It wasn’t a typically busy start to the weekend in terms of action across Europe for Arsenal’s players out on loan this season, but a few made starts for their respective clubs with contrasting results.
Kelechi Nwakali started and completed the full 90 minutes in a creative midfield role as MVV Maastricht drew 1-1 with NAC Breda, one of their rivals for promotion this term. Defensive teammate, Stefan O’Connor, is certainly a forgotten man within the MVV side as he was once again an unused substitute.
Daniel Crowley started again for Go Ahead Eagles but was unable to stop his side from suffering a narrow 1-0 home defeat against FC Utrecht, courtesy of a first-half own goal by Xandro Schenk.
The 19-year-old was deployed on the flank for this fixture and despite his best efforts, struggled to make much of an impact on the game itself.
Crowley’s individual match stats
- 34 touches
- 71% pass accuracy
- Fouled on two occasions
- No key passes created or successful long balls
Joel Campbell was an unused substitute during Sporting’s 4-2 win over Pacos de Ferreira in a match they couldn’t afford to squander as they aim to keep pace with Benfica and FC Porto, both of whom are heavily tipped to scrap it out for the league title this season.
It’s not much of a surprise to see the Costa Rican winger fail to feature, especially given his run of inconsistent attacking displays recently. In the last ten games, he has only averaged a 7 rating or above in two – which isn’t good enough for a player of his ability.
Granted, he has been a second-half substitute in 50% of those matches, but Jorge Jesus needs to have faith in his players that they’ll be able to perform regularly well and Campbell is struggling to justify a starting berth, which is a worrying sign for his development.
Jon Toral started and played just under 70 minutes during Rangers’ 2-0 away win over Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership. The creative midfielder has already admitted the fact that it’ll take him a bit of time to re-adjust (and get fit), having rarely played at La Liga side Granada before the Christmas break.
It’s no surprise, then, that he was replaced by Martyn Waghorn, and it is likely this will be a common theme for a few weeks until his match sharpness does improve – having come through unscathed during their pre-season friendly against RB Leipzig as well as their dramatic Scottish Cup victory last weekend.
Toral turns 22 next Sunday and will be hoping that this loan will give him a half-chance of breaking into the first-team once he does return, something that he has already made clear when questioned in previous interviews regarding his long-term future.
Which other players are still left to play this weekend?
Takuma Asano – St. Pauli vs VfB Stuttgart – 12:30pm
Wojciech Szczesny – Sampdoria vs AS Roma – 2pm
Julio Pleguezuelo – Mallorca vs Cadiz – 5pm
Tafari Moore – Utrecht’s second team vs De Graafschap – 7pm
Stats’ source: WhoScored