Our recent fine run of loanee goalscoring continued again this week as Patrick Bamford entered double figures in the league for Middlesbrough in midweek before Victor Moses and Mohamed Salah added to their tallies on the weekend. We begin with Bamford.
Middlesbrough went into their midweek trip to Birmingham City knowing they had a chance of putting a bit of daylight between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack in the Championship but their plans were rather scuppered when goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos was sent off on the stroke of half time.
Finding themselves a goal down and a man light, an heroic effort was required to return north with anything to show for their efforts and that’s exactly what they got. Bamford’s twelfth goal of the season – and tenth in the league – was a typically well-taken finish from close range and kept Aitor Karanka’s boys at the Championship summit.
It did however come at a cost. The exertions at St Andrews left Bamford and Kenneth Omeruo sufficiently tired as to require a rest for the home game against Leeds at the weekend (and with this coming Tuesday’s fixture against Bolton in mind), although Tomas Kalas was able to return and play at centre-back for the first time (doing very well indeed). Despite dominating the entire game and getting twenty minutes from Bamford as a substitute, Boro lost 1-0 and ceded top spot to Derby County.
Moses, meanwhile, proved decisive for Stoke away to Aston Villa as he won and scored a stoppage-time penalty to secure a 2-1 win for Mark Hughes’ sode. It was his third goal of the season, having also netted against West Ham and Rochdale.
Salah played for Fiorentina at Tottenham in midweek European action before hitting the bench for Sunday’s home match against Torino. He clambered off it during the second half and made an impact in scoring for a second straight league outing with a smart finish following a quick one-two with Alberto Gilardino.
Christian Atsu returned to club action with five Europa League minutes on Thursday after a successful international period with Ghana and made good on his positive momentum by helping Everton to a 2-2 draw against Leicester. He saw some half an hour from the bench on Sunday and provided the cross from which Matthew Upson headed past his own goalkeeper with just minutes remaining to ensure a full time stalemate.
In the Championship, Nathaniel Chalobah was pressed into duty at centre-back for Reading in midweek with less than impressive results. He didn’t have his best game in a 0-1 defeat to Wigan but played much better back in midfield on Saturday as Steve Clarke’s boys went to Ipswich and won by the same scoreline.
Todd Kane missed out once again for Nottingham Forest as manager Dougie Freedman appears to prefer just about everyone else at the club since taking over three weeks ago, and Blackpool were again without Islam Feruz, who has now not featured in a full month.
In League One, Alex Kiwomya was recalled from Barnsley after the Tykes sacked manager Danny Wilson, and Alex Davey played 69 minutes for Scunthorpe in a 2-0 win over Chesterfield on Tuesday before existing with an injury that kept him out of their weekend clash with Preston. John Swift, meanwhile, played a full ninety minutes for Swindon in their 2-1 reverse at home to Crawley.
Vitesse Arnhem are going from strength to strength and moved up to seventh courtesy of a fifth straight win, this time going to FC Twente and coming away with a 2-1 win. Bertrand Traore started and laid on the opening goal for Zakaria Labyad, asserting himself as their most important player, and although he went off late on, Vako Qazaishvili stole all three points in stoppage time.
Wallace and Josh McEachran were both unused substitutes.
Following his goalscoring antics last weekend, Lucas Piazon was handed a start for Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday but was able to contribute relatively little in a 3-1 defeat away to Mainz.
Thorgan Hazard played a quarter of an hour for Borussia Mönchengladbach away to Hamburg and was on the pitch when Branimir Hrgota grabbed a last-minute equaliser to take a share of the 1-1 spoils, whilst Oriol Romeu was left out by rock-bottom Stuttgart in their Friday night defeat to Dortmund.
Marco van Ginkel played the last few minutes of Milan’s 2-0 win over Cesena whilst Stipe Perica had an unexpected week off as Udinese’s trip to Parma was postponed on account of the hosts not being able to afford stewarding costs.
Marko Marin started for Anderlecht on Sunday having been cup-tied for their Europa League fixture at home to Dinamo Moscow, and played 71 minutes in a 1-0 win over Genk.
Gael Kakuta’s ever-present league campaign for Rayo Vallecano continued away to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday but despite a lively first half he couldn’t help avoid a 1-0 defeat.
Mario Pašalić and Elche hosted Real Madrid, the Croatian playing 75 minutes of an inevitable defeat to the reigning Champions of Europe.
Uli Dávila played half an hour as a sub for Vitória Setúbal in their home defeat to Penafiel. Joao Rodriguez was officially unveiled there this week but did not take part in this one.
Matej Delač did not play for Arles-Avignon.
Cristian Cuevas, who is staying at Universidad de Chile until the summer, was included in their starting eleven away to Universidad de Concepción on Sunday and played the entirety of the 2-1 victory.