The last international break of the 2016-17 season gave way to the return of club football this week, and the season-long streak of at least one goal being scored by a Chelsea loanee in every full week of the club campaign duly continued thanks to a pair of midfielders and one French forward.
Marco van Ginkel is hardly a stranger to finding the back of the net and, now fit again after picking up an injury in early March, he’s back to doing what he does best. His 13th goal in 24 appearances for PSV came on Saturday away to Sparta Rotterdam and ensured that their faint hopes of winning the Eredivisie title remain alive for the time being.
Mario Pašalić has the potential to achieve similar feats in the right team, but he’s struggled to consistently hold down a first-team place at Milan, and even when he has he’d had to play a little more defensively than his game is naturally suited to. Still, he managed to weigh in with his third of this season away to Pescara on Sunday and it was in typically opportunistic fashion.
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) April 2, 2017
Later that same evening, Jeremie Boga scored just a second goal of the season, but a notable one, as he struck an early second-half equaliser against Barcelona. Coming off the bench at half time for fellow loanee Victorien Angban, it took him but five minutes to make an impact with a well-timed run and finish.
It didn’t help the relegation near-certainties in the end though, as Barcelona won 4-1.
Loic Remy hasn’t played much at all for Crystal Palace so nobody would have really noticed his absence at Stamford Bridge this weekend, but Premier League rules precluded him from featuring against his parent club in any regard.
In the Championship, Tomas Kalas helped Fulham to another clean sheet in a 1-0 win away at Rotherham, a result that relegated their opponents and consolidated their own playoff aspirations. Lucas Piazon is still sidelined with a broken jaw. They’re likely to be joined by Huddersfield after the Terriers lost 1-0 to Burton on Saturday without either Kasey Palmer or Izzy Brown. The duo are set for another fortnight or so in the treatment room, with Brown suffering a small meniscus tear in his knee away to Bristol City last time out.
City themselves lost 2-0 at Brentford with Tammy Abraham frustrated in front of goal; the defeat leaves them teetering just a point outside of the relegation zone with seven games remaining. At the other end of the table, though, Christian Atsu played almost half an hour as a substitute to help Newcastle retain first place in a 2-1 win over Wigan, whilst Fikayo Tomori was an unused sub as Brighton beat Blackburn to remain second.
In League Two, Swindon are now a point away from safety after a second consecutive 1-0 win. Saturday’s big victory came away to third-placed Fleetwood Town and came courtesy of a Charlie Colkett assist; this scintillating through ball invited Nicky Ajose to gallop on in behind and stick away one of the most important goals of their season to date. Fankaty Dabo turned in another very tidy ninety minutes at left-back, but Islam Feruz once again missed out due to loan numbers.
Sublime pass ✅
Class finish ✅
Unreal scenes in the away end ✅
— Swindon Town FC (@Official_STFC) April 1, 2017
Charlton might yet be dragged into the scrap with them but, despite losing at Peterborough to make it just one win in their last thirteen matches, Jay Dasilva wasn’t called upon for duty yet again. Jake Clarke-Salter was also an unused substitute as Bristol Rovers beat Shrewsbury 2-0, but their playoff aspirations look to be fading.
In League Two, Jamal Blackman’s 15th clean sheet of the season helped Wycombe to a 2-0 win at Leyton Orient and leaves them four points off a playoff place with six games to play. Alex Kiwomya, meanwhile, brushed off a recent illness to play the last quarter of an hour for Crewe in their 2-1 defeat at home to Cambridge.
In the National League, Nathan Baxter and Solihull Moors lost 1-0 at home to Torquay in midweek before the teenage custodian was left on the bench for the 2-0 defeat by Aldershot on Saturday.
Juan Cuadrado featured for half an hour as Juventus drew 1-1 at Napoli.
Eintracht Frankfurt drew 0-0 against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday in a result that did little to help either team’s cause. Andreas Christensen – who Gladbach finally admitted this week will be returning to Chelsea this summer – got his customary ninety minutes and another clean sheet for the visitors, whilst Michael Hector got fifteen from the bench for the hosts.
It was derby day in Arnhem as Vitesse ‘welcomed’ NEC Nijmegen to the Gelredome, and they ran out 2-1 winners in a tense and hard-fought affair. Lewis Baker laid on the opener with a gorgeous free-kick headed home by Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who also netted the winner from the penalty spot after Nathan – on as a first-half substitute – had seen his shot blocked by a hand.
Matt Miazga put in another very impressive display at centre-half, whilst Mukhtar Ali was an unused substitute.
Bertrand Traore led the line for Ajax in de Klassieker against Feyenoord with Kasper Dolberg injured, but things didn’t quite come together for him despite a generally harder-working display than we’ve often seen from him this season. He had one or two good sights of goal without taking them, but he battled hard and helped Ajax to a 2-1 win that leaves them three points off their rivals at the top of the league.
Danilo Pantic was an unused substitute in Excelsior’s 1-1 draw at PEC Zwolle.
Playoff football began in the Belgian Pro League this weekend and it did so with a 3-0 win for Sint-Truiden over Waasland-Beveren, only Cristian Cuevas was an unused substitute. Mouscron were beaten 2-1 at Kortrijk with Matej Delač in goal.
Kenneth Omeruo helped Alanyaspor to a 3-1 win over his former team Kasimpasa on Saturday to take a big step towards avoiding relegation.
Miro Muheim awaits his competitive debut at FC Zurich after not featuring against Schaffhausen this weekend, although he has been getting game time for their development teams. However, a story that appeared in the English media this week claiming that he has been released from his Chelsea contract is false and stems from a misunderstanding of how football transfers work.
The Daily Star noticed, whilst perusing the FA’s monthly player registration bulletins, that Muheim was listed in the section detailing players who have had their contracts cancelled by mutual consent. When players move on international transfers, their registration is passed to their new club whether a permanent deal or a loan, and then – in the case of temporary moves – is handed back at the conclusion of the deal. A perfect example of this can be seen from last September’s bulletin, when Matt Miazga is listed in the exact same circumstance in joining Vitesse. It’a not a story.
Wallace did not feature for Gremio away to Sao Paolo RS in midweek, with their next match coming later tonight at Veranópolis.
There was no Joao Rodriguez for Cortuluá at Junior on Sunday.