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Chelsea Loan Round-up: Atsu wins the league; Traore blitzes Europa League; Abraham, Blackman win awards; others

AC Milan v US Citta di Palermo - Serie A Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images


Tammy Abraham's last involvement in a Bristol City shirt was arguably the most popular topic of discussion as the Robins took to the field for the last time this season, in front of the highest crowd at Ashton Gate in 37 years. Their fixture was against Harry Redknapp's relegation-threatened Birmingham City, whose safety was down to their result on the day. Unfortunately for Tammy and his teammates, they couldn't end on a high note; Birmingham eked out a 0-1 win against a very lacklustre City side and hence, secured their status as a Championship club.

Tammy was presented with the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards on the pitch, prior to the game. The club's media team also made a 'Day in the life' video, which shows us how the youngster's final day at the club unfolded, and provokes quite some emotion, if I may say so.

Izzy Brown played 67 minutes as a visibly distracted Huddersfield Town lost 3-0 to Cardiff City, after seeing their Liverpool loanee goalkeeper, Danny Ward sent off early on. Huddersfield ended the regular season in 5th place and will hence face the 4th-placed team, Sheffield Wednesday, in the play-off semi-finals.

Kasey Palmer, who has been ruled out of action until the summer, returned to the John Smith's Stadium to watch his teammates on Sunday. He also teased a possible return to Huddersfield next season on social media.

While stating nothing groundbreaking, it does hint that Palmer would like to return to Huddersfield next season, perhaps.

Upcoming fixtures: Sheffield Wednesday (H, May 14)

Fikayo Tomori started at center-back for Brighton, who needed at least a win, or for Newcastle to lose to win the league. As Newcastle were easing their way to a win against Barnsley, Brighton were toiling to break the deadlock against Aston Villa. They managed to do so via a Glenn Murray penalty in the 64th minute and had a further helping hand in the form of a red card to Villa defender Nathan Baker, but a late Jack Grealish equaliser turned the title race on its head. There was no way back for Brighton, who somehow lost all of their last three games, and had to hence make do with second place. Nevertheless, they've successfully made their way to the Premier League; the players and fans alike, should take pride in this feat and look forward to an exciting season in the big time.

Christian Atsu completed 90 minutes and played well in Newcastle's aforementioned title-clinching 3-0 win against Barnsley. Do give this piece in the Daily Mail (it’s not a transfer rumor) a read, in which Atsu talks about the turbulent circumstances which he overcame to become what he is today, somewhat like our own Victor Moses.

Newcastle United v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

We are champions together❤️

A post shared by Christian Atsu (@chris_atsu) on

Tomas Kalas and Lucas Piazon both started as Fulham ended their regular season with a gritty 2-1 win against 10-man Sheffield Wednesday. Piazon played 90 minutes, and Kalas was taken off in the 69th minute, most probably as a precautionary measure against picking up a second booking. Fulham contest their play-off fixture against Jaap Stam's Reading, and are a popular choice to go all the way, despite being placed the lowest among the four play-off sides.

Upcoming fixtures: Reading (H, May 13)

Jamal Blackman kept a clean sheet in his last game at Wycombe, but the Chairboys' 1-0 win against Cambridge was not enough to take them into the top 7 and hence, the play-offs. Blackman finished the season with 17 clean sheets in 52 appearances, and will certainly play at a higher level next season. He was also named Wycombe's Young Player of the Year.

Alex Kiwomya was not involved for Crewe, but took to social media all the same to thank his loan club.

Oh, and Loic Remy made the bench for Crystal Palace this weekend.


Bertrand Traore was given a well-deserved rest over the weekend after his role in Ajax's resounding 4-1 victory against Lyon in the Europa League semi-final first leg, at the Amsterdam Arena. The game made for very enjoyable viewing, as both sides practically gave up defending and launched attack after attack upon each other, but it was Ajax's breakneck pace that saw them create chance after chance. Traore nodded in Hakim Ziyech's free-kick with the slightest of touches to give Ajax the lead, and soon after, assisted Kasper Dolberg for Ajax's second, winning a header and sending the young Danish striker clean through on goal. Traore scored his team's final goal of the game, finishing off an excellent move in which the final ball was yet again provided by Hakim Ziyech. Traore was competent in defense as well, and was winning aerial balls with much greater ease than usual, making his performance a delightfully well-rounded one.

Ajax travel to Lyon this Thursday and should progress to the finals if they defend in a competent manner. This interview with Traoré on Ajax's YouTube channel is recommended viewing, as he takes a look back at not only the semi-final but also at the season.

Ajax have been given an unlikely boost in the title race as well, after Feyenoord inexplicably lost 3-0 to local rivals (albeit minnows), Excelsior, for whom Danilo Pantic did not feature.

Upcoming fixtures: Lyon (A, May 11), Willem II (H, May 14)

Marco van Ginkel played 90 minutes as PSV could manage only a 1-1 draw against Groningen. PSV have secured qualification to the Europa League.

Upcoming fixtures: PEC Zwolle (H, May 14)

Vitesse have very little to play for, now that they’ve won the KNVB Beker and sealed qualification to next season’s Europa League. Nevertheless, Henk Fraser put out a strong side against 4th-placed FC Utrecht. Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Nathan all started; Nathan was taken off at half-time, however, while Mukhtar Ali was once again an unused substitute. Vitesse lost the game 1-0, and remain in 6th place behind AZ Alkmaar.

Upcoming fixtures: Roda JC (H, May 14)


Andreas Christensen played a full 90 in Borussia Monchengladbach’s 1-1 draw against Augsburg. Gladbach are still 3 points away from a Europa League qualification place, and must win their last two games at the very least.

Upcoming fixtures: Wolfsburg (A, May 13)

Ever since his return to the Eintracht Frankfurt XI following a couple of weeks’ worth of exclusions from the match-day 18, Michael Hector has looked one of Frankfurt’s better performers and kept that running this weekend as well, albeit in a 0-2 loss to Wolfsburg.

Upcoming fixtures: Mainz (A, May 13)


Neither Matej Delac nor Cristian Cuevas were involved for their sides. While Mouscron are 3rd and a long way from Genk in first place in their Europa League play-off group, STVV find themselves atop their group table. They are level on points with Mechelen, and must match Mechelen’s result or at least manage a draw if Mechelen lose, to finish as Group winners.


Mario Pasalic started and scored for AC Milan, who went two down to Roma via an Edin Dzeko double in the first half-hour. Pasalic’s goal in the 76th minute offered some hope for Milan but not much longer, they found themselves two more goals and a man down, ultimately losing 1-4.

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Pasalic’s goal takes this season’s Loan Army goal tally to 125, equalling that of the record-setting 2013/14 batch.

Upcoming fixtures: Atalanta (A, May 14)

Jeremie Boga was only an unused substitute as Real Madrid came to town, although with a largely second-choice line-up featuring the likes of Danilo, Fabio Coentrao (I’d forgotten he played there), Mateo Kovacic and Alvaro Morata all from the start. Victorien Angban started, however, and was one of the few positives (if any) for Granada to take away from the game. Angban’s name isn’t often spoken when talking about future prospects but he’s a very talented young lad, who has been getting regular call-ups to the senior Ivory Coast squad since his days on loan at STVV in Belgium. He hasn’t crossed the 1000-minute mark though, this season, and has definitely been a victim of the unstable environment at Granada, along with Boga. With a loan where he sees regular minutes next season, you might just find yourself talking about him a bit more.

Upcoming fixtures: Osasuna (A, May 13)

Kenneth Omeruo was not involved for Alanyaspor.

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