Takuma Asano // VfB Stuttgart
The Japanese international was an unused substitute in Stuttgart’s 2-3 loss to Mainz 05. His lack of playing time for Die Roten is becoming a concern, especially with rumours coming out of Stuttgart that Asano may leave during the transfer window to head for Portimonense SC, a Portuguese outfit that currently lies 13th in Liga NOS. Obviously, playing 719 minutes and collecting only 1 goal has made it impossible for Hannes Wolf to play him consistently. Whether he can do enough to claim more first-team minutes is unknown and with the German outfit only 4 points away from the relegation places, a move away might be beneficial for both parties.
Marc Bola // Bristol Rovers FC
The 20-year-old left back played all 90 minutes as Bristol Rovers claimed a deserved 3-1 win over Bradford City. Bola has taken his chances well as he has earned first-team minutes ahead of Lee Brown, serving as a necessary outlet out wide when Bristol attack in the final third. Against Bradford City, Bola linked up well down the left side and utilized his pace and strength to press when he lost the ball to the opposition. He was rarely troubled defensively as Bradford preferred their attacking progression to occur down the other flank. With greater overall consistency, Bola should have no trouble keeping Brown out of the team for the rest of the season.
Cohen Bramall // Birmingham City FC
The 21-year-old left back was an unused substitute in Birmingham City’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End. While he has struggled to appear consistently for the Blues throughout the season, in a recent press conference, Steve Cotterill Expressed that he could garner more first-team minutes. “Cohen has done better in training probably in the last month or two than perhaps he would have done at the beginning of the season. So he has probably matured and stepped up a little bit more.” With Jonathan Grounds consistently putting in solid performances, Bramall needs to give a reason as to why he should play more.
Joel Campbell // Real Betis
While the Costa Rican international is still recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery and hasn’t been cleared for training, an interview with Ricardo La Volpe has eloquently expressed much of the frustration surrounding the winger. Speaking to La Nacion, the former Costa Rica national team coach commented that he still has more to give and deserves the chance to showcase the qualities that made him a sought-after talent in the first place. “It’s not that he’s doing anything wrong because he always believed in himself. He is strong, he has speed, he can dribble. There is another one that makes a player shine and that is the coach.” If the past is any indication, Arsenal does not seem the place to let Campbell realize his potential.
Carl Jenkinson // Birmingham City FC
The English right back returned from a dislocated right shoulder that kept him out for 5 months, serving as an unused substitute in Birmingham City’s 1-1 draw with Preston North End. He is still far from match fitness, only receiving 60 minutes in an under-23 match last week. In a recent press conference, Steve Cotterill expressed that he is content with Maxime Colin, the current right back, and won’t rush Jenkinson and potentially aggravate his injury. For now, limited minutes will allow him to return to form and aid the Blues in their relegation fight.
Emiliano Martinez // Getafe CF
The Argentinian goalkeeper received his 3rd start of the season as Getafe drew 2-2 against Athletic Bilbao. He was poorly positioned for Bilbao’s first goal, getting caught beyond his line and was too easily chipped from an angle he should have saved. He did make some good saves to keep Getafe in the game but will feel disappointed to have conceded 2 goals. For now, Martinez is the no. 1 goalkeeper with transfer rumours surrounding Vicente Guaita. If the Spanish goalkeeper stays, however, his position in the first team may be in doubt.
Stephy Mavididi // Charlton Athletic FC
The 19-year-old forward continued his impressive start to life in League One, scoring another goal and hitting the crossbar in Charlton Athletic’s 3-1 win over Walsall. Mavididi interchanged well with Josh Magennis, actively switching positions and making numerous runs through the channels to stretch the opposition vertically. His goal was well taken, making an onside run through the channel before he cut back and scored with a near-post deflection. He has made 4 appearances for the Addicks in his second loan spell with the club, scoring 2 goals.
Tafari Moore // Wycombe Wanderers
The 20-year-old right back played all 90 minutes as Wycombe scored a last-minute winner in a 3-2 victory over Crewe Alexandra. With Gareth Ainsworth utilizing a narrow 4-3-1-2 formation, Moore was the sole source of width and made numerous encouraging runs down the flank. His speed and dribbling allowed him to carve open space to play in crosses from deep but lacked the consistency to trouble Crewe Alexandra’s back line. Moore has started brightly for the Chairboys and looks capable of claiming the right-back role for himself for the rest of the season.
Kelechi Nwakali // MVV Maastricht
The young Nigerian’s loan with VVV-Venlo was cut short and has rejoined Dutch second-tier outfit MVV Maastricht till the end of the 2017-2018 season. The 19-year-old had a difficult time in the Eredivisie, making only 9 league appearances and scoring 1 goal. Nwakali spent last season on loan with the Sterrendragers, making 34 appearances, scoring 3 goals and providing 4 assists. Obviously, VVV-Venlo did not believe that he was ready for their first team so here’s hoping that he will garner significant playing time in the Eerste Divisie.
Lucas Perez // Deportivo La Coruna
Though the Spanish forward claimed an assist, he struggled overall as Deportivo La Coruna was demolished 1-7 by Real Madrid. Despite his strong start to the first half, Marcelo and Nacho were able to effectively corral his regular forays down the flank. Lucas registered only 1 key pass and 0 crosses, unusual for a player considered the creative hub for the side. His struggles only highlighted Deportivo’s inconsistency in handling the attack of Real Madrid. Lucas has made 17 appearances in the league, scoring 4 goals and 2 assists.