The Easter weekend is often a defining time in the season, with the finish line in sight for many teams, and the spread of fixture scheduling bringing unfamiliar challenges to those with plenty to play for. Plenty of Chelsea players out on loan saw their fortunes affected as the pressure rises, and nowhere is it ever more the case than in the Championship.
Tammy Abraham’s Aston Villa are surging at the perfect time, picking up a pair of wins in the space of four days to make it ten successive victories, but they had to play the second of those matches without Tammy Abraham and could be without him for a while longer. He was in sublime form away to Bolton on Friday, scoring his 25th goal of the season while also providing an assist for Jack Grealish, but he suffered a shoulder injury late in the day that threatens to derail his campaign at the worst possible time. Villa haven’t offered a long-term prognosis but he won’t be back this month.
Hull went into the Easter weekend with an outside chance of crashing the playoff party, and Todd Kane’s brace away to West Brom looked to have given them a fighting chance, but they were unable to hold on there, and a resounding 3-0 defeat at home to Sheffield United on Monday all but ended their hopes. Kane’s goals were both superb, though, and very much warrant more than one viewing.
It wouldn’t be a Loan Report if there wasn’t some praise for Reece James though, and as Wigan confirmed their Championship survival with wins at Leeds and at home to Preston, he came to the fore again. Starting in midfield at Elland Road, he was forced into emergency duty at centre-back due to a first-half red card, before returning to the middle of the park later in the game. He was absolutely everywhere from first to last, continuing to raise his profile ahead of what promises to be a very interesting offseason for him, amid reports that Chelsea have turned down an offer of £10m from Brighton for his services.
The long weekend finished with Mario Pašalić scoring a late winner for Atalanta at Napoli to propel them back into the Champions League race. It was his sixth goal of the season.
Kurt Zouma earned himself plenty of friends back at Stamford Bridge as his strong defending, Everton’s clinical finishing, and Man Utd’s shocking ineptitude saw the Toffees win 4-0 and do Chelsea a favour in the race for Champions League qualification.
Michy Batshuayi was an unused substitute as Crystal Palace won 3-2 at Arsenal, a result that also favoured Chelsea, while Kenedy remains unable to get into a resurgent Newcastle squad.
The battle for the last playoff place in England’s second tier is going to go right down to the wire between two clubs with considerable Cobham connections. Derby, with Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, drew 2-2 at Birmingham before two stoppage-time goals saw them past QPR on Monday, and if they win their three remaining matches they’re in. Tomori, who missed a gilt-edged chance at Birmingham, was named Man of the Match against QPR in what was his 48th appearance of the season, and although Mount also hit the post in that one, Frank Lampard and Jody Morris and the rest of the Rams got the job done.
The win saw them above Middlesbrough, and old friend John Obi Mikel, on goal difference, and their next match is at home to Bristol City, who are just a point further back with Jay Dasilva, Kasey Palmer and Tomas Kalas in their ranks. It wasn’t the best of weekends for the Robins, who were tested by Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Reading on Friday in a 1-1 draw, and then lost 2-0 to Michael Hector’s Sheffield Wednesday three days later. Dasilva, celebrating his 21st birthday, hit the post in the first half and missed another glorious opportunity, but as they and Derby each have a game in hand over Boro, expect this to run until the final day of the season.
Elsewhere, Trevoh Chalobah completed just over ninety minutes spread across two more defeats for already-relegated Ipswich, and Izzy Brown remains on the outside looking in for a Leeds side who will likely have to settle for a playoff place.
Coventry’s late but valiant effort to make the playoffs looks set to fall short after a defeat at Portsmouth on Monday followed a Good Friday win at home to Bradford. Dujon Sterling played every second of those matches, is approaching 40 appearances for the season, and can look forward to testing himself as a higher level next term even if his current team won’t be going up.
Brad Collins’ season might have come to a premature end after he picked up an injury that ruled him out of Burton’s Easter fixtures. Manager Nigel Clough intimated that, with the Brewers in mid-table and playing for nothing in the last two weekends of the campaign, they might not be willing to take any risks in rushing back a player they’d like to keep at the Pirelli Stadium permanently this summer.
In the early weeks of the 2018-19 story, Nathan Baxter and Yeovil were riding the crest of a wave as they set a new club record for minutes without conceding a goal. How they must wish for a return of those late summer days; a defeat at Crewe and a draw with Colchester leave them two points short of avoiding relegation out of the Football League, with a trip to mid-table Northampton to come before hosting playoff-cashing Carlisle on the final day. Gulp.
(Josh Grant continues to miss out through injury)
Cheltenham, by comparison, are safe, and Jacob Maddox played just under half an hour of their draw against Oldham on Friday.
Jack Wakely started as Basingstoke Town beat Frome Town on Friday and again in Monday’s defeat to local rivals Farnborough.
Ethan Wady continued to pick up experience at Tooting & Mitcham United, starting in 1-1 draws against both Chalfont St. Peter and South Park.
