A quieter-than-usual loan week still produced two more goals, edging us ever closer to the half-century mark for the season. Goals 48 and 49 were scored by left-footed forwards who are experiencing rather different campaigns so far.
Christian Atsu’s move north to Newcastle United has, for him, gone particularly well. The Ghanaian winger has spent much of the past two years nursing various injuries and ailments, somewhat stalling the progress he made at Vitesse after Chelsea spotted his potential at FC Porto, but has so far managed to stay fit and healty for the Magpies, and has been able to help their march back towards the Premier League.
Handed a start on Saturday at home to Cardiff City, he was on the scoresheet early, sweeping home his second goal for the club and setting them on their way to a 2-1 win. Newcastle have the option to buy him outright at the end of his loan and, if he can propel them into the top flight again, they might very well pursue that particular avenue.
Bertrand Traore, on the other hand, has arguably had a more frustrating time of it at Ajax. Sure, he’s playing regularly, and provided a delightful assist in the Europa League this week before then scoring away to AZ on Sunday, but he has been stationed on the right of a front three, blunting his typically impressive production in front of goal and leaving him, apparently, frustrated.
In an interview this week he reportedly admitted his frustration at yet another loan spell, one which doesn’t appear to be serving very much of a purpose. Concerns that he had little left to prove in the Eredivisie are proving well-founded and the lack of a challenge is arguably hindering the development he sorely needs in order to stand a chance of making it at Chelsea.
Another typically quiet weekend in the Premier League saw Patrick Bamford and Nathan Aké stay on the bench for Burnley and Bournemouth respectively, whilst Kenedy once again missed out on Watford’s squad for their trip to Liverpool. Loic Remy, at least, will return to Crystal Palace this week for training having completed his rehabilitation from injury back at Chelsea.
Fulham headlined non-Atsu Championship action with another fine display by Tomas Kalas for an upwardly-mobile side now 8th in the table. He helped Slavisa Jokanovic’s side to a 2-0 win at Brentford – Lucas Piazon also played 71 minutes – and both their defensive record and overall results are markedly better with the Czech defender at the heart of their back four.
Kasey Palmer featured for an hour of Huddersfield’s 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham, Tammy Abraham had a frustrating 90 minutes as Bristol City lost 2-0 at home to a very good Brighton side, and Izzy Brown saw a quarter of an hour as a substitute as Rotherham lost to Preston.
In the FA Cup, there was a win for Jamal Blackman and Wycombe away to Portsmouth, whilst Alex Kiwomya and Crewe drew 1-1 at Cheltenham and will replay on Tuesday week. Bristol Rovers drew at Crawley with Alex Davey playing 90 minutes but Mitchell Beeney, Charlie Colkett and Jake Clarke-Salter all missing out, as did Jordan Houghton as Doncaster lost 2-1 at Oldham Athletic.
Clarke-Salter did complete 90 minutes in a midweek league win for Rovers, with Colkett coming off the bench in the closing stages.
Dion Conroy remained absent for Aldershot but Nathan Baxter helped the Met Police to a 2-1 Ryman Premier League victory over Burgess Hill Town.
Having made his long-awaited debut for AC Milan last weekend, Mario Pašalić went one better this time around by earning his first start for the Rossoneri away to Palermo. He put in a useful hour, missing one decent chance to score, but is at least finally trending upwards.
Juan Cuadrado laid on an assist as Juventus won 2-1 at Chievo after getting just seven Champions League minutes at home to Lyon in midweek.
Nice assist from cuadrado and what a finish by mandzukic
Chievo 0-1 Juvepic.twitter.com/mTyE4lZtOd
— Juventus Fc 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@paulpogbom) November 6, 2016
Jeremie Boga played 25 unremarkable minutes from the bench as Granada drew 1-1 with Deportivo; Victorien Angban was an unused substitute, and Charly Musonda remains on the sidelines injured for Betis.
Andreas Christensen is also still injured – he and Musonda have been back at Cobham for treatment – and so missed Borussia Mönchengladbach’s matches against Celtic and Hertha Berlin this week.
Michael Hector played seven minutes as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Köln 1-0, and Baba Rahman got 69 Europa League minutes in Schalke’s 2-0 win over Krasnodar before returning to the bench for Sunday’s Bundesliga date against Werder Bremen, playing the last two minutes there.
Vitesse’s recent slide continued on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat at home to Heracles, leaving them 9th in the Eredivisie as a result. Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Nathan all started, with the Brazilian the best of the trio despite only spending an hour on the pitch.
Danilo Pantic played 53 minutes of Excelsior’s 2-1 defeat at Utrecht.
Matej Delac started and Islam Feruz was a half-time substitute as Mouscron lost 2-1 away to Standard Liege. Feruz’s appearance amounted to more than double his previous playing time during 2016-17.
Cristian Cuevas played the full match as Sint-Truiden lost 4-2 away to Eupen.
Kenneth Omeruo was involved in an eventful seven-goal thriller as Alanyaspor edged Gaziantepspor 4-3 on Saturday. The Nigerian defender scored an own goal but ultimately ended up on the winning side.
Wallace was an unused substitute in Gremio’s 0-0 draw at home to Cruzeiro.
Joao Rodriguez didn’t play for Santa Fe. Again.