It was another mixed bag for Everton’s exports out in the world of football. The Blues find themselves in a season-ending crisis with the current run of horrid results, no shape or identity and the manager’s position once again under the spotlight, but fans can take some solace in how the players out on loan are doing.
One player not likely to return to Everton after the season is Kevin Mirallas. Already under-fire when at the Blues for his inconsistent performances, he has proceeded to disappear completely since his return as the prodigal son to Olympiacos. Invisible once again in this weekend’s 1-1 draw against Panathinaikos the home fans who once worshipped the Belgian are growing weary of the forward.
Sandro Ramirez has been proving to be surplus to requirements at Sevilla where he has been unable to displace the in-form Joaquin Correa out on left wing in their 4-2-3-1. In their midweek 1-0 win at his former side Malaga, Sandro got over twenty minutes as a late substitute at the lead striker position, touching the ball seven times and doing little else. Sevilla then won 2-0 against Athletic Bilbao with Sandro on the bench, and remain firmly in fifth place in La Liga.
RB Leipzig lost further ground on the leaders in Germany as Ademola Lookman’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Borussia Dortmund. The young winger was an unused substitute in an evenly-matched game that sees Leipzig now in 6th place in the Bundesliga, but only four points off Schalke in second.
There’s some good news on the Henry Onyekuru injury front, with the forward saying he’s still expecting to return this season and doing his best to get selected for the World Cup this summer.
Back in England, Muhamed Besic has been wowing Middlesbrough fans again as he continues to settle in. The Liverpool Echo spoke to local journalist Jonathon Taylor about his impact , and he was very complimentary of how essential the Bosnian midfielder has made himself for Boro, especially in a role that was not one of need for the club. Playing on the left of middle of a 4-3-3 formation, Besic had a shot on goal, three key passes, a tackle, a clearance and a blocked shot each as Boro hammered Leeds United 3-0. Matthew Pennington was on the subs bench for the whole game for the Lilywhites.
Joe Williams put in a calm, stable performance for a change as Barnsley drew 1-1 away at Hull. The midfielder has quite enjoyed the physical nature of the Championship, putting in two tackles and four clearances over the weekend. He’s become the key cog for the Tykes with most of their play going through him, and once again he led his side in touches.
It was a tough day at the office for Antonee Robinson as Bolton Wanderers capitulated in the second half to throw away a 1-0 lead against Preston at home, succumbing 3-1 at the end. The fullback was not his usual dynamic self but made one interception and five clearances. Harry Charlsey was not in the squad once again for the Trotters.
The Everton connection was strong at Milwall’s 1-1 home draw against Sunderland. Aiden McGeady set up Bryan Oviedo’s opener for the Black Cats to lead with Tyias Browning playing the left-sided center back in a 3-4-3. With the game knotted at 1-1 in the second half, Tim Cahill came on with a handful of minutes to play to search for the winner but the game ended in a draw. Brendan Galloway did not make the matchday squad.
Nottingham Forest picked up their second win on the trot, beating Birmingham City 2-1. Kieran Dowell was again on the bench and did not come on as veteran Lee Tomlin continued to thrive given the starting spot ahead of the 20-year-old. Callum Connolly and Ipswich Town had the weekend off.
The bad weather over the weekend meant a slew of lower division games were called off, including Boris Mathis’ Northampton. In League Two goalie Louis Gray was an unused substitute as Carlisle won 2-0 over Grimsby.
In the Irish Premier Division, Dundalk solved their scoring woes with aplomb, hammering Limerick 8-0. Sam Byrne did not feature in that game, but did play in a weekend friendly as Dundalk beat Warrenpoint Town 4-0, with Byrne (#12) grabbing the third goal with a neat little run that took him past the goalkeeper.