Weekly Soccer Report: Jan 8th
The holiday break for many soccer leagues around the world came to a close this week. For other leagues–such as the Premier League–this week continued the jam-packed holiday schedule of matches. It was a big week for domestic cup action, with the FA Cup, Coupe de France and Copa del Rey taking place during the week. Here’s a breakdown of the news from some of the world’s biggest leagues this week.
The long list of fixtures over the holidays came to a close in the Premier League at the start of the week. There were some surprises in hand, as some of the top clubs in the league were faced with setbacks. Liverpool and Arsenal were held to draws by their opponents, and Chelsea’s unbeaten streak was ended by Tottenham Hotspur, in a 2-0 shutout loss.
Elsewhere, Hull City sacked their manager Mike Phelan, with the club currently sitting in last place in the table. Marco Silva was named the new manager a few days later.
In transfer news, there weren’t any noteworthy moves. Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel was the latest player to make a move to China, as he will join Tianjin Teda of the Chinese Super League.
A hefty weekend of soccer action was highlighted by the third round of the FA Cup. Nine Premier League clubs escaped to the next round, with a few having to try their luck again in a replay. Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all won big over their opponents, while Arsenal won on a late goal in the 89th minute.
Wayne Rooney scored this goal to record his 249th tally for Manchester United in his career. The English stinker joins Sir Bobby Charlton as the club’s all-time leading scorer.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) January 7, 2017
A three-week break came to a close in the Spanish top division as the leagues 20 clubs returned to the pitch over the weekend. It was a fantastic return to action for Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Atletico Madrid, with all three clubs recording clean sheet victories. Barcelona needs a late goal from Lionel Messi to earn a point against Villarreal.
As far as transfer news goes, there was one key signing during the week made by Sevilla. AS Nancy defender Clement Lenglet made the €5 million move to Southern Spain. The club was met with some bad news this week as well. Midfielder Samir Nasri–on loan from Manchester City–is being investigated by WADA and could face up to a four-year ban.
Copa del Rey
It was the first leg of the Round of 16 in the Copa del Rey competition this week, and a big surprise came out of Thursday’s match between FC Barcelona and Athletico Bilbao. The hosts were victorious against their powerhouse opponents, taking the match by a final score of 2-1. Elsewhere, Real Madrid defeated Sevilla 3-0 to take a commanding lead into the second leg. Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad were also victorious, as they both take two-goal advantages into their respective second leg fixtures this week.
League leaders Juventus were victorious in their first match back from the winter break, and second place Roma also won to stay the course in the race for the title. Napoli, AC Milan, and Lazio all picked up wins to keep their places in the top five. Inter Milan got a late winner from Ivan Perisic to claim victory in an exciting match against Udinese.
In transfer news, Juventus officially announced the signing of Tomas Rincon on a three-and-half-year contract. Napoli also made a big signing in Leonardo Pavoletti who comes in from Genoa.
The biggest news of the week was the official announcement of Julian Draxler’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. A deal was reached with the German midfielder until 2021.
In other news, the match that was abandoned between Metz and Lyon in early December–due to firecrackers being thrown on the pitch–will be replayed.
Coupe de France
Less than a week from now Ligue 1 will return to action, but this weekend all eyes were on the Coupe de France. PSG’s 7-0 win over Bastia saw the club comfortably advance to the next round. The newly signed Draxler netted his first goal for the club. There were very few upsets elsewhere with Monaco, Marseille, Guingamp and Lyon all advancing. Ligue 1 leaders OGC Nice were met with defeat at the hands of Lorient in a shock result.
We’re still two weeks away from the return of the Bundesliga, and this week was relatively quite as teams return to training. There was a big signing this week for Wolfsburg, as they picked up midfielder Yunes Mali from Mainz.
Major League Soccer
The MLS had a few transfers to talk about this week. Giliano Wijnaldum was signed by the Philadelphia Union, as the Dutch player brings some top-flight experience from the Eredivisie to the side. Elsewhere, the Columbus Crew signed Jonathan Mensah as a designated player. He joins the Ohio club from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala. All eyes will be on the MLS Superdraft this coming weekend, as some of the best young players in the country await their fate.
Featured Image Credit: @juventusfcen