One of the reasons why Nathan Ake managed to break into the Watford lineup and put together a string of consecutive starts was a hamstring injury to Jose Manuel Jurado. While Ake wasn't in direct competition with the left winger, Jurado's injury meant that Ikechi Anya was moved further forward and Ake filled in at left-back. This weekend, the fit-again Jurado was (somewhat surprisingly) brought straight back into the starting XI, displacing Ake in the process.
Watford hosted an injury-riddled Manchester United side on Saturday and after an uninspiring first 45 minutes, they trailed by a goal at half time. The aforementioned Jurado looked off the pace and was subbed off, for none other than Ake. The introduction of the youngster brought a greater balance to the lineup and Watford almost turned it around in the second half with a very strong performance. Hopefully, manager and Dr. House lookalike, Quique Flores has taken note of the fact that Ake, while still a relatively raw left-back, has indeed established himself as an important part of this Watford side and should continue to start. While the 20-year-old lost the ball easily at times, his tackling continues to improve; he finished the game with the most tackles (6/6), and after playing only 45 minutes, that says something.
After losing his place in the starting lineup, Marco van Ginkel lost his place on the Stoke bench as well, and was left out of the Stoke match-day squad altogether. This was probably the most unfortunate thing to have happened yesterday for any of our loanees.
It was a busy week at Reading, dominated by speculation of manager and former Chelsea player and assistant manager Steve Clarke leaving for Fulham. He remains, for now. As far the actual football, Lucas Piazon and Michael Hector both started for the Royals and helped them to a 2-1 victory over the Current Home of Emile Heskey (that should be a legitimate title), Bolton Wanderers. Piazon played 68 minutes and opened the scoring for Reading, pouncing on a loose ball in behind the Bolton defence, before poking home. Hector had a hand in Reading's second goal, with an interception and a quick pass to Orlando Sa, who assisted Danny Williams.
John Swift, having made his first England U21 appearance a few days prior, started and played 60 minutes for Brentford, who snatched a last-gap victory against Nottingham Forest.
Tomas Kalas was missing for Middlesbrough, who also scored at the death to win 1-0 against our favourite team in the Championship, the entirely unlovable QPR.
Neither Jordan Houghton nor Alex Davey were involved for Gillingham and Peterborough, respectively.
Mario Pasalic played the whole 90 and scored with his head, ending as the lone scorer in AS Monaco's 1-0 win over FC Nantes. With 5 goals, Pasalic is the leading scorer on the team.
Andreas Christensen and the Borussia Monchengladbach juggernaut rolled on, winning the seventh match from their last eight in the Bundesliga. Christensen played the whole of their 2-1 victory over Hannover 96, even assisting their winner!
Victorien Angban missed out due to suspension, but Cristian Cuevas started and actually played the whole game, even scoring STVV's only goal of the game, as they lost 2-1 to Waasland-Beveren. Joao Rodriguez wasn't in the match-day squad.
Islam Feruz was a substitute for Hibernian and remained on the bench for the duration of the game, as did Juan Cuadrado for Juventus.