Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Moron: Big Shot Ashley Cole

Yellow? Shooting someone warrants red!

Ashley Cole allegedly shot an intern with an air rifle at Chelsea's training ground on Saturday. Apparently, the lowly lad didn't get Cole his water fast enough. The big question: what was he doing with an air rifle at training?! The clear answer: Ashley Cole is a moron.

Cole, similarly to Christian Chivu, is a defender Sensible Soccer despises. Not only does he whine, complain, and have a girl's name, he was dumb enough to bring a pellet gun to training and shoot someone with it! Nice job, moron. I wish Landon Donovan was around to break your leg again.

In other news, we have a laundry list of exciting fixtures during the week:

AC Milan vs. Napoli 
Today at 2:45pm EST

Chelsea vs. Manchester United 
Tomorrow at 2:45pm EST

Manchester City vs. Aston Villa - FA Cup
Wednesday at 2:45pm EST

Valencia vs. Barcelona
Wednesday at 4pm EST

Enjoy and practice good gun safety!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


AS Roma got back on track yesterday with a 1-0 over Bologna. Vincenzo Montella, the club's interim coach, felt much relief as his side held a lead for the first time in a long time. To Montella's credit, he made very sensible substitutions throughout and kept to his 4-3-2-1 game plan. Bravo, Aeroplanino.

In addition (or subtraction), Philippe Mexes of lost his front tooth...AGAIN.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fly Higher Aeroplanino!

Vincenzo Montella is the new coach of AS Roma. Taking over for Claudio Ranieri, who tendered his resignation yesterday, Montella is charged with finishing the season strongly. To me, this means a 4th place finish. Realistically, Roma will not make a title push. Thus, they must do anything they can to make the Champions League under Montella's tutelage.

At age 36, L'Aeroplanino becomes one of the youngest coaches in Europe. I'm wondering if the directors considered a player-manager situation?! If not, we can still hope Montella will celebrate down the sidelines in his traditional airplane style when goals are scored.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Resignation Tendered

Immediately following AS Roma's shock loss to Genoa - one which saw the Giallorossi throw away a 3 goal lead - coach Claudio Ranieri tendered his resignation. As a Roma fan, I am relieved.

Last season, Ranieri picked up the pieces of Roma and rolled the dice successfully. He made countless bold moves during the campaign - substituting Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi at halftime in the Derby della Capitale (which is the boldest of moves in any Romanista's eyes) - which nearly won the capital club the Scudetto. But those same ballsy decisions have been the wrong ones this season. Everything decreed by the Tinkerman has worked against the squad and today's game was a prime and final example. Though his time in the capital was short and tumultuous, he must be thanked for his service and lauded for stepping aside when appropriate. True integrity and class.

Now to the future: it looks like Vincenzo Montella, il Aeroplanino and current coach of Roma's youth academy, will take the reins for the rest of the season. I am both excited and frightened by this. Montella is a smart man and has been doing good for Roma's youth team, but might run into some resistance when managing players who were very recently peers. Will egos get in the way? This is yes. We can only hope that Montella can cope and see this season to a successful end.

That information aside, will we see Carlo Ancelotti take over at Roma in the summer? The wily tactician has widely stated his desire to coach his former club, where he played from 1979 - 1987. The opportunity to build a trophy winning side is imminent, since new owners will be in control soon. Add to that a world class gaffer with a winning mentality...this could mean big things, Romanisti.

Let's keep our chins up.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This Week's Props Go To...

Arguably the best player of our generation, the famous gap-toothed Brazilian hung up his boots earlier this week. El Fenomeno tearfully withdrew from the game in a press conference on Monday, where he spoke about his illustrious career and unfortunate illness. Sensible Soccer salutes you, Ronaldo, for a glittering career filled with triumph and trophies. 

Jose Mourinho
Undisputedly one of the best managers in the world, Mr. Mourinho celebrates 9 years of being undefeated during home fixtures. This record spans 147 league games with 4 different teams in 4 different leagues. The Special One's last loss at home was on Februray 23, 2002. Wow! 

