Loan watch: Norton-Cuffy and Azeez make debuts

Folarin Balogun against Nice

There were club debuts and Ligue 1 meetings for our Gunners this weekend as they were in action for their respective loan clubs. 

Miguel Azeez made his club and Championship debut for Wigan Athletic in their draw with Cardiff City. Our Academy midfielder came on as a first-half substitute, winning several duels and making key passes as the Latics scored a last-gasp equaliser. He joined Wigan following a half-season loan spell at UD Ibiza.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy also made a club debut at the weekend as Coventry City lost narrowly to Burnley. Having swapped the red and white of Rotherham United for the Sky Blues in January, Norton-Cuffy played 90 minutes for Coventry as they nearly hung onto a draw with the league leaders. 

It was a similarly disappointing weekend for the rest of our Gunners in the Championship. Charlie Patino played the entirety of Blackpool's 2-0 loss to Watford and picked up a booking in his 23rd appearance for the Seasiders. Auston Trusty also played the full game for Birmingham City as they suffered a tough 4-2 defeat to Bristol City, and Harry Clarke's Stoke City lost 3-1 to Sheffield United. 

In Ligue 1, our forwards Folarin Balogun and Nicholas Pepe clashed in a 0-0 draw between Reims and Nice. Balogun managed a shot on target for Reims with his first touch of the game and had another good chance to bag a winner in the second half, but he was denied by Schmeichel on both occasions.

Meanwhile, Pablo Mari played for the full 90 minutes as Monza won 3-2 over Serie A strugglers, Cremonese. Our two young Gunners featured in the Eredivisie this weekend, with Mika Biereth playing for the majority of RKC Waalwijk's 2-1 loss to Volendam and Omar Rekik making a stoppage-time appearance as Sparta Rotterdam beat Excelsior 1-0.  

Ainsley Maitland-Niles made a late appearance for Southampton on Saturday, as they achieved their first Premier League win since October over Everton. Despite the 2-1 win, the Saints remain bottom of the Premier League but are only one point adrift. 

Over in Scotland, Alex Kirk played the entire game for Ayr United as they drew 2-2 with Arbroath in the Championship, and Ryan Alebiosu featured late on for Kilmarnock as they lost to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup semi-final. 

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