With the good comes the bad, and as we approach the century mark on the goals front this Loan Army season, we’re also seeing a rise injuries, including one this week that was confirmed as season-ending. Let’s start with the good news.
Lucas Piazon has been in good form of late as Fulham mount a playoff charge, and a very smartly-taken goal in midweek away to a Bristol City side missing Tammy Abraham – out with a thigh problem for 2-3 weeks – took him to six goals for the season – one every four games – and earned Slavisa Jokanovic’s side three points in a 2-0 win.
They drew 2-2 at Cardiff on Saturday, but it wasn’t such a good afternoon for the Brazilian. He was forced off after 25 minutes with what transpired to be a broken jaw, an injury that will keep him out for two months. If Fulham reach the playoffs, he might be able to return just in time to contribute at that stage, but it’s a huge blow to a player who was coming into his own at the right time.
Tomas Kalas played the duration of both matches and this week spoke about the idea of staying at Craven Cottage permanently.
On Thursday night in the Europa League, Andreas Christensen put the seal on a wonderful comeback by Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Europa League against Fiorentina as die Föhlen turned a 3-0 aggregate deficit into a 4-3 triumph, the Dane’s goal the decisive one over the course of the tie. Having lost the first leg 1-0 a fortnight ago, Gladbach went 2-0 down in Florence before starting their about-turn; a Lars Stindl hat-trick drew them level before Christensen powered home this late header to book a place in the last sixteen:
A clean sheet followed in the Bundesliga on Sunday in a 2-0 win away to Ingolstadt.
Christensen took us up to 96 goals, whilst Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo made it 97 on Saturday morning as Alanyaspor beat Adanaspor 4-1. His was the second goal, a looping header that found its way in back across the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 and mark his first for the club.
Then, on Sunday, a glancing finish from Bertrand Traore – who bounced back from an injury picked up last weekend to play against both Legia Warsaw and Heracles this week – in the last minute of Ajax’s league fixture made it 98, continuing his steady if unremarkable progress playing out of position in Amsterdam.
Loic Remy is injured again so played no part in Crystal Palace’s win over Middlesbrough, whilst in the Championship Izzy Brown became another to suffer the absence curse as he lasted just 38 minutes of Huddersfield’s 1-0 midweek win over Reading. Fortunately, it was a mild bout of illness and he was ready to take his place in the starting eleven again for the 1-1 draw at Barnsley on Saturday, being denied a goal by a last-ditch clearance in another strong performance. Kasey Palmer remains back at Chelsea receiving treatment on his hamstring problem.
Christian Atsu played 90 minutes as Newcastle were held to a 2-2 draw by Bristol City, whilst Fikayo Tomori made his home debut for Brighton during the latter stages of Brighton’s 3-0 win over Reading, a result that took them top of the league.
In League One, Charlton lost 1-0 at home to both Oxford and Bury this week without calling upon the services of Jay Dasilva yet again. Note to Karl Robinson: he’s pretty good.
Swindon pulled a monumental performance out of the bag when they needed it most, going to fellow relegation rivals Coventry and coming away with a 3-1 win. Charlie Colkett played well, claiming an assist and a nice showboat moment, but Fankaty Dabo and Islam Feruz both missed out again.
Jake Clarke-Salter has stepped up his training plan with Chelsea’s Development Squad following his broken arm back in November and should be returning to Bristol Rovers in the very near future.
League Two leaders Doncaster Rovers this week confirmed that Jordan Houghton suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last weekend and will miss the rest of the season plus the start of next season too. It’s a huge blow for club and player, with Houghton having played more minutes than any other player in the division, and everyone’s best wishes are with him during his recovery.
Wycombe’s losing streak was extended to five after reverses to Colchester (1-0) and Crawley (2-1), leaving Jamal Blackman to post this after the match in an effort to keep the supporters onside at Adams Park.
Alex Kiwomya played the second half of Crewe’s defeat at home to Stevenage, a result that leaves them very much in a nervous position at the foot of the league table.
Nathan Baxter and Solihull Moors were beaten 1-0 at home by Wrexham, with the only goal coming from the penalty spot.
Jeremie Boga and Victorien Angban were named as substitutes for Granada away to Athletic Bilbao, with Boga getting 25 minutes in a 3-1 defeat.
Juan Cuadrado started for Juventus away to Porto in the Champions League and at home to Empoli in Serie A; a pair of 2-0 wins with the Colombian replaced late on in both cases.
Mario Pašalić lost his place in the Milan starting eleven for the trip to Sassuolo, having to settle instead for a 65th-minute entrance from the bench in a 1-0 win.
Having been third a few weeks ago, another defeat for Eintracht Frankfurt saw them drop down to sixth this weekend. Michael Hector played all 90 minutes at centre-back but couldn’t help avoid a 2-0 loss away to Hertha BSC.
Vitesse continue to climb the table, winning 3-1 away to Go Ahead Eagles on Sunday to move into sixth place in the Eredivisie. Lewis Baker, Nathan and Matt Miazga all played 90 minutes, with Miazga the most impressive for the second week running, plus there was five minutes late on for Mukhtar Ali.
Additionally, the venerable Joe Tweeds spent last weekend in Arnhem with Lewis Baker before chronicling his experiences this week. Do give it a read, it’s a fascinating insight into the relationship between Chelsea and Vitesse.
Danilo Pantic, who spent last season at the Gelredome before switching to Excelsior this time, saw his season of struggle continue on Saturday night as he was sent off for this rather terrible tackle.
— ESPN NL (@ESPNnl) February 25, 2017
Marco van Ginkel joined the lengthy injury list on Sunday away to Feyenoord, limping off 36 minutes into PSV’s 2-1 defeat.
Sint-Truiden lost 1-0 at Charleroi on Saturday without Cristian Cuevas, whilst Mouscron and Matej Delac lost 3-1 at Gent on Sunday night to remain bottom of the table.
Miro Muheim is yet to make his debut for FC Zurich since going there on loan.
Joao Rodriguez is injured and played no part for Cortuluá this week.
Wallace didn’t feature for Gremio in the Campeonato Gaúcho win away to Cruzeiro RS.