Defender Jeffrey Bruma and Thibaut Courtois were both amongst the headline makers this weekend in an eventful seven days on the loan front.
Bruma notched his second goal of the season for HSV as Thorsten Fink’s side continued their recent good form, but it was bad news for Courtois, who was sent off early in the Madrid derby.
The giant Belgian custodian went into his first career match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in good personal form and Atlético took a shock early lead against Jose Mourinho’s title contenders, but things went south with just 21 minutes on the clock.
With Karim Benzema bearing down on goal, Courtois came out and tripped the Frenchman. A defender was covering behind but it was a denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity and there can be little argument with the dismissal.
You can view the incident here. Atlético lost the match 4-1 and Courtois will now serve a one match ban.
In more positive news from Germany, Bruma’s second goal of the 2011-12 campaign earned HSV a point away to Hannover as they edge their way back up the table.
The Dutchman connected with a second-half corner by former blue Gokhan Tore to give his team the lead, but a sensational volley by Jan Schlaudraff earned the hosts a share of the spoils.
You can watch Bruma’s goal here. He has become a mainstay of the defence under manager Fink and is playing as well as he has in his brief career to date.
Staying in central Europe, Tomas Kalas was able to recover from an ankle injury suffered last weekend at home to Feyenoord and lined up at the heart of the Vitesse defence for their trip to Utrecht.
A goalless draw earned another clean sheet for the young Czech, and he showed no lingering effects of his knock as he completed a solid 90 minutes.
Ulises Dávila was not on the bench, but has been playing for the ‘Jong Vitesse’ reserve side more often than not. He scored for them again this week and whilst he’s not yet earning regular playing time in the Netherlands, he is adapting to life in Europe and could conceivably come on strong in the second half of the season.
Indeed, it will be a big 2012 for many players at Chelsea, but in particular for both Gael Kakuta and Patrick van Aanholt. Their respective loan moves to the north-west have been a monumental waste of time and neither made it onto the pitch once again this past weekend, with van Aanholt absent from the matchday squad for the sixth week in a row.
Kakuta’s deal ends on January 1st and he will almost certainly return to Cobham, and whilst van Aanholt’s deal is slated to last the season, it would defy belief to leave him at Wigan a day longer than is absolutely necessary.
In League One, Conor Clifford started his third straight game for Yeovil Town and was on the winning side in an impressive 1-0 victory away to Hartlepool United.
The Irishman was once again substituted midway through the second half but has made a strong impression at Huish Park and after apparently initially being apprehensive about joining (due to a poor experience in the same league at Notts County last season) it very much appears as if he will extend his stay beyond just a month.
Sam Walker is stuck at Northampton Town for the entire season and endured another long Saturday afternoon as the Cobblers were thrashed 4-1 away to lowly Plymouth Argyle.
After a 7-2 defeat to Shrewsbury Town last weekend, caretaker manager David Lee stepped down and former England goalkeeper Tim Flowers took over the reins temporarily, but he was unable to stop the bleeding as the Pilgrims ran riot in the first half.
The Northampton defence has offered little resistance in front of Walker and the youngster has largely been powerless to make a tangible difference.