The month of January and all of its Glory


I look forward to January as I get myself the luxury of a wildcard to revamp my struggling fantasy team. While I sit at my desk, rack my head and ring in the changes, weeks – months of planning and strategic transfer bids are made in the Barclays Premier League as teams try to get themselves out of a hole, players get loaned out for play time, some try to do something which could potentially make or break their career while others try to pull of the wonderful last minute deals.

Ever since the introduction of the mid season transfer window in 2003, teams were initially circumspect on the spending and reluctant to tweak their sides, but in recent years we have seen the window getting blown off with some huge transfer currency.

This January a total of £223.47M has been burnt up on permanent deals [excluding the add-on deals]; the highest ever in the history with the top 3 chart busters

  1. Fernando Torres – £50m to Chelsea
  2. Andy Caroll – £35m to Liverpool
  3. David Luiz – £21.3m to Chelsea

Last 5 Windows



Chelsea

October marked a completer U turn to the Blues in the title race. They stuttered, stumbled, fell off the perch in the face of some poor form, untimely sacking of Carlo’s staff; lack of depth in the squad exposed when a couple of injuries and suspensions wrecked havoc. Things got so bad that even Carlo’s future ran the business for the tabloids. Reinforcement was due, Roman obliged.

  • David Luiz £21.3m
    • Relatively unknown to many, this young Brazilian started his career as an attacking midfielder, but now finds his zone in central defence, and can play full back too. A wonderful personality on and off the pitch, he had a wonderful 09’-10’ season with Benfica.
    • His hefty buyout clause meant only the big players stood a chance, with Roman beating the Sheikh to him.
    • Verdict: Excellent buy, could be the ideal player to be a part of rebuilding the side.
  • Fernando Torres £50m
    • He needs no introduction. A proven Club record, a natural all round goal scorer, on the back of a World Cup Victory, his injury streak the only real concern. But to judge his goal scoring capability based on liverpool’s last two seasons would be criminal.
    • Considering the availability of service in the squad, Torres and Drogba are forwards any fantasy manager would play day in day out and to see this happen live on the pitch is a dream every Blues fan will realize come this Sunday. [I really hope Carlo wont bench him.]
    • I have no words of adulation for this fellow, on a personal note, I consider him the best forward in the entire Premier League; he deserves to be playing top football and in a way he did speak out his heart.

Liverpool

Yes Rafa screwed them over when he left in the summer with a dodgy squad for Roy Hodgson to handle. The team never really got to terms with the manager of the season and now we have King Kenny creating something that was not there in the first half this season = TEAM CHEMISTRY. John Henry made promises when he took over the mantle at Anfield, that he would put pool back on the map. Well 6 months down, it seemed like whatever little remaining was also disappearing fast. His splashing of the money gained from the Torres Mega bonanza is POSITIVE.

  • Andy Caroll £35m
    • He is a young promising kid, making waves at NUFC, recently wore the England shirt, but does he deserve to be the biggest British transfer ever at £35m.. IMO, NO!
    • As outrageous as his eventual price was, his claims of not being wanted being refuted by Alan Pardew, is a load of bollocks– after all he is the one who handed in the transfer request.
    • To be wearing the number 9 shirt, to be filling in or rather continue where Torres left won’t be too hard, since Torres has been terrible this season while Caroll is having his best!
  • Luis Suarez £22.7m
    • The cannibal, the cheat, call him what you may, atleast now we get to see some hands on action right here in the Barclays.
    • In the wake of Babel’s exit, the Uruguayan probably was in the scheme of things to pair with Torres, but Kenny has gotta get the Andy – Lou partnership going instead.
    • With Caroll still a few weeks away, we will get a good show of him in the coming weeks.

Manchester City

When you already have a squad worth over £300m, you wonder if there is any more toys left in the shop to buy. The Arab has a lot of expensive toys and he has added one more to it.

  • Edin Dzeko £27m
    • Tevez has been doing a lot of work, captaining the side, scoring all the goals, assisting, inspiring, cribbing about home, threatening to quit, so he could use some help.
    • Dzeko has been already impressive with the couple of games he played, adds spine to a team that is looking to make a mark this season.

Manchester United made the Andres Lindegaard signing official £3.5m, while Arsenal did nothing and yet is cribbing about others who did!

Here is a summary of the permanent signings.


MANCHESTER UNITED vs SUNDERLAND 2-0 Review Dec 26, 2010


DailyMail

Having an exam in T-11, I wasn’t planning to blog until after, but then thought if I am sitting through 90 min of the game, why not do it as the 90 ticks by.

Manchester United started the game without the in form Nani [whom I captained for my fantasy team] and Fletcher lost to illness. The first quarter of the game was a cold blooded attack by the Red Army bearing fruit as early as the 5th min when Rooney set up Berbatov for his 13th goal of the season. Having been dropped from the last fixture, Berbatov was raring to go after 3 weeks of no football.

This followed two more attempts on the woodwork by Berbatov and Anderson who has continued with his good form. But what was more rousing to watch was Giggs making some wonderful runs to the middle onto the edge of the box.

Don’t take away anything from the rest of the team with Van der Sar ball watching most of the half. As the half grew on, Sunderland started restoring some parity to the 75-25 possession the home side enjoyed, but the half time scored read 1-0 to United with Steve Bruce the happier coach to have only conceded one when the game could have so easily been well and beyond them. Special mention for Park who continues to keep up his good form and workrate.

Second half started in a more open fashion, with more end to end football, Sunderland with a lot more determination to close down United.  It took only 12 min for United to double the lead through a shot with the outside of the foot of Berbatov deflecting off Anton Ferdinand and wrong footing a diving Craig Gordon. As much as this goal might be one for the ‘dubious’ goals committee, Sir Alex decided to ring in a couple of changes at the standard 60 min mark bringing on the young Italian Kiko and Gibson for Giggs and Anderson.

68th min corner for Sunderland saw Bent with a half chance with an overhead kick but well off the mark. I read Paul Wilson’s half season report in which he maintains Chelsea will go onto retain the league title, but I have to disagree.  Immediately after Dimitar showed one of his characteristic sweet one touch and swiveling strike, but unfortunately straight to the keeper’s hands.

The Sunderland substitute Meyler ‘s mistimed tackle on Rafael brought on pretty much the only blood boiling moment of the game, resulted eventually in a deserved booking.  Rooney’s lay off and dropping to play more of the ball has been characteristically positive and looking ominous. He is just a goal away from getting into his stride.  Kiko’s display of some quick feet was good to the eye, but a 78min Bardsley cross had the United defence a little worried , eventually ending in a comfortable save off a decent strike from Zenden.

Berbatov made way for Chicharito to a welcoming manager who was all smiles to the rejuvenated Bulgarian who is having his best season in United colors and another good day at the office. Manchester United having taken the foot of the pedal were more than happy to see the game off to a satisfactory victory at home and continue their unbeaten run and stay one step ahead of the pack.

To Sum Up

  • United cruises through another home victory to stay 2 points clear of Manchester City [as I blog]
  • Park will be missed over the next 4-6 weeks to international duty; Nani will hopefully be back soon, am still wondering what his injury is.
  • Sunderland did not justify the form with which they came to this game.

PLAYER RATINGS

Van der Sar: 7, Evra: 7.5, Vidic: 8.5, Rio: 7.5; Rafael: 8.5, Giggs: 8.5, Carrick: 8.0, Anderson: 9.0, Park: 8.5, Berbatov: 9.5, Rooney: 9.0