Patrick Bamford missed out on making the Norwich squad midweek but was named on the bench as the Canaries, having lost their last 4 Premier League games, sunk to new lows by losing 2-0 to this season's whipping boys, Aston Villa. Having conceded two goals within six minutes of the second half, Bamford was brought on for Wes Hoolahan in the 56th minute as part of a double-substitution, making his debut in Norwich colours.
As I was sitting transfixed, watching Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies run amok against a poor Watford side, I wasn't able to watch Pat's cameo appearance. Reviews of his performance after the game were largely mixed, although the fact that he was brought on ahead of Cameron Jerome bodes well.
Nathan Ake, after sitting out Watford's game against Chelsea, was restored to the line-up, as Quique Sanchez Flores made five changes to his XI for their match against Tottenham. With the talismanic Troy Deeney on the bench due to fatigue from previous exertions, the Hornets lined up in a defensive manner, playing for a draw, which unsurprisingly meant that they were run ragged by an extremely impressive Tottenham side.
Ake's flank was constantly bombarded by Kieran Tripper combining with various players in the attacking band and with little help from either Jurado or Etienne Capoue, who had a woeful game, had a bit of a hard time holding fort. However, that's not to say the youngster had a poor game. In a match where every single Watford player looked out of their depth, Ake didn't make any noteworthy mistakes and finished the game with some decent numbers - 4/4 successful tackles, 6 interceptions, 2 blocks (both highest of the game), 6/6 successful clearances, and 5 blocked crosses. There wasn't much he could've done on the only goal of the game.
Victor Moses replaced Enner Valencia with 4 minutes to go in West Ham's midweek victory over Aston Villa, and then started their 1-0 loss to Southampton on Saturday. He was subbed off for Andy Carroll in the 61st as the Hammers failed to overcome a 10-man Southampton side.
Lucas Piazon and Michael Hector were unused substitutes for both of Reading's two games this week, against Ipswich Town and Wolverhampton.
Tomas Kalas was named only on the bench for Middlesbrough, who hosted Blackburn yesterday, but was called into action when Dani Ayala went down with injury at the end of the first half. There's no word yet on the big man's injury, but some fear it's serious, which could open the door for Kalas to step up in a more central role after having lost his right back starting job to Emilio Nsue.
John Swift lasted the whole of Brentford's 3-0 loss at Brighton. For old times' sake, Josh McEachran played 82 minutes. Swifty spoke to GetWestLondon very recently, outlining his thoughts on John Terry's departure at the end of the season and also stating he'd be thrilled if Brentford were to offer him a permanent deal at the end of the season.
"When you train with the first team John Terry is the first to come over and say well done or how have you been. He's a massive player around the club and everyone is devastated that he's going to be leaving. He's a great player to train with and he's a proper professional. It's not good that he's going to go as he's one of the best defenders in the Premier League. I'm not sure whose decision it is."
"He's really comforting, makes you feel welcome and he's a nice guy. Everyone contracted to Chelsea want to play for the club. We're taking a different path. Some players can do it. If he can do it, there's hope for everyone."
"I could see him being involved at the club in the future. He'll probably fit in really easily. He wouldn't have to do much to try and get a job there. Hopefully he'll be at Chelsea in the future."
"I'm not too sure (about my future). I don't speak much about it. I leave it to my agent and Chelsea to talk about. I'm enjoying it at Brentford. I think at the end of the season, I don't know what's going to happen but if Brentford were to offer me one, I'd be delighted."
"It'd be a good feeling if they did as they'd be a good team to join permanently."
- John Swift
With Swift's Chelsea contract is expiring this summer, it would not be surprising if Brentford did offer him a permanent deal. He has become key figure in the mid-table side's midfield.
Alex Kiwomya was an unused substitute for Fleetwood Town when they crashed out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy on penalties against Barnsley. Kiwomya was apparently all set to be brought on, until it turned out that he was listed on the team sheet as #44 as opposed to his regular #42, and that number happened to belong to a player who was ineligible to be fielded in the cup. Bizarre!
