Nathan Aké's his sixth start for Bournemouth began excellently, as he took full advantage of Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s lax marking and headed home from Jack Wilshere’s cross for his third goal of the season. The Cherries had a game to forget beyond that however, with the whole side showing signs of fatigue after a busy week of football. Aké and Steve Cook were two of the better performers for their side against Southampton, as claimed by Eddie Howe himself, who also went on to single out the Chelsea youngster for praise after the game.
"I thought Nathan was excellent."
"If you take away his goal he defended really well, he used the ball well and he got into some good positions, it's a positive from today."
- Eddie Howe; source: AFC Bournemouth
However, Aké could’ve perhaps done better on Southampton's second of three goals, as he allowed Steven Davis a free run into the box, thus creating a difficult situation for the defence.
"It just wasn’t meant to be today."
"I think we started the first 20 minutes or so well and we did okay. Our all-round play wasn’t that great, but we got ourselves in front.
"They were trying to force the passes and we looked better on the ball. That was maybe the other way around when they got the equaliser. We struggled after that point.
"When they got the goal we weren’t good enough on the ball. We gave it away in dangerous areas and made it easier for them. We made a lot of unnecessary mistakes.
"Right from the start of the second half we were slow and we gave the ball away. That obviously gave Southampton confidence and they were able to find space for shots on goal. They were clever with the ball and we just couldn’t get going.
"It’s a shame we weren’t able to build on our win against Leicester on Tuesday. We really wanted to keep that momentum going and win back-to-back games for the first time this season.
"We have to move on, but we shouldn’t forget this game. We have to use it as a reference and look at where we went wrong."
- Nathan Aké; source: AFC Bournemouth
Ake's of starts will come to a forced halt on Boxing Day, as Bournemouth's game comes against Chelsea (hey, that's us!). Hopefully he'll slot right back into the side after that.
In a Premier League advent calendar video, here’s former blue Oriol Romeu on whom he’s tipping for success in 2017. That’s right, it’s Aké. Just the latest in a recent barrage of plaudits for the 21-year-old.
Who is @OriolRomeu tipping to shine in 2017?— Premier League (@premierleague) December 17, 2016
The answer's behind door No.17 of our #PL #AdventCalendar pic.twitter.com/GDQbBDBBta
Patrick Bamford did not make the bench for Burnley. Here’s a sad reminder that he’s played only 31 minutes of football this season and 565 minutes since the beginning of last season.
Upcoming fixtures: Middlesbrough (H, December 26)
Tammy Abraham played a pair of 90 minutes against Brentford and Preston North End but did not score in either game, both losses for Bristol City who are plummeting down the Championship table. They're now just 16th, with 8 losses in 11 taking them fully out of contention for the promotion playoffs.
Here are a couple of off-the-field videos from the Bristol City and England media teams involving Tammy, though.
Upcoming fixtures: Wolverhampton (A, December 26)
Huddersfield enjoyed a week full of victories, picking up all 9 points from their three games (including last weekend’s). Kasey Palmer was given a rest in a midweek victory against Burton Albion but replaced Phillip Billing in the 56th minute. He then started and played one of his best games in a Huddersfield shirt against Norwich City, proving to be a thorn in his opponents’ side, causing the Norwich midfield all sorts of problems with his running on and off the ball.
Huddersfield manager David Wagner has emerged as a surprise contender for the job at Wolfsburg and according to BILD, the deal is set to be finalised this week. It would be a shame if he left Huddersfield from both the club and Palmer’s perspectives; while Palmer has established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet after an initial settling in period, Huddersfield have been playing some excellent football under the German-American and look to be contenders for play-off places at least.
Upcoming fixtures: Nottingham Forest (H, December 26)
Izzy Brown started for Rotherham in mid-week and helped the Millers to a flying start at Craven Cottage, providing the assist for their 11th-minute opener and looking very threatening. In a most unfortunate turn of events however, Brown pulled his hamstring and was taken off immediately. The hamstring injury also kept him out of Rotherham’s weekend fixture against Sheffield Wednesday. He should be back fit by Boxing Day. The season continues to go from bad to worse for Rotherham however, who remain rooted to bottom place and are eight (8!) points behind the second-worst team, Wigan Athletic.
