The season may be winding down and the overall number of Chelsea loanees continues to dwindle with campaigns wrapping up across Europe, but the goalscoring streak that has been alive since the opening weekend back in July is alive and kicking. Thorgan Hazard and Romelu Lukaku took it into a 38th week over the past seven days and we begin with the irrepressible Belgian duo.
Hazard has been terrific in recent weeks, raising his game after a six-month spell when he clearly dropped a level in his performance, and against Lokeren on Saturday evening he struck for the third week running and the seventeenth time this term as Zulte Waregem picked up a 3-1 victory to secure at least fourth place and a chance of playing in next season’s Europa League, whilst just about keeping alive hopes of the title.
His latest strike was typically spectacular too:
Lukaku too has emerged with a strong finish to the season and capped his stay at Everton with a sixteenth goal in their colours on the Premier League’s final day away to Hull City.
Ryan Bertrand’s Aston Villa career ended – for the time being at least – with two heavy defeats as he and they went down 4-0 at Manchester City in midweek and 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Victor Moses came off the bench for Liverpool at Crystal Palace last Monday evening as Brendan Rodgers sought to improve the Reds’ goal difference in their bid for the title, but not only did they throw away a 3-0 lead and the title at Selhurst Park but Moses contrived to miss an open goal at the death. Persona non grata all week, he didn’t participate in their final home game against Newcastle.
In The Championship, Patrick Bamford and Josh McEachran saw little to no playoff involvement for Derby County and Wigan Athletic respectively. Bamford sat out the first leg and only came on for the last fifteen of the second, but did manage to provide an assist as Derby smashed Brighton to advance to the final at Wembley.
McEachran wasn’t even in Wigan’s squad for their 0-0 draw against Queens Park Rangers but could yet be involved for the return leg tomorrow.
Thibaut Courtois and Atlético Madrid were one goal away from winning a first La Liga title in eighteen years as results elsewhere went their way in a fascinating Sunday afternoon of twists. Their 1-1 draw with Málaga was ultimately not enough to secure the silverware but they now go into the final weekend of the season needing to avoid defeat away to Barcelona to get their hands on what could be the first of a memorable double.
Marko Marin started for Sevilla at Getafe and played 64 minutes of a 1-0 defeat. There was no action for Oriol Romeu as Valencia went down 2-0 at Levante.
Uli Dávila played an hour for Córdoba against Zaragoza; their 2-1 defeat heavily denting their outside hopes of sneaking into the Segunda playoff places.
Bidding for promotion into the second tier, however, were Jhon Pírez and Leganés. The Uruguayan didn’t make it off the bench on Sunday against Athletic Bilbao B but their 1-0 victory secured a playoff place. There’s a long way to go though, with those culminating in late June.
Vitesse’s season ended in humiliating fashion as they were blown away by Groningen in the Eredivisie’s Europa League playoffs. A 5-1 aggregate victory was more than justified as Peter Bosz’s side extended their nine-match run without victory past two months and will not play continental football in 2014-15.
Christian Atsu and Patrick van Aanholt played ninety minutes in both legs – Atsu missed a penalty early in the first – whilst Bertrand Traore came on as a sub in the first before playing 45 minutes from the start in the return game at the Gelredome. Lucas Piazon played no part having been released from his club requirements ahead of Brazil’s Toulon Tournament preparation.
With no goals and no assists since Christmas, Bosz didn’t feel Piazon’s services were required and even had he been there, they were nowhere near the required standard to beat Groningen and big questions will now be asked over the summer.
Kurt Zouma made an all too rare start for Saint Etienne on Saturday and contributed an assist of sorts in their 3-0 win over Nantes; a result that guaranteed them safe passage into the Europa League qualifiers.
Inter played Lazio on Saturday night. You already know that Wallace and Gael Kakuta didn’t play.
Mario Pašalić started for Hajduk Split against Osijek and had a decent ninety minutes as his team triumphed 4-2.
Matej Delac wasn’t involved in FK Sarajevo’s final game of the season, a 3-2 victory over FK Radnik.