On Loan

Chelsea Here Chelsea There: Kenedy scores, Baker assists and Guehi helps Swans to more clean sheets

Our final round-up of the year looking at how those Chelsea players out on loan are getting on takes in a busy festive period in England, as well as action from across the continent…

Ruben Loftus-Cheek played 90 minutes for Fulham as the Cottagers made it four Premier League games unbeaten with a 0-0 draw against in-form Southampton.

Scott Parker’s side have edged to within two points of safety with a game in hand following the postponement of their London derby with Tottenham due to coronavirus concerns.

Two more of our players are currently battling the threat of relegation in the bottom three. Conor Gallagher was on the Anfield pitch for all but the final minute of West Brom’s gutsy 1-1 draw with Liverpool, the Baggies’s first game under Sam Allardyce. However, they followed that impressive result with a 5-0 home defeat to Leeds United.

Ethan Ampadu started both Sheffield United games over the Christmas period as they were beaten 1-0 by Everton and Burnley.

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench on Boxing Day for Crystal Palace as the Eagles were beaten 3-0 by Aston Villa.

Kenedy on target

Granada’s good form in La Liga came to an end at the Bernabeu as they were beaten 2-0 by the reigning Spanish champions thanks to goals from Casemiro and Karim Benzema. Kenedy played just over an hour in a more advanced wide role. 

The 24-year-old was then on the scoresheet in a eventful meeting with Valencia that featured three goals and three red cards. The Brazilian thought he had opened the scoring with a neat left-footed strike but saw the effort cancelled out by VAR for a foul in the build-up.

However, there was nothing wrong with his equaliser in first-half stoppage time, a well-struck free-kick that beat the goalkeeper with the aid of a deflection off the wall. Granada went on to win 2-1 and end the year just a point off Barcelona and a Europa League qualifying berth.

Davide Zappacosta’s comeback from a three-month absence continued as the defender followed a 15-minute cameo three days previously by coming off the bench for 27 minutes to help Genoa turn one point into an important three away at fellow strugglers Spezia. The victory ends a 12-game winless run in Serie A and takes them to within a point of their local rivals and safety.

Elsewhere in Italy, Tiemoue Bakayoko started for Napoli as they drew 1-1 with Torino, leaving them fifth in the table.

Matt Miazga returned to the Anderlecht defence to help the Belgians to a 2-0 win against Beerschot, leaving them seven points adrift of league leaders Club Brugge with just over half the season played. Also in the Jupiler League, Ike Ugbo played throughout Cercle Brugge’s latest outing, a 1-0 defeat at Zulte Waregem.

Lewis Baker played consecutive 90 minutes for Trabzonspor, helping the Turkish side record a 1-0 win against Hatayspor before going down to a Boxing Day defeat to Galatasaray. In the former, it was the 25-year-old’s inswinging corner that led to the only goal of the game, his fifth assist of the campaign. Trabzonspor are upwardly mobile after a difficult start to the season and currently sit ninth, seven points off the European places.

Malang Sarr was not involved in Porto’s Super Cup triumph over Benfica but did return in their 3-2 league win at Guimaraes. Although starting on the bench, the centre-back replaced the injured Pepe half an hour into the game and helped the team record a ninth straight domestic victory. Porto’s defence of the league title currently sees them in third, four points off leaders Sporting.

In the Eredivisie, Armando Broja came off the bench for the final 11 minutes of Vitesse’s 3-1 defeat at AZ Alkmaar, for whom Juan Castillo was an unused substitute before making his debut as a late introduction in a 2-2 draw with Utrecht.

Stubborn Swans pushing for promotion

Swansea City’s fine defensive performances keeps them in a strong position for automatic promotion following a run of six clean sheets in seven matches. Marc Guehi featured throughout both their 2-0 Boxing Day win at Queens Park Rangers and a 0-0 home draw with Reading that leaves them third in the Championship, four points behind leaders Norwich City.

The defender has been operating on the left of a three-man defence with the licence to roam forward and has contributed to Steve Cooper’s side having conceded just 12 goals in 22 games.

Izzy Brown’s recent involvement for Sheffield Wednesday has been restricted to brief cameos and that was the case again on Boxing Day as the forward played only a few minutes at the end of a 1-1 draw with Blackburn. That result led to Tony Pulis losing his job just 45 days after his appointment but there was better luck for the Owls in their next outing as they beat Middlesbrough 2-1, a game in which Brown played the final 19 minutes.

Jake Clarke-Salter was one of four players brought on at half-time by Birmingham City as they trailed Derby County by three goals in a match that eventually ended 4-0 to the Rams.

In League One, Luke McCormick played throughout as Bristol Rovers were beaten 2-0 at MK Dons, while Ian Maatsen also notched another 90 minutes for promotion-chasing Charlton Athletic in a 2-2 draw with Plymouth Argyle.

Jamie Cumming’s Stevenage are still sat in the League Two relegation zone but had a good week, drawing 1-1 at Cheltenham Town before beating Cambridge United 1-0. The 21-year-old goalkeeper played in both matches as the Hertfordshire side end 2020 three points from safety, albeit with games in hand on those around them.

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