Before the midweek games played in European competitions, there was Monday night action for Crystal Palace, who were out-tactic-ed by Sam Allardyce's Sunderland, losing 0-1. In a match-day squad that was devoid of both Frazier Campbell and Dwight Gayle, Patrick Bamford was one of the three attacking substitutes available to Alan Pardew on the bench, alongside Bakary Sako and Marouane Chamakh. Sako replaced Jason Puncheon at the break, but had to be brought off in the 69th, due to injury. Replacing him was Patrick Bamford, who despite looking eager to prove himself, looked a bit lost and failed to make that much of an impact.
Wickham looked quite woeful and Gayle struggles to remain fit, so perhaps Bamford might be getting closer to some real minutes. However, with Marouane Chamakh returning from injury (and coming on for Wickham in the aforementioned game), Bamford faces yet another striker to compete with. A new loan in January still seems like the most sensible option for the youngster.
Neither Jordan Houghton nor Alex Davey were involved for their respective sides, Gillingham and Peterborough in midweek.
Andreas Christensen added to his impressive showings against quality opposition in the Champions League, as Borussia Monchengladbach defeated Sevilla 4-2. Gladbach now look to fight it out with Sevilla for the third spot in the group, and qualification to the Europa League. While Christensen needs to work more on his one-on-one defending, his positional play and understanding of the game is well beyond his tender years, his numbers in terms of interceptions and shots blocked are, accordingly, fairly impressive.
Gladbach's Sporting Director, Max Eberl, had the following to say about the young defender in a recent interview.
Andreas has played alongside Alvaro Dominguez in defense in recent weeks and has done extremely well. Although he is very young, he plays with great confidence and is in no way nervous on the pitch.
His position game is really good; he understands and reads the game well, and last but not least, he is very confident in his delivery game. We are obviously delighted to have him in the squad the next two years on loan from Chelsea.
Upon asked about signing him permanently, Eberl said.
We have a good relationship with Chelsea. Our dialogue with them is very honest, and yes, it's managed to land Thorgan Hazard on a permanent contract.
Whatever that means.
Juan Cuadrado got 8 minutes off the bench in Juventus' 1-0 victory against Manchester City.
Mario Pasalic started for AS Monaco, who lost 0-2 to Anderlecht and while he got into some good attacking positions, he didn't inspire much confidence with his overall play. He missed an excellent chance to put Monaco ahead as well. Monaco now must win against Tottenham and hope Qarabag can prevent Anderlecht from gaining another three points, to qualify for the knockout round.
In what was the best news of the week, Nathaniel Chalobah finally started a game for Napoli. Never mind that it was a dead rubber game and many first-team players didn't travel, but Chalobah actually got 80 minutes on the pitch against Club Brugge, in a game played behind closed doors due to security reasons. Chalobah was understandably conservative in his play but didn't look out of place at all. Here's to hoping this is the first of many.
...it's the hope that kills.
Here's a snippet of Chalobah vs Brugge:
Matej Delac is working hard towards recovery.
It's 4 weeks from surgery, recovery going great pic.twitter.com/S1tzfuThCY
— Matej Delač (@MatejDelac) November 24, 2015
Vitesse manager, Peter Bosz, had a few good things to say about our own Dominic Solanke:
He's just looking at the world of adult football. You can see he is incredibly talented, he has incredible qualities. Such a footballer, I have rarely seen. And I mean, especially at that age. It's really incredible when you see what he is doing. He's playing against against physically strong defenders, sometimes ten years older than him. You can see that sometimes he is still easily put away but that is to learn. For a player of his height, he's very agile and has an above-average technique. I really expect that he's going to be a big player. In that respect, I think it's very special that Dom now plays football with us.
Here's a short interview with Mario Pasalic from Monday, where he talks about his innate sense of being in the right place at the right time to score, his hopes to make it to next summer's European Championship, and his progress being monitored by Chelsea scouts.
Steve Clarke recently came out and said that there had been no contact from Chelsea regarding a Michael Hector recall in January, contrary to previous reports. However, he adds that there is indeed a recall clause in Hector's loan, that can be exercised in a certain week in the month of January.
Meanwhile, Tomas Kalas might miss this weekend's round of games, judging by what manager Aitor Karanka had to say about the defender, who 'came back too tired' from the International break.