All those fearing Kiwomya, he can't even get on cos hes wearing shirt 42 & is listed as 44 on the team sheet. Devante's number. Pure poetry!— Kieran Bestall (@Ramone78) February 4, 2016
Incidentally, the unavailable player was former Manchester City prospect Devante Cole, who had just joined in January from Bradford City. The one match he played for them in the FA Trophy (and which made him cup-tied for this game) was also against Barnsley. So the same team has eliminated Devante Cole twice now in this year's FA Trophy!
Mitchell Beeney was due to play on Saturday, but Newport County's match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
NEWS: Today's game at Rodney Parade has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch https://t.co/6PzktqAEo4— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) February 6, 2016
Borussia Monchengladbach bounced back after an unlucky loss to Mainz with a 5-1 rout of Papy Djilobodji's Werder Bremen. It was a great day for young defender Andreas Christensen, who once again partnered new signing Martin Hinteregger in defence, while grabbing an emphatic brace at the other end! The first of his goals was brought about by a typical piece of Christensen play; he robbed the ball off an opposition midfielder at the halfway line and launched into attack, charging forward and eventually finishing off the move from close range. The second was a header from a corner, where he managed to give Djilobodji the slip and head the ball home.
Christensen goal. Our £4m defender ball watching, while our academy defender gets into the 6 yard area & scores. pic.twitter.com/EvC6ybIPF9— . (@creepwithasteel) February 5, 2016
After the game, manager Andre Schubert expressed his desire for Christensen to stay with Gladbach permanently. You're not having him, Andre!
Mario Pasalic started both of Monaco's victories, coming against Bastia and Nice, getting subbed off at the 68th and 66th minutes, respectively. Pattern.
Jeremie Boga, for some reason, was started again as the lone striker and was subbed off in the 62nd minute as Rennes lost 1-0 to Saint-Etienne.
Vitesse Arnhem are still to get going in the second half of the season, and are still playing some poor football, losing 1-0 to AZ Alkmaar in their latest debacle on Saturday. Lewis Baker finally made a return to the side, in the face of injuries to Solanke, Milot Rashica and Renato Ibarra, and Izzy Brown started as well. Unfortunately, Brown was also added to Vitesse's long list of injured players, being forced off at the hour-mark. Nathan got around 15 minutes off the bench, and may start the next game if the injury scenario remains the same. Vitesse are in all sorts of trouble, and could be down to 9th by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Danilo Pantic looks to have definitively left Vitesse, but no official confirmation of a switch in loan destinations has been made.
Marco van Ginkel made his debut for PSV in the KNVB Beker, in which PSV unfortunately were sent packing by FC Utrecht. Marco made a horrendous challenge in the course of the game, and was brought off in the 67th minute. Not the best of starts to his spell back in his native land.
Marco van Ginkel is back in Holland, but should've been sent off in his first match. Did he learn this at Stoke? pic.twitter.com/M9V202raaA— VitesseCFC (@VitesseCFC) February 5, 2016
Juan Cuadrado played the whole game as Juventus edged past Genoa, 1-0. Renewed good performances from Cuadrado have led to renew rumors of Juventus looking to finally wrap up their purchase agreement of the Chelsea loanee.
Nathaniel Chalobah was brought on for Marek Hamsik in the 89th minute of Napoli's 3-0 victory over Lazio, and Stipe Perica was an unused substitute for Udinese. The Serie A is increasingly looking like a two-horse race between Juve and Napoli; could be a fun one to keep an eye on.
Christian Atsu made a promising start to his loan spell at Malaga, starting and scoring his side's second goal in a 3-0 victory over Getafe. Probably lacking match fitness, he was then brought off at half-time.
Cristian Manea was not involved for Mouscron. Is he ever?
WHAT a lad.