It’s been another marquee week on the loan front, with Kevin De Bruyne, Nathaniel Chalobah and Ulises Dávila all finding the back of the net and making a positive impact for their teams.
We’ll begin chronologically with Chalobah, who returned to Watford’s starting eleven on Saturday after being rested last weekend, and scored his first ever professional goal in a 2-1 win over Wolves at Vicarage Road.
In a performance full of attacking impetus – indeed, he could have scored two or three more – it was a first-half opener which ultimately capped his performance. Showing his trademark stamina and drive, he surged through the middle unmarked to be in good position to convert from Fernando Forestieri’s centre, albeit at the second time of asking.
The 17 year-old (yes, he doesn’t turn 18 until early December) continues to impress with each passing performance, as is clear from reports from the likes of Vital Watford.
Moving over to Spain, where Mexican winger Dávila scored his third and fourth goals of the season for Second Division outfit Sabadell in a wild 5-2 win away to Recreativo. He’s been slowly working his way back into a regular spot in the starting eleven and completely blew up on Sunday, firstly giving his team a 3-2 lead in the second half with a fine left-footed strike from long range, before capping the win with the final goal ten minutes from time.
Not too long after that, De Bruyne grabbed his fourth club goal for Werder Bremen with a sublime finish to turn around a deficit against Fortuna Dusseldorf and come out with a 2-1 victory. With just ten minutes remaining, the Belgian arrived to meet a cross with perfect timing and placed a beautifully side-footed volley into the back of the net.
The action didn’t end there though, with assists and good performances aplenty in as good a week for Chelsea’s young loanees as there has been in a long time – and this in what has been a very good season.
Much of the creative production came in the Netherlands, where left-footed playmakers Gael Kakuta and Amin Affane continued to pull the strings for their teams and add to their assist totals for the season.
Kakuta moved onto five in as many games in laying on goals for both Wilfried Bony and Mike Havenaar in a comfortable 4-1 win for Vitesse against an NEC Nijmegen side which finished with eight men after a meltdown in the closing minutes.
Tomas Kalas – who made his senior debut for the Czech Republic during the week – and Patrick van Aanholt (who has earned national team consideration of his own) both played the full ninety minutes in defence but despite the visitors taking a very early lead, they had little to do as Kakuta and company took over in a fine display of attacking football.
Over in Almelo, Affane laid on his third assist in two games and a fifth of the season himself in delivering for Sanharib Malki to score against Heracles. It was the only highlight of the game for Roda though, who lost 5-1 and have conceded ten goals in their last two games.
Chelsea’s fifth Eredivisie loanee, Kenneth Omeruo, was absent from ADO Den Haag’s matchday squad against PSV Eindhoven through injury. It was perhaps a good thing too, as ADO lost 6-1 against a much, much better team.
Elsewhere, Josh McEachran was able to start for Middlesbrough in a top-of-the-table clash away to Cardiff after hurting his ankle on England Under-21 duty on Tuesday night but he appeared to still be feeling the effects of the problem as he put in a sub-standard performance during the eventual 1-0 defeat. He’ll bounce back though, and will be back to 100% for Boro’s next outing.
Sam Hutchinson is still convalescing his injury; Ben Gordon played 90 minutes again for Birmingham’s Under-21 team away to Coventry City, Archange Nkumu hasn’t featured for Colchester United, and Sam Walker remains as backup to Neil Etheridge at Bristol Rovers. None of these storylines have changed in the past few weeks and show little signs of altering this side of Christmas.
Jeffrey Bruma may have harboured ambitions of a start at centre-back for Hamburg after Paul Scharner’s red card last time out, but Michael Mancienne was fit to return for the home win over Mainz, meaning Bruma only saw a few ticks of the clock in stoppage time as a replacement for Rafael van der Vaart. Having started a number of games at the start of the season, he has now not been in Thorsten Fink’s starting lineup since September 16th.
In Belgium, Thorgan Hazard played as Zulte-Waregem drew 0-0 against Standard Liege, a result which keeps Esseevee in the upper reaches of the table, not least in part due to his consistently impressive outings.
Thibaut Courtois and Atlético Madrid sought to keep pace with Barcelona in the Spanish Primera Division with a potentially tricky fixture away to Granada, and did so with a hard-fought 1-0 victory. Courtois made one excellent save in particular and, as you’d expect, continues to look the part.
In Portugal, it was cup weekend, meaning Milan Lalkovic, Matej Delac and Vitória Guimarães made the trip to Setúbal to face the local Vitória there. They both started on the bench and both remained there for the duration of the game, which went to extra time. Guimarães prevailed on penalties, so maybe they’ll get to play in the next round.