Kurt Zouma started alongside Michael Keane and put in a man-of-the-match performance as Everton snatched a 0-1 win to the languishing Huddersfield Town. However, he then saw defeat at Goodison Park to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. Zouma was still the better performer of the two center-backs and should manage to keep his place in the XI for the next fixture.
On a tangent, this happened during the game.
Kenedy wasn’t exiled from the 18 altogether after his horror-outing against Watford in the FA Cup but over Newcastle’s last two matches, he’s only played a total of eleven minutes off the bench.
Michy Batshuayi made an instant impact off the bench on his Crystal Palace debut. Taking a couple of quick touches in the area to evade Dennis Odoi and Jean-Michael Seri, his stinging shot was kept out with a heroic effort by Sergio Rico but Jeff Schlupp was present to pounce upon the rebound.
Mason Mount will remain out for the next three to four weeks with a hamstring strain but Fikayo Tomori assumed his regular position in defence at Deepdale, with Derby County coming out of it with a goalless stalemate. Preston are always a tough team to beat at home and the Rams were missing the likes of Mount, Marriott and any fully fit right-back, meaning midfielder Duane Holmes had to fill in at that position. Given the circumstances, that wasn’t the worst result for Frank Lampard’s side. Tomori was once again, excellent in defence and arguably Derby’s best player with captain, Richard Keogh.
Trevoh Chalobah was announced Ipswich’s Player of the Month for January but found himself on the bench versus Sheffield Wednesday, the very same day.
He got 16 minutes off the bench as the Owls won 0-1, in Steve Bruce’s first game in charge and brought about some positive moments in attack for the Tractor Boys. Michael Hector was immense for Wednesday, with two of his long passes leading to chances for them (one of which was Lucas Joao’s late goal). He also made a crucial interception to deny what would’ve been a certain Freddie Sears goal.
Tammy Abraham couldn’t add to his goal tally of 19, as Aston Villa drew 0-0 with Reading at the Madjeski Stadium. Anwar El Ghazi’s parried shot early on was followed through with a diving header from Abraham which went just wide; this was his best chance of the match. That’s not to say it was the end of his involvement in front of goal though - an in-swinging cross from El Ghazi in the second half was met with a ferocious header from Abraham but on-loan goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez did superbly to deny him. Lewis Baker (in a number 10 role) and Matt Miazga both started, with Baker playing 70 minutes and Miazga, the whole 90. Both players had far better displays than their previous ones, with Miazga keeping Abraham at bay and Baker key in the build-up to two chances for Nelson Oliveira.
Bristol City moved into the play-off places on goal difference at Derby County’s expense, with a 2-0 win against Swansea City. Jay Dasilva started and played well, also providing the fans with immense joy with this near-taunting bit of interplay with Kasey Palmer, who was an 83rd minute substitute. Tomas Kalas played 90 minutes as per usual and did well to keep Oliver McBurnie quiet. Dasilva played a part in Andreas Weimann’s opener, releasing Callum Paterson down the left with a through-ball and the winger’s cross was finished by the former Aston Villa striker.
Todd Kane enjoyed another fruitful 90 minutes at right-back in Hull City’s 2-0 win over Stoke and was named Supporters’ Man of the Match. Ever present as an overlapping, attacking outlet, Kane’s dribble past the hapless Bruno Martins Indi was what won the free-kick, which was converted by Jarrod Bowen to open the scoring.
Izzy Brown was not involved for Leeds United. He is nearing full fitness, though, and could be the rejuvenating spark Leeds United need to break their slump.
Having played there off the bench against Blackburn last month, Reece James made his first start in central midfield for Wigan, ahead of natural midfielders like Darron Gibson and Beni Baningime. Needless to say, Reece was excellent yet again and bar an early hiccup, saw the game through effortlessly. The successor to ‘Eleven Azpilicuetas’, eh?
These words from Paul Cook say it all, really. Fingers crossed, a strong remaining three months and then the Premier League beckons for Reece, one way or the other. Chelsea will surely be looking to send him on a top-level loan, if not retain him for the first-team but Brighton and Crystal Palace are reported to have been watching him.
