The closing weeks of the 2015-16 season are upon us and several Chelsea loanees have plenty yet to play for. Chief amongst them and grabbing the headlines again this week is Marco van Ginkel.
PSV’s battle to retain their Eredivisie title will go down to the last day of the season as they beat Cambuur 6-2 on Sunday to stay level with Ajax on 81 points, trailing the Amsterdam side by six goals and not able to close the gap as their rivals won 4-0 against Twente. Still, Van Ginkel weighed in with two important goals to take his tally to eight in his brief stay at the Philips Stadion, and he now becomes the leading Chelsea loanee goalscorer for the season.
Next Sunday sees the season come to a head, with PSV facing a tough trip to PEC Zwolle whilst Ajax travel to relegation-threatened De Graafschap.
Victor Moses’ nine minutes at the end of West Ham’s 3-0 cruise at West Brom was as good as it got in the Premier League this week, with Nathan Aké rested by Watford and Patrick Bamford again not deemed good enough to help Norwich in their increasingly fruitless fight against relegation.
In the Championship, Tomas Kalas watched on as an unused substitute as his Middlesbrough team drew 2-2 at Birmingham to make next weekend’s league finale against Brighton a likely winner-take-all affair with a top-flight spot up for grabs.
John Swift made his playing comeback from an achilles injury with an hour away to Hull for Brentford on Tuesday but was an unused substitute at the weekend, whilst Lucas Piazon and Michael Hector returned to Chelsea this week rather than complete the last two matches of Reading’s campaign.
Jordan Houghton completed another ninety minutes for Plymouth away to Cambridge in a 2-2 draw that confirmed they will play Portsmouth in the promotion playoffs. The last round of fixtures this time next week will confirm which of the teams will earn home advantage for the second leg.
Whilst Van Ginkel and PSV chase glory at the top of the Dutch league, things aren’t going quite so well elsewhere. NEC Nijmegen’s Todd Kane had his season ended when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last week, and down the road from him at Vitesse the season is ending in a fairly woeful manner. Despite 90 minutes for Lewis Baker and 74 for Dominic Solanke with a late cameo for Izzy Brown from the bench, they lost 3-1 at home to Utrecht and fell into the bottom half of the league table.
They still harbour a very slim chance of sneaking into seventh and making the European qualification playoffs but it requires a win at Twente and then defeats for each of PEC Zwolle, Groningen and NEC, leaving Rob Maas’ side on the outside looking in. Several changes will follow in the summer regardless but Baker, speaking at a presentation to those out of contract/approaching the end of their loan spells following their final home match, indicated that he would give serious thought to returning for another spell.
Charly Musonda entered as a 55th-minute substitute as Real Betis were easily beaten 2-0 at home by Barcelona; the young Belgian had one or two bright moments but was largely pressed into defensive duty on the right of a very deep midfield. Attention this week has also turned to Belgium’s Euro 2016 squad, where one or two whispers have claimed Musonda could be included in the provisional party to be named by Marc Wilmots.
Christian Atsu’s Málaga host Levante on Monday and if he does anything of note you’ll hear about it on Twitter @chelseayouth.
Jeremie Boga got half an hour for a Rennes team beaten 4-0 at PSG on Friday whilst Mario Pašalić is still injured for Monaco and, at this stage, can’t be expected to play again this season.
Juan Cuadrado and Juventus were crowned Serie A champions on Monday by virtue of Roma’s win over Napoli and the Old Lady celebrated with a 2-0 win over Carpi on Sunday, Cuadrado playing 74 minutes.
Stipe Perica played half an hour – generous by his standards overall – as Udinese were thrashed 5-1 at home by Udinese, whilst Nathaniel Chalobah and Napoli are at home to Atalanta on Monday.
Andreas Christensen completed an unbeaten season against Bayern Munich as Borussia Mönchengladbach earned a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Arena to go with their 3-1 win at the Borussia-Stadion earlier this season. The result keeps Dortmund’s title hopes alive for another week whilst maintaining Gladbach’s hold on fourth place with two games to go.
At the other end of the table, Papy Djilobodji and Werder Bremen face a must-win match against Stuttgart on Monday with a defeat leaving them almost certain of relegation to the second tier.
Sint-Truiden drew 1-1 at Mechlen with ninety minutes for Cristian Cuevas, 76 minutes and a booking for Victorien Angban, and nothing for the absent Joao Rodriguez.
There was no Marko Marin for Trabzonspor at Eskisehirspor whilst injury will likely keep Kenneth Omeruo from facing Osmanlispor for Kasimpasa on Monday.
Alex Davey went off injured after half an hour of Stabaek’s 7-1 cup win at Sparta Sarpsborg and missed their weekend date at home to Odds BK. It’s a re-occurrence of a thigh problem that has afflicted him already this season and will take a little time to now ensure he isn’t further hampered by it.
Jamal Blackman was on the losing side as Ostersunds lost 4-2 at home to Orebro on Wednesday and will be hoping for much better on Monday as they head to mid-table Djurgarden.
It’s been a wonderful week for Matej Delač as, not only did he become engaged, but he then went on to make his playing comeback from a torn ACL suffered in October. The Croatian goalkeeper has made remarkable progress in returning in just 199 days, playing the second half of FK Sarajevo’s 3-0 win at Velez Mostar.
There was no Wallace for Gremio in their Copa Libertadores defeat by Rosario Central but the full-back, who turned 22 today, hopes to be involved for the return trip to Argentina this coming week.