There’s only one place to begin our loan watch round-up this week and that’s with Greg Leigh’s screamer for Crewe – his first senior goal.
The popular left-back had made 32 appearances for The Railwayman without troubling the opposition goalkeepers but he broke his duck in emphatic style with a thunderbolt against Scunthorpe on Saturday as Alex triumphed 2-0.
Speaking in the Stoke Sentinel, Leigh said: “I actually scored one in training on Friday and Callum Saunders came up to me and said I’d never score a goal like that again,” said Leigh.
“I thought he was right. When I saw it sit up I thought, ‘why not?’ so I hit it.
“The manager said at half-time it would take something special to separate the two teams and luckily for us it came for us. The second goal came straight after and that was a big lift.”
On the flipside, George Evans was playing for the Iron and while he no doubt admired his EDS team-mate’s goal, the defeat has put a severe dent in his team’s hopes of sneaking into the League One play-offs.
Scott Sinclair continued his rich vein of form for Aston Villa with a stunning individual goal against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend, sparking a pitch invasion as the home fans celebrated a little too wildly.
The City winger has now scored three goals for Villa and his effort sealed a 2-0 win that puts Tim Sherwood’s side in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Moving across the Channel and Marcos Lopes continued his fine form by setting up the only goal of Lille’s 1-0 victory over Guingamp.
Lopes exchanged passes with Nolan Roux on 51 minutes with the Lille striker looping the ball home to secure three points for the Ligue 1 outfit. Lille move up to eighth as a result with their relegation fears easing markedly over the past fortnight.
In Spain, Alvaro Negredo played 50 minutes of Valencia’s impressive 1-1 draw away to Atletico Madrid.
Negredo was one of 12 players booked in an ill-tempered match that also saw Valencia reduced to ten men in injury time
Bruno Zuculini’s Cordoba play on Monday evening, and in Serie A, Micah Richards’ Fiorentina are also in action against Lazio on Monday and Chidibere Nwakali is yet to appear for Malaga’s first team.
Matija Nastasic played the full 90 minutes of Schalke’s 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim to move up to fifth spot in the Bundesliga.
The result ended a run of four games without a win as the battle for Champions League places gathers pace.
In Scotland, Jason Denayer and John Guidetti both featured for Celtic in a feisty Scottish Cup encounter at Tannadice.
With three sent off, Dundee United finished with nine men but held firm to claim a 1-1 draw and a quarter-final replay at Parkhead. Denayer played the full game while Guidetti came on as a 64th-minute substitute.
Jordy Hiwula’s recent form with Walsall ended at Oakwell where the Saddlers were soundly beaten 3-0. The Tykes are now separated from a play-off spot by goal difference only having been teetering on the brink of relegation for much of the campaign.
Jordy played the full game and had a strong claim for a penalty turned down, but couldn’t add to the four in seven games he went into the match with.
Devante Cole’s MK Dons again lost at the weekend, going down 2-0 to promotion rivals Preston North End.
Cole played 73 minutes of the game as the Dons slipped to a third straight defeat.
In the Championship, Seko Fofana came on as a 72nd minute substitute but could do little to stop a rampant Bournemouth who ran out 5-1 winners at Craven Cottage.
Fofana played long enough to pick up a yellow card on a forgettable Friday evening for the Cottagers.
Those not in action as yet include Shay Facey, who didn't feature in the opening day 1-1 draw with Orlando and will hope to make his New York City FC debut against New England Revolution this Sunday, while Bismark Boateng’s Stromgodset (Norway) and Godsway Donyoh’s Falkenberg (Sweden) won’t begin their season until the first week of April.
In the Dutch Eredivisie, Sinan Bytyqi’s injury means he was spared the rollicking his team-mates presumably received for the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of PEC Zwolle.
Cambuur remain firmly rooted in mid-table and though Karim Rekik’s PSV Eindhoven edged closer to the title with a 3-0 win away to Go Ahead Eagles, the City defender is still recovering from a hamstring strain.
Finally, in Holland, Divine Naah played the full 90 for second-bottom NAC Breda who were soundly beaten by Feyenoord 3-0.
FA Youth Cup: Support our boys!
City are in FA Youth Cup semi final first leg action at the Academy Stadium on Wednesday night.
Leicester City stand in the way of a first final appearance since the Class of 2008 won the competition seven years ago.
They need your support! Click here to find out how you can be there to help roar the lads into the final.