With the season drawing towards the winter break across Europe, this week’s loan report will be longer than many in the coming weeks as many leagues draw a line under the first half of the 2011-12 season.
Tomas Kalas and Jeffrey Bruma have been amongst the highlights of the campaign so far for Chelsea’s young loanees and both were in action at the weekend for one last time in 2011 before taking a month-long break from competition.
Kalas and Vitesse kept yet another clean sheet in a 1-0 win away to Heracles, a result which sees the Arnhem side well placed in sixth in the Eredivisie.
The Czech defender doesn’t turn 19 until the end of the season and has been an absolute revelation in his first season of professional football.
Bruma, meanwhile, is firmly established in Thorsten Fink’s first-choice side at Hamburg and a 1-1 draw at home to Augsburg on Saturday extended the club’s unbeaten run to eleven games.
They join Croatian goalkeeper Matej Delac on winter holidays, but two other young loanees continue to be absent from the field of play for other reasons.
Patrick van Aanholt hasn’t featured for Wigan Athletic since October but was ineligible to feature this weekend as the Latics hosted his parent club Chelsea. Gael Kakuta, however, was firmly available to play for Bolton as they made the trip to Fulham, where he spent time on loan last season.
Owen Coyle saw fit to leave the Frenchman out of the matchday squad and watched his side fall to another defeat. With just 9 points taken from the last 63 possible, Wanderers are in crisis. They won’t be able to turn towards Kakuta for help though, as he will return to Chelsea on January 1st.
Conor Clifford and Yeovil picked up a good point away to Rochdale in a match featuring goalkeeping heroics from Rene Gilmartin, who suffered a dislocated finger during the second half.
Clifford played well and had a few attempts at goal before his customary withdrawal in the second half.
Sam Walker and Northampton fell to yet another defeat, going down 2-0 away to Oxford United, but once again the giant goalkeeper was unable to prevent either goal and also watched Tom Craddock put a penalty high over his crossbar.
Manager Aidy Boothroyd bemoaned his team’s defensive mistakes and cited a lack of concentration. Coupled with his continued selection of Sam, it’s safe to say that the club do not consider him to be part of the problem.
Fellow stopper Thibaut Courtois was rested for Thursday night’s Europa League action as Atlético Madrid had already secured qualification, but he returned to take his place between the sticks on Sunday as Los Colchoneros hosted Real Betis.
The visitors came away with a 2-0 win and like Walker, Courtois was helpless to prevent either strike has Atléti continue to slide down the table. They will hope to pick up form again when La Liga resumes on January 7th.
Completing the round-up is Ulises Dávila, who completed an hour for Jong Vitesse in a 4-1 win over FC Oss in midweek. He, like Kalas, will be next in action in 2012.