Nathan Ake was finally given his chance to impress, chosen over Tyrone Mings to fill in for the suspended Adam Smith in Bournemouth’s back four on Saturday. Ake played at left center-back alongside Simon Francis and not only helped Bournemouth keep a clean sheet, but also scored the only goal of the game, leaping high to head in Junior Stanislas’ free-kick.
I was in Ahmedabad for a ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition this weekend and when I saw Ake was starting, I said to my band-mates, "This could really be our day, fellas." When I saw he’d scored, I told them we’d win and there was no other possible outcome. We did end up winning, and chances are that if you strike up a conversation with me one of these days, instead of calling Jack Wilshere names I’ll be telling you how Nathan Ake is our saviour.
"The goal was great, I didn't think Nathan would reach it but he's got great athletic ability and it was a superb header. He didn't put a foot wrong and his overall performance was pleasing, he put a stamp down and it was great to see."
-Eddie Howe; source: AFC Bournemouth
"There was a lot of emotion in the game. It was a really tough day, but I had good help from Steve Cook and Dan Gosling covered a lot of ground in front to help me, it was always going to be difficult."
"For the goal, the ball was lovely, perfectly on my head. I thought there were a lot of big players in the box but it was a really good ball from Junior and I was delighted it went in."
"I felt that we deserved the win, we fought, worked until the last minute and dug in in a difficult 2nd half. Playing against some big strikers was a tough test and I'm delighted - it's been a perfect day."
"I can't lie, it has been difficult. Every footballer wants to play every game, it's been frustrating but a lot of people have helped me along the way. I knew my chance would come, finally it did today and you need to be there and take it when it comes. I'm delighted, I'm pleased to make an impact and need to keep going now."
-Nathan Ake; source: AFC Bournemouth
Upcoming fixtures: Arsenal (A, November 27)
Kenedy and Loic Remy are out injured, while Patrick Bamford was not involved for Burnley. Worryingly, this loan seems to be passing him by as well.
Remy, in fact, was due to be in contention for some minutes at the start of December but has sustained a fresh injury, which pushes his expected return date to somewhere around Christmas.
Burnley - Manchester City (H, November 26)
Watford - Stoke City (H, November 27)
Tammy Abraham started for Bristol City who continued their slump, losing 1-0 to Birmingham City, with the striker finding himself isolated up front yet again. He went very close to scoring via a header from a corner but it was saved excellently.
Upcoming fixtures: Reading (A, November 26)
Kasey Palmer completed 90 minutes for Huddersfield, who lost 3-2 to Cardiff City; Palmer assisted his team’s opening goal with a sweet through ball capping off some good work in the build-up.
Upcoming fixtures: Wigan (H, November 28)
Izzy Brown played around 30 minutes after being brought on in the 62nd minute, but could do nothing as Rotherham fell to yet another loss, beaten 3-0 by Derby County. The Millers continue to rot in bottom place, with only 7 points from 17 games.
Upcoming fixtures: Leeds United (H, November 26)
Tomas Kalas and Lucas Piazon both started for Fulham, although Piazon was taken off in the 55th minute in their 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
Upcoming fixtures: Brighton (A, November 26)
Christian Atsu was an unused substitute for Newcastle.
Upcoming fixtures: Blackburn (H, November 26)
With the lower league continuing play over the international break, Charlie Colkett started Bristol Rovers’ 1-0 loss to Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy, which knocked them out of the competition, as well as their 4-0 loss to Millwall (in which he was replaced after 21 minutes due to a tactical re-shuffle forced by a sending off) and most recently, their 0-0 draw against MK Dons, although he was taken off early in the second half after failing to grow into the game. Jake Clarke-Salter played the extra-time period of Rovers’ FA Cup replay clash against Crawley Town, which they edged on penalties; he then started in the goalless draw against MK Dons, impressing in the heart of defence.
Upcoming fixtures: Charlton (H, November 22), Chesterfield (A, November 26)
Jordan Houghton was a 65th minute substitute and converted his penalty in the shoot-out that Doncaster Rovers ultimately lost to Port Vale in the EFL Trophy; the shoot-out had no consequence on their progression to the next round, however. He then started both victories in the league against Hartlepool and Exeter City, helping to keep Doncaster in the automatic promotion places.
