In Spain, Manchester City’s sister club Girona were in action once again as they settle to life in La Liga. The Catalan side travelled to an in-form Celta Vigo on Friday evening and rescued a point in a six-goal thriller. Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia were amongst the City loanees who started the game for Girona as they flew to a 2-1 away lead within 14 minutes at the Balaidos. However, they were immediately pegged back and found themselves 3-2 down on the 76th minute. Olarenwaju Kayode and Douglas Luiz were brought on in the second half as Girona fought their way back into the game but it was the centre-back Juanpe who leapt up high to salvage a deserved point for the away side. The league table doesn’t reflect how well Girona have adapted to top flight football as they sit 16th with 6 points from 7 games which have included fixtures against Sevilla, Barcelona, Atlético and Athletic.
Down a division in the Segunda, former Twente loanee Yaw Yeboah watched from the sidelines as Real Oviedo drew 2-2 at home with Zaragoza.
In Holland, NAC Breda’s good run came to an end this week with a 1-0 home defeat to ADO Den Haag. Angelino, Pablo Mari, Manu Garcia and Thierry Ambrose started as NAC were left frustrated losing to a late winner from Beugelsdijk. Paolo Fernandes was brought on in the 76th minute but was unable to make an impact as NAC fell to 14th in the Eredivisie. One position below sit FC Twente who picked up a 2-1 home win against Heracles, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts didn’t feature for the home side. Likewise, Mexican starlet Uriel Antuna watched from the bench as Groningen were beaten 3-2 away at PEC Zwolle.
In England, Joe Hart is starting to find some consistency at West Ham. The England goalkeeper who remarkably this year went 23 games without a clean sheet over two loan spells picked up his third clean sheet in four as West Ham grasped a last minute winner at home to Swansea City. Hart had a quiet game with Swansea posing little threat to his defence, the current number one only being forced to make one save in an utterly uninspiring game.
Meanwhile, in the Championship, there was certainly more fight displayed as Angus Gunn and Norwich City extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-1 victory over Reading. The victory sees Norwich move up to 9th, tied on the same points as rivals Ipswich Town. Bersant Celina started for Ipswich as they fell to a defeat at home to Bristol City. The home side struggled to match the work rate of Bristol City throughout the game but posed a threat on the counter, however, they were unfortunate to concede to two deflected goals in either half and lost the affair 3-1.
In League 1, Rodney Kongolo was in action once again for Doncaster Rovers as they were beaten 2-0 by Bradford City, while there was more to cheer about for Kean Bryan as Oldham Athletic stunned Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Bryan, who normally plys his trade as a holding midfielder, was deployed at centre-back for Oldham and put in a competent performance as the away side beat Portsmouth 2-1.
While in Scotland, two of our young loanees lined up in one of the most thrilling games of the SPL season so far. Hibernian under Neil Lennon travelled to Celtic Park looking to end Celtic’s domestic unbeaten streak. Such a belief would have been deemed implausible by many before the game but by the 77th minute, it looked a realistic prospect as Hibernian led 2-1. Patrick Roberts had been brought on by Brendan Rodgers moments before in order to add extra firepower but it was the man Callum McGregor who saved a point for the current champions. Hibernian continued to pose a threat and towards the end brought on City loanee Brandon Barker but ultimately honours were even in a tightly contested battle between the two sides. By contrast, Rangers enjoyed a comfortable afternoon at Hamilton Academical, Aaron Nemane was an unused substitute as they ran out 4-1 winners.
Elsewhere around the world, Yangel Herrera is back in action for New York City and they drew 1-1 at Chicago Fire at the weekend. The Venezuelan midfielder featured for a full 90 minutes and impressed on his return, linking up well with Jack Harrison and David Villa as Patrick Vieira’s side remain second in the Eastern Conference. In Turkey, Galatasaray continue to run riot in the Turkish Super Lig. Jason Denayer featured as his side extended their unbeaten streak to seven in the league with a 3-2 victory over Karabukspor.