There were goals, returns and clean sheets during another busy week of action for our players out on loan in England and abroad...
Conor Gallagher helped West Bromwich Albion earn a massive Premier League point away at Manchester City. A stubborn defensive performance from the Baggies claimed them a 1-1 draw last Tuesday but it wasn’t enough to prevent boss Slaven Bilic losing his job a couple of days later.
Sam Allardyce was quickly installed as his replacement but failed to inspire an immediate bounce as they went down 3-0 at home to Aston Villa on Sunday evening. Gallagher played 90 minutes again and put in a typically hard-working display, particularly given the hosts were reduced to 10 men just before half-time. They held out with just a solitary goal’s deficit until the final six minutes, with the defeat leaving them three points adrift of safety.
A few points ahead of them in the battle to avoid the relegation zone are Fulham, who had Ruben Loftus-Cheek in their starting line-up for a 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion. The midfielder came closest to breaking the deadlock shortly after half-time, but was denied by a fine save, and came off the bench as Fulham drew again on Saturday, 1-1 at Newcastle United.
Ethan Ampadu and Sheffield United attempted to mount a late comeback against Manchester United in the Premier League last Thursday but left themselves too much to do as they ended up losing 3-2 at Bramall Lane.
The Blades then picked up just their second point of the season away at Brighton on Sunday, playing for 50 minutes with a man less, though they were left with a feeling of disappointment as Danny Welbeck’s late leveller denied them a first league win since July. Ampadu recorded back-to-back 90 minutes in midfield.
Michy Batshuayi came off the bench for Crystal Palace with 20 minutes remaining in their 7-0 home defeat to Liverpool.
Swans flying and Baxter denying
In the Championship, Marc Guehi was part of the Swansea City side which lost 2-0 away at Derby County, but bounced straight back with a win by the same scoreline when they hosted Barnsley on Saturday. The Swans are up to third and boast the best defence in the division having conceded a dozen goals in their 20 games to date.
Elsewhere, it was a difficult evening for Jake Clarke-Salter at Birmingham City when they faced Cardiff City. The defender’s wayward back pass resulted in Cardiff opening the scoring and he later conceded a penalty for handball, although the spot-kick was then saved, before the Welsh side sealed victory with an 89th-minute winner.
Izzy Brown came on for Sheffield Wednesday in the second half of their 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest last Tuesday.
There were back-to-back clean sheets for Nathan Baxter in League One, including one on his league debut for Accrington Stanley. The goalkeeper helped them to a 2-0 win away at Gillingham last Tuesday in his first league appearance for the club, their sixth victory in nine games, before keeping Blackpool at bay in a 0-0 draw on Saturday. Fellow Chelsea loanees Tariq Uwakwe and Jon Russell were on the bench for both games.
Ian Maatsen set up Charlton Athletic’s first goal with a fine pass in behind the Swindon Town defence, but they had to settle for a 2-2 draw after conceding a last-minute equaliser.
Ugbo double and Zappacosta comeback
Ike Ugbo reached double figures for goals this season by hitting a brace for Cercle Brugge. He fired them into a two-goal lead at home against Charleroi on Tuesday, taking his total in Belgium to 10 in 2020/21, but after being reduced to 10 men on the brink of half-time, they conceded four times after the break to end up losing 4-3.
Kenedy got Granada off to a flying start as they began their Copa del Rey campaign away at San Juan. The Brazilian opened the scoring inside the first minute of the first-round tie, setting them on their way to a 2-0 victory, which was the same scoreline when they faced Real Betis in La Liga at the weekend. Kenedy started that one on the bench but came on for the final half an hour as Granada rose to sixth.
Lewis Baker helped Trabzonspor return to winning ways in Turkey, as they came from behind with two second-half goals to triumph 2-1 at home against Rizespor.
Tiemoue Bakayoko and 10-man Napoli suffered a 1-0 loss at Inter Milan in Serie A on Wednesday before going down 2-0 at Lazio on Sunday night. The Frenchman started both games.
Davide Zappacosta returned from injury with his first minutes since September in Genoa’s 2-0 defeat at Benevento. The defender came on for the final 15 minutes for the side now one point and one place off the bottom of the Serie A table.
In France, Trevoh Chalobah came on at half-time for 10-man Lorient as they were beaten 2-0 away at Paris Saint-Germain in midweek and then started at centre-back on Sunday as they lost 3-0 at home to Rennes.
Matt Miazga returned to action for Anderlecht after injury on Friday but couldn’t prevent them conceding in injury time to suffer a 1-0 defeat away at Charleroi.
Victor Moses played the full 90 minutes for Spartak Moscow as they lost 3-1 at Zenit St Petersburg last Wednesday. The Russian league now takes a two-month break, returning in late February, with Spartak currently third and six points behind league leaders Zenit.
In other news, George McEachran has returned from his loan spell at MVV Maastricht.