Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray)
The Nigerian started up front for the Turks against Konyaspor last weekend, and played more as a second striker often coming quite deep to try and get on the ball more to drive his side forward. He didn’t have his best game, as it finished 1-1 and one of Gala’s centre-backs was sent off.
He was back on the wing for the Champions League tie with Lokomotiv Moscow, and had a better game out wide despite his side losing 2-0. He is definitely more comfortable taking players on and using his pace than being isolated up top. He faces a tough match against Cenk Tosun’s beloved Besiktas this weekend in the Super Lig.
Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow)
Vlasic got on the ball plenty returning to club football against Akhmat Grozny last weekend after facing England during the international break, as his side won 0-2 despite the midfielder winning only 5 of his 16 duels. The physical side of his game will come, as has happened with most other aspects of his game during his very successful loan spell so far.
He had a much better game in the 1-2 Champions League defeat to Viktoria Plzen, and was put on penalty duty in the 10th minute, converting in some style, blasting the ball into the top left corner before the goalkeeper could even move. He also had a better duel rate, winning nine of his attempted 14, had three successful dribble attempts and a couple of shots on target. Lovely stuff.
Kevin Mirallas (Fiorentina)
Mirallas was on the bench again for Fiorentina for their 0-0 draw with Bologna, and replaced Gerson on the right wing for the last ten minutes but couldn’t affect the game in that time despite getting one cross in.
Sandro Ramirez (Real Sociedad)
Sandro also played the last ten minutes only in midfield, making 7 passes and putting a cross in but was unable to do much more in Sociedad’s 2-1 win over Celta Vigo. He was on the pitch for Celta’s goal, but neither of his own side’s.
Matthew Pennington (Ipswich Town)
Pennington started at centre-back again for his team’s 1-2 defeat to West Brom, and was booked in a decent performance, making six clearances and winning all three of his tackles. He was comfortable on the ball, which is positive.
He retained his place in the side for the 2-3 midweek loss to Bristol City, and won all 5 of his duels. The youngster was often used to start attacks with long balls, with nine of his 19 attempts proving accurate.
Luke Garbutt (Oxford United)
The left-back is still struggling with opportunities under Karl Robinson, with his only recent starts coming in the FA Cup, in both of which, his side kept a clean sheet. The more recent game was a 0-3 win over Forest Green Rovers, but Garbutt has only been used as a late substitute in both of Oxford’s league games since, a 2-0 loss against Bradford City and a 4-2 win over Rochdale.
Antonee Robinson and Callum Connolly (Wigan Athletic)
It’s bad news for ‘Jedi’. Robinson has undergone surgery on an ankle injury which he sustained on international duty, and faces around ten weeks on the sidelines. Best of luck in your recovery, Antonee, we hope you see you flying down the left again as soon as possible.
It hasn’t been the best for Connolly, either, who has been restricted to late cameos recently under Paul Cook. He came on for a familiar face in Darron Gibson for the last five minutes of the 0-0 with Reading last weekend, and played the last ten in the 3-1 win over Blackburn in midweek. The young midfielder managed to win all four of his duels in his short time on the field, though, and complete an accurate long ball.
Ashley Williams and Cuco Martina (Stoke City)
Williams continued alongside Bruno Martins Indi and Ryan Shawcross following some controversial comments during the international break, and was solid in the challenge despite shipping two goals in the 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers. Cuco was kept out of the side again by Tom Edwards.
Martina made his first start for five games in the 2-1 midweek win over Derby County, and looked bright going forward and defensively solid also at right-back. Williams continued in the side alongside Ryan Shawcross as his mate Bruno dropped to the bench, and was solid again while putting in another passionate performance despite conceding.
Muhamed Besic (Middlesbrough)
Besic played well in Boro’s 1-2 win over Brentford, sending a beautiful ball through to start the move for their opener. He was 82% accurate with his 28 passes, making two key passes in the game.
The Bosnian was given a well-deserved rest in midweek for his side’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End.
Yannick Bolasie (Aston Villa)
Bolasie was again used as an impact sub in the derby against Birmingham City which Villa won 4-2, but he wasn’t able to provide much of an impact. Just a sub, then.
The winger was finally given a start in midweek though, in an amazing 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest as Villa made it nine goals in two games. Bolasie assisted Tammy Abraham’s first of four goals, and also won a penalty for his side in a positive performance. He tired in the second half, though, as he continues his return to full match fitness, and was replaced by Ahmed El-Mohamady with seven minutes to go after all the goals had been scored.
Joe Williams (Bolton Wanderers)
The young central midfielder was given more freedom to go forward in a slightly more advanced role for the 1-1 draw with Millwall, and bagged an assist for his side’s only goal with a great cross. He enjoyed the change of position, but is still learning to control his temperament during games.
Williams was his team’s best player in the midweek 1-0 loss at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday, playing again in his more advanced role and getting on the ball much more, with an 80% accuracy of his 53 passes. He also won all three of his tackles and seven out of ten of his duels. He’s definitely a trier!