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2019 Football Recap - January

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With 2019 coming to an end and a new decade fast approaching, we thought we’d look back at some of the biggest football moments to take place this year, going through each month. Naturally, as this is the first recap we’ll start with January and have a look at what events took place during the first month of 2019.

January signings

The January Transfer window saw many players swap clubs for the remainder of the 18/19 season, below are some of the biggest transfer to take place during the window.

  • Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United to Shandong Luneng)
  • Youri Tielemans (Monaco to Leicester on loan)
  • Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United to Newcastle)
  • Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus to Chelsea on loan)
  • Frenkie de Jong (Ajax to Barcelona) *
  • Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea)*

* De Jong and Pulisic were loaned back to Ajax and Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the season.

Emiliano Sala

By far the most tragic event to take place during the month of January was the news that Emiliano Sala had passed away as a result of a plane crash on his way to Cardiff. The Argentinian striker had just signed for Cardiff from French side Nantes and was unveiled at the Cardiff Stadium with a Cardiff City shirt, but Sala returned to Nantes to say goodbye to his teammates and collect some personal belongings. On the 21st of January, the plane that was flying Sala to Cardiff disappeared, with it being announced 2 days later by Channel Islands Air Search that there was “no hope” of finding any survivors. Argentinian media outlet Olé reported released a message from Sala while on the plane, with the message being:

“Hello, my brothers, how are you? Boy, I’m tired. I was here in Nantes taking care of things, things, things, things, things, things, and it never stops, it never stops, it never stops. Anyway guys, I’m up in this plane that feels like it's falling to pieces, and I’m going to Cardiff. [It's] crazy, we start tomorrow. Training in the afternoon, guys, in my new team... Let's see what happens. So, how's it going with you guys, all good? If in an hour and a half you have no news from me, I don't know if they are going to send someone to look for me because they cannot find me, but you will know... Man, I'm scared!”

One the 24th of January, police announced that they had called off the search for the aircraft or any survivors. However, after worldwide support and calls for the search to continue, with the likes of Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina President Mauricio Macri and 65,000 online signatures calling for the search to continue. A GoFundMe page raised over £280,000 for a private search which commenced on the 26th of January. The following month Dorset Police identified the body of Sala.

The FA Cup third round

The third round of the FA Cup is always an exciting time for football fans with the Premier League clubs entering the competition with the lower league teams and all fans having belief that it could be their year to win the famous trophy. One of the biggest shocks of the round saw Leicester City leave the competition after a 2-1 defeat to League 2 side Newport County, with some other shocks being Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves, Cardiff’s exit to the hands of League 1 side Gillingham, and Fulham’s 2-1 home defeat to Oldham.

Premier League

The first day of January saw both North London clubs in action and record wins as Arsenal beat Fulham 4-1 at the Emirates and Tottenham beating Cardiff 3-0 in Wales, the third Premier League game of the day saw Leicester beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Manchester United continued their impressive form under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as they won 3 of their 4 Premier League games in January, including an away win over Tottenham at Wembley, to keep alive their hopes of a top 4 finish after their poor start to the season.

By far the biggest Premier League fixture in January was Liverpool’s trip to Manchester to face title rivals Manchester City. It looked like Liverpool were set to take the lead at the Etihad after a defensive mess from City, but former Everton defender John Stones produced an incredible clearance off the line to keep the score 0-0. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring for City before Roberto Firmino equalised in the second half. 8 minutes later Leroy Sane put his name on the scoresheet to put City back in front. The game finished 2-1 and Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table was cut.

Some of the other key Premier League games in January saw: Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 at the Emirates, West Ham beat Arsenal 1-0 at the London Stadium, 2 entertaining 4-3 wins for Liverpool and Wolves against Crystal Palace and Leicester respectively and Bournemouth humiliate Chelsea 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium, which drastically increased the pressure on Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri.

Carabao Cup semi-finals

January also saw the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup take place, with Tottenham facing Chelsea and Manchester City facing Burton Albion. The first legs saw Tottenham take the advantage over Chelsea after a 1-0 win at Wembley, and Manchester City humiliate Burton Albion 9-0 at the Etihad to pretty much guarantee their place in the final.

In the second legs, Manchester City got the job done and beat Burton Albion 1-0 to give them a 10-0 aggregate victory and book them a place in the final at Wembley. Chelsea went into the second leg needing a win and did exactly that by beating Tottenham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to take the game to penalties. 2 missed penalties from Eric Dier and Lucas Moura helped Chelsea win the shootout and join Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.