Kurt Happy Zouma, Everton (Premier League)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): West Ham United (L, 1-3, 90), Fulham (W, 3-0, 90), Arsenal (L, 2-0, 90), Southampton (D, 1-1 loss on penalties, 120), Leicester City (W, 1-2, 90), Crystal Palace (W, 2-0, 90), Manchester United (L, 2-1, 90), Brighton & Hove Albion (W, 3-1, 90)
Big Kurt, initially earning his chance in the starting XI due to an injury to Michael Keane, has retained his place in defence even upon Keane’s return. His spell of minutes has resulted in him getting called up to the French national team for the first time since 2016, where he stood in for the injured Samuel Umtiti, and even made one 44-minute appearance in a friendly against Iceland. Zouma’s form hasn’t been exceptional, maintaining his robust yet slightly error-prone stature, but he’s been solid in performing his defensive duties overall.
Robert Kenedy Nundes do Nascimento, Newcastle United (Premier League)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Arsenal (L, 1-2, 21), Crystal Palace (D, 0-0, 90), Leicester City (L, 0-2, 90), Manchester United (L, 3-2, 68), Brighton & Hove Albion (L, 0-1, 90), Southampton (D, 0-0, 90), Watford (W, 1-0, 90)
Speaking of teams who’ve had a poor start to the season, Newcastle’s has been near-egregious; picking up a measly 6 points in 11 games, they unsurprisingly find themselves just above the relegation zone. Kenedy had a horror-stretch of matches before the first international break, displaying shambolic form and was only a substitute in the match immediately following it, against Arsenal. However, he has since returned to the starting XI, although he’s yet to returning to the standard of displays showcased last season. The same goes for most players at the club, however.
Kenedy did a feature interview with FourFourTwo for their monthly magazine, where he spoke on a variety of topics, including his situation at Chelsea.
“It’s always difficult for any player not playing every week, that’s for sure, and I’m no different,”
“I was living the dream when I arrived at Chelsea, you know? A youngster coming over from Brazil and getting to play in some huge stadiums with so many great players on my team, not to mention the opposition.
“In the first year I learned a lot about English football, on and off the pitch.
“As for the future, I have a contract at Chelsea and it would be nice to get another opportunity there, but for now I prefer to enjoy the moment. I’m happy at Newcastle and can only promise to give my best here. Then we’ll see what happens.”
- Kenedy; source: FourFourTwo
He also alluded to an act of kindness by one Newcastle fan after that performance against Cardiff, where he missed a last-minute penalty to cap off an abysmal 90 minutes, while speaking about his love for the club’s fans.
“It was definitely one of my most difficult games,”
“However I prefer to focus on a great thing that happened to me that day. Afterwards, even though my performance had been poor, a Newcastle fan came up to me and gave me a hug. He just told me to keep my head high because those kind of things happen to everyone.
“He also reminded me that it wasn’t the first time a player had missed a penalty, and it wouldn’t be the last time. I found it so friendly from him to have such positive words after a tough result. That’s how I get strength to move on and improve from bad days.”
- Kenedy; source: FourFourTwo via Chronicle Live
When Newcastle took a rapid-fire two-goal lead against Manchester United, the first came via a cleanly executed Kenedy strike. The winger picked up a pass at the edge of the area, cut on the inside of Ashley Young and fired past David de Gea. While this would’ve gone some way in restoring Kenedy’s confidence, Newcastle conceded three goals after his 68th minute substitution, losing the match 3-2.
Kenedy didn’t directly contribute to the scoreline as Newcastle picked up their first win of the season on Saturday against an otherwise buoyant Watford, but provided a crucial turning point in the game by managing to nick the ball off Andre Gray with a superb last-ditch tackle, just as the Hornets’ striker looked certain to score. It was an industrious, spirited shift from the young winger, who was one of his side’s better performers on the day that Newcastle United may just have turned a corner.