Upcoming fixtures: Wigan Athletic (A, December 26)
Tomáš Kalas started the aforementioned game against Rotherham and Lucas Piazon, who was brought on at half-time, assisted Fulham’s second (and winning) goal. Kalas and Piazon both started at home to Derby County on Saturday but Kalas became the second Chelsea loanee of the week to be forced off by a hamstring strain. The injury comes at a most unfortunate time for the Czech defender, who was going from strength to strength at Fulham. According to manager Slaviska Jokanovic, Kalas will be out for at least two weeks.
Upcoming fixtures: Ipswich (A, December 26)
Christian Atsu was a 69th minute substitute for Matt Ritchie in Newcastle’s 0-2 win and over Wigan Athletic on Wednesday; he made an instant impact, scoring with a sweet left-footed strike from the center of the penalty area. He then played the whole 90 minutes in Saturday’s 1-2 victory at Burton.
Upcoming fixtures: Sheffield Wednesday (H, December 26)
Charlie Colkett started, but failed to grow into the game and was replaced at half-time as Bristol Rovers lost 2-0 to Shrewsbury Town.
Upcoming fixtures: Coventry (H, December 26)
Jordan Houghton made his 50th senior professional appearance on Saturday, playing the whole of Doncaster Rovers’ 1-0 win over Grimsby Town. With the win, Doncaster drew level on points with second-placed Carslisle Town and are only two points behind leaders Plymouth Argyle.
Mitchell Beeney and Alex Davey were unused substitutes for Crawley, while Alexander Kiwomya played a whole 90 for Crewe, who lost 2-1 to Cambridge United.
Wycombe Wanderers are on quite the winning streak as they picked up their eighth consecutive win in all competitions, which also turned out to be another clean sheet for Jamal Blackman, a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient. Wycombe were so terrible at the start of the season that they're still only sixth despite the six straight league wins.
Dion Conroy played the whole of Aldershot’s 2-0 loss to Chester, and Nathan Baxter was unlucky to end up on the losing side of Met Police’s 7-6 penalty shootout to Kingstonian in the Surrey Senior Cup; Baxter kept a clean sheet in normal time and was forced off due to injury, meaning he couldn’t take part in the shootout.
Michael Hector played 58 minutes of Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 loss to Wolfsburg.
Upcoming fixtures: Mainz (H, December 20)
Baba Rahman replaced Johannes Geis after 59 minutes and had an impressive cameo outing, also assisting Yevhen Konoplyanka’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Freiburg.
Upcoming fixtures: Hamburg (A, December 20)
Borussia Monchengladbach continued their downfall and are now down to 13th in the league table after a 1-0 loss to Augsburg. Andreas Christensen played the whole 90 minutes.
Upcoming fixtures: Wolfsburg (H, December 20)
Lewis Baker and Matt Miazga started and got their names on the scoresheet as Vitesse trounced amateur side Jodan Boys 4-0 in the round of 16 of the KNVB Beker. Nathan was a 61st minute substitute.
Vitesse’s little run of wins came to an end on Sunday as table-topping Feyenoord proved too good for them, running out 3-1 winners. Baker played the whole 90 and Nathan was a 67th minute substitute.
Bertrand Traore is back at Cobham recovering from injury, and Danilo Pantic was absent from Excelsior’s squad.
The Eredivisie now shuts shop for the winter break, and will resume in a month's time. Vitesse end the half-season in 8th place, Ajax in 2nd, five points behind leaders Feyenoord and Excelsior sit precariously above the relegation places in 15th.
Matej Delac started and Islam Feruz was an 83rd minute substitute as Mouscron lost their seventh (ouch!) consecutive game and are second from bottom, level on points and only one goal differential better than KVC Westerlo.
Cristian Cuevas played the whole of STVV’s 3-1 victory over Gent.
Jeremie Boga was rewarded for his impressive outing against Malaga with another 90 minutes, against Real Sociedad but this time he couldn’t help his side to a win despite showing flashes of his brilliance; Granada lost the game 0-2. Victorien Angban was a half-time substitute.
Upcoming fixtures: Osasuna (A, December 21)
Mario Pasalic played the whole of Milan’s 0-0 draw against Atalanta.
Upcoming fixtures: Juventus (A, December 23)
Injury has brought Kenneth Omeruo back to Cobham as well, he missed Alanyaspor's last game due to the same.
Wallace played the whole of Gremio's 1-0 loss to Botafogo, which was their last match of the season.