We start in Spain, where Girona, who recently confirmed their agreement to join the City Football Group, made history with their first ever top-flight victory. Pablo Maffeo started while Douglas Luiz and Olaranwaju Kayode both came off the bench in the second half to help secure Girona’s first three points in La Liga with a 1-0 victory over Malaga. Girona dominated the game with 15 shots compared to a mere 7 for Malaga and although it is early days, it certainly does look like the club are settling to life in the top flight fairly easily.
Meanwhile in Holland, another of Manchester City’s affiliate sides NAC Breda obtained their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Sparta Rotterdam. The Dutch side couldn’t have started the season any worse, conceding 8 goals in their first two games and felt the pressure to pick up their first victory of the season. A whole host of Manchester City players started the game including Angelino, Manu Garcia, Paolo Fernandes and Thierry Ambrose, while Thomas Agyepong was brought on in the second half but it was our loanee at centre-back, Pablo Mari, who opened the scoring not long before the break as he smashed home his first goal in yellow. It didn’t take long for NAC Breda to double their lead with Angelino picking up the assist for Vloet’s first goal of the season for the home side. However, the recurring theme this season has been Breda’s leaky defence and was evident again as the home side conceded two late goals taking their toll to 10 in 3 games, the highest in the Eredivisie.
For FC Twente, the international break could not have come at a better time as they fell to a 2-0 defeat away at PEC Zwolle. City’s Isaac Buckley-Ricketts was brought on at half time for former Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi.
1-0 Pablo Mari pic.twitter.com/vJo1n8vTix
— VoetbalGeneuzel² (@VGeneuzel) August 25, 2017
In England, Joe Hart’s run of games without a clean sheet has now stretched to 22. 2017 has proved to be a difficult year for the England number one with Hart’s last domestic clean sheet coming early in January. The keeper was in between the sticks for West Ham’s very costly 3-0 away defeat at Newcastle, and the defeat sees the Hammers stay bottom of the Premier League, yet to pick up a point. In the second tier, Angus Gunn did one better than his former team-mate as he shipped in 4 goals for Norwich against Millwall. It was a disappointing afternoon for the England under-21 goalkeeper as his defence continued to open up on numerous occasions and give chances to Millwall, who subsequently picked up their first victory of the season.
In League One, Rodney Kongolo picked up some valuable minutes in the second half of Doncaster’s 2-0 defeat away at AFC Wimbledon. The Dutch youngster has for the majority been used as a substitute in the early stages of the season, but was able to pick up 28 minutes of match experience, his most to date for the club.
In Scotland, it was confirmed this week that Patrick Roberts has rejoined champions Celtic for a third loan spell. Announced under the new nickname of ‘PR7’, the signing had been eagerly anticipated as Celtic look to strengthen their squad and seek to regain the league title for yet another season. Staying in the SPL, Brandon Barker made his first start for Hibernian in Saturday’s 1-1 draw away at Dundee. The young attacker started on the wing for Neil Lennon’s side and was substituted after 79 minutes. Meanwhile, Ashley Smith-Brown is still yet to make an appearance for Hearts. The young full-back was not named in the 18-man squad for their 2-1 defeat away at Motherwell.