Ryan Giggs
At age 37, the Welsh Wizard signed a contract extension that keeps him at Old Trafford until the end of next year. Sensible Soccer finds it unbelievable that Giggs can still compete at the highest level at his age. Props to you, Giggsy!

Arsenal deserve all the credit in the world after their hard-fought comeback victory against Barcelona. When push came to shove in the vital Champions League knockout clash, the Gunners shoved hard, shocking the Spanish leaders at the Emirates. I for one, did not foresee this victory. Keep up the good work, lads!

Harry Redknapp
The Tottenham gaffer's tactical approach to the Milan game was nothing short of genius! Unlike the Spurs loose, attacking style in the groups stages, Redknapp had his men strategic in attack - work the flanks and find Peter Crouch's head - and tight in defense. These motives paid dividends, as Tottenham stormed out of Milan with a lead. Check out Zonal Marking's analysis for more tactical information. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is Christian Chivu

I once admired Christian Chivu. He was an absolute wall during a time of revival with AS Roma. He gave his all for the shirt and was a true professional. Now look at him:

Christian Chivu's daily tantrum
He's now known for shirt grabbing, player stamping, and punching people in the face. Sometimes the shirt you wear wears you. His actions exude the motto of Inter Milan.

That said, Inter takes on Fiorentina in an enticing Serie A encounter this afternoon.

Best wishes,
Sensible Soccer

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Round of 16 Continued - Match Day 2

Today's Champions League fixtures fired us into the most enthralling part of the tournament: the knockout rounds. Tottenham conquered AC Milan at San Siro, winning the match and grabbing a crucial away goal through Peter Crouch's 80th minute strike. Valencia and Schalke 04 drew 1-all in a heated contest. Legendary Spanish striker Raul grabbed the vital away goal for the Germans, who should be thrilled with this result.

Now for the previews of tomorrow's matches:

Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Leg 1 will be played in London at the Emirates.

Managers were crossing their fingers at the December draw in Geneva in hopes of avoiding Barcelona in the Round of 16. Unfortunately for Arsenal, they drew the short straw and have the monumental task of taking down the Catalans in an enticing encounter. When the two clubs squared off in last year's quarterfinal, Arsenal were smashed to bits by an awe-inspiring Messi performance at Nou Camp. What about this year? Mission impossible for Arsenal? Most likely.

Frankly, Arsenal brought this difficult draw upon themselves by failing to top their easy group. Inconsistency has racked the Gunners' campaign, which is not a good sign when facing arguably the most consistent side in the world. Barcelona have been on a tear in La Liga, with the exception of a draw at the weekend, and sit 5 points clear at the top of the table. We all know the pedigree of the Blaugrana, so there's really no use in describing how dominating they can be.

Missing Persons: In defense, Arsenal will be without Thomas Vermaelen and Bacary Sagna (suspension). Wojciech Szczesny will must likely start between the sticks in lieu of Lukasz Fabianski's season-ending injury. The Gunners have been boosted by the return of Alex Song and Samir Nasri to the team sheet.

For Barcelona, Carles Puyol will miss out on the trip to London. This could force Pep Guardiola to field the experienced Eric Abidal at center back.

Key Questions
1. Can Messi be stopped? No. But he can be contained (sometimes). Obviously Messi is not the only threat on the team, but he undoubtedly has the ability to tear a side to shreads at any given moment during a match. Arsenal's only hope is to try not to give too much space and isolate him. This may be tough without the fleet-footed Sagna in the lineup, but the Gunners will have to do what they can.

2. Can Arsenal's wingers send some in-swingers? For Arsenal to have any chance at winning this tie, they need Theo Walcott to hit the byline and hit it hard. The hope is that the crafty winger and his left wing counterpart (Rosicky/Arshavin) can send some telling crosses into the area that might find the head of Arsenal's big men. Since Puyol will miss this leg, it is quite possible that the back line could be exposed in the air.

