Two more goals over the past seven days take us to 94 goals for the Chelsea Loan Army season (whilst maintaining the streak of at least one being scored in every full week of the campaign so far), but it hasn’t been plain sailing by any measure, and injuries are starting to mount up. Let’s start with the good news anyway.
Lucas Piazon has made steady and occasionally spectacular progress at Fulham this season, performing with a consistency he’s lacked throughout his career to date and chipping in with the occasional goal. His fifth of the season, which came in midweek against Nottingham Forest, certainly verged towards the spectacular as he beat multiple Forest players before picking out the perfect finish.
Having recently turned 23, the Brazilian will be looking towards the next phase of his career with increasing interest, and a permanent stay at Craven Cottage could well be top of his list. If he continues to play well, it’s a likely development. He was, however, an unused substitute as they were beaten 3-0 by Tottenham in the FA Cup on Sunday, whilst Tomas Kalas used the match to make his return from a recent injury.
The rest of our headlines come from the Eredivisie, where Marco van Ginkel continues to find things far too easy. In six matches at PSV since rejoining them for a second loan spell, he has racked up four goals and two assists, impacting every match at least once, and his fourth goal – a penalty – came this Saturday in a 3-1 win over NEC Nijmegen.
It ensured PSV kept pace with Feyenoord and Ajax at the top; Ajax triumphing 1-0 at Vitesse in Sunday’s big head-to-head. Bertrand Traore – after 73 midweek Europa League minutes – started but lasted just over an hour before limping off with a foot injury, whilst Vitesse included Matt Miazga, Lewis Baker and Nathan from the start. All three played 90 minutes and, although Baker and Nathan were disappointingly quiet on the day, Miazga had his best game for the club. Pressed into action due to injuries, he shut prolific striker Kasper Dolberg out of the match and showed a much better use of the ball than he had previously; a very encouraging sign.
Mukhtar Ali also made his senior debut as a substitute five minutes from time and immediately looked at home breaking up possession and using the ball smartly.
FA Cup weekend in England meant an absence of Premier League football and so, with Crystal Palace already out, Loic Remy had the weekend off.
There was a midweek slate of Championship football ahead of a curtailed weekend slate, with Tammy Abraham’s injury against Leeds the biggest talking point. He lasted 37 minutes at Elland Road before withdrawing with a thigh problem Bristol City later said “doesn’t look too healthy.” City had the weekend off, giving him time to rest and allowing for a proper diagnosis, but he’ll be a big doubt for Wednesday’s home game against Fulham.
Christian Atsu got 20 minutes of Newcastle’s 2-2 draw at Norwich and will hope to be in line for more at home to Aston Villa on Monday night, whilst Fikayo Tomori made just his second Brighton appearance as a stoppage time substitute in their 2-0 win at Barnsley on Saturday.
Izzy Brown helped Huddersfield to a dramatic 3-2 win at former club Rotherham on Tuesday and then got the last twenty minutes of their goalless FA Cup draw at home to Manchester City in a fixture where both teams made full use of their squad ahead of more pressing league matters. Kasey Palmer remains injured.
In League One, Swindon Town continue to struggle for results and were beaten at Northampton in midweek before drawing 0-0 at home to fellow strugglers Oldham on Saturday. Charlie Colkett played every second but Fankaty Dabo had a tougher time of it, conceding a soft-looking penalty against Northampton before being withdrawn at half time and missing out altogether against Oldham, a curious decision given his prior solid form. Islam Feruz missed out twice with seven loanees unable to go into five matchday places.
Jay Dasilva was an unused substitute for Charlton yet again, with the talented full-back having been restricted to just a single appearance so far there.
Doncaster Rovers remain top of League two despite failing to win either of their fixtures this week, losing at Carlisle and drawing at home to Luton. Jordan Houghton played all of the former and an hour of the latter, and this week spoke of the need to kick on from here to the finish line in the race for promotion.
NEWS | @ChelseaFC loanee @HOUGHTON_J wants Rovers to make things right this season. #ForeverRovers #DRFC https://t.co/yIyVQ2kdI5 pic.twitter.com/QvBRWrv9EQ
— Doncaster Rovers FC (@drfc_official) February 17, 2017
Jamal Blackman and Wycombe suffered a pair of 2-1 reverses, the second at the hands of Carlisle coming four days after a trip to Crewe and Alex Kiwomya, who played sixteen minutes there and then just a single minute in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Blackpool.
In the National League, Solihull Moors moved up into mid-table safety this weekend despite losing 2-1 at Woking in midweek; their 1-0 win at Bromley giving goalkeeper Nathan Baxter a fourth clean sheet in six appearances there, already topping his total from his loan with the Met Police.
Granada beat Betis on Friday night without Jeremie Boga (an unused sub) or Victorien Angban (not selected) involved at all. Again.
Juan Cuadrado played the last twenty minutes of Juventus’ routine win over Palermo on Friday with a changed team ahead of upcoming Champions League action, whilst Mario Pašalić helped Milan to a 2-1 win over Fiorentina by playing a part in Gerard Deulofeu’s winning goal.
It was a frustrating week for Andreas Christensen as Borussia Mönchengladbach were twice beaten at home; by Fiorentina in the Europa League (0-1) and by RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga (1-2). He and they might not be scaling the heights of last season, but his pedigree is well-established at this stage and the next few months are about preparing for new challenges to come.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s mini-slump continued as they were beaten 2-0 at home by Ingolstadt, Michael Hector playing the second half.
Danilo Pantic was an unused substitute as Excelsior were hammered 4-0 at Heracles.
Matej Delač and Mouscron remain bottom of the Pro League after a 2-1 defeat at home to Waasland-Beveren, and it’s not exactly going well for Cristian Cuevas and Sint-Truiden right now either; the Chilean played the duration of their 4-1 hiding at the hands of Zulte Waregem.
Kenneth Omeruo’s Alanyaspor travel to Trabzonspor on Monday evening.
Miro Muheim didn’t make FC Zurich’s squad for their win at FC Wil.
Wallace was an unused substitute for Gremio away to Flamengo in Serie A, and didn’t even make the bench for their Campeonato Gaúcho win at home to Passo Fundo.
Having made a decent start to his Cortuluá career, Joao Rodriguez suffered a blow against Patriotas Boyacá on Valentine’s Day as he left the match injured at half time, leaving him unable to feature away to Deportivo Cali at the weekend.