The Loan Report: May 20-27

On a weekend where some of the remaining young Chelsea loanees could have experienced the glory of coming out on the winning side with huge stakes at play, they instead felt the heartbreaking side of football.

Nowhere was this more on display than at Wembley Stadium on Monday afternoon, where Nathaniel Chalobah and Watford took on Crystal Palace in ‘football’s most expensive match’, with a place in the Premier League at stake.

Palace prevailed after a draining 120 minutes of play to take their place amongst the elite next season, and in doing so brought an end to a Watford campaign under former Blue Gianfranco Zola which was as entertaining as it was dramatic.

Chalobah had a quiet game, showing one or two neat touches but never really getting into the flow of things, much like the rest of his teammates in truth. After being slow to get up after a couple of second half tackles, he was replaced fifteen minutes from time and had to watch on as things conspired to go against the Hornets.

The story of woe continued in Croatia, where Matej Delac was hoping to lead Inter Zapresic to last day survival after a season of struggles. Unfortunately, like Chalobah, there was to be no fairytale ending.

Inter did their bit, defeating Slaven Belupo 2-0, but they needed results elsewhere to go their way as well. Zadar’s 2-2 draw with Split meant that they finished a point ahead of Delac and company and consigned them to relegation.

For young Matej, a return to the club he started at saw them improve their points per game average marginally and give themselves a shout of remaining in the first division, but in their failure he must now consider his next step. Croatia’s ascension to the European Union this summer makes opportunities to play suddenly much easier for him, with work permits and various overseas restrictions now longer an issue. Convincing someone to take a chance on him, however, is the biggest thing.

It’s quite remarkable to think that he’s actually older than Thibaut Courtois, and whilst things have rarely gone smoothly for Delac, the big Belgian goes from strength to strength. He reached a league-high 20th clean sheet in the league this season for Atlético Madrid this weekend as they drew 0-0 at home to Mallorca. With third place long since confirmed and a cup in the bag, their final couple of league fixtures have taken on a much more casual feel, and they draw their successful campaign to a close next weekend.

Lucas Piazón appears to be firmly out of the picture for Málaga though, and was once again absent from their match squad for the home win over Deportivo.

Ulises Dávila was suspended for Sabadell’s defeat away to Lugo due to accumulation of yellow cards, whilst there was no place for Jhon Pírez amongst the Leganés ranks as they lost 2-1 away to Lleida in the first leg of their Segunda B promotion playoff clash.

In South America, Wallace returned from Under-20 action – where he was a part of the Rio State Championship winning Fluminense squad – but was only an unused sub for the first team in their win over Atlético PR. The same fate befell Cristian Cuevas in Chile as O’Higgins lost 1-0 to Unión La Calera.