Timothy Fosu Mensah – Crystal Palace
It has been a difficult start to 2018 for Timothy Fosu Mensah and Crystal Palace, who have won just one of their five Premier League games since the turn of the year. Tim has been involved heavily in Crystal Palace’s plans though, having played 90 minutes in the past seven fixtures, cementing his fan favorite status and gaining him valuable experience.
Last time out, the Dutch defender occupied the center-back position alongside James Tomkins, a position he has not often played under manager Roy Hodgson. Unfortunately for Tim, the trip to Goodison Park to play Everton ended in a comprehensive 3-1 defeat.
Next up is a home match-up against London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. The Eagles will be desperate for a win, as they once more linger dangerously above the relegation zone.
Andreas Pereira – Valencia CF
Since our last report, there has been no further progress in Pereira’s injury status. It appears the playmaker will still be out for another two weeks at least.
After three straight defeats in La Liga, Valencia bounced back with a 3-1 win at home to Levante last week. The result leaves them in third, a point ahead of Real Madrid.
Sam Johnstone – Aston Villa
Championship side Aston Villa’s impressive run of form shows no signs of slowing down. Steve Bruce’s side made it seven wins in a row with a 2-0 win over city rivals Birmingham City on Sunday.
Johnstone was fairly untested between the sticks, with the visitor’s best chances glancing the woodwork on separate occasions. He did have to step in and mediate an incident in the later stages of the game, when Birmingham’s N'doye and John Terry found themselves in a scuffle, which resulted in a red card for N'doye.
The result propels Villa to second in the table, 12 points behind leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Villa defender Neil Taylor adds to the multitude of voices praising Johnstone.
"For us as players we’re enjoying having him with us from Manchester United," he told the Express and Star.
"There’s a reason he’s been kept by that football club for many years – he’s a keeper with great potential and it’s now not only potential, he’s now producing it."
Johnstone will look to get consecutive clean sheets when his side visits fifth place Fulham at Craven Cottage this Saturday.
Axel Tuanzebe – Aston Villa
Tuanzebe was an unused substitute in Aston Villa’s 2-0 derby win against Birmingham City. The versatile defender had to settle for a spot on the bench as his side cruised past their neighborhood rivals.
It seems the youngster will have to be patient at Villa Park, with a whole host of experienced defenders in the squad, it is understandable manager Steve Bruce is going with who he knows at this point in the season. Axel has demonstrated his quality while with the Reds, so there is no doubt he will perform when Bruce calls on him.
The beneficial trait for Tuanzebe is his adaptability; being able to occupy multiple positions on the field, not just as a defender.
James Wilson – Sheffield United
Wilson was an unused substitute at the weekend when Sheffield United took on Leeds United in the Championship. The Blades took all three points in a 2-1 win at Bramall Lane, with both goals coming from in-form striker, Billy Sharp.
Sharp’s recent success has been potentially detrimental to Wilson’s chances of getting valuable game-time with the Yorkshire side. The Blades will travel to the King Power Stadium to play Leicester City this weekend in the FA Cup.
Demetri Mitchell – Hearts
Demetri Mitchell is having perhaps one of the loan moves of the season so far with Scottish Premiership side Hearts. The talented youngster has played in six games so far, and won three Man of the Match accolades.
His latest MOTM award was garnered from an impressive performance in the Scottish Cup, in a 3-0 home win against St. Johnstone. Mitchell’s fine display was capped off with a phenomenal strike from outside the box.
What a hit!— William Hill Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) February 12, 2018
Is @demetrimitche11's strike for @JamTarts a Goal of the Round contender? #ScottishCup pic.twitter.com/gh9JMAEJMN
“A move is only as good as you make it and I feel like I’ve made the most of it so far,” Mitchell told Edinburgh Evening News.
“I’m enjoying it a lot. I’ve played six games and we’ve won four, and that’s the most important thing. When you’re playing in a team that’s winning, it’s more enjoyable and the team spirit’s better.”
“I feel like I’m in with the team already. I feel like I’ve been here longer than a month. The players have really warmed to me and embraced me, which has helped me more than anything.”
Dean Henderson – Shrewsbury Town
Dean Henderson returned to action after a three-game ban on Tuesday night, playing 90 minutes in the 2-1 win against Fleetwood Town. The result momentarily lifts Shrewsbury Town to pole position in League One, though Wigan Athletic can reclaim that with either a win or draw in their game-in-hand.
Henderson will continue to occupy the number one spot with Shrewsbury Town for the remainder of the season. Their next game is a home tie against fourth place Rotherham United this weekend.
Matty Willock – St. Johnstone
Matty Willock came up against Demetri Mitchell for the second time in a week, and was once again on the losing side. St. Johnstone were soundly beaten by Hearts 3-0. Willock started once again, playing just over an hour before being substituted.
Out of the Scottish Cup, Willock will look to stem the flow of bad defeats in the league – St. Johnstone have lost the last four – when he matches up against leaders Celtic on Sunday.
Regan Poole – Northampton Town
Regan Poole has not featured in the last two games for Northampton Town. The young Welshman could have potentially picked up an injury, explaining his absence from the side. We will continue to monitor his status.