The Premier League returned in a big way this week with both mid-week games and a full weekend schedule. There was also the small matter of the January transfer window closing. Let’s check up on all the headlines from the past week.
A Tale of Two Games
No team had a more up and down week than Chelsea. On Wednesday, the Blues were embarrassed by Bournemouth, losing 4-0 on the south coast. Once again, Maurizio Sarri was looking for answers and an explanation of his team’s poor play. However, Chelsea quickly put that game behind them, beating Huddersfield 5-0. Of course, the Terriers sit at the bottom of the Premier League table, but the win was enough to keep Chelsea in fourth place ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal.
Hat Trick Hero
The only matchup of two top-6 clubs came on Sunday between Manchester City and Arsenal. Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick against the gunners in a 3-1 win for City. It was the second time this week that Aguero scored within the first 60 seconds of a game. However, Pep Guardiola’s team failed to hold their early 1-0 lead against Newcastle midweek, losing to the Magpies 2-1 before knocking off Arsenal over the weekend. Sunday’s win brought City within two points of Liverpool at the top of the table, although the Reds will play Monday afternoon against West Ham.
The New Gunner
Despite the loss on Sunday, Arsenal did give a team debut to Denis Suarez, who came over from Barcelona on loan prior to Thursday’s transfer deadline. The 25-year old central midfielder played for current Arsenal boss Unai Emery during the 2014-15 season while he was on loan at Sevilla. If all goes well with his loan the rest of the season, Arsenal will have the option to buy Suarez on a permanent basis this summer.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez was outspoken prior to the transfer deadline about getting some help, and he has gotten his way. The Magpies set a new club record for signing Atlanta United forward Miguel Almiron for $26 million, breaking the previous record set by Michael Owen in 2005. The 24-year-old Paraguay international was a catalyst for Atlanta’s championship season in 2018 and has the kind of skill set that Benitez believes can make a difference in the Premier League. Almiron is likely to use his pace while playing behind strikes like Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez. Newcastle is currently one of three teams just two points ahead of the relegation zone, so the addition of Almiron could prove vital to their survival this season.
Staying a While
Manchester United didn’t add anyone in this transfer window, but it kind of seems like it after signing Anthony Martial to a long-term deal. The French forward’s future at the club seemed to be in doubt over the summer due to some friction with now former boss Jose Mourinho. However, Martial and several other players have flourished under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In fact, Martial mentioned Solskjaer in a statement when it was announced that he’ll be staying at Old Trafford until 2024.
Prince of the Palace
In a move that happened just under the wire, Chelsea sent Belgium strike Michy Batshuayi on loan to Crystal Palace. Batshuayi has done little during his time at Chelsea and wasn’t likely to play much the rest of the season with Gonzalo Higuain coming to Stamford Bridge on loan. Meanwhile, Palace has produced just 26 goals in 25 Premier League games this season. With just four points separating them from the drop zone, the Eagles may need Batshuayi to give them a few goals late in the season if they want to secure their safety for another season.
Don’t Applaud That
Speaking of Crystal Palace, star player Wilfried Zaha was shown a red card for a rather unusual offense during the team’s game last Wednesday. Haha scored a goal to put Crystal Palace ahead of Southampton. However, in the 87th minute of the match, he received a yellow card for an overenthusiastic tackle. After being shown the yellow card, Zaha clapped sarcastically in the direction of the official in an obvious display of dissent. He was quickly shown a second yellow card and sent off. The Eagles went on to tie Southampton 1-1. Zaha then missed Saturday’s 2-0 win over Fulham.