Kevin De Bruyne extended the impressive run of Chelsea loanees finding the back of the net this season with his third goal in Werder Bremen colours this weekend. It’s with the Belgian that we begin this week’s Loan Report.
De Bruyne got the weekend off to a strong start on Friday night away to Augsburg, grabbing his team’s only goal in a 3-1 reverse. There was more than an element of fortune about it though, as his dead-ball delivery from deep evaded everyone and eluded the Augsburg goalkeeper on the bounce to find the top corner.
Fellow Bundesliga loanee Jeffrey Bruma returned from a recent injury layoff as a second-half substitute for upwardly-mobile Hamburg, who beat Greuther Furth 1-0 to continue their recent good form. As noted last week, Bruma may need to bide his time to return to the starting eleven, such has been the impressive manner in which Michael Mancienne and Heiko Westermann have played of late.
Elsewhere it was a quieter week than usual but did include some intriguing matches and performances. One of the most notable came at Vicarage Road, where Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah and Middlesbrough’s Josh McEachran went head to head in a clash of two of Chelsea’s most promising players.
The duo – who had already played in midweek action against Charlton and Derby respectively – both started but despite Middlesbrough winning 2-1 it was Chalobah who impressed most, having a major influence over proceedings and stepping up for the Hornets, who played much of the game with just ten men.
Chalobah has already earned the admiration of the home fans, who are continually stunned by his composure and ability with the ball for someone of his age. His deal is set to run until the start of January but the way things are going, it would be a major surprise if it wasn’t extended until May.
Romelu Lukaku reprised his role as West Brom super-sub on Saturday against lowly Queens Park Rangers, playing 25 minutes in which he was his usual energetic, enthusiastic self. Half-chances came and went as his desire to impress occasionally gets the better of him, but he’s firmly in Steve Clarke’s plans in what is proving to be a very capable squad.
Ben Gordon is no closer to making a Birmingham City Matchday squad, whilst Nottingham Forest are retaining a safety-first approach with Sam Hutchinson’s knee problems. They have been in regular contact with Chelsea throughout and with the international break upcoming, will be ensuring that no risks are taken in bringing him back early.
Sam Walker continues to serve as backup at Bristol Rovers in what is now a futile exercise for him. The sooner he returns to Chelsea and finds a new club the better.
It was busy as usual in the Netherlands, with plenty of playing time and plenty of drama to go around. The main action took place at the Gelredome, where Vitesse went into their clash with Heerenveen as league leaders.
Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt started at right and left back respectively with Gael Kakuta an unused sub due to match fitness in a compelling 3-3 draw featuring a hat-trick by forward Wilfried Bony. Kalas with withdrawn with 15 minutes remaining, whilst Vitesse were generally shaky in defence throughout, as evidenced in the highlights below:
At the same time over in Roda, Amin Affane played the last ten minutes as a substitute in Roda’s 3-0 win over VVV Venlo. After an impressive start to his professional career, Affane has been back on the bench in recent weeks as manager Ruud Brood changed things up in a bid to find some form.
On Friday night Kenneth Omeruo continued in his usual vein of form for ADO Den Haag, who drew 1-1 at NEC Nijmegen. The Nigerian right-back picked up a now customary yellow card.
In Spain, Thibaut Courtois was once again rested for Europa League action as Atlético Madrid have opted to play Sergio Asenjo in a rotated squad for the group stages, but he was back in goal on Sunday evening against Málaga and played well in a 2-1 win.
In the second division, Ulises Dávila played the last 20 minutes of Sabadell’s defeat to Ponferradina as a substitute, a role he’s been seen in rather too much of late. Jhon Pírez did not feature for Leganés as per usual.
In Portugal, both Milan Lalkovic and Matej Delac were unused substitutes for Vitória in their impressive 2-1 win at Académica. Whilst Lalkovic has been playing here and there as a substitute, Delac remains a firm backup to Douglas, who has been playing well of late.
Finally, in Belgium, Thorgan Hazard and Zulte Waregem are still going great guns in the Jupiler League, with a 3-1 win over Cercle Brugge taking them up to second in the table. Hazard has quickly become a part of a very potent attacking unit and it will be fascinating to see how he progresses throughout the campaign.