The first club action after yet another international break saw perhaps the most productive weekend of loanee productivity so far in the 2013-14 season, with no fewer than six goals being scored at home and abroad.
Romelu Lukaku, Patrick Bamford, Lucas Piazon and Gael Kakuta all made their marks in impressive individual outings and each deserve a share of the headlines.
Lukaku took centre stage with the marquee game of the weekend, lining up from the start for his first Merseyside derby in an Everton shirt. Going head to head with compatriot goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for Liverpool, he saw three good chances denied by Thibaut Courtois’ national team deputy before scoring twice in the second half of the eventual 3-3 draw.
He now has four goals in his three matches against Liverpool and has proven to be a considerable headache for the Reds to deal with.
Victor Moses was a second half sub in the same match, getting 22 minutes without having a major impact.
Over in the Netherlands, Vitesse returned to the top of the Eredivisie and continued to establish themselves as a title contender with a confident 3-0 win away to Go Ahead Eagles. Piazon scored twice from the penalty spot before half time whilst Kakuta, a second half substitute, capped the win with a lovely third, putting a defender on the ground with a piece of skill before tucking away into the bottom corner.
Patrick van Aanholt, who became both a father and a full Dutch international last week, played the full match at left-back, and there was as a 76-minute outing for Christian Atsu, who appears to have now established himself as a starter in Peter Bosz’s side in an attacking central role. Sam Hutchinson and Cristian Cuevas were not in the matchday squad but are building up their game fitness in the reserve setup.
Back in England’s lower tiers, Bamford found himself back on the scoresheet having gone four matches without troubling the scorers. Possibly buoyed by earning his first England Under-21 cap on Tuesday night, he netted MK Dons’ first against Bradford, but Karl Robinson’s team went down by the odd goal in five, losing 3-2.
Todd Kane was part of the Blackburn team which drew 0-0 at home to Reading, and completed his usual 90 minutes. Josh McEachran also saw a full day of football for a Watford team defeated by Bolton at Vicarage Road, where they have now lost their last three games, and there was a return to the Nottingham Forest team for Nathaniel Chalobah, who came off the bench against Burnley and played as well as he has so far at the City Ground. He made one excellent goal-saving block and twice went close to scoring as he pushes for a starting berth under Billy Davies.
In League One, George Saville completed a good 90 minutes for Brentford in a credible 0-0 draw at Wolves, and there was also a scoreless stalemate at Crawley, where Milan Lalkovic played 89 minutes for Walsall five days after scoring his second goal of the season in front of the Sky TV cameras at home to Peterborough.
Sam Walker was Colchester’s Man of the Match and made a string of superb saves to earn a point away to Preston North End.
Stipe Perica played a little less than half an hour for NAC Breda in their heavy 5-2 defeat away to FC Twente.
Thibaut Courtois had almost nothing to do as Atlético Madrid confirmed the fact that La Liga now has a ‘big three’ by humiliating Getafe 7-0 on Saturday night. The result goes down as another clean sheet though…
Oriol Romeu was an unused substitute as Valencia’s disappointing season got worse with a 2-1 loss at the hands of Elche, and the injured Marko Marin remains sidelined and missed the Seville derby against Betis.
Ulises Dávila was held off the scoresheet for Córdoba in a defeat at Mirandés after scoring a hat-trick last time out, but he did get 90 minutes in the 3-1 reverse. Elsewhere, Jhon Pírez returned to the Leganés side after a recent absence and played 15 minutes of a 1-1 draw against Tudelano.
Thorgan Hazard had another neat and tidy outing for Zulte Waregem, who continued their push for another title challenge with a 3-1 win at home to Mechelen on Saturday.
Wallace was an unused sub once more as Inter travelled to Bologna on Sunday.
Matej Delac missed Vojvodina’s trip to Jagodena through injury and after the team went down to a 3-0 defeat, it’s safe to say he’ll be back in the team when he returns to fitness.