Many of Chelsea’s loan contingent signed off for 2010-11 this weekend as the English Football League campaign drew to a close, but for a few, there are still some loose ends to tie up.
Starting in the top flight, Michael Mancienne started his second consecutive game at centre-back for Wolves, who picked up a huge three points in the battle to avoid relegation by beating West Brom 3-1 in the Black Country derby.
The hosts were well on top throughout so Mancienne had little to do, but when called upon he did his job effectively and in a tidy manner, and gave England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce a timely reminder that he is back to full fitness after five months out.
Daniel Sturridge, meanwhile, returned to action after missing two games with an ankle problem and was unlucky not to find the back of the net in a 2-1 defeat at home to Sunderland.
He struck the bar in the first half with an effort which took a deflection, and saw two more goalbound efforts blocked by committed defending on a day where Bolton saw luck desert them.
Gael Kakuta, meanwhile, could line up for Fulham in Monday night action as the Cottagers host Liverpool.
The Premier League may have two matchdays left, but the Football League’s last weekend saw seven of the eight young Blues play their final senior match of the season, with only Fabio Borini’s campaign extending into the playoffs.
The Italian returned to the Swansea starting line-up and played the full ninety minutes as Brendan Rodgers’ team secured third place with an emphatic 4-0 win over relegated Sheffield United.
Borini picked up something of an assist in laying the ball off for Stephen Dobbie to score the second of his brace, and was otherwise his usual busy self. The Swans will now face Nottingham Forest as they go in search of a place alongside QPR and Norwich in next season’s Premier League.
Daniel Philliskirk played half an hour for the Blades in opposition, and has agreed to join them permanently when his deal at Stamford Bridge expires next month.
Leicester’s Dutch duo of Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma ended on a sour note as each were at fault for conceding a goal in their 4-2 win over Ipswich, but van Aanholt was able to atone for his error by playing a big part in their fourth goal.
Bruma conceded a penalty by handling in the box whilst his left-footed team-mate underhit a backpass to allow Connor Wickham to score, but minutes later combined well with Yakubu down the left before crossing for Diomansy Kamara to score.
Jacob Mellis was replaced at half time in his Barnsley farewell against Millwall, whilst Jack Cork could have been the hero at the death in Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Cardiff but was unable to keep his diving header down.
The midfielder has been one of the club’s outstanding players this season and with Chelsea having told him he can move on, is likely to sign permanently at Turf Moor over the summer.
Ben Gordon was an unused sub yet again for Alan Knill’s Scunthorpe and watched as his already relegated colleagues drew 1-1 with Portsmouth.
In League Two, Rhys Taylor was beaten from the penalty spot on his Crewe farewell, but ended up victorious as the Alex destroyed Bradford in a rampant display at Valley Parade, winning 5-1.
The real story of the day in England’s fourth tier, however, was Barnet’s last day survival fairytale, as a 1-0 home win against Port Vale coupled with Lincoln’s defeat to Aldershot ensured another season in league football.
Sam Walker kept his first clean sheet as a professional and made one crucial stop in the second half to help preserve the Bees’ league status. He, along with a number of other late season additions, were mobbed at full time amidst jubilant scenes at Underhill.
There was no Dutch league action this weekend for Slobodan Rajkovic and Matej Delac as the Cup Final between Ajax and Twente took centre stage, whilst Jhon Pirez was on the bench as Defensor surprisingly fell to a 2-0 defeat away to Central.
There will be further loan reports as the final weeks of the season take place, and towards the end of the month we’ll take a look back on what has been one of Chelsea’s more successful loan campaigns in recent memory.