Tammy Abraham has been ever-present for Swansea City, starting three of their last four games. The one game that he was on the bench for, versus Watford, saw him introduced for the second 45 minutes and score his side’s equaliser.
Abraham started against Huddersfield Town on Saturday, as Paul Clement finally decided to drop Renato Sanches and opt for a midfield three of Leon Britton, Tom Carroll and Leroy Fer. Luciano Narsingh, a winger, started in Swansea’s front three instead of the injured Wilfried Bony and provided Swansea with some much-needed width. Abraham scored a brace that gave Swansea their first home win of the season.
Tammy has scored four league goals in his last six games, with an additional one in the Carabao Cup taking his total for the season to five goals. Let’s hope he continues to go from strength to strength this season.
Upcoming fixtures: Leicester City (H, October 21)
Since their commendable efforts against Arsenal and Manchester United, Kurt Zouma and Stoke City have won just one game from their last five, a 2-1 victory over Southampton. They’ve suffered losses to Newcastle United, Bristol City (Carabao Cup), Chelsea (with Zouma ineligible to play) and most recently, were absolutely thrashed by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Zouma was visibly distraught after the final whistle sounded in City’s 7-2 win.
Kurt Zouma had to be consoled by teammates after today’s result. Be strong Kurt! #SCFC #TBPTV pic.twitter.com/nInTWSRSwE— The Bear Pit TV (@TheBearPitTV) October 14, 2017
Big Kurt has otherwise been one of Stoke’s better performers this season as he aims to return to (and surpass) his pre-injury levels.
Upcoming fixtures: Bournemouth (H, October 21)
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has continued to look excellent for Crystal Palace whenever he’s played. After strong displays against Manchester City and Southampton, in which he not only set up chances for Christian Benteke to score but also had opportunities to score himself, Loftus-Cheek injured himself again. He missed Palace’s final game before the international break due to a thigh strain, and was ineligible to take on Chelsea last Saturday. This isn’t the first time that Ruben has picked up a knock this season, with the effect of spending two years at Chelsea playing very little football quite telling. Let’s hope he can keep himself fit henceforth and demonstrate further that he belongs at this level. Chelsea may have made things harder for the youngster by losing to Palace in embarrassing fashion, though, as Roy Hodgson may not want to immediately change a winning side for their next fixture.
Upcoming fixtures: Newcastle United (A, October 21)
Kasey Palmer is in the process of recovering from his most recent hamstring injury, and should be back some time next month.
Izzy Brown started his first game back from injury up front against Arsenal. It was always going to be a tough outing for the youngster, who had to feed off scraps. He showed some decent touches but was largely passive — much like the rest of his team. He was replaced by Glenn Murray for the last 15 minutes or so, and it was apparent that the veteran striker’s experience and physicality helped him cope better with the Arsenal defence. Murray started Brighton’s 1-1 draw against Everton following the international break, with Brown replacing him after 85 minutes and having one dangerous attempt on goal that drew a good save from Jordan Pickford.
With the return of Tomer Hemed from suspension next weekend, Brown will likely face great competition for a place in the side — Murray and Hemed will no doubt be ahead of him in the pecking order, with Solomon March and Anthony Knockaert in form on the wings and Brighton’s talisman Pascal Gross unlikely to be displaced from the central attacking midfield position.
Upcoming fixtures: West Ham United (A, October 21)
Leonid Slutsky’s Hull City side have picked up only seven points from their last five games despite losing just one of them. Their main problem has been seeing games out: in the aforementioned five games, they conceded match-deciding goals in the last five minutes on three occasions. Despite improving over time, Slutsky’s side seem plagued with concentration lapses and sloppy defending.
Michael Hector and Ola Aina started all five games, while Fikayo Tomori started all three of the games in which Hull played with a back three. Slutsky reverted to a 4-2-3-1 against Birmingham City just before the international break, and with the Tigers winning 6-1, maintained the same formation for their 1-1 draw against Norwich City on Saturday. Tomori was unlucky to drop out of the XI due to the change in formation and had showed many positive signs in the games he had started.
Hector has been a key player for Hull since the very start of the season due to his physical prowess, passing ability and prior experience in the Championship. Despite a brief loss of form recently, he impressed against Norwich and is hopefully back to his best alongside captain Michael Dawson at the heart of defence. Ola Aina qualified for the World Cup with Nigeria over the international break and may well be headed to Russia next summer, but he has some way to go before Chelsea can consider him for a legitimate first-team place. The right-back has been excellent going forward but still looks shaky when defending and tends to over-play the ball to little success in defensive areas.
Lewis Baker was handed a few out-of-position starts by Garry Monk, and dropped for their most recent two fixtures against Brentford and Barnsley, both 2-2 draws. Baker hasn’t played in his preferred central midfield position even once this season, and has failed to really shine thus far.
Jeremie Boga has been a consistent starter for Birmingham so far and has been putting in typically Jeremie Boga performances — he averages 4.6 successful dribbles per 90 minutes and always looks to take on his man, but still lacks end product. He was also dropped from the match-day 18 altogether for Steve Cotterill’s first game in charge of City, a 1-0 win against Cardiff City, although it’s unclear if he picked up a knock prior to the game or not.