Mason Tony Mount & Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola Tomori, Derby County (Championship)
Appearances (home/away, scoreline, minutes): Rotherham United (L, 1-0, 90), Blackburn Rovers (D, 0-0, 90), Brentford (W, 3-1, 90), Manchester United (D, 2-2 win on penalties, 120), Bolton Wanderers (L, 1-0, 90), Norwich City (D, 1-1, 90), QPR (D, 1-1, 90), Sheffield United (W, 2-1, 90), West Bromwich Albion (W, 1-4, 90), Middlesbrough (D, 1-1, 90), Chelsea (L, 3-2, 90)
As you can see, the pair of Chelsea youngsters at Derby County have been pivotal to their efforts, playing every minute in all but two of Derby’s matches this season (owing to Tomori arriving later than Mount). Although Mount takes most of the plaudits and has gained recognition at the senior international level for his performances, Tomori’s defensive prowess must not go unnoticed. Though the 20-year-old can do more aerially while defending set-pieces, he’s been rock-solid at the back and is crucial to Derby’s efforts in playing out from the back. After a lukewarm loan spell at Hull City where he was often played out of position, at right-back, it’s excellent to see the former Chelsea Academy Player of the Year coming into his own this season.
Meanwhile, Mount’s only direct goal contribution in the aforementioned matches was Derby’s second against Brentford but he’s continued creating chances for his teammates in abundance. His off-the-ball work rate improves by the week and he actively influences the game in a consistent manner now, which is something he wasn’t the most adept at, earlier. Mount also continues to get into great goal-scoring positions, and could’ve perhaps won Derby their last two fixtures with three golden chances falling his way.
Derby have been going through a purple patch since returning to action after the October international break, coming out of a tough fixture list with flying colours, registering wins against the likes of West Brom, Sheffield United and Birmingham City. They also gave Chelsea a run for their money and arguably should’ve come away with a quarter-final date against Bournemouth, if not for a pair of unfortunate own-goals from Tomori and Richard Keogh.
Mount and Tomori both did not feature as Derby overcame an early goal deficit to beat Garry Monk’s Birmingham City, 3-1. While both could definitely have used some rest, Mount was forcibly left out due to an ankle problem of currently unknown severity, while Tomori was rotated out for captain Curtis Davies, who provided a stronger counter to the aerial threat of Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi Bakumo-Abraham, Aston Villa (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Blackburn Rovers (D, 1-1, 90), Rotherham United (W, 2-0, 86), Sheffield Wednesday (L, 1-2, 90), Bristol City (D, 1-1, 90), Preston North End (D, 3-3, 56), Millwall (L, 2-1, 90), Swansea City (W, 1-0, 90), Norwich City (L, 2-1, 54), QPR (L, 1-0, 90), Bolton Wanderers (W, 2-0, 81)
A striker of proven pedigree in the Championship, Tammy has been an undisputed starter for Aston Villa upon his arrival, alongside fellow striker Jonathan Kodjia. Although Villa have had an uninspiring start to the season, leading to the sacking of Steve Bruce, Tammy cannot be faulted for his efforts in front of goal. In ten appearances, he’s scored four goals, all of high quality.
His most recent goal came in new manager, Dean Smith’s first game in charge, versus Swansea City.
Tammy also displayed another facet of his game by sending Jack Grealish through on goal with an excellent through-ball in their 2-0 win against Bolton on Friday night.
The Championship may not be the best destination for Tammy to progress anymore, but it can certainly help him regain momentum; the young striker looks more confident and mature than he did in his previous loan spells, although he has squandered a fair few chances in recent games. Hopefully with the managerial situation at Villa Park now sorted out, he can push on.
Reece James, Wigan Athletic (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Brentford (L, 2-0, 90), Hull City (W, 2-1, 86), Bristol City (W, 1-0, 90), Norwich City (L, 1-0, 90), Swansea City (D, 0-0, 90), Preston North End (L, 4-0, 90), West Bromwich Albion (W, 1-0, 90), Millwall (L, 2-1, 73), Sheffield United (L, 4-2, 90), Leeds United (L, 1-2, 90)
Wigan unfortunately haven’t been able to sustain the form they showed in the opening weeks of the Championship. After 16 games played, they sit in 16th place with 20 points on the board, which can be put into further perspective considering they’re a newly-promoted side. Reece James has been consistently solid for them, bombing forward from his right-back position and delivering a number of quality crosses every game. James won Wigan’s Player of the Month award for September and October, and the fact that fans singled him out as the only one to have played well even in their 4-0 loss against Preston, is testament to the progress he’s been making. He’s become a heavy fan favourite at the DW Stadium, too, with fans (only half-) jokingly christening the Man of the Match award as ‘The Reece James’ award. Hopefully it’ll continue all season long.
