In the latest round-up from England and around Europe involving Chelsea players out on loan, there is another goal in Turkey and an assist in Serie A…
Michy Batshuayi is closing in on double figures for goals scored this season after he netted a winner for Besiktas in the Super Lig this week. The Belgian fired in the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory away at Fatih Karagumruk, dispatching a penalty moments before the break for his ninth league strike of the season.
It was also the third game running in which the 28-year-old had netted for the Black Eagles, though they then dropped points this weekend in a 1-1 draw at Yeni Malatyaspor. Batshuayi provided the assist for Alex Teixeira to open the scoring in that one but it wasn’t enough as Besiktas lost ground in the race for a European qualification spot.
In Italy, Ethan Ampadu was also among the assists as Venezia took a surprise Serie A lead at San Siro against Inter. The young Welshman continued to demonstrate his useful versatility for the Lagunari, starting at right wing-back in Milan, and it was his brilliant delivery that was headed in by Thomas Henry for the oprner.
However, the defending champions soon hit back through Nicolo Barella before former Manchester City centre-forward Edin Dzeko stole the points in the last minute of normal time with a precise header. Venezia are a place and a point outside the drop zone, albeit with a game in hand on those around them.
Mixed fortunes for young duo
Conor Gallagher was in the thick of the action once again for a Crystal Palace side that put up a valiant fight against Liverpool at Selhurst Park, though an early double and a controversial late penalty condemned the Eagles to defeat.
The midfielder’s best chances came inside the 18-yard box but he couldn’t quite sort his feet out to trouble Alisson having been teed up by Jean-Philippe Mateta in the first half, while a decent headed opportunity bounced just wide in the second period. Palace were beaten 3-1.
There were also chances for our other Premier League loanee in action as Armando Broja proved a constant thorn in the side of runaway league leaders Manchester City at St Mary’s. The Slough-born striker caused plenty of problems with his direct running on the counter-attack and had a goal ruled out for a narrow offside call when the Saints were already 1-0 ahead.
Broja also hit the post with a header and was later denied by an impressive last-ditch challenge from Aymeric Laporte as Pep Guardiola’s men struggled and stumbled, ending their 12-match winning run in the Premier League with a second draw of the season against Southampton.
Milan lose ground
Elsewhere in Europe, Tiemoue Bakayoko played the duration of AC Milan’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Spezia in Serie A as the Rossoneri lost ground on city rivals Inter at the top of the table. The Frenchman lined up in central midfield and things were going to plan for Stefan Pioli’s side as they managed to find a breakthrough before half-time through Rafael Leao.
However, Spezia equalised 20 minutes after the restart and then, with Milan pushing everything forward for a late winner, the sucker-punch was delivered as the visitors stunned the locals with a 95th-minute winner.
Combined with their 0-0 draw with Juventus on Sunday night, in which Bakayoko was an unused substitute, Milan are now four points off top spot having played a game more.
Matt Miazga was involved for an Alaves side struggling in the fight against relegation in La Liga and the Basque side were beaten twice this week, 4-0 away at Real Betis and 1-0 at home to Barcelona. The American defender played in the first of those and was on the bench against Xavi’s men.
Baxter's clean sheets
It was a good week for Hull City and Nathan Baxter as the young goalkeeper registered back-to-back clean sheets to help the Tigers in their battle for survival in the Championship. A 2-0 win against Blackburn Rovers in midweek was Hull’s first in any competition since late November, with the 23-year-old kept on his guard in the second half as the visitors looked for a route back into the game.
A 1-0 win away at promotion-chasing Bournemouth three days later was an even more impressive result for Grant McCann’s men, with Baxter coming out on top in the battle with his former Chelsea Academy team-mate Dominic Solanke. The goalkeeper made six saves in total, three of them from the Cherries striker, and Ryan Longman’s goal 13 minutes from time helped them move 10 points clear of danger.
Baba Rahman was back in the Reading side following Ghana’s early exit from the African Cup of Nations, while Danny Drinkwater also started for the Royals in a seven-goal thriller against Huddersfield Town. The Royals came out on the wrong side of a 4-3 scoreline.
Coventry City were also beaten in a blow to their hopes of keeping pace with the play-off chasers, the Sky Blues going down 2-1 at home to Queens Park Rangers in a game Jake Clarke-Salter started and finished.
Dujon Sterling was also involved throughout as Blackpool beat Millwall 1-0 at Bloomfield Road, a result that leaves the Tangerines mid-table.
In League One, Jamie Cumming’s home debut for MK Dons ended in a 1-0 reverse to Doncaster Rovers.
January deals so far
So far this window, Cumming has swapped clubs in League One, moving from Gillingham to MK Dons.