Everton’s on-loan contingent returned to action this weekend after the international break, and as the quick spin-around of all sixteen players shows, there was little that caught the eye.
The Greek League resumed after all play was suspended a few weeks ago with incidences of violence involving different clubs. Kevin Mirallas was once again anonymous as Olympiacos drew 1-1 away at Levadiakos to remain a point behind PAOK in third place. The return of the prodigal Belgian son has not gone according to plan, and after the game the club chairman Evangelos Marinakis fined all the players €400,000 for their lacklustre performance and ordered them to go on holiday, threatening to call up youth team players to replace them.
Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has fined out-on-loan Kevin Mirallas and the rest of the Olympiacos team €400,000 (£350,000) and ordered most of the players to go on holiday until the end of the 2017/18 season, due to poor performances. (Source: BeSoccer) pic.twitter.com/d6Y0ehfc55— Everton Blue Army (@EvertonBlueArmy) April 3, 2018
Things go from bad to worse for Sandro Ramirez who didn’t even make the bench in Sevilla’s game against the team whose youth system he grew up in, Barcelona. Manager Vincenzo Montella has come under flak for not even involving the Spaniard while his side have struggled for goals. The hosts let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2, conceding both goals in the last few minutes of the game.
After his midweek exertions with the England Under-20 side, Ademola Lookman looked on from the bench as RB Leipzig beat Hannover 96 3-2 to leapfrog from sixth into Champions League contention in fourth place. With just six games to go, seven points separate five teams between second and sixth, and we could be in for an exiting finish in the Bundesliga while Bayern Munich have predictably romped away with the title.
With this being Easter weekend in England, most Championship sides played twice, with games starting on Good Friday and going through Easter Monday until Tuesday.
Middlesbrough failed to take advantage of a League-leading Wolverhampton Wanderers side that had two players sent off, losing 2-1 over the weekend. Muhamed Besic played the full game yesterday as well as Boro drew 1-1 away at Burton Albion, leaving them precariously in the last playoff spot for promotion contention. Six teams are separated by five points for the fifth and sixth positions, and that battle will go down to the wire.
Nottingham Forest continue to slide down the table with yet another loss, this time to Tim Cahill’s Milwall. Kieran Dowell did not feature after picking up what was termed as a ‘minor knock’ while away on England U-20 duty. Forest’s home game on Monday against Barnsley was postponed for a waterlogged pitch, much to the fans’ chagrin.
Despite the best efforts of midfielder Joe Williams, Barnsley continue to slide down the table and are now in the relegation zone two points adrift following a draw at home to Bristol City. Williams came on at the hour mark and saw his side take the lead, but was unable to prevent an equalizer in time added on for the visitors.
Sunderland had a big win over the weekend beating Derby 4-1 away before losing 3-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday and staying in the drop zone. Tyias Browning is out for the season with an injury while Brendan Galloway continues to be frozen out at the crisis-stricken side.
Defender Matthew Pennington got a rare outing for Leeds, playing the full games in a 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers. Both Antonee Robinson and Harry Charsley did not feature for the Trotters who play Birmingham today while Leeds are away at Fulham.
Ipswich are stuck in mid-table mediocrity as well, losing 1-0 to Birmingham with Callum Connolly having a quiet game in the middle, followed by a 2-2 draw against Milwall yesterday with the fullback/midfielder on the bench.
Boris Mathis is not having much luck at Northampton Town either, playing the full game as his side were thrashed soundly 4-0 by Charlton Athletic followed by a 2-0 loss to Peterborough United yesterday where he didn’t play. The two results led to the sacking of manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink that further puts Mathis’ immediate future in doubt.
Goalkeeper Louis Gray was once again an unused substitute as Carlisle United won one then lost one, beating Cheltenham Town 1-0 then losing by the same scoreline to Lincoln City. Carlisle are five points out of a playoff spot with five games to play.
Sam Byrne was an unused substitute for Dundalk FC as they beat the Bohemians 3-0 on Friday to remain in second place in the League of Ireland Premier Division.
Finally, there was nothing new to report in the health status of forward Henry Onyekuru who continues to recuperate from his knee injury.