Jamal Blackman has enjoyed an excellent start to the season with Sheffield United, playing every minute of their campaign and keeping five clean sheets in the process. The newly promoted side are third in the Championship table, two points behind leaders, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Blackman has kept his place in the side despite the return to fitness of last season’s number one keeper, Simon Moore.
We’re Here To Compete” - @Big_Blacks #sufc #twitterblades ⚪️⚫️⚔️ #ForgedInSteel pic.twitter.com/UsaPzJnspR— Jamie Davies ⚔️⚪️ (@daviesblades83) October 12, 2017
Tomas Kalas has started all of Fulham’s last five games, which have resulted in two wins, two draws, and one loss. The Cottagers definitely have the quality to challenge for promotion this season, and currently find themselves in 9th place.
Ike Ugbo has been used in a rotational role for Barnsley, playing in three of their last five games including a start against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup, in which he missed a glorious chance to put his name on the scoresheet.
Jay Dasilva has been ever-present in the Charlton XI this season, and assisted Tarique Fosu’s goal on Saturday that saw the Addicks triumph over Doncaster Rovers, 1-0.
Incidentally, it was one of Dasilva’s poorer performances. He looked out of sorts in the first half, but pulled his socks up in the second and was only replaced for the last 10 minutes. The most important thing for Dasilva at the moment is that he’s playing 90 minutes every week and in the process, proving that his height isn’t necessarily an impediment to him playing men’s football. Expect him to be playing Championship football before long.
Jordan Houghton has picked up where he left off for Doncaster Rovers, invariably starting when fit. He even played 61 minutes against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Carabao Cup, which was no doubt a valuable learning experience. Doncaster have been struggling to truly acclimatise themselves to the level of League One however, and sit 18th in the league table.
Bradley Collins has made eight starts for relegation-threatened Forest Green Rovers so far this season, but has lost his place to the more experience Sam Russell as of late, spending the last six matches on the bench.
Nathan Baxter has been doing well at Woking in the Vanarama National League, as has Jared Thompson, one division below, for Chippenham Town.
WATCH: Great double save from Nathan Baxter. pic.twitter.com/WVWv2pZA8F— The National League (@TheNationalLge) September 22, 2017
Great to receive the Junior Cards player of the month for September! We go again Tuesday #juniorcards @wokingfc pic.twitter.com/9Bimwri1m1— Nathan Baxter (@NathanBaxterGK) October 15, 2017
Most recently, Thompson kept a clean sheet against Wealdstone and was named Man of the Match.
Today's Man of the Match: Jared Thompson— Chippenham Town FC (@ChipTownFC) October 14, 2017
Vitesse Arnhem have had an interesting last few weeks. Their last six games have seen three 1-1 draws, a loss to a thoroughly superior OGC Nice in the Europa League, a win against the mighty Ajax and a loss to amateur side AVV Swift in the KNVB Beker.
The latter was a most bizarre spectacle, as an XI wholly comprising of first-team players of the holders of the Dutch Cup failed to score against amateurs from the fifth division for 120 minutes. Then, thanks to a miss from former Manchester United man Alexander Buttner, Vitesse inexplicably crashed out of the competition in the penalty kick shootout. To complete the bizarre few days, Vitesse then beat Ajax in the very next fixture!
Matt Miazga and Fankaty Dabo have been regular fixtures in the starting XI, while Charlie Colkett has been making late cameos from the bench. Mason Mount’s full debut came in their unfortunate encounter with AVV Swift, although he scored his first goal for Vitesse ten days later against FC Utrecht. Mount was a 74th minute substitute for Bryan Linssen, and calmly finished Thomas Bruns’ cross to equalise for his side.
Post-game, manager Henk Fraser revealed that Mount had barely spoken to him when he wasn’t selected as he was angry about his lack of opportunities, but continued to work hard all the same. Fraser claimed Mount was a “rough diamond”, and would definitely see more game time over the course of the season. In their next fixture, against Heracles on Sunday, Mount was a 60th minute substitute and slotted in as an attacking midfielder.
Upcoming fixtures: Zulte Waregem (A, October 19), Heerenveen (A, October 22)
Marco van Ginkel scored two and made two in PSV’s last four games, and has played every minute for them this season. PSV are currently five points clear at the top of the table.
Upcoming fixtures: Heracles (H, October 22)
Todd Kane is out injured, and hasn’t made an appearance for Groningen in a month.
Cristian Cuevas was a late substitute for FC Twente in their 2-1 win against Heracles just before the international break, and made his full debut for the side on Sunday, playing the whole 90 minutes in a 3-1 loss to Willem II.
Mario Pasalic has started three of Spartak Moscow’s last five games (including versus Liverpool in the Champions League), and scored against Tosno last month.
Josimar Quintero is still yet to make his debut for FC Rostov.
Victorien Angban has settled in nicely at 8th-placed Waasland-Beveren, starting their last five games.
Nathan made his debut for Amiens SC last month, playing nine minutes as a substitute against Marseille but hasn’t been involved since.
Kenneth Omeruo started Kasimpasa’s last three games, failing to win any of them.
Danilo Pantic started for Partizan Beograd against Rad Beograd on the 24th, and was a 75th minute substitute in their 2-3 loss to Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League.
Joao Rodriguez has made three appearances for Tampico Madero in the Mexican second division this month, and scored in his most recent, against Venados. Rodriguez capitalised on some hilarious defending to score his first senior goal in three and a half years.