Reece scored his first professional goal last weekend with an exquisitely-struck free-kick from 25 yards out to give Wigan an early lead against Leeds United, although Leeds later struck back effectively to win 1-2.
His manager, Paul Cook, was full of praise in his words, post-match and lauded the youngster’s attitude.
Paul Cook :— Chelsea Loan Army (@ChelseaLoanArmy) November 6, 2018
If every 18-year-old conducted themselves the way Reece James does, football would be in a good place. (2)
Trevoh Thomas Chalobah, Ipswich Town (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Brentford (D, 1-1, 83), Bolton Wanderers (D, 0-0, 45), Birmingham City (D, 2-2, 90), Middlesbrough (L, 0-2, 90), Swansea City (W, 2-3, 90), Queens Park Rangers (L, 0-2, 90), Leeds United (L, 2-0, 5), Millwall (L, 3-0, 90), Preston North End (D, 1-1, 90)
It hasn’t been smooth sailing at Portman Road. Having let go of Mick McCarthy, their manager for the last few years, Ipswich Town appear to be undergoing an overhaul of sorts, appointing young up-and-coming manager, Paul Hurst to build a younger side that plays entertaining football. Unfortunately, they’ve struggled to get things right on the pitch so far, and sacked Hurst after the Tractor Boys could only manage to win one game in 15. Trevoh scored the winner in that single game, heading the ball in from a set-piece in the 86th minute.
Young Chalobah had been a regular in midfield for Hurst’s side, having moments of madness but also those of brilliance. There are times when he looks a clear cut above every other player on the pitch, exuding quality and carrying the ball effortlessly through midfield, keeping things ticking, but he’s been suspect with regard to his positioning on multiple occasions, interspersed with random sloppy actions on the ball.
He’s very much a work in progress but will only get better with more minutes and despite everything, Paul Hurst seemed to view him as an important part of his side and new manager, Paul Lambert started Chalobah in his first game in charge, though, so hopefully the Chelsea youngster will remain an essential component of Ipswich’s efforts to lift themselves out of the relegation zone.
Kasey Remel Palmer, Blackburn Rovers (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Derby County (D, 0-0, 56), AFC Bournemouth (L, 3-2, 64), Bolton Wanderers (W, 0-1, 70), West Bromwich Albion (D, 1-1, 67), Queens Park Rangers (W, 1-0, 27)
It was always going to be difficult for Kasey Palmer to displace the talismanic Bradley Dack from his preferred number 10 role but now even more so, as Dack’s sensational form has carried over from League One to the Championship without any attenuation. Hence, Palmer has been a rotational option in a wide attacking role, where he quite simply hasn’t been as effective. In addition, his defensive work-rate, which seemed to be at a decent level while under David Wagner at Huddersfield Town, is found wanting these days, in this role. At Town, Palmer would usually press the midfield tirelessly but when it comes to tracking back to help his full-back out at Blackburn, the same level of intensity has been missing.
Kasey seemed to have turned a corner after his outing against Bolton. He was instrumental in the build-up to the only goal of the game, scored by Bradley Dack, and even showed an increased tendency to track back although he was replaced after 70 minutes as manager Tony Mowbray looked to shore up his midfield.
He’s only had two appearances since, though. In fairness, Blackburn have been in great form without requiring Palmer’s services on a regular basis; they sit 8th, a single point off the play-off spots.
Lewis Renard Baker, Leeds United (Championship)
Appearances (home/away, scoreline, minutes): Millwall (A, 1-1, 29), Preston North End (H, 3-0, 3), Brentford (H, 1-1, 14)
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are still on song and going strong, mostly with an unchanged midfield throughout, meaning the only way for Baker to get on the pitch is still from the bench. Unfortunately, Adam Forshaw appears to have overtaken him in the midfield pecking order as well. It’s that #FreeBaker time of the year.
