Goals from Daniel Sturridge, Fabio Borini and Patrick van Aanholt, plus a red card for Sam Walker and the premature end of Conor Clifford’s spell at Notts County headline another hectic week in the land of the Chelsea loanee.
Bolton’s 3-0 win over West Ham on Saturday saw England Under-21 striker Sturridge add two more goals to his Wanderers total, taking him to six since joining the club on loan at the end of January.
There was an element of class to each of them too. The first was a beautifully curled and flighted effort from the edge of the box, picking out the top corner and leaving Robert Green with no chance.
In the second half, Sturridge put the icing on the cake with a mazy run in from the left wing before shaping onto his stronger foot and drilling low into the bottom corner.
You can watch both of his efforts here.
He wasn’t the only young Blues forward in goalscoring action. Down in The Championship, Fabio Borini demonstrated that he has been taking lessons from Didier Drogba by scoring a sensational free kick against promotion-chasing Norwich.
Approaching the ball straight on, he opened his body and struck the free kick with the side of his foot, allowing the ball to dip and swerve past John Ruddy.
You can see his strike here.
It was the highlight of a brilliant outing for the Italian Under-21 international, who has set pulses racing at the Liberty Stadium with his energetic and intelligent performances.
He was buzzing around throughout the first half, and went close to adding a second but was denied by a sprawling stop by Ruddy. In the second half he dropped into a deeper midfield role as Stephen Dobbie went off, and was afforded a standing ovation as he left the field ten minutes from time.
Earlier in the day Patrick van Aanholt had also made his mark on the scoresheet, scoring the final goal in Leicester City’s 4-0 rout of free-falling Burnley. In the closing stages of the game, the Dutchman strode forward, played a one-two with former Blues schoolboy Andy King, and curled a right-footed effort into the far corner.
It was his second goal of the season, with the other coming for Chelsea in Carling Cup action at home to Newcastle. Both were scored with his supposedly weaker right foot.
Completing the set of headlines, Sam Walker’s head-to-head clash with fellow loanee goalkeeper Rhys Taylor ended prematurely and in sour fashion as the youngster was sent off in stoppage time for the second of two bookings for time wasting.
Barnet beat Crewe 2-1 but Walker had been booked earlier in the second half for taking too long over a goal kick, something of a pernickety decision by a referee who was giving no leeway to the players throughout.
Collecting the ball in stoppage time in an attempt to prevent it running for a corner, the linesman’s decision went against Walker, and in frustration he threw the ball away, earning a second card and a dismissal.
Obviously devastated, it was a disappointing end to a good showing overall. Opposite number Taylor may have ended up on the losing side but could do nothing about either Bees goal.
Elsewhere, Gael Kakuta was afforded a first start for Fulham as Mark Hughes took his team to Old Trafford, and the Frenchman had an impressive first half, going close to an early goal when he beat Patrice Evra and tested Tomasz Kuszczak with a low right-footed effort.
Michael Mancienne was on Wolves’ bench again as he works his way back to match fitness but remained unused as they went down 3-0 at home to Everton.
Whilst Van Aanholt was scoring for Leicester, his compatriot Jeffrey Bruma was serving a one-match suspension for his dismissal last weekend at Middlesbrough. Jack Cork was absent for their opposition as he remains at Chelsea undergoing further tests after complaining with chest pains whilst on England Under-21 duty.
Ben Gordon returned to left-back for Scunthorpe against QPR after a brief spell further up the pitch and whilst his game started badly as Wayne Routledge’s cross allowed Rob Hulse to score, the Iron turned the game on its head to win 4-1 in outstanding fashion.
Gordon went up against the best winger in the division and struggled early on, but bounced back very well to have one of his best games this season.
Jacob Mellis, meanwhile, came off the bench earlier than expected for Barnsley and helped them to a 4-2 win over in-form Bristol City.
The midfielder played an hour for the reserves in midweek as he recovers from a hamstring complaint but entered the match after just 25 minutes as Hugo Colace went off hurt. He impressed, winning a penalty with a cross which was handled by Marvin Elliott, and went close to a spectacular goal from long range.
The club’s sole League One representative is no more though. Conor Clifford chose to leave Notts County earlier this week after a lack of playing time at Meadow Lane, and despite Paul Ince’s departure last Sunday, he was left on the bench again by caretaker manager Carl Heggs.
The Irishman would have featured this weekend as Ricky Ravenhill was suspended but it has become clear that the strugglers, for whatever reason, weren’t willing to use him, so he has returned to Chelsea for the rest of the season.
In Holland, Vitesse lost at ADO Den Haag but Slobodan Rajkovic remains sidelined with a back problem. Dutch media reported over the weekend that the Arnhem club are keen to bring the Serbian international back again next season.
Matej Delac was a substitute again, but told Croatian press that he will play on loan elsewhere next season, and that despite not playing at all this year, he has developed aspects of his game under coach Raimond van der Gouw.
New boy Lucas Piazon was part of the Brazil team which won the South American Under-17 Championship on Saturday night, beating Argentina by three goals to two. Piazon scored three goals during the competition.
Our final stop, as usual, is Uruguay, where Jhon Pirez is expected to be on the bench as Defensor Sporting host Rampla Juniors in Clausura action tonight. News on how he fares, if at all, can be found on Twitter by following @chelseayouth.