With four more goals in this latest edition of the Loan Report we’ve now passed the 50 mark for the season. A pair of players struck their first efforts since the early autumn whilst another grabbed his fifth of the campaign, but we begin with one who scored for the first time in 2015-16.
Reading hosted West Bromwich Albion in an FA Cup Fifth Round tie at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and it was a pair of Chelsea loanees who came to the fore to see the Royals into the last eight. With the score poised nicely at 1-1 going into the closing stages, Michael Hector snuck in around the back to get on the end of an Oliver Norwood free kick and head home to put his side in front.
That was a lead the hosts held onto until the last minute when Lucas Piazon, on as a substitute just seconds earlier, was in the right place at the right time to receive the ball from fellow former Eredivisie standout Ola John and crash a finish into the back of the net for his fifth goal in Reading colours. The 3-1 win set up a Quarter Final match against Crystal Palace.
Victor Moses also found the FA Cup to his liking on Sunday when he chipped in with one of West Ham’s five in a resounding victory away to Blackburn. It was the Nigerian’s first goal since mid-September and was just the ticket for a player who has spent much of the last two months either injured or attempting to work his way back to match fitness.
Also netting for the first time since before the clocks went back was Lewis Baker. He chimed in with what is up there as a contender for the loan goal of the season on Sunday lunchtime as he earned a point for Vitesse in a 2-2 draw at De Graafschap:
Vitesse were a long way shy of their best – perhaps turning in their worst performance of the season so far – and were lucky to escape with a share of the spoils. Baker was the only one of the Chelsea contingent to start, with both Dominic Solanke and Izzy Brown still sidelined with injuries and Nathan only getting ten minutes from the bench. Danilo Pantic was not selected again and is reportedly now due to return to London before potentially securing an alternative loan move to a league where the transfer window remains open.
FA Cup weekend in England meant no action for Norwich and Patrick Bamford; they’ve been out in the UAE undertaking some warm-weather training. Nathan Aké was rested for Watford as they overcame Leeds 1-0 at Vicarage Road.
It was just as quiet in the Championship as well, with Reading’s cup involvement forcing their match against Tomas Kalas’ Middlesbrough to be postponed. Brentford lost 3-1 at home to Derby County with John Swift receiving just twenty minutes as a substitute.
Alex Kiwomya played no part for League One Fleetwood at home to Scunthorpe and is scheduled to now return at the end of his month-long stay, but Mitchell Beeney this week extended his stay at Newport County until the end of April. He watched from the bench on Saturday as his team-mates earned a 1-1 draw at Exeter City.
Andreas Christensen and Borussia Mönchengladbach bounced back from disappointment at Hamburg last week to keep a clean sheet and secure a 1-0 win in their derby at home to Köln. The result leaves them in fifth place and just a point off third, very much in contention to qualify for the Champions League again.
It wasn’t quite as good a weekend for Papy Djilobodji though, he and Werder Bremen lost 2-0 at Ingolstadt to leave them firmly in the relegation quagmire. The Senegalese defender also picked up a yellow card.
Another week brought another sparkling display from Charly Musonda. Betis drew 1-1 at home to Sporting Gijon but it was a result that belied the dominance of the hosts who, led by Musonda, contrived to hit the woodwork, have two goals disallowed and do just about everything other than win. The Belgian playmaker moved around the attacking third at will, tormenting the Sporting defence into fouling him ten times and doing whatever they could to keep him from scheming up a win.
He hasn’t been perfect so far but after three starts (and three full matches) things have gone just about as well as anyone could have expected and he undeniably makes Betis a better team.
The injury Christian Atsu picked up on his debut a fortnight ago was enough to keep him out for a second straight match this weekend, but his Málaga team-mates did well without him in a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid.
Todd Kane and NEC Nijmegen responded well after being beaten 3-0 at home by PSV last weekend and drew 1-1 at Heerenveen. Kane played his customary ninety minutes and managed to not pick up a booking this week!
Speaking of PSV, they beat Heracles 2-0 on Saturday with a full match for Marco van Ginkel, but no goal this week for him.
There wasn’t a lot to write home about from Ligue 1 this weekend; Jeremie Boga got ten minutes as a substitute for Rennes in a defeat away to Caen, whilst Mario Pašalić was an unused sub in Monaco’s 3-1 win at home to Troyes.
Juan Cuadrado played the second half as Juventus’ Serie A-record fifteen match winning run was ended by Bologna in a 0-0 draw at the Dall’Ara on Friday night. Nathaniel Chalobah and Napoli will be hoping to beat Milan on Monday night to jump back to the top of Serie A and, if the young English midfielder does anything of note, you’ll hear about it on Twitter @chelseayouth. He was, however, not selected for their Europa League trip to Villarreal this past Thursday.
Genoa beat Udinese 2-1 with Stipe Perica an unused substitute again for the visitors. Despite a fairly productive spell around the turn of the year, the Croatian has returned to the shadows despite going eight games without a win. Their last victory came at home to Atalanta on January 6th, a game in which Perica scored the winner (as he did in the league match before that away to Torino)…
Victorien Angban (suspension) and Cristian Cuevas (injury) returned for Sint-Truiden on Saturday night but might have wished they hadn’t after being on the wrong end of a 3-0 beating by Kortrijk. Cuevas played the full match and Angban 67 minutes, but Joao Rodriguez was out yet again.
Kenneth Omeruo played well for Kasimpasa and helped them beat Eskisehirspor 2-1 on Saturday; the Nigerian was booked but came away from the game with a credible performance to his name. Marko Marin, who scored last Monday night, played 68 minutes for Trabzonspor away to Galatasaray.
Reports of Wallace’s injury last weekend were slightly off and the young full-back was able to feature against both Sao Jose and Toluca this past week, the latter a Copa Libertadores defeat in Mexico. He’ll be in contention to feature against Novo Hamburgo late on Sunday night after this report is published.