The first goal in this week’s Loan Report belongs to Marko Marin, although it may end up being taken away from him upon further review. The second belongs to Jeremie Boga who is back in the good books at Rennes after a few recent struggles. We begin in Turkey…
Marin is often the butt of many jokes and is typically held up as the poster boy for the less-successful aspects of Chelsea’s loan operation. After a season in things didn’t quite go to plan at Stamford Bridge the man once-dubbed the ‘German Messi’ has taken in spells at Sevilla, Fiorentina and Anderlecht without coming close to recapturing the promise of his youth, and so headed to Turkey and Trabzonspor last August seeking redemption.
He was also seeking long-term fitness, having missed a significant portion of every season since his penultimate campaign at Werder Bremen. Naturally, he’s experienced one or two lay-offs at Trabzonspor but, by and large, he’s remained fit and made his 24th appearance of the season against Mersin on Friday night. He capped it with the only goal of the game, a heavily deflected free kick which appeared to strike a team-mate and therefore may eventually be credited elsewhere.
Trabzonspor do have the option to buy Marin for a few million Euros but have thus far not indicated a willingness to do so, leaving his future beyond this season very much up in the air again.
Boga, meanwhile, has not enjoyed the best of times under new Rennes manager Rolland Courbis and had not featured since February 21st until Sunday, when he came on as a half-time sub at home to Lyon. Rennes faced a 2-0 deficit midway through the second half but were able to haul themselves level and it was Boga with the equaliser, sweeping up after Ousmane Dembele had gone close.
Patrick Bamford made his long-awaited first Premier League start on Saturday as Norwich hosted Manchester City and he played 67 minutes of their goalless draw. He came as close to scoring as anyone did, striking the crossbar with a fine effort during the first half.
Nathan Aké, meanwhile, is headed for Wembley with Watford after the Hornets beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates. Aké was bamboozled once by Mesut Ozil but otherwise gave a good account of himself and can now look forward to an opportunity to play under the Arch in the Semi Finals.
Victor Moses could join him there; West Ham drew 1-1 at Manchester United and so face a replay, but the Nigerian winger was only an unused substitute at Old Trafford and has been relegated to being little more than that in the light of Michail Antonio’s recent good form.
For Reading’s Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon though, the dream of a second Semi Final in succession died on Friday night with a late 2-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace. Hector, playing in his role as a defensive midfield enforcer, did well again, whilst Piazon was an unused substitute.
Controversy reigns at Middlesbrough, where Tomas Kalas plies his trade, in a week where manager Aitor Karanka reportedly had a considerable bust-up with his playing squad and then did not take charge of first team matters on Sunday. Boro lost 2-0 at Charlton without him and Kalas was only an unused substitute, as he was in the 1-0 defeat at Rotherham on Tuesday evening.
John Swift continued his strong run of starts for Brentford under Dean Smith but it was a bad day for the Bees as they went down 3-0 to West London rivals QPR. Swift played 76 minutes before being withdrawn.
Jordan Houghton went back out on this week after spending the first half of the season at Gillingham and, whereas he was previously featuring in League One, he’s linked up with a Plymouth Argyle team seeking promotion back to that level. He went straight into the team for the trip to Accrington and played ninety minutes in their 2-1 defeat.
Todd Kane earned the right to lead off the Eredivisie round-up this week after providing a pair of assists for NEC Nijmegen in their 2-2 draw away to Ajax. The committed right-back has been a key player for NEC this season, and already serves as their vice captain, and played his part in earning a fine result here. The second assist for Christian Santos stood out in particular:
It wasn’t such a good day for Vitesse though as they were beaten 2-0 at home by a Feyenoord team previously in woeful form. Lewis Baker was solid in midfield whilst Izzy Brown was quiet up front before eventually making way for Yuning Zhang, whilst Nathan was an unused substitute and Dominic Solanke remained absent with an achilles problem. NEC and Vitesse are now tied on 40 points and are competing against one another for the right to take part in the end-of-season Europa League qualification playoffs.
Marco van Ginkel and PSV have their sights set higher though; he got ninety minutes in a 1-1 draw at home to Heerenveen that leaves them a point clear at the top of the table, and they now look ahead to a Champions League date with Atlético Madrid this week.
Juan Cuadrado was voted Juventus’ player of the month for February this past week and continued his upward trend with a hand in Paulo Dybala’s scorching winner against Sassuolo on Friday. It was Cuadrado’s fleet of foot and endeavour down the right that created the space for Dybala to do his thing:
Elsewhere in the peninsula it was a pretty quiet one; Stipe Perica didn’t get off the bench as Udinese lost to Roma, and nor did Nathaniel Chalobah for Napoli at Palermo.
Charly Musonda tasted defeat for the first time in his Betis career after Athletic Bilbao emerged comfortable 3-1 winners at the Nuevo San Mames on Sunday. Betis were never in the contest and Musonda was subdued more than in any of his previous six outings, as might have been expected against the strongest team he’s gone up against in his brief career to date.
Christian Atsu only saw five minutes of mop-up duty for Málaga in their Friday night win at home to Sporting Gijon.
Borussia Mönchengladbach and Andreas Christensen kept their first clean sheet in five games with a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Papy Djilobodji, on the other hand, experienced a 5-0 humbling away to Bayern Munich in his latest outing for Werder Bremen.
Mario Pašalić remains injured and unavailable for Monaco but did receive a Croatian Under-21 call-up this week.
Sint-Truiden drew 1-1 with Lokeren on Sunday without Victorien Angban (suspended) and Joao Rodriguez (injured), but Cristian Cuevas played ninety minutes on the left side of midfield.
Kasimpasa travel to Sivasspor on Monday; if Kenneth Omeruo does anything of note you’ll hear about it on Twitter @chelseayouth.
Wallace was unable to feature for Gremio in either of their matches this week after picking up a minor knock but he should be fit to return to action this coming week.