The recently concluded January transfer window can be characterized as disappointingly dull. This isn’t too much of a surprise, as most clubs carry out the bulk of their transfer business during the summer window. But it was still disappointing, as you never know when a club might decide to go for broke and smash the transfer record. There were no big name signings for any of the major clubs, excluding the deal that brought Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea. Cuadrado signed for Chelsea in a deal that saw Andres Schurrle (one of my favorite players) move to Wolfsburg and Mohamed Salah sent on loan to Cuadrado’s former club (Fiorentina). We also saw some players who had gradually lost favor with their respective clubs move on, such as Aaron Lennon and Benoit Assou-Ekotto from Tottenham and Anderson finally departing from Manchester United. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say, though it was sad to see United faithful Darren Fletcher depart to West Brom. He will be missed.
Now on to the results of the games this week.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea (1-1): This was the most eagerly anticipated game of the week, with some statistics saying that as many as 650 million people from around the world tuned in for the game. It was a fairly stalemated game, with Loic Remy replacing the suspended Diego Costa scoring and David Silva responding quickly to make the game level.
City and their manager, Seor Pellegrini, will feel a little hard done for not gaining all three points, but in the end Mourinho showed his tactical acumen, killing off the game once he realized his Chelsea squad was under siege. By doing so Chelsea was able to maintain a five-point lead on Man City, their closest rivals.
Manchester United vs. Leicester City (3-1): To lose against Leicester, the team currently wallowing in the abyss known as the bottom of the table, would have been an enormous embarrassment to United and a huge setback for the project Louis van Gaal (LVG) is trying to create. Luckily, United was saved many blushes as they easily swept aside the lackluster Leicester side. The first goal was truly a thing of beauty with Daley Blind providing a sumptuous chip over the defence for Robin van Persie (RVP) to volley in. It looks like RVP may slowly be returning to his mercurial best, and in good time with the season beginning to heat up.
There were two more goals from Radamel Falcao (another player everyone was glad to see score) and an own goal created by the efforts of Captain Fantastic, Wayne Rooney. United eased their foot off the pedal at this point and paid for it with a goal, but all in all it was an assured performance.
The return of Blind from injury seems to have given the United midfield a previously missing degree of stability. This is further proven by the 3-0 win United achieved over Cambridge in the FA Cup match on Tuesday, Feb. 3.
Liverpool vs. West Ham (2-0): Oh, the joy all Liverpool fans must be reveling in. The talismanic Daniel Sturridge is finally back to match form. And with his return comes the chance for Liverpool to salvage an otherwise pedestrian season. Most players after returning from injury must feel their way back to goal-scoring form. Sturridge was ready to prove that such generalizations did not apply to him.
He scored after 12 minutes of play, reminding Liverpool of what they have been without for the majority of the season. With this win Liverpool edged past West Ham into seventh position, and it is hoped that in concert with Raheem Sterling and Philipe Coutinho, the Liverpool attack will once more be feared across England.