3. Will Arsenal impose their physicality to the tie? We know Barcelona's game plan: possession and build up in attack. But, can Arsenal inject enough physicality to throw the slick passing side off their game? If they do so, they might be able to dictate some play.

Prediction: Forget about the draw over the weekend: Barcelona is a machine that produces wins. The players in the squad have won this competition, the Euros, and the World Cup. Though Arsenal may put up a fight, Barca will win the away leg and most likely the tie.

AS Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Leg 1 will be played in Rome at Olimpico.

One of the weaker draws in the Round of 16, perennial underachievers AS Roma take on Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in what I believe will be a close two legs. The Giallorossi have had a torrid time this campaign, often winning a few on the trot then playing miserably and dropping points. As a frustrated Romanista, I can attest to how aggravating it has been to watch this team play. We simply do not know what kind of Roma will walk onto the pitch any given day. Luckily for the Lupi, Shakhtar may lack a bit of cohesion due to the winter break in the Ukraine.

The two squads have faced off in this competition before, so they are no stranger to each other. Roma are the more talented side, but since they rarely play to their potential, I think we will see a very evenly matched two games. 

Missing Persons: Roma have some question marks in their lineup, which could be coach Claudio Ranieri keeping his cards close before match day. In attack, Mirko Vucinic and Marco Borriello are listed as doubtful for the match, but I would not be surprised if they featured heavily. Unfortunately for the Giallorossi, first-choice goalkeeper Julio Sergio will not play tomorrow. So, we could see one of two characters in place of the Brazilian: Alexander Doni or Bogdan Lobont, who each have an unfortunate case of the butterfingers.

Shakhtar have a bit less to worry about, as they will only be without the services of Fernandinho and Olexandr Kucher.

Key Questions:
1. Which Roma will emerge from the tunnel? Will it be the 'Jeremy Menez running at people, linking up with Totti and Mirko' Roma? Or the 'why does the midfield seem 20 miles away from the forwards' Roma? Only time will tell.

2. Can Eduardo break through Roma's defense? Eduardo is obviously the Ukrainians biggest weapon, but can he do enough to trouble in-form Frenchman Philippe Mexes and his Brazilian counterpart Juan?

3. Will Roma's morale effectively see them implode? A great possibility coming off the wings of two important losses in the Serie A, players voicing concerns about the state of the club, and takeover talks. 

Prediction: I am curious whether Ranieri will allow iconic captain Francesco Totti to feature in the match. If so, Totti will see this as an opportunity to prove his worth and lead his side to victory (I hope!). I think Roma will escape Olimpico tomorrow with a narrow lead heading into the second leg.

Stay tuned for more Champions League match previews!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Champions League Round of 16 - Feb. 15th Preview

The excitement is building as we edge closer to the Champions League knockout stages. The quest to reach the final at Wembley begins tomorrow. Poise, class, and a little bit of luck will be needed to see teams through to the next round. Sensible Soccer will preview each match day in a series of installments. And now, a preview of tomorrow's fixtures:

AC Milan vs. Tottenham 
Leg 1 will be played in Milan at San Siro

Champions League new-boys Tottenham will take on Serie A leaders AC Milan in what should be a thrilling, two-legged affair. The question is: which teams will we see? Given the pedigree of each side, both teams have been inconsistent with their results this year. Even though Milan are tops, their campaign has been riddled with draws to sub-par teams. The Rossoneri are a much different Serie A leader from Mourinho's dominating Inter side we saw last season. Nevertheless, they are a talented squad in control of a tough league. 

Tottenham have also produced spotty results, often winning a big game then dropping the next. The Spurs lie in 4th place in the cagey Premier League. That said, both teams are coming off a set of thrilling wins over the weekend, so hopefully we will see a well contested match.

Missing Persons: The injury list for this fixture is quite hefty on both sides. It is looking like Tottenham will be without lynchpin midfielders Luka Modric or Rafael Van der Vaart - the latter being more likely to start because somehow he always shows up on the team-sheet come gameday. Even worse, it seems increasingly unlikely that powerful winger Gareth Bale will feature at San Siro, the sight of his scorching Group Stage hat-trick. The Spurs are fortunate to have an in-form replacement, Niko Kranjcar, ready to dress and impress. 

