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Chelsea Loan Round-up: Traoré silences critics; Atsu drives Newcastle forward; Pasalic starts for AC Milan

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ENGLAND:

Nathan Ake and Patrick Bamford were unused substitutes for Bournemouth and Burnley respectively, while Kenedy has yet to return from injury.

Upcoming fixtures:
Watford - Leicester City (H, November 19)
Burnley - West Brom (A, November 21)
Bournemouth - Stoke City (A, November 19)

Tammy Abraham started for Bristol City but was again starved of service for most of the game and did not score in the 2-0 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion. Former Blue Steve Sidwell produced a wondergoal from the half-way line to put the Seagulls in the lead and followed it up (along with his teammates) with a heart-warming tribute to his teammate Anthony Knockaert’s father, who passed away two days before the game.

Upcoming fixtures: Birmingham (A, November 19)

Kasey Palmer started for Huddersfield Town who continued their slump, now having won only one out of their last five games. Palmer played 60 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Birmingham City, which did not immediately affect the Terriers’ league position of third.

Upcoming fixtures: Cardiff City (A, November 19)

Izzy Brown was a 76th minute substitute for Rotherham, who lost 1-3 to Preston and remain at the bottom of the table.

Upcoming fixtures: Derby County (A, November 19)

Newcastle United, meanwhile, continue to look like favourites to get promoted and notched their 12th win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Cardiff City. Christian Atsu played 89 minutes and scored after only 3, finishing calmly past Ben Amos after some excellent work by Aleksandar Mitrovic in the build-up. He had a chance to score another in the second half after being put through by Mitrovic yet again, but could only fire over the crossbar.  There's a groundswell of support from the fans for Newcastle to sign Atsu on a permanent basis; he keeps this up and that should become a reality sooner or later.

Upcoming fixtures: Leeds United (A, November 20)

Tomáš Kalas and Lucas Piazon started for Fulham who won a West London derby game against a Brentford side featuring Josh McEachran, 2-0. Piazon played 70 minutes and was involved in most Fulham’s attacking forays in the first half but missed two golden chances to score himself.

Kalas has impressed for our London neighbours this season and has been involved in all their clean sheets thus far. This piece on the Czech defender at Fulham Blog, Hammyend.com, highlights his importance to the side.

Upcoming fixtures: Sheffield Wednesday (H, November 19)

Neither Jake Clarke-Salter nor Charlie Colkett were involved for Bristol Rovers in their FA Cup first round clash against Crawley Town, for whom Alex Davey started but Mitchell Beeney was nowhere to be seen. Ex-Chelsea youngster, Billy Clifford equalised for Crawley after the Rovers were put in the lead by Lee Brown in the 15th minute.  Since no further goals were scored, the two sides will fight it out again in the replay fixture next Tuesday. Speaking after the match, Rovers manager Darrell Clarke claimed that Colkett was desperate to play but couldn’t, falling prey to a flu outbreak among the squad.

Upcoming fixtures: Portsmouth (A, November 8), Millwall (A, November 12), Crawley Town (H, November 15), MK Dons (H, November 19)

Alexander Kiwomya and Crewe Alexandra face the prospect of a replay fixture as well, drawing 1-1 against Cheltenham Town.

Jordan Houghton was not involved for Doncaster, who lost 2-1 against Oldham Athletic.

A winner from Adebayo "#BeastMode" Akinfenwa put Wycombe Wanderers through to the next round of the FA Cup, as they defeated Portsmouth 1-2 at Fratton Park. Jamal Blackman started in goal, of course.

Dion Conroy was not involved for Aldershot Town, but Nathan Baxter started for Met Police who picked up their first home win of the season, beating Burgess Hill Town 2-1.

GERMANY:

Michael Hector had a 10-minute cameo in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 win against 1. FC Köln.

Upcoming fixtures: Werder Bremen (A, November 20)

Baba Rahman was an 88th minute substitute in Schalke’s 3-1 win against Werder Bremen on Sunday. Sead Kolasinac seems to have the manager’s preference in Bundesliga games as of late, while Baba has started regularly in the Europa League and he did so against FC Krasnodar on Thursday, whom Schalke beat 2-0.

