This week’s City Loan Watch covers another important weekend for the City stars out on loan around Europe.
In Scotland, Patrick Roberts was at the centre of a controversial ‘horror tackle’ in the weekend’s old-firm derby which saw Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 to qualify for the final of the Scottish Cup. The tackle from Rangers’ Andy Halliday came after three minutes and the Scottish full back was very fortunate to escape with just a booking after a two-footed lung on the City loanee. Despite the tackle, Roberts was once again effective in the match as he worked well with former Manchester City star Scott Sinclair before he was replaced on the 82nd minute. Roberts, who is expected to join City’s pre-season training camp in America, will look to finish off the season in style as Celtic seek to complete the treble in Brendan Rodgers’ first full season as manager of the club.
Jason Holt scissors Patrick Roberts, leading to a chance to score. Obviously play on.
Celtic 1-1 Rangers*
Ref – Bobby Madden
March 12, 2017 pic.twitter.com/MlBgZO4Nk7
— Honest Mistakes (@AntiCelticRefs) March 12, 2017
In England, victory for Newcastle United on Monday evening over Preston North End meant that hopes of automatic promotion for Aaron Mooy’s Huddersfield were over and that they would have to wait and fight their way through the playoffs. In the game of the weekend in the EFL Championship, Huddersfield were outclassed 4-1 at home by play-off rivals Fulham and the Aussie playmaker’s side fall to 5th in the division. Mooy was recently named in PFA Team of the Season for the Championship and should he be able to finish the season with promotion for Huddersfield, it would top off a very successful loan spell.
In Spain, Eliaquim Mangala featured for Valencia as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Malaga. The defeat marked the end of a four-game unbeaten run which saw Valencia move up to 12th in the league table. Meanwhile, Samir Nasri failed to make the 18-man squad for Sevilla’s 2-0 win over Granada and likewise with Marlos Moreno as he didn’t travel with the Deportivo squad which was beaten 2-0 away at Real Sociedad. In the second tier, affiliate side Girona are making life difficult for themselves as they look to secure promotion to La Liga. Girona sit second in Liga Adelante but have only picked up 4 points from a possible 21 points, the most recent a surprise 2-1 home defeat to UCAM Murcia. Pablo Maffeo wasn’t involved for Girona while Angelino was substituted on in the 57th minute for all-but-relegated Mallorca as they drew 1-1 to Cordoba. Mallorca sit 21st in Liga Adelante, 8 points off safety.
In Holland, the trio of Bersant Celina, Yaw Yeboah and Enes Ünal all started for FC Twente as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away at AZ Alkmaar. The two wingers, Celina and Yeboah, were both substituted off the pitch in the second half as 10-man Twente sought an equaliser. Both Yeboah and Celina have failed to make as great an impact as Ünal this season and it will be a surprise if either of the two make the step up into Pep’s plans for pre-season. Ünal on the other hand has hit 17 goals in the Eredivisie this season and could possibly be an effective plan B for City, but it is expected that the young Turkish forward will be loaned out once again by Manchester City.
Meanwhile, affiliate side NAC Breda’s push for a place in the playoffs suffered a setback with a 0-0 draw away at FC Emmen. With two games to go, NAC Breda sit in 8th place, just one point behind 5th placed FC Volendam who occupy the final playoff spot. Manu Garcia and James Horsfield both once again featured for NAC Breda while Thomas Agyepong was substituted on in the second half. The three midfielders have remained regular figures in the side over the last month for NAC Breda while Ashley Smith-Brown, Brandon Barker and ex-Blue Fisayo Adarabioyo have been in and out of the side towards the business end of the season.
In Italy, the wait for a clean sheet for Joe Hart continues. Despite Torino’s impressive 3-1 away victory at Chievo, the England number one conceded again to extend his run without a clean-sheet to 15 games (January 8). The game proved to be a surprisingly comfortable one for Torino who looked in full control in the second half as Joe Hart was limited to only making two saves, however he will feel he could have done better for Sergio Pellissier’s consolation goal. Meanwhile, it was a nightmare evening for Olivier Ntcham’s Genoa as they were hammered 4-0 away at Serie A leaders Juventus. The Frenchman featured as Juventus comfortably raced to a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes before finding a fourth midway through the second half. Genoa sit 16th in Serie A.