City Loan Watch: Ntcham strikes late again, Ünal makes history, Roberts lifts Celtic

EMPOLI, ITALY - MARCH 05: Julies Oliver Ntcham of Genoa CFC celebrates after scoreing the opening goal during the Serie A match between Empoli FC and Genoa CFC at Stadio Carlo Castellani on March 5, 2017 in Empoli, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

This week’s City Loan Watch covers another hectic weekend for the City stars out on loan all across the continent. We’ve seen our players involved in the thick of the goals in Italy and Holland, some in top of the table clashes in England and Spain.

In Italy, Joe Hart’s wait for a clean-sheet at home in this calendar year in the league continues… The England number one hasn’t kept a clean-sheet in Serie A at the Stadio Olimpico since 22nd December after conceding in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Palermo. Despite, his unwanted record, Hart has impressed for Torino this season with a number of impressive performances against Fiorentina, Milan and most memorably against Roma in Torino’s 3-1 victory over the Giallorossi. As a result, President Urbano Cairo has recently been speaking with the Italian press and affirmed that Hart would be happy to stay in Italy permanently. Do you think he still has a future under Pep Guardiola? Another man who looks set to be staying in Italy is Olivier Ntcham. The Frenchman, since the appointment of Andrea Mandorlini, has forced his way back into the first team and followed his 94th minute equaliser vs Bologna last week with a stunning 89th minute volley to open the scoring in Genoa’s 2-0 victory away at Empoli. The midfielder’s upturn in form has seen the rumours in Italy pick up and it is believed that Ntcham will be heading to Genoa this summer on a permanent deal.

In Holland, Enes Ünal is back in form with his second goal in two games in FC Twente. The young Turkish forward struck a spectacular effort from 25 yards past Willem II goalkeeper Kostas Lamprou to pick up his 12th goal of the season. It was a moment of magic from the 19-year-old as his screamer made him the the highest scoring Turkish forward in the history of the Eredivisie. Ünal moves up to 4th in the top goalscorers charts. Meanwhile, Bersant Celina was in action for Twente as his cross was headed by Darry Lachman for an own goal to ensure Twente picked up the 3 points. Oleksandr Zinchenko continues to push for a place back in the PSV squad, he was brought on for the final 10 minutes with PSV leading Roda JC 4-0. In the second tier, NAC Breda fell to another away defeat. The affiliate side lost 2-1 to 17th placed De Graafschapp to severely halt their play-off push. Manu Garcia and Brandon Barker featured for the full 90 minutes, while Thomas Agyepong and Ashley-Smith-Brown were substituted at half-time.

In England, Jason Denayer was ineligible to feature against his parent club Manchester City as Sunderland fell to a 2-0 home defeat, while Wilfried Bony continues to be left of the Stoke City squad by Mark Hughes. In the EFL Championship, there was a top of the table clash at the John Smith’s Stadium between Huddersfield and Newcastle. Aaron Mooy found the net for the home-side with a late penalty but it was too little, too late when Newcastle extended their existing lead in the dying minutes with a late winner by Dwight Gayle. In League 1, David Faupala featured as relegation-threatened Chesterfield picked up a vital 3 points with a 1-0 victory away at Swindon Town.

In Scotland, two Manchester City youngsters faced off against each other when Celtic met St Mirren at Celtic Park in the Scottish Cup quarter-final round. Patrick Roberts was introduced to the action at half-time with Celtic surprisingly 1-0 down and changed the game for The Hoops who came back to keep their hopes of the treble alive with a 4-1 victory. Roberts was heavily involved with 3 of the goals and picked up 2 assists himself to ensure Celtic made it through to the semis, where they will meet Rangers in another Old Firm derby. In the opposite goal was City goalkeeper Billy O’Brien, who was unable to do anything to stop 4 goals in the final 30 minutes of the game.

In Spain, Valencia’s inconsistent season continues. Despite picking up solid victories in the recent weeks against Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, Eliaquim Mangala’s side fell to a 3-0 hammering against Atlético Madrid. The Frenchman featured at the back with Ezequiel Garay and the pair were unable to contain Mangala’s national team compatriots Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann. Samir Nasri was absent due to suspension and was forced to watch from the sidelines as Sevilla dropped a crucial two points in the title race. In the Segunda, 2nd met 5th when affiliate side Girona faced Getafe on Saturday evening. In what was billed up to be one of the biggest games of the season for Girona, Pablo Maffeo featured as the home side cruised to a 5-1 victory. Since returning on loan, Maffeo has been given a lot of game time and has shown his potential and become an integral part of the club’s back four. Meanwhile, Angeliño started for Mallorca in their 1-1 draw away at UCAM Murcia.

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