It’s been a record-breaking seven days on the Chelsea loanwatch front with no fewer than seven goals for us to bring you. With so much to cover, let’s get stuck in.
As he’s done for most of the past month, Mohamed Salah leads the way as he continued his stupendous form for Fiorentina. Prior to this weekend – he should feature away to Lazio tomorrow night in a match you can keep track of on Twitter @chelseayouth – he was directly involved in La Viola’s last seven goals, scoring six of them. The two most recent came in the Coppa Italia away to Juventus on Thursday.
Whilst it still very much looks as if Fiorentina will continue to reap the benefits of having the Egyptian forward on loan next season, every positive contribution clouds the situation just a little more and he could, unlikely as it seems right now, make a return to Stamford Bridge for 2015-16.
A full programme of midweek Premier League and Championship football back in England gave plenty of players a chance to make an impact and many of them duly did. Lewis Baker marked his first home start for Milton Keynes Dons by scoring a stunning long-range effort in their 2-1 defeat to Chesterfield (he was an unused sub vs Preston at the weekend), giving his new fans a taster of what he can do:
Up in the Championship, Patrick Bamford netted his thirteenth of the season in Middlesbrough’s 3-0 win over Milwall, and it finished off a quite lovely team goal.
Tomas Kalas also played in that one with Kenneth Omeruo exiled after a particularly poor display at Sheffield Wednesday last time out, and Aitor Karanka retained that particular selection at Nottingham Forest on Saturday. Kalas – now getting regular minutes at centre-back – and Bamford played the full match as fellow Blues loanee Todd Kane (involved for the first time under Dougie Freedman) came out on top in Forest’s 2-1 win.
In the top flight, Victor Moses produced the finest header of the season to help Stoke defeat Everton and move into the top eight.
The weekend saw John Swift get in on the act having been restored to the Swindon starting eleven in midweek at home to Gillingham. Manager Mark Cooper spoke at length about the technical and mental adjustments Swift has had to make since moving into senior football and he responded in the right way by scoring this long-range effort in their 3-0 win over Notts County on Saturday.
Finally, and exhaustively, Bertrand Traore’s 11th goal of the season looked to have given Vitesse a seventh straight win away to Heracles only for a 95th minute equaliser to scupper their plans.
(Wallace and Josh McEachran were unused substitutes)
Christian Atsu wasn’t able to take on Stoke and Moses for Everton on Wednesday due to his recent illness, but he should be able to resume his duties for the Toffees’ Europa League action against Dynamo Kyiv this week.
Nathaniel Chalobah played 78 minutes for Reading in their 1-1 draw at Bolton in midweek and then took part in a goalless draw at Bradford in the FA Cup at the weekend; his afternoon ended prematurely after suffering a cut to the head.
Alex Davey played well in a pair of away games for Scunthorpe United but a draw at Fleetwood and a defeat at Crewe leave the Iron looking over their shoulder towards the relegation zone.
Gael Kakuta and Rayo Vallecano were scarcely given a chance to do anything away to Barcelona on Sunday morning, going down 6-1 in a match in which they were lucky to get one.
Mario Pašalić had another good game for Elche as they picked up a huge three points at home to Almeria, winning 1-0 to move clear of their foes at the edge of the relegation zone.
Lucas Piazon was included in the starting eleven for Eintracht Frankfurt away to Köln and did well to play a part in their first goal, although a 4-2 final scoreline left him on the losing side.
Oriol Romeu appears to have firmly lost his place in the Stuttgart team now, remaining unused on the bench in a 0-0 stalemate at home to Hertha Berlin.
Stipe Perica and Marco van Ginkel were each unused substitutes for Udinese and Milan this weekend but, with Serie A sides allowed twelve players on their benches, they might as well have not been selected.
Marko Marin played the full match for Anderlecht as they won 2-1 away to Lokeren. He suffered a mild injury that will need attention going forward, whils the Belgian press also reported this week that it will take an offer of €6m if they want to make his move permanent in the summer. At that price it almost certainly won’t be an option they pick up.
Uli Dávila played 70 minutes of Vitória Setúbal’s 1-1 draw with Belenenses; Joao Rodriguez did not feature.
Matej Delač was not in a position to make his second FK Sarajevo debut this weekend as all Bosnian Premier League matches were postponed owing to adverse weather conditions.
Cristian Cuevas played the full match as Universidad de Chile lost 3-2 to Audax Italiano on Monday night but, as is the club’s preference right now, he was an unused substitute in their midweek Copa Libertadores win over Bolivia’s The Strongest.