In the Eredivisie, staff from Manchester City will have been very impressed with the loan stars’ at NAC Breda as the partner club picked up a vital 3 points with a 3-1 victory over FC Utrecht. Angelino was the standout star as he scored a magnificent free kick in the top right-hand corner in the 94th minute while also picking up an assist for his Spanish compatriot and Manchester City teammate Pablo Mari. Meanwhile, Thierry Ambrose was also in the thick of the goal scoring action, with the Frenchman scoring in the 72nd minute to obtain his 6th goal of the season. Manu Garcia also started while Paolo Fernandes was an unused substitute. The result sees NAC Breda move out of the relegation zone and move up to 15th in the division. As with most stars playing their trade in Europe, the loanees will go on an extended break and the NAC Breda stars won’t feature now until the 20th January where they face an inform PEC Zwolle.
— VoetbalGeneuzel² (@VGeneuzel) December 23, 2017
In Spain, for Girona this week there was a bitter taste left in their mouths after a sweet year that saw the club win promotion to La Liga for the first time. They traveled on Thursday evening to the Basque country to face Eibar and were left stunned after a 4-1 thrashing. Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia both started while Douglas Luiz and Olarenwaju Kayode were brought on in the second half of the encounter. Maffeo has become an integral part of the squad and is easily one of the first names on the team sheet, while the rest of the youngsters have struggled to make an impact so far at the club. However, encouragingly, manager Pablo Machín is slowly starting to integrate the loan stars into the team and we may see a lot more of them in 2018. Meanwhile, in Liga Adelante, Yaw Yeboah was forced to sit out Real Oviedo’s 3-0 victory over Leonesa. The Ghanaian forward was sent off in the 17th minute last week against Sevilla Atletico and won’t feature for the first team now until at least the 21st January.
💫 Girona’s 12 Stars of Christmas: 3) @pablomaffeo
🏷 The #ManCity full back has been a revelation at Girona in 2017. He's kept Messi and Ronaldo at bay this year and become an indisputable starter in the side, the best young right back in Europe?
— GironaUK (@GironaUK) December 23, 2017
In England, David Moyes may be looking to reintegrate Joe Hart into the first team after West Ham were defeated 3-2 at home to Newcastle. Adrian has been in between the sticks for the Hammers since his impressive performance at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month, however, the Spanish keeper only made one save yesterday and arguably could have performed better for two of the goals conceded. In the Championship, Angus Gunn is also enduring a difficult spell. The young keeper performed competently on Friday night in Norwich’s 2-1 home defeat to Brentford as he made 5 saves but will be conscious that he hasn’t kept a clean sheet for over 2 months, the last coming against Ipswich on the 22nd October.
Bersant Celina also featured yesterday, with his side lost 1-0 to top-of-the-league Wolves. The Kosovan attacker has in recent weeks started to become an indispensable part of Mick McCarthy’s side after the rallying cries from supporters to bring him into the first team. In League One, Rodney Kongolo continues to keep his place in the Doncaster Rovers side, the Dutch midfielder featured for 72 minutes before he was substituted as his side beat Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium. While for Oldham, Kean Bryan’s presence was certainly missed. The young English holding midfielder has been a revelation in defence this season, however, he was left out of Oldham’s squad yesterday and ultimately they were defeated 4-1 by Plymouth Argyle.
In Scotland, top of the table Celtic recovered from losing their 69 game unbeaten streak with an important 3-0 victory over Aberdeen. Patrick Roberts was forced to sit out the game as he recovers from a hamstring injury which will reportedly see him out of action until March. 14 points behind Celtic sit Hibernian in 4th position who beat Ross County 2-1 at Easter Road. Brandon Barker starred for 89 minutes before making way. Although, the young English winger hasn’t been prolific in terms of goals and assists for Hibernian, Brandon has enjoyed his best loan spell to date and has won a lot of praise from fans on social media. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Aaron Nemane. The 20-year-old has struggled for minutes at Rangers amid the chaos with their managerial situation which City directors hope will not have halted his development. Nemane could be amongst some of the potential youngsters who may be recalled in January and loaned to a club potentially in the lower divisions of the Football League.
Great 3 points, back to manchester for christmas, hope everyone has a wonderful christmas🎄🎄 #Hibs
— Brandon Barker (@BrandonBarker96) December 23, 2017