It is football in England which dominates the fixture programme at this time of year and there has been loan action for Chelsea players in league and FA Cup competition…
Jake Clarke-Salter played his first game for Birmingham City for a month in the FA Cup and it was a successful Saturday as they beat Blackburn Rovers at home 2-1 despite going down to 10 men with an hour played. The winner came in the 90th minute. Clarke-Salter played 69 minutes before suffering cramp and coming off in what was his return from injury.
Matt Miazga was a second-half sub for Reading in their midweek away win in the Championship at promotion-chasing Fulham, with former Chelsea player John Swift among the Royals’ goals, and the American was back in the starting line-up at the weekend for the FA Cup (pictured top). The tie against Blackpool goes to a replay with the first game at Reading ending 2-2. Their League One opponents missed a ‘Panenka-style’ penalty.
Trevoh Chalobah and Huddersfield suffered back to back defeats, going down heavily at home to Stoke in the Championship on New Year’s Day, 5-2 the final score in a game that was between two sides just above the relegation zone. Then in the FA Cup this weekend, the Yorkshire side were the visitors to Southampton where they went down 2-0, the Premier League outfit having made 10 changes.
Dujon Sterling returned to the Wigan side and played the first half as they were knocked out of the FA Cup at Leicester who won 2-0.
In the Championship, Conor Gallagher played for Charlton at Swansea but suffered a 1-0 defeat that leaves them in 19th.
Richard Nartey has been involved in two high-scoring games with two contrasting results. The first, in League One, ended in 4-3 win at Bolton for him and Burton Albion who had a man advantage for most of the second half. Then yesterday they hosted Northampton Town in the FA Cup and went down 4-2 with Nartey forced off through injury after 37 minutes. The score was 2-0 to Northampton at that point.
In League Two, Josh Grant played the whole of Plymouth’s New Year’s Day 2-1 home defeat by Swindon which brought to an end a three-game winning run, and came on during the second half of Saturday’s 3-1 away win at Scunthorpe which moved the Pilgrims up to sixth.
There have been some games overseas and in the French Cup, Tiemoue Bakayoko played 70 minutes of Monaco’s win at home to Reims, the winner coming with 94 minutes played.
In Portugal, in a league game, Lucas Piazon played for ninth-place Rio Ave in a 1-0 home defeat by Maritimo.