Wigan boss Paul Cook on Reece James:— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) February 2, 2019
"I'm not speaking about Reece James. I don't need to. He's player of the month every month, and he's man of the match almost every week. There's nothing else I can say about him. And he's as good a lad as he is a player." pic.twitter.com/ZPej3M49Z4
Dujon Sterling played 90 minutes in Coventry’s 1-1 draw against Gillingham. He faced a stern test in the form of Gillingham’s left-sided midfield combination of Mark Byrne and Elliot List but still managed to make forays forward, combining well with Luke Thomas to fire at goal from inside the area on one occasion. Sterling had another attempt from within the area blocked, following which he almost set up former Chelsea youth player, Zain Westbrooke, for a goal as well. Also of note was Charlie Wakefield’s senior debut; the recently-released Chelsea academy player signed for the Sky Blues on deadline day and was drafted straight into Mark Robins’ side for this match. He was brought on in the 90th minute, with injury time to spare.
Nathan Baxter started Yeovil’s 1-0 loss to Stevenage, while Joshua Grant missed out because of a foot injury.
Despite a 12th minute red card for John Brayford, Bradley Collins and 10-man Burton Albion restricted Oxford United to a goalless draw.
Jacob Maddox and Cheltenham were due to host Cambridge United, but the match was postponed due to harsh weather conditions having adverse effects on the pitch.
Jack Wakely started for Basingstoke Town who lost to Kings Langley in midweek, but bounced back with a 2-0 win against Weymouth. Also, here’s his terrible initiation song.
Victor Moses was a 64th minute substitute for Fenerbahce against Goztepe, and scored his first goal for the Turkish club nine minutes later. He was also a 67th minute substitute in their midweek win against Yeni Malatyaspor.
Tiemoue Bakayoko has been excellent for AC Milan lately but AS Roma managed to curtail his influence by executing an intense press, making it an uncomfortable evening for the midfielder.
An injury to Josip Ilicic saw the introduction of Mario Pasalic in the 27th minute as Atalanta took on Juventus in the Coppa Italia quarter-final and pulled off a 3-0 shock win. He then played 90 minutes on Monday night as a Hans Hateboer goal gave Atalanta a 0-1 win over Cagliari.
Ola Aina started at left wing-back for Torino and was hailed by many as the best player on the pitch in a drab 0-0 against SPAL, as he was excellent in his defensive duties, keeping the lethal Manuel Lazzari fairly anonymous.
Lucas Piazon, wearing the number 7 (!) shirt, was an unused substitute for Chievo Verona.
Christian Pulisic replaced Jadon Sancho in the 65th minute of Dortmund’s 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Victorien Angban played 70 minutes in Metz’s 1-1 draw against Troyes, and was an unused substitute in their 3-0 win against AS Nancy in midweek.
Baba Rahman was not involved for Reims.
Eduardo and Jake Clarke-Salter started Vitesse’s 2-2 draw against SC Heerenveen, a match that saw former Blue, Mukhtar Ali score his first professional goal. Unfortunately, in the 87th minute, Clarke-Salter was adjudged by VAR to have fouled Pelle van Amersfoort in the box. The subsequent penalty was converted by Sam Lammers, depriving Vitesse of what seemed like a sure-shot win until then.
Fankaty Dabo, presumably still injured, was not involved for Sparta Rotterdam.
Josimar Quintero played 55 minutes for Lleida in their 0-2 loss to CD Teruel.
Alvaro Morata, meanwhile, played the whole 90 alongside Antoine Griezmann up front as an enterprising shift by Real Betis saw the Rojblancos lose 1-0.
Kenneth Omeruo played 90 minutes on the left side of a back three for Leganes, who managed to win 1-2 against Rayo Vallecano despite the dismissal of ex-Watford/West Brom defender, Allan Nyom after 58 minutes.
With Cercle Brugge trailing 2-1 to Zulte Waregem, Kylian Hazard was replaced by Guevin Tormin in the 60th minute. Cercle did score four minutes after the change, but lost the game 3-2.
Nathan was an unused substitute for Atletico Mineiro.
Jared Thompson wasn’t in action because of a frozen pitch causing the postponement of Warrenpoint Town’s match.