After a slow start to the season, Chelsea’s young loanees exploded into action this past week, providing goals, assists and top performances for the first time in 2011-12.
Gael Kakuta and Jeffrey Bruma both notched maiden efforts for their new sides whilst Milan Lalkovic, Tomas Kalas and Thibaut Courtois have been in fine form as well.
We’ll start with the goalscorers and with Kakuta, who marked his first appearance in a Bolton Wanderers shirt with a goal away to Aston Villa in midweek Carling Cup action.
The French Under-20 international helped seal Wanderers’ place in Round Four with a lovely turn and snap-shot on the edge of the box which rifled into the back of the net. You can view the effort here.
Unfortunately for Kakuta, it wasn’t enough to warrant a start at Arsenal on Saturday, and he sat on the bench through the club’s ninth defeat in ten matches.
Bruma, meanwhile, was perhaps fortunate to have earned a starting place for basement-dwelling Hamburg SV on Friday night with Michael Mancienne going down injured, but the Dutchman more than took his chance.
He grabbed an equaliser for the troubled club – who sacked manager Michael Oenning this past week – with a glancing near post header from former Chelsea winger Gokhan Tore’s corner. You can watch that goal here.
Bruma’s performance was impressive as caretaker boss Rodolfo Cardoso led HSV to their first win of the season, a late Robert Tesche goal securing a 2-1 win at Stuttgart.
It was a busy week at home and abroad, with double action for many, including Vitesse duo Tomas Kalas and Ulises Dávila. The pair both started the KNVB Cup tie at home to NAC Breda, one which went all the way to penalties with the hosts prevailing 5-4.
Kalas completed the entire 120 minutes and was outstanding, whilst Dávila offered a little more than on his debut against Roda, and went off after 76 minutes with a good performance under his belt.
On Sunday Vitesse continued their good early season form with a win away to Excelsior. Dávila played the first half and whilst he got into good positions, ultimately contributed little. Kalas completed the 90 minutes in defence and played well, emerging as one of the talents of the first weeks of the season.
In Spain, Thibaut Courtois had little to do on Wednesday night in a routine 4-0 win over Sporting Gijon, but his impressive tally of just one goal conceded in five games for Atléti came to a juddering halt on Saturday as he faced the imperious Barcelona.
There was little that the teenage Belgian could do about the five goals his team shipped, and indeed but for him the final score could well have been worse.
Back in England, Patrick van Aanholt continues to start for Wigan in his favoured left-back spot, but the Latics suffered in moving Maynor Figueroa to centre-back on Saturday as the Honduran was at fault for both goals in a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.
Patrick has had a solid if unspectacular start to his spell at the DW Stadium and at the very least should be positive that he is playing regular football, something desperately needed at this stage of his career.
Milan Lalkovic extended his stay at Doncaster Rovers for another month this week and celebrated with a Man of the Match performance in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Rovers sacked manager Sean O’Driscoll on Friday and replaced him with Dean Saunders, and whilst the Welshman only gave Lalkovic half an hour from the bench, it was all he needed to make his mark.
A performance displaying all of the hallmarks regular watchers of Chelsea’s reserve team will be familiar with left Donny fans clamouring to see more from Lalkovic, starting with their next match on Tuesday against Hull City.
Ben Gordon’s spell at Peterborough ended prematurely this week, with Chelsea recalling him early after being less than satisfied with his playing time at London Road.
In League Two, Sam Walker lost a clean sheet late in the game at home to Dagenham & Redbridge but was still on the winning side for Northampton Town and contines to make steady progress at Sixfields Stadium.
We’ll finish in the Czech Republic, where Matej Delac did not feature for the second week in a row for Ceske Budejovice, who gained an impressive point in a goalless draw against Champions League outfit Viktoria Plzen.