It was a very Merry Christmas for Atiba Hutchinson.
Hutchinson and PSV Eindhoven are heading into the Eredivisie’s winter break on top of the table and are once again finding a good bit of form. Hutchinson played the full 90 minutes on Saturday as PSV beat NAC Breda 6-1 to keep up with Twente, who are level on points with PSV. PSV have a far superior goal difference, though.
Down a league in the Dutch Eerste Divisie is goalkeeper Jordan Santiago with club team Veendam. The 21-year old Santiago made his fourth appearance of the season on a snowy pitch in Veendam on Friday as his team picked up a 2-1 win over Sparta Rotterdam. Veendam is in 10th place in the 18-team Eerste Divisie.
Not only is there no winter break in England but fixtures come hot and heavy over the holiday season.
With teams likely to rotate squads so as not to overexert their players over this busy period, that means Simeon Jackson has found his way back into action for Norwich City in the Premier League. Jackson has largely been rooted to the bench for the past number of months but finally got a few minutes run out Saturday as he came on in the 86th minute for Norwich as they lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion. The loss snapped Norwich’s three-game win streak and the Canaries currently sit in 10th place.
Down in League One, both Marcus Haber and Iain Hume likely would have been involved for Stevenage and Doncaster Rovers, respectively, on Saturday if both their matches had not been postponed.
In Germany, Kevin McKenna’s FC Koln head into the winter break with just the league to worry about as they were knocked out of the DFB Pokal Cup on Wednesday. McKenna played the entire game as Koln, a team in the 2. Bundesliga, bowed out of the competition to Bundesliga side VFB Stuttgart.
In Turkey, goalkeeper Milan Borjan enters the winter break with Sivasspor on the back of a morale-raising win in the Super Lig. After dropping three straight, Sivasspor got things back on track on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Elazigspor to get back into 1-th place in the league with 22 points in 17 games. Borjan and Sivasspor now break from league action until the second half of January but in the meantime they will have a few Turkish Cup games early in 2013.
Portugal is another country where there is no break for the holidays but for midfielder Pedro Pacheco, there will be no more action in 2012. Pacheco played 41 minutes before being red carded for Santa Clara as they played Sporting Braga II to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. Santa Clara has one game left in 2012 but Pacheco will be suspended for it. They sit in seventh place in Portugal’s Liga de Honra, the second division.
In Cyprus, Mike Klukowski hasn’t seen much action of late for APOEL but he got a few minutes’ run out in his team’s final game before the break. Klukowski came on in the 80th minute on Saturday as APOEL beat Doxa 3-0 and are in second place in the 1. Division standings.