The Dutch stranglehold over the Loan Report goalscoring action of late was broken this weekend as Michael Hector and Juan Cuadrado tipped us over the 70 mark on the season, fast approaching last season’s final tally of 83.
Hector got things started on Saturday with his second goal of the season and his first in the league for Reading. It came in a losing cause away to Leeds but it was almost identical to his previous effort against West Brom in the FA Cup, arriving unmarked at the far post to finish an inswinging free kick.
Reading’s season effectively ended when Crystal Palace knocked them out of the FA Cup in the last eight and they’ll play for pride in their last four fixtures. Hector was returning to the side – as a centre-back rather than the holding midfielder he’d become recently – after a recent absence, whilst Lucas Piason started both at Leeds and at Middlesbrough five days earlier before being substituted during the second half.
Cuadrado, meanwhile, looks set to end the season as a domestic champion with Juventus on the verge of yet another Serie A triumph. He put the seal on a 4-0 win against Palermo on Sunday which puts La Vecchia Signora nine points clear of Napoli with five matches remaining.
After his disappointing outing last weekend against former loan club Crystal Palace, Patrick Bamford wasn’t even included in Norwich’s squad for their big relegation match at home to Sunderland. Sunderland ran out 3-0 winners and Norwich appear not to have realised that, for his potential faults, Bamford perhaps offers a better chance of a goal than Dieumerci Mbokani in attack.
Nathan Aké returned from a rest for Watford to help them to a 1-0 win at West Brom, a result that ensures their survival for next season, and Victor Moses played 72 minutes for West Ham in their 2-2 draw at title-chasing Leicester City.
John Swift missed a third consecutive Brentford match with a cut achilles whilst Tomas Kalas saw just one minute of play over two Middlesbrough games this week with the club on the verge of a return to the top flight. In League Two, Jordan Houghton played well as Plymouth scored twice late to win 2-1 at Portsmouth and keep themselves within a point of automatic promotion.
The season can’t end soon enough as far as Vitesse are concerned with everything continuing to unravel at the Gelredome. A 1-1 draw at home to Heracles, due in large part to a contentious penalty awarded to the visitors in the second half, leaves Rob Maas’s side in 8th place and looking in from the outside at the European playoff places. With three matches remaining they have it in them to find a way back in but their recent form and selection policy leaves much to be desired.
Despite being arguably their most influential player over the last month, Lewis Baker was left on the bench with the defensive-minded Israeli Sheran Yeini preferred instead, and Maas only made one substitution despite much riding on the result. That was to bring on the exciting young forward Yuning Zhang for Dominic Solanke, who worked hard as usual but found clear opportunities hard to come by. His best moment came from a Valeri Qazaishvili pass that needed to be much better only for it to miss the mark, and the service was otherwise below-par throughout.
Izzy Brown and Nathan both missed the match injured with Nathan’s vertebrae issue ruling him out for the season, whilst Danilo Pantic remains under suspension by the club for his comments to the media last month.
It’s going much better for Todd Kane and NEC Nijmegen a few miles down the road though. They returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph over Cambuur to stay in the European places, Kane getting another full outing.
Marco van Ginkel didn’t score this week for PSV, instead settling for 90 minutes in a 3-0 stroll at Roda.
Real Betis’ La Liga survival for another season is inching ever-closer after a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo on Saturday night left them nine points clear of the drop zone with five to play. Charly Musonda has been a big part of their resurrection in the second half of the season and he sparkled again at the Balaidos before being replaced in stoppage time.
Christian Atsu is still something of a bit-part player for Málaga and got twenty minutes as a substitute in their 1-0 home defeat by Athletic Bilbao.
Nathaniel Chalobah and Stipe Perica were unused substitutes yet again.
Andreas Christensen’s latest ninety minutes came as Gladbach suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at bottom-placed Hannover on Friday to leave their Champions League hopes out of their hands. They now sit sixth, four points behind Hertha Berlin in 4th, and with just four matches left have work to do to return to Europe’s top table.
Papy Djilobodji completed his three-match domestic ban and will return for Werder Bremen’s next Bundesliga fixture.
Mario Pašalić is continuing to recuperate a long-term back problem, revealing this week that a vertebral disc was slightly displaced and caused some nerve issues, resulting in a lengthy layoff for the Croatian midfielder. He hopes to be back before the end of the season.
Jeremie Boga came on as a half-time substitute for Rennes at home to Guingamp but a heavy defeat leaves Rolland Courbis’ side seventh and struggling to maintain hopes of European qualification.
Sint-Truiden lost 1-0 at Lokeren on Saturday, Cristian Cuevas playing ninety minutes at left-back but Victorien Angban an unused substitute.
Kenneth Omeruo played 86 minutes for Kasimpasa as they lost 3-1 at home to Kayserispor; the Istanbul side another to now leave their aspirations of continental football next season somewhat damaged. Marko Marin and Trabzonspor travel to Genclerbirligi on Monday; if the ‘German Messi’ does anything of note you’ll be kept fully briefed on Twitter @chelseayouth.
Alex Davey’s first match in his familiar position as a centre-back for Stabaek came in their midweek cup win away to Korsvoll as he got 73 minutes before then returning to midfield duty in the Tippeligaen away to Sarpsborg and played just the first half.
Jamal Blackman continued his ever-present streak for Ostersunds in the early stages of the new Allsvenskan season, helping them to a 2-1 win at home to Hacken.
Matej Delač is in full training with FK Sarajevo again harbouring hopes of at least one match back from his ACL tear before the season ends.
Wallace played the full match for Gremio in their 3-2 win at LDU Quito in the Copa Libertadores, picking up a late yellow card. They welcome Toluca next up on Wednesday.