Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray)
Everton’s forbidden fruit played 85 minutes of his side’s 0-1 win over Antalyaspor, primarily on the left of three attacking midfielders behind a striker. He didn’t have his best game in a Gala shirt, despite completing all of his 9 attempted passes, and was pushed off the ball a few times. Hopefully this will get him used to some good old physicality, though, ready for his eventual Premier League debut season next year (fingers crossed).
Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow)
The in-form Croat faced local rivals Lokomotiv Moscow after his impressive Champions League display against Real Madrid, and despite seeing a lot of the ball, wasn’t able to create as much as he has in recent weeks. His side lost 0-1, and Vlasic still played well but didn’t live up to the high expectations he has set for himself in recent weeks.
He started on the wing of an attacking three behind the striker, like Onyekuru, however Vlasic played more in the inside channels, finding more of the ball there.
Kevin Mirallas (Fiorentina)
Mirallas turned 31 last week, but it wasn’t the happiest of birthdays as he was ruled out of his side’s 1-0 defeat to Lazio with an ankle injury at the weekend. It’s a shame as the winger had just forced his way into the team and started to find some form, but hopefully will return to fitness soon.
Sandro Ramirez (Real Sociedad)
Sandro continued his return from injury in his team’s 1-3 win at Athletic Bilbao, coming on for the last fifteen minutes to play on the right of an attacking three behind a striker.
What is it with all our loanees playing in these positions? Probably the remnants of Steve Walsh signing as many players who operate behind a striker as possible before actually thinking about a striker for them to play behind.
Anyway, Sandro wasn’t able to affect the game during his time on the pitch, coming on just after Sociedad’s third goal.
Matthew Pennington (Ipswich Town)
Pennington returned from suspension to face Swansea City last weekend, and despite his side winning 2-3 after a late Trevoh Chalobah winner, the young defender didn’t have his best game. Pennington was starting at right-back, after being used as a centre-half for much of the season, and unfortunately Swansea had plenty of luck down his side.
Luke Garbutt (Oxford United)
Garbutt was rested for his team’s 0-0 draw with Southend United, but returned to the starting line-up against Northampton Town on Tuesday evening in their 1-2 Football League Trophy defeat. He had a decent game, whipping in a few good crosses and also proving a threat from range, seeing a couple of shots go very close and one hitting the post, but wasn’t able to prevent the loss.
Antonee Robinson and Callum Connolly (Wigan Athletic)
Robinson bombed up and down the left all day as usual, but unfortunately struggled defensively, as his side were well-beaten 4-0 by Preston North End. Preston found plenty of luck down his side, and Wigan’s cause wasn’t helped after former-Everton man Darron Gibson was sent off after 56 minutes. Callum Connolly was dropped from the squad amongst heavy criticism from Latics fans, and is perhaps being given a break by manager Paul Cook.
Ashley Williams and Cuco Martina (Stoke City)
Williams looked more assured than he has in recent weeks as he retained his place in central defence alongside the impressive Bruno Martins Indi for the 0-1 win at Norwich City, with Cuco Martina putting in a solid display beside him after growing into the game.
Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough)
Besic retained his place in Tony Pulis’ midfield after an impressive goalscoring performance last week, but this week wasn’t as successful. His side lost 0-2 to Nottingham Forest, with Tony Pulis insisting all of his players bar Stewart Downing were below par in this game. Besic had a decent passing accuracy, but lost out on most of his duels.
Yannick Bolasie (Aston Villa)
Bolasie replaced John McGinn in midfield for the final 20 minutes of Villa’s 2-1 defeat at Millwall, and was booked for an eager challenge straight away before not affecting the game too much otherwise.
Joe Williams (Bolton Wanderers)
Williams put in another tenacious performance in midfield despite his side losing 0-1 to Blackburn Rovers, but it was a much-improved performance on last week. The youngster is always full of energy, and tried to make things happen for his side that unfortunately didn’t come together. He put himself about well, though.