City Loan Watch: Ünal ends season with a goal, Hart concedes five, Roberts helps Celtic to 100pts – City Watch
The time has almost come to say goodbye to yet another football season and with it Manchester City players out on loan across the continent will surely have one eye on a return to Manchester as the 2016/17 seasons draws to a close. As with any incoming players on loan, the same applies to those out on loan too with many working out but others invariably failing to achieve what they’d have liked too during their time away from their parent club. And with a summer transfer window looking increasingly likely to bring a number of changes at a club with its attention fixed very much on the future, time has almost ran out for individuals out on loan wishing to make an impression and seemingly force their way into Guardiola’s plans for next season.
Whilst we still can it is worth starting in the Premier League with Sunderland’s relegation to the Sky Bet Championship confirmed in recent weeks leaving Jason Denayer‘s future once again looking uncertain. In a similar fashion to Sunderland’s season, the Belgian signalled straight away that he wouldn’t be able to compete in their match against Swansea City and was forced off with an injury within the first twenty minutes in what could well have been his last appearance in a Sunderland shirt. From a team looking downwards to one looking very much in the opposite direction, Aaron Mooy and his Huddersfield side were left frustrated and rueing numerous missed chances as the Australian looks to help The Terriers to a play off final and potential promotion to the top flight. Likewise swapping England for Scotland now, Patrick Roberts played a full ninety minutes as Celtic made it to 100 points with 3-1 away victory over Aberdeen. Unlike Celtic, Billy O’Brien had to make do with a draw after his St.Mirren side drew 1-1 away with league champions Hibernian.
After it was reported that up to five City stars could follow in the footsteps of the likes of Thomas Agyepong, James Horsfield, Manu Garcia and Brandon Barker, partner club NAC Breda were not in action last week with a crucial play off match beckoning this Thursday against Volendam as they look for a return to the Dutch Eredivisie. Conversely in the Holland’s top flight, Enes Ünal scored his 18th league goal of the season in FC Twente’s 3-5 defeat to Groningen, making it 18 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie this season and ending the campaign as league’s fourth highest goalscorer. Fellow City loanee and Twente teammate Bersant Celina was replaced at half-time after a mixed season for the young attacker. Ünal however later took to Twitter to thank the club’s fans for their support with a further loan move looking likely as the promising forward awaits a work permit to permanently join up with Guardiola. Meanwhile across the Eredivisie, with a league title out of site for PSV Eindhoven forgotten man Oleksandr Zinchenko made a surprise return to the first team fold and certainly made the most of his opportunity off the bench by making two assists in the club’s 4-1 victory over PEC Zwolle.
In Spain, although reported in recent days that it looks unlikely that Valencia will exercise their option to purchase Eliaquim Mangala on a permanent deal, the Frenchman played a full ninety minutes and helped keep a clean sheet as Valencia picked up a surprising 1-0 away victory over mid-table RCD Espanyol. Sevilla’s Samir Nasri could yet miss the rest of the La Liga season due to injury whilst Marlos Moreno was an unused substitute at Deportivo La Coruña escaped with an unlikely yet incredibly vital point against fifth placed Villarreal as Moreno’s loan club battle bravely against relegation. Ruben Sobrino also starred for La Liga’s surprise package Deportivo Alavés, playing a full 90 minutes in their surprise 3-1 home win over Celta Vigo. High flying Girona in the Spanish Segunda division welcomed back Pablo Maffeo to the first-team fold after less than a month’s absence but like Moreno remained an unused substitute for the Catalan side who look likely to soon make the jump to the Spanish top flight. On the flip side Real Mallorca could well slip out of the same division with the club in the thick of relegation fight and in their latest 2-1 away defeat to Valladolid, City loanee Angeliño was substituted after 67 minutes.
Finally in Italy, it was a clean sweep for City’s trio of stars out applying their trade in both the Serie A and B with none of the three earning more than a solitary point for their sides last weekend. In the Italian top tier it was another day to forget for Joe Hart whose Torino side slumped to a disastrous 5-0 home defeat to high flying Napoli. With the Englishman conceding 58 goals in Serie A since his debut for the club, six less than top placed Albano Bizarri for the current league campaign, the pressure has been well and truly on Hart to perform with a Torino president only last week stating publicly that they ‘probably didn’t expect so many mistakes from an England international’. Olivier Ntcham was an unused substitute for Genoa as his side were defeated 1-0 away at Pescara whilst in Serie B, Bruno Zuculini‘s Hellas Verona picked up a vital point at home to play off chasing Carpi with the Argentine midfielder playing a full ninety minutes for second placed Hellas with only a matter of league games remaining.