The games are coming thick and fast at the business end of the season and it has proved to be another critical week for some of the Manchester City loanees.
Patrick Roberts has enjoyed a successful season under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic and the young winger featured as Celtic beat Kilmarnock 3-1 to keep up their unbeaten record in the SPL. Roberts picked up an assist as he played in former Manchester City man Scott Sinclair for their second goal. He he now has 11 assists for the season in all competitions and has proved to be a vital signing for Celtic. The 20-year-old has impressed City representatives and it has recently been reported that he will be on City’s pre-season tour of America alongside several youngsters, who will be given the opportunity to impress Pep Guardiola and work their way into the first team squad.
In England, Jason Denayer featured again for Sunderland as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Manchester United. Survival for Sunderland now seems a near impossible task with David Moyes’ side sitting rock bottom of the Premier League and now 8 points behind 18th placed Swansea City. Denayer’s future remains uncertain and it is difficult to ascertain whether his performances for Sunderland will be enough to see if he will be given an opportunity in pre-season like Roberts and co. The Belgian centre-back is contracted at City until 2020 and it is possible that he will go out on another loan to a Premier League side next season. Could that side be play-off hopefuls Huddersfield? Aaron Mooy’s side sit 3rd with 6 games to go in the Championship but look to do it the hard way after they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest.
In Italy, Joe Hart was in between the sticks again for Torino as they beat Cagliari 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico. Torino, known for having one of the leakiest defences in Serie A (52 in 31 games), look set to finish in the Top 10 this season and will have Joe Hart to thank with the England number one playing a pivotal role in ensuring that they meet this minimum objective. In contrast, the same cannot be said for Olivier Ntcham at struggling Genoa. The Frenchman had recently been reinstated into the Genoa first team after Andrea Mandorlini’s appointment, however, the Italian has this week lost his job after a run of poor results and has seen former man Ivan Juric reappointed. Juric at the start of the season exiled Ntcham from the Genoa first side and now another spell on the sidelines is expected for the Manchester City loanee. Ntcham featured in Genoa’s most recent 3-0 defeat to Udinese, the result which was the catalyst for Mandorlini’s sacking.
In Spain, Eliaquim Mangala is finding form for Valencia. The Frenchman was involved as Valencia defeated Granada 3-1 to make it three wins in a row in La Liga. Under manager Voro, Mangala has been a regular in the first team and has formed a solid partnership with Ezequiel Garay. Valencia have eased their relegation fears with their recent form and are now targeting a Top 10 finish. Mangala has recently been linked with a permanent move to Valencia in return for signing José Luis Gayà, a move which looks positive for both parties. Marlos Moreno was in action for Deportivo as they lost 4-2 against Sevilla. The Colombian winger has made his way into manager Pepe Mel’s plans and featured for 58 minutes before being substituted. Samir Nasri wasn’t selected to play for Sevilla by Jorge Sampaoli. In the second tier, Girona ended a run of their defeats with a crucial 2-0 victory over Numancia. Pablo Maffeo featured for Girona as they move 8 points clear of 3rd place Tenerife. Meanwhile, Angeliño’s Mallorca are struggling at the bottom of the league but picked up a vital point against Gimnastic.
In Holland, Bersant Celina and Enes Ünal both played 90 minutes for FC Twente as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Utrecht. The two attackers have been in fine form in the Eredivisie in April and both bagged in Twente’s 2-2 draw against PSV last week, but were unable to have an impact at Utrecht. Meanwhile, affiliate side NAC Breda’s playoff push suffered a setback with a 2-0 defeat against Cambuur. Manu Garcia and James Horsfield have become regulars in the first team and both played 90 minutes once again while Thomas Ageypong came on for the final 40 minutes. The result ended NAC Breda’s four game win streak as they move down to 7th in the Eerste Divisie.