Upcoming fixtures: Wolfsburg (A, November 19)

Andreas Christensen remains out injured. In his absence, Borussia Monchengladbach played out a 1-1 draw against Celtic at Borussia Park, and then lost 3-0 to Hertha Berlin on Saturday (Salomon Kalou with the hat-trick!).

Upcoming fixtures: FC Koln (H, November 19)

THE NETHERLANDS:

Nathan, Matt Miazga and Lewis Baker all started as Vitesse continued their shambolic form, losing 2-1 to Heracles Almelo after going a goal up via Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Vitesse seem to be in a perpetual slump, with draws and losses coming more frequently than wins, a worrying period that began with Peter Bosz’s abrupt departure last winter. The quality of football has teetered on an unacceptable level ever since. Assistant manager Rob Maas took over from Bosz last season but was relieved of his duties by the club as soon as the season ended, as the team failed to even make the Europa League play-off spots. Former ADO Den Haag manager, Henk Fraser, was hired soon after and the side showed signs of promise in pre-season but has ended up following the same, dismal routine as the season wore on.

The characteristics of a typical Vitesse performance these days are starting brightly before hopelessly losing concentration towards the latter stages of the game while lacking any sort of attacking game-plan. A worrying over-reliance on their severely under-perfoming wingers is just one aspect of their struggles. Baker has chipped in with many important goals (and not just free kicks!) but coherence in midfield between him and Navarone Foor is sorely lacking and Baker is often presented with a dearth of options when on the ball, causing him to slow down play. He could definitely do better but the problem at hand is that of the whole team’s and not just his.

Nathan has been invariably lacklustre for Vitesse in general, but was one of the better performers yesterday.

Vitesse have failed to win a game since Matt Miazga replaced the injured Maikel van der Werff but let that be no reflection on the center-back’s displays. Miazga has been very solid in defence and has looked miles better than the rash Van der Werff; he has been one of the few positives in the side as of late. The only complaint one might have of the young American is that he doesn’t attempt any long diagonal passes or ambitious through balls to directly initiate attacks like Van der Werff; he keeps his passing simple and mostly on the ground, although he does find players in relatively advanced positions when he can. He has been very good in the air, and even hit the crossbar with a header yesterday.

Upcoming fixtures: SC Heerenveen (A, November 19)

Danilo Pantic played 53 minutes for Excelsior in their 2-1 loss to FC Utrecht.

Upcoming fixtures: Sparta Rotterdam (H, November 19)

After coming under some criticism in recent times, Bertrand Traore provided the perfect response, with two excellent assists in midweek against Celta Vigo and an equally classy goal against AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.

Upcoming fixtures: NEC Nijmegen (H, November 20)

SPAIN:

Granada still sit rock-bottom and have yet to win a game; this weekend they found a late equaliser to salvage a 1-1 draw against Deportivo. Victorien Angban was an unused substitute, but Jeremie Boga was brought on in the 65th minute and, alongside fellow substitute Sergi Samper, brought some much-needed attacking impetus to the side — although he was not directly involved in the equaliser. Watching Boga certainly made me wonder (once again) why he hasn’t been playing more.

Upcoming fixtures: Valencia (A, November 20)

Charly Musonda is still out injured for also struggling Real Betis.

Upcoming fixtures: Las Palmas (H, November 18)

BELGIUM:

Cristian Cuevas played the whole of STVV’s 4-2 loss to KAS Eupen.

Matej Delac started in Mouscron’s 2-1 loss to Standard Liege and Islam Feruz got his biggest cameo this season, coming on at half-time.

OTHERS:

Mario Pasalic, who recently declared his intention to not cut his loan short in January, made his first start for AC Milan, playing in a three-man midfield alongside Juraj Kucka and Manuel Locatelli for 63 minutes. Pasalic had a positive full debut by all accounts and also had an opportunity to score, which he failed to convert. Manager Vincenzo Montella also declared that Pasalic had a good game but lost his rhythm in the second half. In fairness, the last time Pasalic started a game was at the beginning of this calendar year, so that's probably understandable.

Upcoming fixtures: Inter Milan (H, November 20)

Kenneth Omeruo scored an own-goal (but was otherwise solid in defence) as Alanyaspor took on Gaziantepsor, but his side managed to win the game 4-3.

Wallace was an unused substitute for Gremio, and Joao Rodriguez was Joao Rodriguez.  Or was he Jhon Pirez?  We'll never know.