A fine recent run of Chelsea loanee goalscoring was extended into an eleventh consecutive week over the past seven days as Patrick Bamford, Lewis Baker and Gael Kakuta each added to an ever-growing tally for the season overall.
Bamford got things underway in midweek by coming back to haunt former club Derby County for the second time this term, having also netted against them at the Riverside Stadium in December. This time he was returning to play in front of the Rams fans at the iPro Stadium in a big promotion battle at the top end of the Championship, and if he was already persona non grata there for his Nottingham Forest connections and barbed comments upon leaving the club, he was downright hated after this tidy finish gave Boro a 1-0 win.
Tomas Kalas played the full match at right-back whilst Kenneth Omeruo was an unused substitute, whilst away to Bournemouth on Saturday things didn’t go quite as well with Boro crashing to a 3-0 defeat. Kalas, now at centre-back, had one of his poorer outings compounded by conceding a penalty, whilst Bamford was held off the scoresheet despite a well-struck free kick that clipped the crossbar. Omeruo didn’t feature once again.
In League One, Baker was entrusted with back-to-back starts for Milton Keynes Dons away to Oldham and at home to Notts County and justified the faith shown in him by manager Karl Robinson by helping his side to two wins, scoring his second spectacular goal for the club in the latter:
Robinson described the Chelsea youngster as a ‘special player’ after the 4-1 win over Notts County; a far more positive development in what had been a frustrating season overall for the England Under-20 skipper.
In Spain, Kakuta’s Chelsea career may be drawing to a close with his contract up this summer, but the Frenchman has made impressive progress at Rayo Vallecano, having been an ever-present in the league whilst grabbing five goals, the latest of which helped his team run out 1-0 victors over Málaga:
Christian Atsu was given a rare start for Everton as they took a slender 2-1 advantage to Dynamo Kiev for the second leg of their Europa League tie, but a 5-2 hammering in the Ukrainian capital and a quiet 65-minute outing for the Ghanaian didn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Duly, he was omitted from the matchday squad for Sunday’s trip to QPR.
Victor Moses missed Stoke’s home defeat to Crystal Palace through injury, and it was revealed this week that he rejected a return to Chelsea this past January amid concerns over playing time.
In the Championship, Nathaniel Chalobah was absent for Reading at the weekend with a minor knock but had been fit enough to help them into the FA Cup Semi Final by virtue of a 3-0 win over Bradford on Monday night. He played very well, with this pass being a particular highlight:
Nottingham Forest took on Rotherham United and Norwich City this week without calling upon the services of Todd Kane.
In League One, John Swift played well for Swindon in a 2-1 win at Doncaster in midweek before being substituted ten minutes from time. Town then had the weekend off with Bristol City taking on Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final.
Alex Davey was an unused substitute as Scunthorpe lost 3-1 at Rochdale.
Bertrand Traore was held off the scoresheet for just the second time in the last seven games but still played well as Vitesse beat Go Ahead Eagles 2-0 to continue their surge up the league and give themselves a very good chance of securing Europa League football next season.
Josh McEachran was an unused substitute; Wallace was absent through injury.
Mohamed Salah and Fiorentina roared into the last eight of the Europa League on Thursday after destroying Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. The Egyptian forward nearly scored one of the goals of the season…
Sunday vs Udinese, he was a substitute and came on after 69 minutes but was unable to make an impact in the 2-2 draw. Stipe Perica didn’t feature for the hosts.
Marco van Ginkel made a rare start for Milan and was given an even rarer ninety minutes, playing well in a 3-1 win over Cagliari.
Stuttgart hosted Eintracht Frankfurt with Oriol Romeu and Lucas Piazon on the respective substitutes’ benches. Romeu got on for just over half an hour of his team’s 3-1 win; Piazon didn’t make it that far.
Elche were given a bit of a going-over by Valencia on Friday night; a 4-0 win for the visitors saw Mario Pašalić get an hour before being withdrawn by his manager.
Vitória Setúbal host Paços Ferreira tomorrow evening with Uli Dávila and Joao Rodriguez vying for a place in the team.
Marko Marin started for Anderlecht vs Club Bruges in the Final of the Belgian Cup but was forced off through injury as his team eventually lost.
FK Sarajevo lost 2-0 away to Velez Mostar, meaning a first defeat for Matej Delač since he returned to the club.
There was no Cristian Cuevas for Universidad de Chile in their 5-3 Copa Libertadores defeat at Bolivian side The Strongest.