Jamal Clint-Ross Blackman, Leeds United (Championship)
After two seasons of consistent first-team football with Wycombe and Sheffield United, Blackman has been playing second fiddle to young Bailey Peacock-Farrell despite him committing a few errors.
Lest we forget, Isaiah Jay Brown is also on loan at Leeds but was still undergoing the final stages of rehabilitation from an ACL injury upon signing. He’s not been fit enough to feature in a matchday squad yet.
Tomáš Kalas, Bristol City (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Sheffield United (W, 1-0, 90), West Bromwich Albion (L, 4-2, 90), Wigan Athletic (W, 1-0, 76), Hull City (W, 1-0, 90), Stoke City (L, 0-1, 90), Reading (L, 3-2, 90)
Kalas’ run of starts came to a cruel halt, when he was subbed off in the 76th minute of Bristol City’s clash against Wigan, due to a fractured jaw. He had to undergo surgery and missed about a month, from the end of September to the end of October but returned to the starting XI immediately upon his return and has started three games since, in one of which he was named Man of the Match.
"In the first 45 minutes we wasted the opportunity to play like we did in the second half - it's disappointing."— Bristol City FC (@BristolCity) October 27, 2018
Tomas Kalas shares his thoughts after #BristolCity fall to a home defeat. #BRCvSTO pic.twitter.com/fZ4EtYtDej
Kalas spoke a few words to the Bristol Post about his situation with Chelsea to the Bristol Post, elucidating upon his decision to sign extension after extension despite looking rather far away from being a first-team player at SW6.
“I always wanted it [to play for Chelsea] but if I can see for myself the way it goes, or the way it went so far, and I’m not sure.
“But obviously when Chelsea come with a new contract, as they did a year and a half ago, it’s quite difficult to turn them down because you’re not playing just for fun, it’s your job and that’s the perfect opportunity to have some security.
“People may look at it and say ‘you signed for the money and could have gone somewhere for less money, where you could settle down’, but I don’t think you’d find a person who wouldn’t have done the same thing.
“They deserve loyalty from me and I’m thankful that they brought me into big-time football and obviously as long as it makes sense, I’ll keep loyal to them and keep faith that maybe one day I can become a first-team player – though obviously we have to be realistic and not live ‘in the sky.
“A couple of days ago, Paulo Ferreira [technical coach at Chelsea] was here at the Hull game to find out how I’m settling down – bringing some analysis about the game, and trying to help me improve myself.
“Obviously they’ve got so many players on loan, so it’s not easy to be in touch every single day or even every single week, because they have to go around the whole of Europe to see everyone. But at least they show we are not forgotten.”
- Tomas Kalas; source: Bristol Post
Jay Rhys Dasilva, Bristol City (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Sheffield United (W, 1-0, 62), Sheffield Wednesday (L, 1-2, 90), Brentford (W, 0-1, 90), Hull City (W, 1-0, 90), Stoke CIty (L, 0-1, 44), Reading (L, 3-2, 90)
Jay Dasilva has had a sizable obstacle in his path to a starting place in the Bristol City XI, named Lloyd Kelly. The Robins’ academy product was in great nick in the left-back position, thus relegating Jay to the bench more often than not. However, as Jay had to do in his first loan spell at Charlton, he continued to work hard behind the scenes, waited for his opportunity to come and took it with aplomb. Kelly, a youngster himself, began to suffer a slight loss in form which also coincided with an injury to center-back Nathan Baker, and Dasilva immediately capitalised on his chance. He was named Man of the Match in a 1-0 win against Hull City and has since put himself ahead of Kelly in his manager’s preference at left-back, and even assisted Niclas Eliasson’s winner against Brentford in the match prior to that.
For all of Jay’s other traits, his lack of height must stick out like a sore thumb to managers, especially in the English lower leagues. Yet, he’s shown immense character on not one, but two occasions at different clubs and won his manager over on both counts. The future is bright for the tenacious, skillful left-back.
