It was another mostly poor weekend for Everton’s on-loan contingent out in England and throughout Europe.
Kevin Mirallas finally opened his scoring account for Olympiacos, slotting home a penalty with more ease than Wayne Rooney managed this last weekend for the Blues. Mirallas’ goal was the third in a 4-0 romp over bottom-of-the-table Platanias.
However, for the second time in two weeks a PAOK game had to be abandoned after a pitch invasion, with the PAOK owner Ivan Savvidis walked onto the field to protest against a disallowed goal in a game against AEK Athens with a holstered gun on him.
The Greek Super League has currently been suspended by the Government until further notice. With next week’s round of fixtures the last before the upcoming international break, it could be a while before there is football again in Greece.
Over in Germany, Ademola Lookman was Cup-tied and missed out on RB Leipzig’s 2-1 home win over Zenit St. Petersburg. The winger played the first half of the Bundesliga game at VfB Stuttgart as the outside winger in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s hybrid 4-2-2-2 formation, but was mostly quiet swinging in four crosses in that time.
Sevilla lost more ground on Valencia and the fourth Champions League spot in La Liga after losing at home 2-0. Sandro Ramirez was a late substitute as striker as Sevilla looked for goals late on in that game, but was ineffective. He seems to have made it clear that he will not return to the Toffees at the end of the season.
Muhamed Besic though continued to sparkle in his left midfield role at Middlesbrough, leading his side to consecutive wins, 1-0 over Birmingham City and 3-1 over Barnsley. He has become a fan favourite in the short time he’s been at Boro, reining in some of his aggression while continuing to play a physical role with some creativity. Besic has certainly taken to the Championship very well and we’ll continue to monitor his progress.
Midfielder Joe Williams had a tough day in that loss to Boro, but another loss in midweek at Cardiff City has put some pressure on Barnsley who now sit right above the relegation zone in the Championship.
Bolton Wanderers sit just a spot above the Tykes after two consecutive away 1-1 draws, with Antonee Robinson benched in both games. Manager Paul Parkinson has reverted to a 4-man backline and veteran Andrew Taylor has come back into the side as Robinson is usually preferred in the wing back role.
Kieran Dowell returned to the starting lineup but was unable to make a difference as Nottingham Forest drew 0-0 away at Norwich. He then came on as a late substitute for another scoreless draw this time at home against Derby.
Harry Charsley has not played for the Trotters for nearly a month, and even though he’s on loan until the end of the season, he has been spotted on Merseyside hanging out with his former and current Everton Under-23 teammates, so his current status remains unclear.
Leeds are slowly spiraling down the table and Matthew Pennington continues to gain the ire of the fans. Captain Liam Cooper has been a liability all season, and Pennington struggled when he came on to replace him after he picked up an injury early in the 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but then was one of Leeds’ best players in the 2-2 draw at Reading over the weekend. The Lilywhites fans for the majority think Pennington is only good enough to be a substitute.
Callum Connolly, who last week raised some controversy after saying he felt he was being ignored by Everton, picked up an assist in a 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday midweek, heading across the goal for Martyn Waghorn to slam home the opener. The defender-turned-midfielder played an hour in the 0-0 draw against Sheffield United over the weekend.
Boris Mathis looks to have failed his short audition with Northampton Town who picked up Kevin Luckassen on a short-term deal until the end of the season with no strikers apart from Chris Long available.
Goalkeeper Louis Gray was on the bench again for Carlisle’s 1-1 draw away at Exeter. Sunderland lost two more on the trot with Brendan Galloway nowhere to be seen.
There were no new injury updates for Henry Onyekuru and Tyias Browning, with the latter out for the rest of the season.