There were goals aplenty for Chelsea’s young loanees this past week as the group continued what has been a very productive start to the 2013-14 season. We begin with Marko Marin and Sevilla.
The little German forward struggled in London last season but has already made himself a firm fan’s favourite at Sevilla and bagged his first competitive goals for the club as they brushed Slask Wroclaw aside 4-1 in the Europa League Qualifiers. His first was the result of a fine dribble and instinctive early shot, and the latter owed much to composure and skill to round the goalkeeper before tucking home at the end of a smart move.
Sunday’s goalless draw at Levante was a less interesting affair, but Marin did play another 90 minutes and is set to be a key player for the Andalucians.
Another young Blue on loan in Spain, Uruguayan forward Jhon Pírez, started the season in most promising fashion, netting a stoppage time winner for third division Leganés in their opener at home to Real Unión. Pírez, who has struggled through injuries for most of his professional career to date, enjoyed a decent end to last season at Lega and returned there for the 2013-14 season. He came off the bench with 20 minutes to go at 0-1 down and helped turn the game around.
Back in England, Todd Kane was arguably the star of the show for Blackburn Rovers in their emphatic 5-2 victory over Barnsley at Ewood Park. The right-back laid on two first half goals with rampaging runs into opposition territory before scoring his first goal in senior football in the second half; a typically powerful shot on the run from the edge of the box.
In League One, Patrick Bamford netted his second goal of the season for Milton Keynes Dons in a 2-2 draw with Bristol City, showing excellent technique and composure to tuck away first time from the edge of the box.
Elsewhere in England, it was all League One as far as Chelsea were concerned as Billy Clifford’s stay at Yeovil was terminated prematurely due to a lack of playing time at Huish Park. Clifford will be showcasing his wares elsewhere in the near future with a change of loan club already secured, and hopefully he can continue playing for a Championship club. His talents certainly deserve that particular stage.
George Saville and Milan Lalkovic went head to head at Griffin Park as Brentford hosted Walsall and it was the former who got the bragging rights over his Slovakian colleague with the Bees running out 1-0 winners. Saville has already established himself as a fan favourite at Brentford and a key component in Uwe Rosler’s midfield, whilst Lalkovic, who was fit to play after a recent hamstring problem, provided the chance of the game for Walsall with an excellent cross for Craig Westcarr. The finish was lacking, but like Saville, he will have a big part to play for his team this season and has started well.
Sam Walker and Colchester United remain unbeaten after a 1-1 draw at home to Carlisle, but for the second game in succession he was found wanting in conceding a long-range strike. Matty Robson’s blockbuster was hardly comparable to the effort he conceded to Harry Maguire last time out, but his reaction upon being beaten was that of a man who will have wanted that one back. He was, however, his usual impressive and tidy self apart from the goal.
Daniel Pappoe, as usual, was not a part of the first team squad and he continues with Colchester’s Under-21 team at this time.
Over at Vitesse Arnhem, business is about to pick up. Lucas Piazon made his home debut on Sunday alongside regular starter Patrick van Aanholt in a much-needed 1-0 win over FC Twente, and both players played as advertised. Van Aanholt completed 90 energetic and confident minutes, whilst Piazon featured for 71 and worked hard whilst lacking a little in sharpness, and was denied a goal by the width of the post.
The duo will be joined again soon by Gael Kakuta, who will be fit to play again from next week, whilst Chilean winger Cristian Cuevas this week received his Dutch work permit and joins up with his new team-mates tomorrow.
The fifth Chelsea loanee in the Eredivisie, Stipe Perica, did not feature this weekend for NAC Breda but he has been training with them and could make his debut as early as next weekend.
Marin and Pírez were amongst the headliners but elsewhere, Thibaut Courtois and Atlético Madrid had a busy week, beginning with a tough assignment at home to Barcelona in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. The Belgian played well in a 1-1 draw, conceding a goal to Neymar but otherwise going about his business as usual.
Sunday’s schedule was comparatively easier as local rivals Rayo Vallecano were swept aside by five goals to nil with relatively little to do for Courtois in goal. A first clean sheet of the season will go down very well as he seeks to repeat a tally of 20+ last term.
Oriol Romeu, meanwhile, is still awaiting his Valencia debut after remaining an unused substitute for the second week in a row. He is doubtless lacking match fitness after his serious injury from last season, but hopefully his involvement picks up as the season goes on.
Thorgan Hazard was another who saw double action this week, beginning in the Europa League with their qualifier at home to APOEL Nicosia. The 1-1 result was not ideal for their chances of making the group stage, but Hazard did at least provide another assist for their goal, driving the ball across the face of goal for Junior Malanda to tap home.
He was much quieter on Sunday in another 1-1 draw, this time away to Oostende, and suffered something of a knock. It was not serious and he was, thankfully, able to resume.
Matej Delac and FK Vojvodina are yet another side bidding to put themselves in the Europa League group stages and after eliminating Bursaspor in the previous round, they might have fancied their chances at home to Sheriff of Moldova in Thursday’s first leg. The 1-1 draw leaves them with work to do, but Delac and company have been in decent form and will travel for the second leg off the back of a 1-0 win over Spartak Subotica, with Delac having kept a clean sheet.
Serie A got underway this weekend but Wallace, the Brazilian right-back on loan to Inter, watched from the bench as his new Nerazzurri friends beat Genoa 2-0 at the San Siro.