Another week another chance to shine for Barça players around the world. Here is a glance at Barça main prospects (on-loan players and buy-back transfer options) and at how they performed this weekend.
Alen Halilovic – Sporting Gijón – On Loan
La Liga - Day 21 - Sporting 5-1 Real Sociedad (22/1)
Played 15 minutes
Same score as last week, different feeling. This time, Sporting Gijón were the ones to score 5 goals against their opponent. In a low-flight clash between 19th Sporting and 15th Real Sociedad, the tension was unavoidable. But of the two Northern club, Halilovic's was the bravest. The Croatian wonder and his teammates destroyed the Basques in a very pleasing game. At half time, Sporting were already up front 3-1. The second half only confirmed what had been seen during the first. Gijón continued to dominate the game and added two goals. Halilovic, subbed on at minute 75, could deliver his second assist of the season for the fifth goal, scored by Antonio Sanabria - his third personal goal of the game. Thanks to this large victory, Sporting are coming back (18 points) at 3 points behind their opponents, 15th in the table (21 points). They are still 19th.
Denis Suárez - Villarreal CF - Buy-Back Transfer
Played 90 minutes
La Liga - Day 20 - Espanyol 2-2 Betis (23/1)
Another draw for the Yellow Submarine against Catalan side Espanyol Barcelona, 2-2. More spectacular than their performance against Betis last weekend at Madrigal, it was not enough to come over very brave Catalans. Struggling to avoid relegation, Espanyol players even dominated the game, taking twice the lead (1-0 4', 2-1 40'). But Villarreal never gave up and come back on the pitch after half-time firmly decided to avoid the worst. It took them 38 minutes in the second half to score thanks to Musacchio and finally grab a point. Thanks to Real Madrid draw at Betis, Villarreal are still three points behind Zinedine Zidane's team. With 41 points in 21 games, Denis Suárez's teammates even increased the gap between them and 5th place Celta Vigo. The young midfielder gave an assist to Musacchio on the late equaliser. A very satisfying point in the end.
Adama Traoré - Aston Villa - Buy-Back Transfer
Did not play (broken bone injury)
Premier League - Day 23 - West Bromwich 0-0 Aston Villa (23/1)
After this weekend, Aston Villa have not lost for a third consecutive time. Although they were not able to clinch the win, Remi Garde's players managed to keep a clean shit to get a precious point in the race for survival (0-0). They surely could have expected better. In a game they dominated (60% posessions, 6 corners to 2, 15 shots to 4), the Villains weren't able to hit the net and go home with the three points. The dynamic is good though, and Remi Garde's effect is finally starting to kick in. The French coach probably missed Adama Traoré, who is capable of making the difference in those tight games where defenses are dominating. The Cameroonian winger is still out because of a broken bone injury. His team is still last in the league, but hope hasn't left the West Midlands.
Martín Montoya - FC Internazionale - On Loan
Serie A - Day 21 - Inter 1-1 Carpi (16/1)
Played 75 minutes
This is exactly the kind of games that decide a champion. Already going late in the race for title after a few negative results, Roberto Mancini's Inter saw once again a good performance being tear down by another late goal. Thay had taken the lead thanks to Rodrigo Palacio, who was at the reception of a confused action, to put the ball in the net very easily (39'). The Milan side complete domination was not rewarded by a second goal, and the menace of an equaliser kept floating around, until Carpi finally scored, 2 minutes in the injury time (Lasagna, 92'). That occured when Carpi were only 10 men after Lorenzo Pasciuti was sent off for a second bookable offense. Once again, Inter let their direct opponents take a greater lead in the table. Napoli and Juve, respectively winners of Sampdoria away (2-4) and AS Roma at home (1-0) are getting out of reach. Montoya's teammates even saw Fiorentina level with them on points, taking the third place on goal difference. The Spanish right-back was not on the pitch anymore when Carpi equalised. He played 75 minutes before to be replaced by Yuto Nagatomo.
Cristian Tello – Fiorentina – On Loan
Serie A - Day 21 - Fiorentina 2-0 Torino (24/1)
Did not play (not in the squad)
Maybe he's already having an impact on his new squad. Cristian Tello did not play last weekend, as he just completed his move to Italian Serie A, at Fiorentina, after 18 months in FC Porto. Loaned out by Barça until the end of 2015/16 season, he was looking for another challenge as he was not used much anymore by Lopetegui, before his sacking, nor by the interim coach Rui Barros. Having played only 10 minutes in 2016, it was time for Tello to move. He chose Fiorentina, who are fighting for a spot in Champion's League, in Italian Serie A. The Spaniard will have to show what he's worth, as the competition is tough, with Borja Valero, Ilicic, and Matias Fernández. Another stimulating challenge for the winger, who will try to contribute to La Viola's good results.
Gerard Deulofeu - Everton - Buy-Back Transfer
Played 90 minutes
Premier League - Day 23 - Everton 1-2 Swansea (24/1)
After two intense games against Premier League big names, Everton faced a convalescent Swansea at home. Always a dangerous fixture but a very accessible win for the Toffees. However, the Welsh were more aggressive and took the lead after only 18 minutes thanks to a Sigurdsson penalty. Everton reacted and forced Swansea's midfielder Jack Cork to give out the equaliser due to an own goal. But it was soon before André Ayew gave back the lead to the Swans, to reach halftime at 1-2. Despite Everton's change of pace in the second half, and Gerard Deulofeu's active participation, the score did not change and Everton conceeded a defeat. This means that the Toffees are stuck at 12th position, only 8 points over the relegation zone.