Milan's injury problems run throughout the lineup - at the back, the squad will be without new signing Nicola Leggrotaglie or veteran Gianluca Zambrotta; Rodney Strasser and Ignazio Abate are listed as doubtful for the clash. Luckily, the Rossoneri have been boosted by the return of Alessandro Nesta and Luca Antonini, who will likely start alongside Daniele Bonera and Thiago Silva. In the midfield, Milan will be without role-players Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini.

Some interesting things to note: a few new Milan signings are indeed cup-tied...that's right Milanisti, Cassano, Van Bommel, and Emanuelson will not be featuring in the tournament. Spurs fans will breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that their top winter signing, Steven Pienaar, is eligible.

Key Questions:
1. Who will control the midfield? With both teams likely to field second choice players, I am wondering who has the depth to grab control of the midfield. The team who comes out on top after 90 minutes will be the one with the best cohesion in the middle of the park.

2. How will Milan cope with Tottenham's style of play? Tottenham taught Inter a hard lesson that sent tremors throughout world football during group play. The English style had embarrassed the holders. It will be interesting to see how Milan handles the gruff play of the Spurs.

3. Can Tottenham hold Zlatan at bay? The key to beating Milan is to stifle their hitman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (if you don't believe me, see the match report of Roma's win in Milan right before the holiday break). It looks like Younes Kaboul will miss the trip to San Siro, so that cancels out the big man out-muscling Ibra scenario. The onus will largely fall on veteran William Gallas. Spurs fans: pray for a good Gallas showing.

Prediction: Injuries aside, I still believe this will be one of the more exciting fixtures during the Round of 16, given the talent and dazzling play of both teams. I think we will see a draw at San Siro. For Tottenham to be satisfied, they will need to bag a crucial away goal.

Valencia vs. Schalke 04
Leg 1 will be played in Valencia at the Mestalla.

One year ago, Schalke were top contenders for the Bundesliga crown, giving Bayern Munich a run for their money. It got even better in the summer, when the club made top signings in the form of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul. Then, the new season started and everything went wrong. Shockingly, Schalke sits in 10th place in Bundesliga. A strange turnaround for a side with motivation and top players. Nonetheless, Schalke will take on La Liga side Valencia in one of the weaker clashes in the Round of 16.

The David-less Valencia are holding course in La Liga, maintaining their perennial 3rd place slot after leap-frogging Villareal at the weekend. The Spanish side has not lost in 2011 and are unbeaten in 9-games.

Missing Persons: The good news for Schalke is that the squad is fully fit. The same can not be said for Valencia. Top stars Juan Mata and David Albelda have been out of action for a few weeks and are doubtful for the game. Strangely, these omissions have not hurt Valencia's form, as they are coming off a huge win against Atletico Madrid this past weekend.

Key Questions:
1. Can Huntelaar and Raul do it again? The talented duo accounted for half the side's goals in group play and will need to continue their good Champions League form if they hope to see the quarters. Raul has lined up against Valencia many times in his career and will look to terrorize the back line in his first trip home since joining Schalke.

2. Will Neuer be able to hold off the flood? Manuel Neuer has made a whopping 4-5 saves per game in Bundesliga play, often times standing on his head to get a result for the struggling side. The highly rated shot-stopper will have to remain steadfast against a quick Valencia attack to give Schalke hope.

3. Will Valencia's stars be missed on the grand stage? Sure, the absence of Mata and Albelda in the Valencia lineup against inferior La Liga sides has been manageable, but what about a knockout match versus a team hoping to grasp onto a motivating result? Valencia has a scorer in Roberto Soldado (5 goals in CL play) but might miss their play-maker Mata and holding midfielder Albelda, should they not start.

