Transfer deadline day saw the number of loan departures from Chelsea rise to 23.
Michael Essien and Yossi Benayoun are unlikely to feature in the weekly Loan Report here at TheChels because they’re senior pros moved on because they don’t fit into the first team squad, whilst our focus is, of course, primarily on the younger generation of footballers at Stamford Bridge.
There’s still plenty of those though, and where better to begin than with Sam Hutchinson, who scored his first professional goal on Saturday for Nottingham Forest against Charlton Athletic.
In his first start for the reds since joining on loan in mid-August, the 23 year-old put in a fine performance which left home fans purring and capped it with a late goal at the end of a lung-bursting run into the box.
It was expected that Hutchinson would eventually replace Brendan Moloney in the back four, but that process may now accelerate, particularly if the home fans have anything to do with it.
“Seriously Hutchinson is a million times better than Moloney it’s unreal.”
“Sam Hutchinson has to be our main RB now. Stronger defensively, and better attacking than both Moloney and Halford are at RB.”
“Hutchinson has been class all game, much better player than Moloney.”
“Quality young player. Deserves to be injury free to see how far he can go. I think he can go quite far as well.”
He’s one of a number of promising players in The Championship, which hasn’t always been the case amongst Chelsea’s loanees in recent seasons.
Nathaniel Chalobah didn’t arrive at Watford in time to debut away to Derby County, and it was perhaps a good thing as the Hornets returned south with their tails between their legs after a 5-1 hiding.
Ben Gordon was absent from the Birmingham City Matchday squad with first-choice left-back David Murphy having returned from injury, but did play 66 minutes in the Capital One Cup defeat away to Coventry City earlier in the week.
Indeed, he was the only one of Chelsea’s youngsters to play in the competition during the week as none of Hutchinson, Romelu Lukaku or Josh McEachran were involved for their respective sides.
Lukaku picked up a mild knock on his ankle away to Tottenham last weekend and so wasn’t risked for the trip to Yeovil Town and was rested again at the weekend as Steve Clarke’s side swept past Everton in the Premier League.
McEachran was rested by Middlesbrough for their trip to Gillingham but was restored to the starting eleven by Tony Mowbray for a tough league assignment away to Millwall, and got another 90 minutes.
It already looks as if Mowbray will be leaning heavily on the England Under-21 international this season as Boro hunt promotion, and he’s certainly hit the ground running with a series of assured performances. He’ll most certainly be at the heart of much of what the club does well on the pitch this season.
In League One, defensive pair Rohan Ince and Archange Nkumu started on the bench against a Lukaku-less West Brom in midweek, but the former was able to play the final ten minutes and make his first competitive appearance for the club after suffering an injury in pre-season.
They both remained unused in Saturday’s 2-1 home victory against Doncaster, meaning Nkumu is still awaiting his first minutes in the senior game. Conor Clifford was also unused by Portsmouth as they went down 1-0 to Oldham Athletic.
In League Two, Sam Walker and Bristol Rovers lost 3-0 at home to Morecambe in a defender display which manager Mark McGhee branded ‘embarassing’. Walker could have done little about any of the goals, although he may feel that he could have been quicker off his line at times, but so bad was the play in front of him, he was typically hung out to dry on this occasion.
Shifting our attentions overseas, it’s perhaps sensible to begin in the Dutch Eredivisie, where five youngsters will spend the rest of the season.
Vitesse’s Patrick van Aanholt and Tomas Kalas are familiar names to regular readers, and this week they were joined by Gael Kakuta, who may have harboured grander ambitions than playing in Arnhem, but he should excite in 2012-13 having already displayed his quality in a superior league at Dijon last season.
His signing didn’t happen in time for him to feature against Feyenoord on Sunday but there were 90 minutes for the other two in an impressive 1-0 win against a very good team. Both played well; Kalas at centre-back and Van Aanholt at left-back and each contributed to a clean sheet which few will have considered before kickoff.
Kenneth Omeruo is equally as regular a feature over at ADO Den Haag and on Friday night lined up against Groningen, who he scored his first goal against not long after joining back in January. The Nigerian was unable to add to his career tally in a 1-0 defeat, but continues to impress.
The newest kid on the block is Amin Affane, who joined Roda JC on Thursday and made his senior debut as a 59th minute substitute on Saturday at home to newly-promoted Willem II.
It took roughly ten minutes for him to make an impact, and he did so in predictable fashion. Well-known for his set-piece prowess, the Swede whipped in a devlish free-kick which was headed home by Krisztian Nemeth.
Manager Ruud Brood came away impressed, saying “He always wants the ball. Occasionally he’ll chase too much and forget to defend, but I found him alright in training and he was good tonight.”
Few will have pegged Affane as a contender for a loan this season, but he’s found a good home and made an early impression, which will do him the world of good going forward.
Over in Germany, Werder Bremen took on Hamburg, which gave us an opportunity to watch Kevin De Bruyne take on Jeffrey Bruma in a clash of loanees.
Neither had a major say in Werder’s 2-0 win, although HSV’s defending was less than stellar and they handed both goals to their hosts. Both look well set to be regular contributors to their respective sides throughout the long season ahead.
In Portugal, both Milan Lalkovic and Matej Delac are awaiting their first starts for Vitória, but one is much closer to doing just that than the other.
Whilst Delac adds another backup job to his career resumé to go alongside spells at Vitesse and Dynamo Ceske Budejovice, Lalkovic is slowly receiving more minutes as an impact sub. He got half an hour against Estoril on Saturday night and is looking increasingly at home in the adult game. He came on with his team 0-2 down and ended up contributing to a point earned as the match finished 2-2.
Next door in Spain, there was no league action for Thibaut Courtois and Atlético Madrid this weekend because of a certain match in Monte Carlo this past Friday night. Whilst Chelsea fans will understandably want to forget about their 4-1 defeat, Courtois and his team-mates celebrated a job well done, even if he was rarely extended by his parent club on the night.
Finishing off as usual in the lesser-watched leagues, Thorgan Hazard didn’t make his debut for Belgian side Zulte-Waregem this weekend because he arrived too late in the week, but Ulises Dávila did play in another high-profile fixture.
After impressing against Villarreal last weekend, he started away to Barcelona B on Sunday evening in a match the hosts won rather comfortably. The Mexican looked useful in possession but Sabadell were up against it and lacked cohesion when getting into advanced areas. Still, he’s enjoying a much better season than he did last year at Vitesse, when he spent much of his time in reserve team football.