Alex Kiwomya started against Chesterfield in the EFL Trophy, Cheltenham in the FA Cup and Plymouth Argyle in League Two, against whom he scored. He was not, however, involved in their most recent fixture, a goalless draw against Barnet.
Jamal Blackman started between the posts in Wycombe’s 1-2 and 2-0 wins against Cambridge and Morecambe, respectively.
Alex Davey started for Crawley in the FA Cup loss to Bristol Rovers and also in a 1-3 loss to Cambridge United last weekend. On Saturday, he was a 35th minute substitute but was forced off 15 minutes into the second half due to injury. Mitchell Beeney has been un-involved for a while now and things did not change over the last two weeks.
Dion Conroy played the whole 90 in Aldershot’s 3-3 draw against Lincoln City and 67 minutes in a 1-2 loss to Macclesfield Town.
Nathan Baxter started in goal in Met Police's 3-1 win against Grays’ Athletic.
Andreas Christensen made his return from injury with a start in Gladbach’s 1-2 loss against the high-flying Köln.
Upcoming fixtures: Manchester City (H, November 23), Hoffenheim (H, November 26)
Baba Rahman was an extremely late substitute in Schalke’s 0-1 win against Wolfsburg, while Michael Hector only watched proceedings from the bench.
Eintracht Frankfurt - Borussia Dortmund (H, November 26)
Schalke - OGC Nice (H, November 24), Darmstadt (H, November 27)
Jeremie Boga, after what seems like an eternity, started and completed the whole 90 for Granada, in their 1-1 draw against Valencia. Victorien Angban was an unused substitute.
Upcoming fixtures: Celta Vigo (A, November 27)
Charly Musonda marked his return from injury with a 15-minute cameo against Las Palmas.
Upcoming fixtures: Eibar (A, November 25)
Vitesse could only manage a 1-1 draw against SC Heerenveen, once again taking the lead only to concede a goal in the final quarter of the game. Despite Maikel van der Werff returning to training only this week, Matt Miazga dropped to the bench, being replaced by Arnold Kruiswijk (who’d been playing at left-back), with Kosuke Ota coming in as left-back. Lewis Baker started and scored with a delightful lob over the Heerenveen goalkeeper from an angle and thus raised his goal tally for Vitesse to 8 goals in 15 matches, this season. Nathan started but was hauled off after only 35 minutes.
Baker recently stated that he still has his eyes fixed on the prize, which is ultimately coming back to play for Chelsea and that observing Antonio Conte’s use of youngsters this season has only filled him with more hunger and motivation.
"My aim, ultimately, is to get back to Chelsea, the club I’ve been at since I was nine. It would be a dream to play for the first team and stay there and all I can do is try to improve myself and make that happen."
"I haven’t spoken with the manager yet but I am sure he’s informed of how his loan players are doing. The fact he has played younger players in games has given me inspiration and more hunger to try to succeed at Chelsea."
"I know a lot of English players have not played abroad but it has been a great experience, one I’ll always remember."
-Lewis Baker; source: Daily Star
Upcoming fixtures: Excelsior (H, November 26)
Bertrand Traore scored his fifth goal of the season, adding Ajax’s fourth goal in a 5-0 thrashing of NEC Nijmegen.
Upcoming fixtures: Panathinaikos (H, November 24), SC Heerenveen (A, November 27)
Danilo Pantic was an unused substitute for Excelsior.
Upcoming fixtures: Vitesse (A, November 26)
Matej Delac started and Islam Feruz was an 85th minute substitute for Mouscron in their 0-2 loss to Gent.
Cristian Cuevas played the whole 90 in STVV’s 0-1 loss to Club Brugge.
Mario Pasalic was an 88th minute substitute in the Milan derby, which ended 2-2.
Upcoming fixtures: Empoli (A, November 26)
Kenneth Omeruo was not involved for Alanyaspor.
Wallace started Gremio’s 3-0 win against America Mineiro.
I’ve run out of snarky things to say about Joao Rodriguez.