With no fewer than six players on loan at Vitesse, it stands to reason that those featuring at the Gelredome this season are more likely than most to feature heavily atop the Loan Report on a weekly basis. With two goals and an assist against NAC Breda on Sunday, Lucas Piazon takes centre stage again as he continues to assert himself as the Eredivisie’s player of the season so far.
Piazon has been as influential as anyone in Vitesse’s rise to the top of the table and has generally been considered the signing of the season at the very least, if not the best player period. His standout campaign continued this week with two more goals, his eighth assist and a Man of the Match performance as Peter Bosz’s side retained their place atop the standings.
Piazon’s first came from the penalty spot after another Chelsea loanee, NAC’s Stipe Perica, handled in the box, whilst his second owed much to an exquisite piece of skill to carve out a chance which he stuck away to put himself into double figures for the season. His corner then found the head of Kelvin Leerdam to secure the points late in the game; Vitesse running out 3-2 victors.
Patrick van Aanholt played 90 minutes as usual at left-back and continues to show an excellent understanding with Piazon, whilst Christian Atsu was excellent throughout in an attacking midfield role; the Ghanaian was twice denied a goal by the woodwork.
Gael Kakuta saw a little less than ten minutes off the bench, whilst Sam Hutchinson – a scorer for the club’s reserves in midweek – was an unused substitute, and Cristian Cuevas was not involved. In opposition white, Perica did very little other than concede a penalty but was entirely deprived of service as Breda struggled to control the Vitesse juggernaut.
A share of the headlines this week also goes to League One duo Patrick Bamford and Milan Lalkovic, who both netted crucial goals for their teams this weekend. Bamford’s 14th goal of the year set MK Dons on the way to a form-busting win away to a Wolves team that had only previously lost once at Molineux all season, whilst Lalkovic scored the only goal of the game to ensure Walsall came away with the bragging rights in a derby clash away to Shrewsbury.
Romelu Lukaku got 90 minutes again up front for Everton as the Toffees’ excellent campaign continued with a 4-1 win over Fulham. The Belgian was held off the scoresheet but did go close once or twice.
Victor Moses came off the Liverpool bench in stoppage time with his team 5-0 up away to Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham Hotspur.
Nathaniel Chalobah got his first 90 minutes of the season for Nottingham Forest in a goalless draw with Ipswich on Saturday. He was replaced in stoppage time but it still represents his most meaningful action of what has thus far been an ill-fated stay in the East Midlands.
A similarly poor fate has befallen Josh McEachran at Watford, and whilst the midfielder was able to return to the Hornets’ matchday squad after a three-game illness absence, he watched from the bench unused as Sheffield Wednesday’s 1-0 win piled the pressure on Gianfranco Zola.
Todd Kane’s suspension last weekend coincided with an impressive win for Blackburn Rovers and he was therefore unable to walk straight back into the team for this Saturday’s match against Millwall. He was an unused substitute in the 3-2 win but should get his place back sooner rather than later.
In League One, Sam Walker and Colchester were humbled 4-0 at home to bottom placed Notts County, but the giant goalkeeper could hardly have been held accountable for any of the goals conceded. George Saville, meanwhile, was given 81 minutes by new manager Mark Warburton as Brentford beat Oldham 1-0 at Griffin Park.
Thibaut Courtois had the midweek off as Atlético Madrid had already secured top spot in their Champions League group, but was back in place for Sunday’s visit of Oriol Romeu and Valencia. Romeu has recently forced his way into the team (but did sit out the midweek Europa League action) and Valencia have spoken of a possible permanent move, something which at this stage is unlikely to be an issue for anyone involved.
Courtois came out on top in the head to head as you might expect, keeping a clean sheet in a 3-0 Atlético win. Romeu was booked in the first half but otherwise held up fairly well.
Marko Marin remains injured for Sevilla, whilst in La Segunda, Uli Dávila got another 90 minutes for an improving Córdoba team in a 1-0 win over Tenerife. The Mexican had a couple of chances to add to his four goals so far, but had to be content with contributing to another three points which took his side within a point of the promotion playoff places.
Jhon Pírez was an unused substitute for Leganés in their last game of 2013, a 1-0 win against Sariñena.
Wallace almost never plays for Inter in Serie A and that situation didn’t change this weekend as he remained on the bench in their 4-2 defeat at Napoli. Were it not for the Italian league allowing for 12-man benches, he would barely make the matchday squad.
Thorgan Hazard and Zulte Waregem exited Europe in midweek after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Rubin Kazan in the Europa League, but on Sunday he and they were back in better form with a 3-0 win over Lierse and another assist for the creative midfielder.
The Serbian league is now on a lengthy winter break but, unless another unlikely loan deal emerges, this will be the last time the league features in the Loan Report this season. Matej Delac’s deal at Vojvodina has ended and instead of sticking around until March without any competitive action, he will seek a new home in January. With six months remaining on his Chelsea deal, his next move may well be a permanent one.