Each week this season, the Loan Report (or the International report, as it predominantly was last week) has featured a Chelsea youngster scoring for his temporary club.
That trend continued this week with Tomas Kalas, Kevin De Bruyne and Milan Lalkovic all finding the back of the net for the first time this season, and although Lalkovic’s was ‘only’ in friendly action, it nonetheless represents another positive step for his career progression.
He grabbed the first goal against lower league team Infesta in a 3-0 win and also picked up an assist. The match was scheduled as there was no domestic league action this weekend following the international break, so match minutes were needed for many of the squad. Matej Delac does not appear to have figured.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, perhaps deserves more attention for his first Bundesliga goal, and despite Werder Bremen losing 3-2 at Hannover, he impressed in a more central midfield role than he’s been seen in so far in the club’s green shirt.
He showed good timing and a knack of getting into the right position at the right time for his goal, popping up just inside the box to meet Eljero Elia’s short pass before rifling home with his ‘weaker’ left foot.
As had been hoped, if not expected, De Bruyne is amongst Bremen’s most important players already and he’ll be getting a lot of good football at a very high level for the rest of the campaign.
Staying in Germany before moving onto a very successful weekend in the Netherlands, Jeffrey Bruma and Hamburg lost 3-2 away to Eintracht Frankfurt in a match which saw some fairly appalling defending on both sides. Bruma wasn’t perfect, but by the same token he wasn’t terrible and looked the better of the visiting defenders, lending a hand to deny the hosts the chance to increase the margin of victory during the second half.
In the Eredivisie, Kalas’ first league goal for Vitesse (his other came in a post-season playoff fixture) helped secure a very impressive three points for Fred Rutten’s side away to Groningen as the Arnhem club overcame a first-half red card to record a 3-0 win.
Despite featuring for most of last season at centre-back, Kalas has been used at right-back in recent weeks and doesn’t look out of place in that role, with his natural quickness and eye for a pass valuable assets. On a late counter-attack it was the Czech who had the freshest legs in the stadium to rampage up the pitch before finishing in composed fashion.
Fellow Blues loanee Patrick van Aanholt played the full match on the opposite flank and recorded two assists, first providing Mike Havenaar with a headed opportunity before helping add gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time with a cut-back to Bony Wilfried, who eventually scored despite a scuffed effort.
Gael Kakuta was not fit enough to debut, having picked up a knock against Volendam in a friendly during the international break.
Amin Affane started in Roda JC colours for the first time after an impressive debut cameo, and did so away to title challengers AZ Alkmaar.
Ruud Brood’s side lost 4-0 but Affane had a solid outing on his full professional debut, completing the 90 minutes and looking a threat in attacking situations. His deliveries from wide areas caused problems and he certainly looks like he can be a capable producer in the Eredivisie.
Kenneth Omeruo and ADO Den Haag continued their bright start to the season with a 3-1 win away to Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen side and there was another full match for the Nigerian, something which has become the norm. You can see how he got on in the highlights below; he’s wearing number 4 for the visitors and also added his name to the list of assist providers this week.
Staying on the continent, Ulises Dávila followed his first goal in Sabadell colours last Tuesday with another dazzling display in a 3-2 win over Real Madrid C. The Mexican went close to adding to his tally on more than one occasion but his presence in the team is more than welcome and they’ve made a surprisingly good start to the season, having been considered relegation favourites over the summer.
Jhon Pírez is yet to debut for Léganes in the Spanish third tier, as he presumably recovers from his latest injury problems.
Thibaut Courtois returned to Atlético Madrid as the now undisputed Belgian number one for their World Cup campaign and for 80 minutes had very little to do as his team-mates ran out to a 4-0 lead against Rayo Vallecano. However, in the final ten minutes the visitors scored three times – none of which Courtois could do much about – to make life far less comfortable, but he did end up on the winning side.
In Belgium itself, Thorgan Hazard made his debut for Zulte-Waregem, who continued their own good start to the season by being the only team in the top half to win this weekend. They were victorious away to Leuven with Hazard junior pulling all the strings in the attacking midfield area.
You can see the best of the action here, with Hazard wearing 8 in dark green:
On domestic shores, Romelu Lukaku was fit to resume his West Bromwich Albion career as a half-time substitute away to Fulham, but it was a bad day all round for the Baggies, who lost 3-0 and saw Peter Odemwingie sent off for violent conduct.
The Nigerian will be suspended for three matches, which aids Lukaku’s chances of a starting berth in Steve Clarke’s side, and the former Chelsea right-back has been impressed with the big Belgian so far:
“I’ve been delighted with him so far. He’s made a good contribution to a really good team start to the season.
“He’s also got a lot to learn.
“I think if you take the attributes he’s got and what he’s shown so far he has the potential to be a really good player.
In the Championship, Josh McEachran and Sam Hutchinson continue to impress for Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest respectively, and both featured for 90 minutes on Saturday.
McEachran was up to his usual tricks in a 2-0 win over Ipswich, gliding around looking for possession and distributing it with a calm authority and a dash of flair. He’s also been showing a combative side, picking up a couple of bookings so far and putting himself about to generally good effect. He won the ball back to kick-start the move that led to Luke Williams’ opener and is firmly in Tony Mowbray’s first-team plans.
Hutchinson started his second straight game at right-back for Forest and continues to have the fans purring about his displays. He has thus far showed no ill effects of his long-term knee problems and is playing with his trademark energy and enthusiasm.
Opponents Birmingham – who did not include Ben Gordon in their Matchday squad – took a two-goal led despite Sam’s best efforts (particularly on the opening goal, as you’ll see in the video below) but the hosts were able to bounce back late on to maintain their unbeaten record.
Nathaniel Chalobah was named on the bench for Watford but didn’t get on for a debut away to Bolton. Such has been the desperate state of the Hornets defending of late though, the new club number 39 may not have to wait much longer to get some playing time under Gianfranco Zola.
Despite Chelsea having three youngsters in League One, there was no representation on the pitch this weekend as Rohan Ince, Archange Nkumu and Conor Clifford all remained on the bench.
Yeovil duo Ince and Nkumu watched on as their team-mates lost 1-0 away to MK Dons and with Nkumu’s one-month deal set to expire this week, manager Gary Johnson has some decisions to make.
The same is true for Portsmouth’s Michael Appleton, who spoke earlier of this week of his own squad dilemma. Aside from the fact that most of his squad will become free agents this week, he has to choose between midfielder Clifford and defender Kevin Long in terms of who gets an extension to their deal, with the other likely departing to make room for a centre forward on a temporary deal.
Considering that Clifford is yet to start for Pompey, it figures to be him, so keep an eye on that situation as the week develops.
In League Two, Sam Walker and Bristol Rovers were on the end of a 4-0 hiding at table-topping Gillingham, and it continued a familiar story for the lanky stopper. Rovers are experiencing their worst start to a season in over a decade and their defending has quite frankly been woeful. Walker stood no chance with any of the Gills’ goals this weekend and was hung out to dry as usual.
Tying up loose ends to finish with, James Ashton and Charlton’s Under-21s are next in action on Tuesday, whilst second-year scholar Ismail Seremba will spend a month at Bristol City, where he will seek playing time for their Under-18 and Under-21 teams that hasn’t been forthcoming at Cobham.