points to go with 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels (25-4, 12-2 ACC), who have won five straight and 10 of 11.TORONTO - In a play that sort of typified the evening and maybe even their season, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry led a second-quarter fast break by delivering a one-handed bounce pass to Greivis Vasquez, who lateraled to the trailing Amir Johnson. Johnson, the beneficiary of a couple perfectly placed passes, capped off the sequence with a tomahawk slam that put Toronto on top by 20 points. Fouled on the landing, Johnsons momentum carried him into the first row, where he proudly pointed to the team name on his jersey and slapped hands with fans seated on the baseline. It was that kind of night. The proceedings began with the unveiling of a second Atlantic Division Championship banner and concluded with a well-deserved standing ovation just over two hours later. The Raptors - trotting off the court following a 110-100, wire-to-wire win over the Bucks - had set a new franchise record with their 48th victory of the season, while also going 15 games above the .500 mark for the first time in team history. "Its definitely great because we fed off our fans," said DeMar DeRozan, who stood centre court and counted down from three, as the banner was uncovered from the rafters atop Air Canada Centre, hanging adjacent to the one they had earned in 2006-07. The final home game of the season - Fanapolooza, as its been dubbed - had been a somber event for five years running. It was an opportunity for the Raptors loyal, albeit frustrated supporters to come bid farewell to a team that had let them down, a chance to vent their disappointment but mostly to guzzle up free t-shirts, pizza and whatever swag the remorseful organization was offering up. Most importantly, it meant the end of basketball in Toronto for another long summer. Not the case on Monday. Monday night was a celebration, a show of appreciation from a starved fan base to a team that has captured their admiration with resilience and hard play. It was a night of reflection, looking back at where they came from and rejoicing in what theyve accomplished. It wasnt a goodbye. Theyll see them again in five or six days. "Weve got to have some of the most devoted fans in the league," he continued. "Ive been here through the struggles and tough times and our fans were still right there with us on this journey. So it definitely felt good to share it with them because they played a major part in it as well." Although DeRozan was in uniform, available to play if it would have come to that, he was given the night off to rest going into his playoff debut next weekend. As it turns out, they didnt need him, not against the league-worst Bucks on Monday night. It was the 11th time theyve played without a member of their first unit - a group that has won more games than any starting five in franchise history - and the 11th time theyve come away victorious. With the Raptors all-star guard cheerleading from the sidelines, Greivis Vasquez started in his stead, pacing the team with 25 points and seven assists. "It was a fun win," said Vasquez, who knocked down his first six shots, five of them from beyond the arc. "They gave me a chance to start, I just went out there and did my job." Performances like his, like Tyler Hansbroughs double-double in 20 minutes, are a big part of whats gotten them to this point.dddddddddddd DeRozan has carried this team more often than not, so too has Lowry - who scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half - but when one or both have needed it, someone has generally been waiting and ready to back them up. "All it takes is the right chemistry, the right group of guys and you can do whatever it takes," DeRozan said. "You dont need no big name players, you dont need this, that and the third, what people supposedly say you need. Were proof of that and we continue to keep growing, keep learning and keep building. On to the next step." The next step, as the Raptors leading scorer puts it, is Wednesdays regular season finale in New York. With a win over the Knicks, Toronto would lock down the Eastern Conferences third seed and face whomever slots into sixth, most likely Washington. The Raptors would fall to fourth and play the fifth place team - likely Brooklyn - if they should lose on Wednesday and the Bulls defeat the Bobcats in Charlotte. "Im more worried about us, more so than who we play," said Casey. "Its about us, about our health, the rest, whatever we decide to do in that situation. If we play Brooklyn we play Brooklyn. If we play Washington we play Washington. There are no easy teams left in the playoffs right now. All of the teams are very capable. Brooklyn is probably more playoff-ready. But we cant control that. And Im not going into [Wednesdays] game trying to control that." The Raptors coach said he has not decided whether DeRozan - second in the NBA in minutes logged this year - will play in Wednesdays season finale. Home sweet home The Raptors will finish the season with 26 wins at home for the fourth time in franchise history. After dropping eight of their first 12 games at the ACC, they have become one of the toughest teams to beat on home court, winning 22 of 29 since the end of December. "Coach definitely stressed to us, weve got to protect home court," DeRozan said of the turnaround. "Thats big. We cant let teams come in here and think they can get wins. We really started taking it personally, understanding weve got to use our crowd to our advantage. Everybody bought in, so every time we were home we felt comfortable and felt that we could get any win." "I think our guys have gotten better, matured, improved, I think more than anything else," Dwane Casey said of their success at home. "You should have the same approach whether youre on the road, playing on the moon, wherever youre playing youve got to have the same approach and our guys have done a good job of that, whether were on the road or at home." They were undefeated, 19-0 in games they led going into the fourth quarter in Toronto, something that should serve them well as they go into the first round of the playoffs with home-court advantage. The stat With their fourth straight win over Milwaukee, the Raptors swept the season series with the Bucks for the first time in team existence. The quote "We had group at the start of the season that was motivated, dedicated to winning," said Lowry, "and when everything didnt pan out we made a move and we got a group of guys who came in that really filled the voids that we needed. Everyone is on the same page. 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