The Loan Report: December 10-16

Nathaniel Chalobah celebrated his 18th birthday this past week and did so in style as he grabbed his second goal of the season for Watford. He headlines the latest edition of the Loan Report.

The England Under-21 international hasn’t been in the best of form lately with some shaky and sloppy performances, but it was always prudent to remember his tender age and overall excellence throughout the season.

He offered a timely reminder of his capabilities away to Burnley on Saturday with a stylish and well taken strike to open the scoring for Gianfranco Zola’s Hornets. A cross was only cleared to the edge of the box, where the Chelsea man was waiting to steer a low volley back into the back of the net.

You can see his goal by clicking on THIS LINK.

A booking followed two minutes later for kicking the ball away – something he’s previously been carded for this season – and unfortunately he was forced out of action at half time with a knock picked up shortly after Burnley equalised.

Elsewhere, Tomas Kalas also had a storming weekend for Vitesse in the Eredivisie as he provided a pair of assists from right-back in a 2-2 draw with RKC Waalwijk.

The Czech international planted two absolutely beautiful crosses onto the capable heads of Wilfried Bony and Simon Cziommer, who duly converted. It was the latest in a series of impressive performances from Kalas and at this stage, he really isn’t being challenged by the level of competition in the Netherlands and may look to take the next step in January, having been linked to a Bundesliga move earlier in the season.

Patrick van Aanholt continues to come along well at left-back and was in fine form against RKC himself, almost grabbing himself a second-half goal. Gael Kakuta made it three Chelsea starters for the Gelderlanders but after being so impressive in recent weeks, he had a quieter time of it and was substituted during the second half.

Amin Affane saw a handful of minutes off the bench in Roda’s goalless draw with NAC Breda, whilst Kenneth Omeruo and ADO Den Haag battled bravely for 90 minutes but lost out by the odd goal in five away to Feyenoord in the closing moments.

Romelu Lukaku got fifteen minutes off the bench for West Brom in a dull 0-0 draw at home to West Ham United.

Josh McEachran and Middlesbrough continue to roll towards their aims of promotion back to the Premier League as they beat Wolves 2-0 at the weekend. McEachran played the full 90 minutes having been afforded a midweek rest as Boro exited the Capital One Cup in the Quarter Final stage away to Swansea City.

Sam Hutchinson remains sidelined through injury and Ben Gordon remains sidelined through choice at Birmingham City. He didn’t even get an Under-21 game under his belt this week as their trip to Leeds United fell foul of the weather.

Patrick Bamford has still not been able to return to full training after a hamstring injury and so missed MK Dons’ win over Hartlepool United, whilst Conor Clifford (unused sub) and Todd Kane (not selected) were also out of action in League One weekend action. Archange Nkumu has also left Colchester United and returned to Chelsea ahead of schedule.

Sam Walker continued in goal for lowly Bristol Rovers in League Two and watched his team’s wretched defence help gift York City four first-half goals in a defeat which leaves the club in the relegation zone and cost manager Mark McGhee his job.

After playing twice in two days last weekend, Jeffrey Bruma was back on the bench for the duration of Hamburg’s 3-0 loss away to Bayer Leverkusen this weekend. With midfield options slowly coming back to fitness, Dennis Aogo was able to return to left-back, meaning Thorsten Fink had no room for Bruma or no need to use him in an emergency situation. He is another contender to shift clubs next month, with widespread interest from Holland reported last week.

Kevin De Bruyne has had no such problems in finding playing time at Werder Bremen and took his usual place against Nurnberg on Sunday afternoon. He provided his fifth assist of the season as his shot deflected in off striker Nils Petersen for a very, very late equaliser.

Thibaut Courtois has also never lacked action at Atlético Madrid but faced his biggest test of the season so far as Diego Simeone’s team headed to the Nou Camp to take on Barcelona. Regardless of his world-class potential, such a fixture is rarely likely to be kind to any goalkeeper and four excellent finishes from Barcelona ensured that the Belgian ended on the losing side for just the second time this season.

Barcelona 4-1 Atletico Madrid by Futbol2101

In La Segunda, Ulises Dávila started yet again for the season’s surprise package Sabadell and played his part in a 1-0 win away to Racing Santander. The Mexican played 90 minutes again and is looking increasingly comfortable in European football, something Vitesse noted was a big reason for his lack of first-team minutes last season.

It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Jhon Pírez. You know the drill by now…

The same fate continues to befall Matej Delac, who is serving as backup goalkeeper for a third consecutive season and must wonder why he ever agreed to leave Inter Zapresic a few years ago. He watched on alongside Milan Lalkovic as Vitória Guimaraes lost 2-1 away to Pacos de Ferreira, and again, both could do with a change of scenery sooner rather than later.

Our final stop is Belgium, where Thorgan Hazard helped Zulte-Waregem to a 3-2 win over Genk in what must now be classed as a title challenge campaign. The creative midfielder played half an hour in the midweek cup fixture played between the same two teams – won 5-0 by Genk – but laid on a pass for Franck Berrier to lash in from the edge of the box to help Essevee on their way to three more league points on Saturday, cementing them in second place in the Jupiler League.

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