Alvaro Morata was booked and held off the scoresheet as Atlético Madrid won 1-0 at Eibar to confirm Champions League qualification again, but there was a defeat for Kenneth Omeruo and Leganes at Villarreal.
Josi Quintero was an unused substitute for Lleida against Peralada.
Tiémoué Bakayoko was replaced after an hour of Milan’s disappointing draw at Parma, which in turn allowed Pašalić and Atalanta back into the Champions League race.
Ola Aina played all of Torino’s win at Genoa at right wing-back, the three points keeping them hot on the tails of Europa League qualification challengers, but Lucas Piazon couldn’t get off the bench as Chievo produced a surprise 2-1 win at Lazio. Despite emerging with three points, the Flying Donkeys have long since been relegated.
Christian Pulisic made his return from injury with twenty minutes from the bench in Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Freiburg on Sunday. They’re still just a point behind Bayern Munich with four rounds left in the Bundesliga title race.
Jake Clarke-Salter helped Vitesse to a 4-1 win over PEC Zwolle that kept their Europa League qualification destiny in their own hands with three rounds of Eredivisie football left. Eduardo was the backup goalkeeper having been supplanted by Remko Pasveer a few weeks ago.
Fankaty Dabo completed a pair of ninety minutes, which is a great sign after an injury-riddled season, as Sparta Rotterdam all but confirmed a second-place finish in the Eerste Divisie.
Kylian Hazard’s stay at Cercle Brugge is over after he picked up an injury that will rule him out of the rest of the season. He scored four goals in twenty appearances there.
Baba Rahman and Reims lost 2-0 to Saint Etienne in a blow to their faint hopes of muscling in on the Europa League places but, with five rounds left, anything is still possible.
Victorien Angban played all of Metz’s 2-0 win at Gazelec Ajaccio on Friday night to move within one match of promotion back to Ligue 1 and, with it, the reported obligation to sign the Ivorian midfielder on a permanent basis.
Without the injured Victor Moses, out with a groin strain, Fenerbahce lost 1-0 to Alanyaspor and are just five points above the relegation zone with five matches to go.
Danilo Pantic played 76 minutes as Partizan Belgrade lost 3-1 to Radnicki Nis.
Jared Thompson saved a penalty as Warrenpoint Town beat Dungannon Swifts 5-3 in the Northern Irish Premiership Relegation Stage.
Nathan was an unused substitute as Atlético-MG drew 1-1 with Cruzeiro in the second leg of the Mineiro State Championship Final, won 3-2 on aggregate by Cruzeiro. The Serie A campaign starts next weekend.
Started: July 14th
Final: May 29th
|Player||Club||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe/Cont||Other||Mins|
|Tammy Abraham||Aston Villa||40||26||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3450||40||26|
|Lewis Baker||Leeds United||11||0||1||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||491||14||0|
|Michy Batshuayi||Crystal Palace||11||5||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||923||12||6|
|Isaiah Brown||Leeds United||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||11||2||0|
|Trevoh Chalobah||Ipswich Town||43||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3273||44||2|
|Charlie Colkett||Shrewsbury Town||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||3||0||306||6||0|
|Fankaty Dabo||Sparta Rotterdam||24||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1625||24||0|
|Jay Dasilva||Bristol City||28||0||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||2383||32||0|
|Kylian Hazard||Cercle Brugge||21||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1116||21||4|
|Michael Hector||Sheffield Wednesday||36||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3242||37||2|
|Reece James||Wigan Athletic||45||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4005||46||3|
|Tomas Kalas||Bristol City||39||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3586||40||0|
|Todd Kane||Hull City||39||3||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3363||40||3|
|Jacob Maddox||Cheltenham Town||38||1||2||0||1||0||0||0||2||3||3077||43||4|
|Mason Mount||Derby County||37||9||2||0||4||2||0||0||0||0||3745||42||11|
|Alvaro Morata||Atlético Madrid||15||6||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||1245||17||6|
|Charly Musonda||Vitesse Arnhem||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||14||1||0|
|Kasey Palmer||Blackburn Rovers||15||1||0||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||984||17||3|
|Kasey Palmer||Bristol City||15||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||538||16||2|
|Danilo Pantic||Partizan Belgrade||29||6||3||1||0||0||7||1||0||0||3043||40||8|
|Dujon Sterling||Coventry City||38||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3307||39||0|
|Fikayo Tomori||Derby County||46||1||4||0||4||1||0||0||0||0||4692||54||2|
|Iké Ugbo||Scunthorpe United||15||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||936||16||1|
|Jack Wakely||Basingstoke Town||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1355||16||0|
|Player||Club||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Mins|
|Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht||Apps||Cln Sht|
|Nathan Baxter||Yeovil Town||35||10||1||0||1||0||0||0||1||1||3420||38||11|
|Jamal Blackman||Leeds United||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||180||2||0|
|Brad Collins||Burton Albion||31||10||1||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||3115||35||11|
|Ethan Wady||Tooting & Mitcham United||7||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||810||9||3|
|Karlo Ziger||Sutton United||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||90||1||0|