His brother is one of the most famous faces in world football and a veritable world-class talent, but for this week at least, Thorgan Hazard takes centre stage in the Loan Report after scoring his first two goals for Zulte Waregem.
‘Esseevee’ have been enjoying their best ever season in the Belgian Jupiler League and it’s certainly due in part to the second eldest of the four Hazard brothers. Thorgan has immediately slotted himself into an attacking midfield position and been influential in their fantastic start to the season, before adding goals to his game in the last seven days.
His maiden effort in Zulte colours came on Hallowe’en night in a 4-1 demolition of Sporting Charleroi at home. Showing some of the hallmarks of Frank Lampard’s legendary career, he timed a run towards the edge of the box to absolute perfection, arriving on cue to smash past the unfortunate visiting goalkeeper.
He went one better on Sunday, scoring the only goal in a shock 1-0 win away to Club Brugge, a result which has the club top of the league on goal difference ahead of perennial powerhouses Anderlecht.
There was a lot of success elsewhere in general, at least as far as results go, with Chelsea youngsters contributing to positive seasons for a number of teams.
Josh McEachran and Middlesbrough are also enjoying the view from their lofty perch atop the league as they find themselves joint leaders of the nPower Championship with Cardiff City. They overcame conceding an early goal away to Charlton to run out 4-1 winners, with Josh himself making amends for a loose pass for the Addicks’ goal by providing an assist in return.
He intercepted a pass in midfield before delivering a trademark through ball to Australian striker Scott McDonald, and Boro’s top marksman did the rest.
Nathaniel Chalobah was restored to the Watford starting team after serving a one-match suspension and proved a key figure in a 2-1 win over an impressive Leicester City team.
It would have been easy for manager Gianfranco Zola to leave the youngster out after his red card, but he has made himself a necessary starter in midfield, providing poise, strength and guile and an ability to make things happen at both ends.
Sam Hutchinson was doing much the same at Nottingham Forest before his (sadly predictable) injury problems re-surfaced. Forest boss Sean O’Driscoll indicated this week that it will be at least another 4-6 weeks before he is in a position to return, and discussions will take place as to whether it would be prudent to end the loan deal prematurely. Ben Gordon also remains sidelined for Birmingham City.
There was no League One or League Two action this weekend as the FA Cup reached the First Round Proper stage, but there was still no debut for Archange Nkumu at Colchester United. He did play for what was effectively a reserve team in a midweek Essex Senior Cup match, but he got an important 45 minutes during the 8-1 rout of Harlow Town.
Sam Walker was back in goal for the first time in two months for Bristol Rovers but the Pirates were always up against it being drawn against League One promotion favourites Sheffield United and lost 2-1 at The Memorial Stadium.
Romelu Lukaku and West Bromwich Albion are in Monday night action in the Premier League and this report will be updated with his involvement on Tuesday.
In Germany, Kevin De Bruyne and Werder Bremen continued their positive season with a 2-1 win over Mainz on Sunday. The Belgian has been a big part of their play so far in 2012-13 but in this game it was the Aaron Hunt show, with the forward grabbing both goals.
Jeffrey Bruma was again unused for Hamburg in their 3-0 defeat at home to Bayern Munich.
Things continue to be busy in the Netherlands, and particularly at Vitesse Arnhem, where Gael Kakuta has started to make up for lost time by reminding everyone of his creative capabilities.
After a debut assist last weekend, the Frenchman was able to repeat the feat with another helper in a midweek cup win over Staphorst, before being handed his first league start away to Ajax.
Kakuta, along with Tomas Kalas and Patrick van Aanholt, passed their biggest test of the season with flying colours, winning 2-0 in the ArenA to go third in the Eredivisie. The two defenders played 90 minutes and shut out the second most potent attack in the league, whilst Kakuta played three-quarters of the game to great effect, providing another assist for Wilfried Bony, who of course grabbed both goals.
Chelsea’s other two loanees in the Netherlands faced off on Friday night, or at least they should have, but whilst Amin Affane got 90 minutes for Roda, Kenneth Omeruo was only a stoppage-time substitute for ADO Den Haag in the goalless draw.
In Portugal, it was a big weekend for Milan Lalkovic, who saw some time as a second half substitute for Vitória as they lost away to Benfica. The Slovakian did well in his short spell on the big stage, but Matej Delac failed to feature as usual, with Douglas firmly the first choice goalkeeper for league matches.
Finally, we finish off in Spain, where Atlético Madrid lost their unbeaten start to the season in the form of a 2-0 defeat away to Valencia. Thibaut Courtois could hardly have done anything about either goal, mind.
In the second division, Ulises Dávila returned to the Sabadell starting eleven after a goal last weekend but their game was a drab goalless draw away to Sporting Gijon. The Mexican went close a couple of times but it’s just good to see him back in favour.
Jhon Pírez remains nowhere to be seen.