We were treated to a host of exciting mid-week games this week across Europe. In England, the Premier League was back in business after a record-breaking transfer deadline day. The two Spanish giants were also in Copa del Rey action, both hoping to book their place in the final. Real Madrid had the tougher task of the two, taking just a 1-0 goal aggregate lead against Sevilla to the Bernabeu.
The star man in Madrid was the German midfielder Mesut Ozil whose sublime finish with ten minutes left on the clock ended all hope of a Sevilla challenge. New Madrid signing Emmanuel Adebayor also contributed with an injury time volley to mark his Bernabeu debut. Madrid created the better chances throughout the night with Angel Di Maria creating an early opportunity by cutting inside from the left wing and drilling a low shot against the wood-work.
This wasn't the convincing performance Madrid fans would have been hoping for after some lacklustre games. Neither side looked at their best and although Sevilla held out for three quarters of the game, they didn't offer enough to challenge the Madrid end. Revenge of their 5-0 demolition against Barcelona will now be on their mind when the two meet in the first Clasico Cup Final since 1990.
The night before, Barcelona unsurprisingly cruised into the final with a comfortable 3-0 win at Almeria. The result was part of an 8-0 aggregate thrashing by the Spanish champions. It was a chance for Guardiola to field a reserve-packed side who responded with an ambitious display from youngsters who were eager to impress. New signing, Ibrahim Affelay scored his first goal for the club by completing the 3-0 rout with a fierce shot after being set up by Keydou Keita.
It was a big night in Merseyside with Liverpool marking the beginning of their post-Torres era. With one of their new star signings eligible to play, Luis Suarez began the night on the bench whilst record-signing Andy Carroll watched from the stands. Liverpool's first half hard work finally paid off two minutes into the second half with Raul Merieles pouncing on a loose ball in the Stoke box.
After 60 minutes, Liverpool's new £23 million signing Luis Suarez came on to a standing ovation. Suarez made a great first impression on his new fans by providing good, sharp movement. It took the Uruguayan less than 20 minutes on the pitch to score his first goal for Liverpool. After a 2-0 lead, Liverpool easily saw the game out and ended the night with their third win on the bounce.
The battle at the top of the Premier League remains as close as ever with Arsenal and Manchester Untied currently contesting first and second spot. It was a dramatic night at the Emirates as Arsenal fought back to claim all three points against a resilient Everton side. A controversial offside goal from Louis Saha forced Arsenal to dig deep.
With two second half goals from Russian winger Andrey Arshavin and French defender Laurent Koscielny allowed Arsenal to stay hot on the heels of league leaders Manchester United. The turning point of the game was the introduction of Nicklas Bendtner and Andrey Arshavin. It didn't take long for a beautifully lofted ball from Cesc Fabergas to fall for Arshavin who went a step closer to regaining his form with an equalising goal.
For all of Arsenal's efforts, a ruthless Manchester United sent out a warning to their Premier League rivals. Wayne Rooney silenced his critics and began to look like his best with two goals. Rooney's goals were complimented by an impressive Nemanja Vidic goal that saw the Old Trafford side extend their undefeated streak with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa.
With Chelsea and Arsenal both winning on the night, United couldn't afford anything less than three points. They didn't falter and kept themselves five points clear at the summit of the Premier League.
Chelsea finally look to be regaining their form that saw many people label them title favourites at the start of the season. It comes at a worrying time for their rivals with new signings Fernando Torres and David Luiz yet to be called to action. It was an entertaining match at the Stadium of Light as Chelsea and Sunderland battled for 90 minutes.
A game which ended 4-2 in Chelsea's favour leaves Sunderland sixth in the table and Chelsea in the top 4. All eyes will be on Stamford Bridge and Fernando Torres this Sunday when Chelsea face a tougher test against Liverpool.
Let us know your thoughts on this weeks mid-week games. With their new signings and re-gaining form, are Chelsea now back in the title race?
With the Copa Del Rey final around the corner, what do you think Mourinho will do differently to try and avoid another potential Barcelona romp?