Prediction: I think Valencia will win the first leg of this tie. The Spanish side are in form and motivated, which you can not say about Schalke. For the Bundesliga side to make a dent in this game, Klaas needs to be in session. Huntelaar or Raul need to notch an away goal to have any hope of celebrating after the return leg in Germany.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's previews of Arsenal vs. Barcelona and AS Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Match Day Observations - Feb. 12

Wayne Rooney wins the Manchester Derby in dramatic fashion

"It defies description." Well said.

Edinson Cavani stares through souls
Half Jesus, half Antonio Banderas in Desperado, Edinson Cavani freaks the world out with stares that see into your soul. Today, the Uruguayan hitman scored a brace against Roma, keeping Napoli three points behind leaders AC Milan in the Serie A.

Kranjcar does it again
Niko Kranjcar wins it for the Spurs again! After well played game, the out of favor Croatian has made Harry Redknapp's selection process that much harder days before Tottenham's Champions League clash with AC Milan.

Barcelona stutter...
...and the whole world comes crashing down on them? Absolutely not. The talented side unluckily drew against Sporting de Gijon, who grabbed an early lead, then sat 11 men behind the ball all game. Was it utterly horrible that Barca didn't win?? Come on, critics.

Finally, Van Persie is scoring regularly
Twinkle-toed Robin Van Persie is finally bulging the net like we know he can. The flying Dutchman netted a brace to help Arsenal to a 2-0 win against Wolverhampton today, keeping them on pace with United.

Lyon crush derby host St. Etienne
In a heated rivalry, Lyon dispatched of St. Etienne 4-1. Note: Carlos Bocanegra scored St. Etienne's lone goal...nice!

Bayern crush Hoffenheim 
FC Hollywood smacked do-gooders Hoffenheim at Allianz Arena this afternoon, with Arjen Robben doubling up. In the victory, the Dutchman was reunited with his favorite playmaker, Franck Ribery, for the first time in months. In addition, Robben is your Sensible Soccer ridiculous picture of the day!!! Congratulations, weird constipated old man face!

Please stayed tuned for a rather comprehensive Champions League leg one preview!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Week's Pointless Yet Exciting Friendlies

International friendlies are at times warranted. These fixtures are often critical for national team setups in preparing for qualifiers and tournaments. But now? In February? Between league, domestic cup, and European cup play? The timing of today and tomorrow's friendlies is terrible. Club coaches have every right to be furious at national teams for trying to yank star players midweek, with crucial club fixtures coming up. Why are these games being played? They seem pointless.

However, there are some awesome friendlies on the docket:

Romania vs. Ukraine

This regional battle begins today at 1:30 pm EST.

Croatia vs. Czech Republic
Another regional fixture starting tomorrow at 11:45 am EST.

Turkey vs. South Korea

A rematch of the 2002 World Cup 3rd place match, South Korea will want revenge after being undone by Hakan Sukur after just 11 seconds. This match begins tomorrow at 1 pm EST.

Denmark vs. England
The Danes have a cagey past with England, drubbing the powerhouse in a similar friendly 4-1 in 2005. The fireworks start tomorrow at 2:15 pm EST.

Germany vs. Italy

In a rematch of possibly the most exciting semifinal in World Cup history, the Germans square off against regional foes Italy. The Italian squad will be highly provisional, as some newcomers will get their shot at a first cap. I expect the same from the Germans. It should be a cracker of a match. 2:45 pm EST tomorrow.

France vs. Brazil

These massive international rivals will do battle tomorrow at 2:45 pm EST. They have faced one another in the biggest games at the World Cup, so there is obvious bad blood.

Argentina vs. Portugal

Messi vs. Ronaldo...Another chance for journalists to pit the two players against each other and sort out the eternal question, who's better? I find this comparison extremely persistent and annoying. Nonetheless, it should be an exciting game. 2:45 pm EST tomorrow.

NOTE: USA vs. Egypt is cancelled due to the ongoing protests in Egypt.

Enjoy these pointless friendlies, mis amis!

Monday, February 7, 2011

English Excitement: A Stunning Weekend For Football

Pundits have called this week one for the ages in English football. At the beginning, we saw over £120 million spent on deadline day. Midweek, a few debutants showed up on the score sheet. And then, the weekend came...