He was even spoken highly of by his fellow teammate (and loanee), Kalas, who hailed him as someone who could be ‘the next Ashley Cole’.
“In the last three games, he’s (Dasilva’s) impressed everyone,” said defender Kalas, who is also enjoying a loan spell at Ashton Gate.
“He’s looking at his best and I’m really pleased for him. He has a calmness about his play and he’s always had that. In pre-season we were training together so I can see what his strengths are, and he’s a very front-foot player.
“He’s always thinking about what he’s doing and knows what he is doing. Even when he’s under pressure, he keeps calm. That’s his big strength.
“He’s a very confident player. He obviously knows that he’s a good player. He could become another Ashley Cole. There’s still a long way to go, but why not?”
- Tomas Kalas; source: West London Sport
Michael Anthony James Hector, Sheffield Wednesday (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Stoke City (H, 2-2, 2), Aston Villa (A, 1-2, 90), Leeds United (H, 1-1, 90), West Bromwich Albion (H, 2-2, 90), Bristol City (A, 1-2, 90), Middlesbrough (A, 1-2, 90), QPR (L, 3-0, 90), Birmingham CIty (L, 3-1, 90)
Hector, an experienced Championship player by now, has been very impressive for Sheffield Wednesday in his five starts since signing, even stepping into midfield when required and performing with aplomb. He was even named the Owls’ Player of the Month for October, although come the fixture after that versus QPR, he was dropped from the starting XI. The fact that Wednesday had conceded six goals in the two games hitherto might’ve had something to do with Jos Luhukay’s decision to do the same. Hector usually has his purple patch early into the season but struggles to maintain form over the 46 games. Hopefully he’ll be able to turn over a new leaf and change that this season.
Todd Arthur Lucien Kane, Hull City (Championship)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Ipswich Town (W, 2-0, 90), Reading (L, 3-0, 90), Middlesbrough (D, 1-1, 90), Leeds United (L, 0-1, 90), Sheffield United (L, 1-0, 90), Preston North End (D, 1-1, 90), Bristol City (L, 1-0, 90)
The curious resurgence of Todd Kane the left/right-winger/wing-back has been going strong, although Hull City themselves haven’t. Currently in 23rd place, Nigel Adkins’ side are digging a hole that might just be too deep to climb out of despite a multitude of tactical changes and shapes. Kane was shortlisted for the Tigers’ Player of the Month for September, although Hull have been so bad that it doesn’t say all that much. Hull have won their last two matches, though, both 1-0 victories against Bolton and West Brom using a 4-5-1 formation in which there’s been no room for Todd.
Bradley Ray Collins, Burton Albion (League One)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Peterborough United (L, 1-2, 90), Walsall (W, 1-3, 90)
Brad was kept out for a month due to an injury sustained in his second start for Burton Albion but in the mean time, Dimitar Evtimov, signed on a short-term contract to fill in, had consolidated his place as the Brewers’ first-choice goalkeeper. Hence, Collins had to spend three league matches watching from the bench before being restored to the XI against Peterborough and subsequently starting the next league game, a win over Walsall.
Dujon Henriques Sterling, Coventry City (League One)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Barnsley (W, 1-0, 90), Bristol Rovers (L, 3-1, 90), Sunderland (D, 1-1, 90), Portsmouth (L, 0-1, 90), Charlton Athletic (W, 1-2, 90), Wycombe Wanderers (W, 1-0, 90), Southend United (W, 1-2, 90), Bradford City (W, 2-4, 90), Doncaster Rovers (W, 2-1, 90)
Dujon had a rough start to life in the senior game, earning the ire of a large part of the fan-base after a few flimsy displays. The fans took issue with the fact that Sterling kept playing ahead of Jack Grimmer but since October, they’ve largely been silenced. Barring a couple of knocks, Sterling has continued to start and improve with every game, even chipping in with a couple of assists against Wycombe and Sunderland.
