In the final Loan Report before Christmas, the usual suspects have found themselves making headlines again. As we have for most of the season so far, we begin in the Netherlands…
It’s not often, however, that we’ll feature a left-back scoring twice in a week, but that’s what Patrick van Aanholt did during the past seven days. His first goal was a consolation effort in Vitesse’s 3-1 KNVB Beker (equivalent of the FA Cup) defeat at Roda, and he followed that up with his fourth of the season away to Heracles on Saturday evening.
He was easily Vitesse’s best player in the cup defeat, as Peter Bosz’s side turned in one of their poorest performances of the season so far. Their effort on Saturday wasn’t much better and the relative thinness of their squad is beginning to tell, especially with the suspension-enforced absence of forward Mike Havenaar. It has meant Lucas Piazon featuring as the centre forward and whilst he scored against Heracles and did a good job overall, he’s much more effective as a wide forward.
There was the usual dose of action for the remaining assortment of Chelsea loanees at the Gelredome, with Christian Atsu getting the most of it. The Ghanaian got 83 and 71 minutes respectively and has taken Gael Kakuta’s spot away from him permanently at this juncture. Kakuta missed the Roda defeat through injury and played a little more than fifteen minutes at Heracles; at this stage it would not be a surprise if he moved in January.
Sam Hutchinson played three minutes at Roda as a substitute but was ruled out of the trip to Heracles because the match was played on an artificial surface and could have posed further problems to his ailing knees. Cristian Cuevas, as usual, was not involved at all.
A pair of League One forwards once again claimed a share of the headlines as Patrick Bamford and Milan Lalkovic both made it goals in successive games for playoff-chasing sides. Bamford’s fifteenth strike of the season was a relatively simple finish into an unguarded net following good work by Ben Reeves, but Lalkovic’s was a sublime curling effort into the top corner to put the seal on Walsall’s 2-0 victory over Carlisle at the Bescot Stadium.
Saddlers boss Dean Smith this week confirmed that he is seeking an extension to Lalkovic’s stay at the club and the Slovakian Under-21 forward is likely to be supportive of making his loan stay in the Midlands last until May.
Romelu Lukaku started as usual for Everton in their trip to Swansea but had a relatively quiet game as the Toffees won 2-1 without having to call upon his services.
Victor Moses was an unused substitute for Liverpool in their 3-1 win over Cardiff City.
In The Championship, Josh McEachran was an unused substitute for Watford in their first game under new manager Beppe Sannino, who replaced Gianfranco Zola following his resignation last weekend. The change of stewardship at Vicarage Road might well be the final nail in McEachran’s loan coffin and it would be a huge surprise if he were to stay there beyond mid-January, when his deal is set to end.
Nathaniel Chalobah saw some twenty minutes of action for a Nottingham Forest team lucky to draw 0-0 at Birmingham City. He too should find new surroundings next month.
Todd Kane was an unused sub for the second straight week as Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer appears reluctant to change a winning team.
George Saville claimed an assist for Brentford in their excellent 3-0 win at Preston, providing the cross for Sam Saunders to score the third goal of a victory which took Mark Warburton’s team within a point of the automatic promotion berths.
Sam Walker’s fourth clean sheet of the season helped Colchester to a 2-0 win away to Oldham Athletic.
Thibaut Courtois conceded more than one goal in a match for just the second time all season, but Atlético Madrid still had enough to beat Levante by the odd goal in five.
Marko Marin remains injured for Sevilla and will be hoping for a better 2014.
Uli Dávila played just under an hour for a Córdoba side that lost 3-1 to Real Madrid Castilla, and Jhon Pírez was an unused sub in Leganés’ 3-2 defeat against Athletic Bilbao B.
Stipe Perica played a handful of seconds in NAC Breda’s 1-0 win over Cambuur on Saturday.
Zulte Waregem’s season continues to be littered with hiccups and they dropped two more points this weekend in a 2-2 draw at home to Oostende. Thorgan Hazard did at least have a good game and provided an assist for Sven Kums’ goal to take a share of the spoils.
Wallace was never truly going to play in the Milan derby but he did have a good view of the match from the Inter bench.