We saw an insurmountable comeback, rivals square off, first lose to worst, some late winners, and a few hat tricks. All in all, there were 43 goals scored in 10 games. Best league in the world? You bet. This was an incredible weekend for football. Allow me to review some top highlights:

Arsenal lose a 4 goal lead...I mean Newcastle come back from 4 down

I am speechless. How in the world did Arsenal let this happen? I have not heard Arsene Wenger's post-match comments, but I'm sure he blamed the loss on something ridiculous: "The referee's kit color distracted my players." Please watch the video above and marvel at this incredible comeback, which was capped off by an unbelievable strike from 20 yards by Cheick Tioté.

Liverpool doubles up on the champions - Fernando who?
The highly anticipated match-up pitting the rivals against each other happened to be Fernando Torres' first game for Chelsea, after his sensational departure from Liverpool earlier in the week. The Reds didn't sweat it, though, dispatching of the Blues 1-0 through a well-taken Raul Meireles goal. Torres had a tepid game versus his cagey former club, resulting in an elbow to the face, a 65th minute withdrawal, and consequent "YOU SHOULD HAVE STAYED WITH A REAL CLUB" chant. Liverpool jump to 6th in the table and are now 6 points behind Chelsea and Tottenham for the final champions league spot. I just got tingles.

United they fall
Incredibly, the last-placed Wolves gave Manchester United their first loss of the campaign. Nani put the leaders ahead after just two minutes, but the resilient Wanderers fought back and held on for the win. I honestly didn't think United could lose this year.

Electrifying late goals
Tioté's equalizing screamer in the 87th minute was not the only late stunner this weekend. Nico Kranjcar (above) drilled a 30 yarder in the 92nd minute against Bolton to secure all 3 points for Tottenham and versatile defender Robert Huth struck twice in the dying moments to give Stoke a crucial victory over Sunderland. 

Hat-trick heroes
Man City's Carlos Tevez recorded a first half hat-trick and Everton striker Louis Saha struck a hat-trick plus one in a great win over Blackpool.

I'll admit, more than once I had three streams running on my laptop. It was extremely hard to choose one game to watch. The EPL keeps us wanting more and more. The words "best league in the world" don't really have to be said anymore, since it's pretty much established that the Prem is just that. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Debutants Ball

As a fan, it feels good when a new signing scores in his debut. It almost makes one forget about the astronomical price tag of the modern player. It also brings hope to struggling teams and their faithful. In the Premier League last night, there were some very happy clubs and supporters beaming about their newest signings.

I present to you the debutants:

Luis Suarez Liverpool

Well...he rounded the keeper nicely!

Robbie Keane West Ham

Great take by Robbie (see 1m mark).

Daniel Sturridge Bolton

Nothing like a winner in added time on your home debut! Though Sturridge was gifted the goal, he stuck it home well (see end of highlight clip).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Soccer & Art: Intertwined

Soccer is awesome. Art is awesome. Together, they are completely awesome. Check out some great soccer-related pieces, courtesy of Behance:

Alessandro Del Piero: "For the Love of the Game" by Chris Tsevis

Cristiano Ronaldo: "For the Love of the Game" by Chris Tsevis

Bastian Schweinsteiger: "Plakker Album Gellustreer" by Andreas Preis

Wayne Rooney: "Plakker Album" Andreas Preis

Ronaldinho: "Ronaldinho Textures" by Hugo Silva

Fernando Torres: "Special Soccer Player 2" Sakiroo Choi

Please click on the links in each caption for more work from these artists!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

D-Day Roundup: England Transfer Record Smashed To Dust

On the much awaited winter deadline day, the England transfer record was smashed to dust, loosely built up again, then smashed to an even finer dust. Overall, around £215 million was spent throughout this January's window (up from £160 million last year), and about £120 million was shelled out on a frantic last day in England. It is fact that yesterday's transfers in England eclipsed the spending of all the leagues in the world combined during this window. Absolute insanity.