Ike Dominique Ugbo, Scunthorpe United (League One)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): AFC Wimbledon (W, 2-3, 76), Shrewsbury Town (W, 1-0, 88), Burton Albion (D, 0-0, 59), Wycombe Wanderers (L, 3-2, 35), Blackpool (L, 1-0, 13), Plymouth Argyle (L, 1-4, 78), Oxford United (D, 3-3, 69)
Ugbo has been among the minutes at Scunthorpe, but also scored only once so far this season, in a win against Wimbledon. He’s yet to really find his scoring form at the senior level, although his energetic attacking displays have seen him involved more often than not for Scunthorpe, when fit.
INTERVIEW: Ike Ugbo: It's about how we bounce back - https://t.co/iYbampNBhx— Scunthorpe United FC (@SUFCOfficial) November 2, 2018
See much more from Ike on @iFollowIron, where you can watch extended highlights and a full match replay from 12noon on Sunday.#UTI #IRON pic.twitter.com/ykcNHTPFmg
Charlie Colkett, Shrewsbury Town (League One)
A minor foot problem aside, this is a move gone terribly awry.
Jacob Christian Maddox, Cheltenham Town (League Two)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Crewe (D, 0-0, 90), Exeter City (L, 3-1, 90), Lincoln City (L, 0-2, 90), Morecambe (D, 2-2, 90), MK Dons (L, 3-0, 90), Forest Green Rovers (D, 1-1, 82), Oldham Athletic (L, 2-0, 82), Stevenage (L, 0-2, 90), Mansfield Town (D, 2-2, 90), Arsenal Under-23 (W, 6-2, 70)
As you can tell from that appearance list, Cheltenham haven’t won a league game in a very long time and are unsurprisingly 23rd in the League Two table. Jacob Maddox has been one of the few bright spots for them, starting every single one of their league games. He scored twice against the Arsenal Under-23 side in the EFL Trophy, before collecting a Man of the Match award against Mansfield Town on his 20th birthday.
Here’s a compilation of his actions from the Arsenal game.
Maddox spoke of his immense relief after scoring his first senior goals and sought to build upon the same.
“Scoring was long overdue so hopefully I can start doing it consistently now, as I think I can.
“Hopefully the two goals are the first of many and it was a relief because I’ve been close recently so it felt good to get the ball over the line.
“It’s been a frustrating time and I put a lot pressure on myself so I want to kick on now.”
“It was a change of system and we adapted well, bringing out a lot of possession based football, which is also a bonus for a player like me.
“I will play wherever, but I am a central player I like to think, if possible.
“When I do get the chance to play there, I will feel more comfortable.”
“I know quite a lot of the Arsenal players and how they play and the game was a what I am used to, having grown up in the academy system.
“But I also brought a bit of my League Two knowledge and how you have to be there, which has definitely helped me as well.
“I have improved a lot here and there were parts of my game I wanted to work on.
“It’s helped me off the ball in particular and it’s a different style of play to Chelsea, so it’s been good to learn.
“I have loved it at Cheltenham, despite results not being the best, and everyone has been so welcoming.
“But we have to try and flick the switch now because the quality is here and I see it every day in training.”
- Jacob Maddox; source: Gloucestershire Live
Nathan Joseph Baxter, Yeovil Town (League Two)
Appearances (result, scoreline, minutes): Newport County (W, 0-6, 90), Swindon Town (L, 0-3, 90), MK Dons (D, 1-1, 90), Crawley Town (L, 3-1, 90), Colchester United (L, 3-1, 90), Exeter City (D, 2-2, 90), Tranmere Rovers (D, 0-0, 90), Crewe Alexandra (D, 1-1, 90), Carlisle United (W, 0-1, 90), Morecambe (L, 2-1, 90)
Yeovil’s strong start to the season fell off a cliff in the middle of September, devolving into a dismal winless streak until they won 0-1 against Carlisle. Baxter has remained undisputed first-choice keeper, but managed to add only three clean sheets to his tally over the last two months. He saved a penalty on Saturday against Morecambe but couldn’t prevent the eventual 2-1 loss.
Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella published a feature interview with Baxter, which is required reading for an insight into the unconventional loan path that he has followed, beginning with Isthmian Premier League side, Metropolitan Police, two seasons ago.