It was a week like many others this season the loan front as the usual movers and shakers developing away from Stamford Bridge continued in the same vein as they have for many recent weeks and months.
Thibaut Courtois typically headlines the group, with the 19 year-old Belgian goalkeeper arguably the most competent and first-team ready of all Blues youngsters on loan this season. He added two more wins to his resumé this week and another clean sheet on Sunday against Granada which came after helping Atlético Madrid to a 3-1 win in the Europa League against Besiktas.
In a week in which he was linked with Real Madrid, Courtois had little to do for the majority of the two matches and was only beaten by a wonderful strike by Simao Sabrosa. In the second half of the clash against the Turkish side, however, he was called into action on more than one occasion to limit the damage ahead of an important second leg in Istanbul.
In France, Gael Kakuta started and played ninety lively minutes for Dijon at home PSG, which meant going up against a former team-mate in Alex and a manager in Carlo Ancelotti who handed the youngster his debut in professional football.
Ten-man PSG won 2-1 with a stoppage-time goal courtesy of some comedy Dijon defending but it belied the strong performance the hosts put in. Kakuta was influential throughout and central to Steven Paulle’s late equaliser as it was his corner which was flicked on and headed home at the far post.
Ahead of the game, and largely due to the obvious Chelsea connection in the match, Kakuta was the focus of some media attention. It’s safe to say that the majority of Ligue Une observers have been enamoured with his performances and are starting to see the potential he so clearly has in spades.
There was also some attention for Jeffrey Bruma in the German press this week, as stories arose of his disappointment at not having been selected for Hamburg’s match against Stuttgart last weekend despite reportedly being fit.
Bruma denied stories of suggestions that he may be forced to find another club for next season if he isn’t first choice under Thorsten Fink but in any event he returned to the starting line-up on Sunday for HSV’s 3-1 defeat to Schalke.
There was some hope that Bruma would have ‘insider knowledge’ on how to stop prolific compatriot Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but that thinking fell flat on its face as the Dutchman continued his fine season with another goal, albeit from the penalty spot.
Bruma’s future in Germany is being discussed by Frank Arnesen and Chelsea, with a decision on where he will spent the 2012-13 season due to be made before the end of the month.
It was a good weekend for Chelsea’s Eredivisie (senior) quartet as Milan Lalkovic, Kenneth Omeruo, Patrick van Aanholt and Tomas Kalas were all on the winning side in victories for ADO Den Haag and Vitesse Arnhem respetively.
Omeruo continued at right-back after a stellar debut last week and despite being fairly new to the position, he was excellent and helped keep a clean sheet in the 2-0 win at Heracles. Lalkovic came off the bench in stoppage time to make his return from a hamstring injury which had sidelined him for a fortnight.
At the same time, Van Aanholt and Kalas were part of the Vitesse defence which only conceded from the penalty spot against Groningen, but still came away with a 3-1 win which kept the Arnhem side in 7th place.
Kalas put in a confident performance and took charge at the back despite his tender age, whilst Van Aanholt continues to improve and adapt to the league after an inconsistent start. There was no place for Ulises Dávila again but he did play 70 minutes for Jong Vitesse in midweek.
There was another full outing for Ben Gordon at Kilmarnock and a 1-1 draw away to Inverness, but Killie’s chances of pushing for a top-half finish before the SPL splits are fading as they trail Hearts by five points and have played a game more. The team now prepares for the Scottish League Cup Final against Celtic next Sunday.
Josh McEachran continued what is turning out to be a frustrating spell at Swansea with another ninety minutes spent on the bench but Brendan Rodgers’ decision proved to be vindicated as the Swans beat Man City 1-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
There was some concern when the club signed Gylfi Sigurdsson that any move for McEachran might see him sit behind the undoubtedly more experienced Icelandic international and that has proven to be the case. Rodgers is likely to give Josh more playing time as the season closes out but he will not be ‘first choice’.
Sam Walker and Rhys Taylor both are at Yeovil and Rotherham though, and they both had impressive and unbeaten weeks.
Walker kept his first clean sheet since moving to the Glovers away to high-flying MK Dons in midweek to help his side to a 1-0 win and he emerged victorious away to Oldham on Saturday, only being beaten by a firm header from close range. Yeovil had their backs to the wall for much of the midweek win over the Dons but Walker and his defence stood firm and the club are edging clear of relegation trouble.
Taylor, meanwhile, continues to earn plaudits at Rotherham after a 1-1 midweek draw against Crewe and a 1-0 win over Plymouth. The Welshman made an obvious mistake against Alex on Tuesday but bounced back to keep his fifth clean sheet in eleven games (Rotherham had just five in 24 games before his arrival) and has supporters firmly behind him becoming a permanent signing in the summer.
Whilst Taylor looks towards the next stage of his career, Matej Delac remains in limbo. He watched from the bench as Ceske Budejovice drew 1-1 away to Banik Ostrava and at this point, nobody really has a clue what the future holds for him.