Lets review some big moves, shall we:

Andy Carroll Newcastle to Liverpool for £35m 

Fernando Torres Liverpool to Chelsea £50m 

A player in a car signifies an imminent transfer. Finally, Soccernet got something right when they posted these pictures yesterday at midday.

I certainly did not see either of these moves coming. I figured Torres would sulk his way through one last season at Anfield before being thrown to the wolves in the summer window. And Carroll? Who would have thought newly promoted Newcastle would sell their star in the middle of a quasi-successful campaign? Not only that, but Newcastle failed to use the funds made available by the sale of Carroll to buy a replacement, and now have to face the rest of the season minus a striker, let alone their best. The tragedy of this transfer is that Carroll did not even want to leave his hometown club

These were the biggest moves of the transfer window. Chelsea set a domino effect through the league by bidding £50m for Torres, which in turn spurred Toon management to sell their homegrown talent at an inflated rate. Staggeringly, Torres wasn't Chelsea's only big signing of the day, as they shored up their back-line by finally acquiring David Luiz from Benfica for £21.3m. Chelsea spent £71.3m in one day. Let that fact sink in and simmer. All in all, the events in England yesterday were shocking, even to popular pundits.

Other big signings throughout the January window:

Edin Dzeko Wolfsburg to Manchester City £32m
I was spot on in my earlier transfer-related post about the big man from the Bundesliga side, Wolfsburg. Adebayor made way and Dzeko is now donning the #10 for the Citizens. His contributions thus far have been meager, but Edin scored his first goal last week, a late equalizer which saved City blushes to force an FA Cup replay with Notts County.

Darren Bent Sunderland to Aston Villa £24m
The striker, who has an astonishing EPL goal tally (84 goals in 192 appearances), was a great signing for Villa and good bank for Steve Bruce's Sunderland. Bent even scored in his debut at Villa Park. The only thing he may regret is his horrible number selection, 39.

Luis Suarez Ajax to Liverpool £22.8m
Lets not allow the huge sale of Torres and gross fee for Carroll overshadow the excellent deal Liverpool struck last week with Ajax for Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Exceptional player, exceptional signing. He's young, versatile and ready to run at English back-lines. I think the Kop will be hurling praise at a new Spanish speaking fellow by the end of this year.

David Luiz Benfica to Chelsea 

Chelsea capped off a successful window by getting talented center back David Luiz from Benfica. This player was an absolute must for the side.

Emmanuel Adebayor
 Manchester City to Real Madrid (on loan)
Want-away striker Emmanuel Adebayor got his wish when City loaned him out to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. Los Blancos were in desperate need of a striker after learning of Gonzalo Higuain's long injury layoff. Perhaps Mourinho will be the coach who gets the most out of the troubled striker.

Giampaolo Pazzini Sampdoria to Inter Milan €19m (€12 + €7 Biabiany)
Inter are big winners in this transfer window with the acquisition of Giampaolo Pazzini from Sampdoria. For a full description of Pazzo's move and impact this past Sunday, see my last post.

The best of the rest:
Antonio Cassano Sampdoria to AC Milan (Undisclosed)
Luiz Gustavo Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich €17m 
Ryan Babel Liverpool to Hoffenheim 7m
Elias Corinthians to Atletico Madrid €7m
Ibrahim Affelay PSV to Barcelona €3m
Ivan Rakitic Schalke 04 to Sevilla €2.5m
Daniel Sturridge Chelsea to Bolton (on loan)
Yuto Nagatomo Cesena to Inter Milan (on loan) told you so
Obafemi Martins Rubin Kazan to Birmingham City (on loan)
Michael Bradley Borussia Monchengladbach to Aston Villa (on loan)

It seems I could blog for days about this transfer window. But, what's the point? The whole football community is talking about the same thing. To fill in the blanks, check out's rundown of the window here and please view the final episode of Football Spy, which will give you a comprehensive roundup of who went where:

Best wishes from Sensible Soccer! Let's enjoy the rest of this season together.