Another week of loanee action and, as usual, we have some goalscorers to talk about as the total tally for strikes by those temporarily away from Chelsea ticked past the 60 mark…
Romelu Lukaku has been responsible for a fair number of those, and in a week where he has made headlines for what he hasn’t said as much as what he has – and he’s not afraid of being forthright with the media – he struck a fifth goal in as many Everton home games as the Toffees brushed Stoke City aside to the tune of a 4-0 victory.
Not too far away in England’s North West region 48 hours or so earlier, Thorgan Hazard netted his eleventh goal of the season and second in the Europa League as Zulte Waregem positioned themselves nicely for qualification in a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic. The younger Hazard benefited from a goalkeeping mistake by Lee Nicholls, who spilled his near-post effort over the line.
On Sunday, he and the rest of the Essevee squad were clearly feeling the extent of their continental excursions as they struggled to a 1-1 draw at Kortrijk, saving a point with an 88th minute goal.
In the Netherlands, it was Stipe Perica’s turn to steal the headlines away from the Vitesse dominance as the Croatian netted his fourth goal of the season in a 2-2 draw with Groningen. Like the other three, it came as a substitute, but he continues to make the very best of his limited time on the pitch.
On Sunday, Liverpool lost 3-1 at Hull City with Victor Moses returned to the starting eleven after a recent absence. He didn’t play especially well in his 74 minutes on the pitch, most notably missing a sitter from close range, but it was a poor day all round for the Reds.
In The Championship, Josh McEachran missed Watford’s humiliation at home to Yeovil through illness, whilst the Nathaniel Chalobah situation became even more farcical as the England Under-21 international sat on the bench for the duration of Nottingham Forest’s home defeat to Reading; this despite Forest suffering a serious defensive personnel crisis.
Todd Kane continues to hold up his end of the bargain though and played his usual up-tempo game in Blackburn’s 1-0 win over Leeds United, a result which will have no doubt pleased the die-hard Blues fan considerably.
In League One, there was a double header of action this week and George Saville had initially added his name to the list of scorers this week after being credited with the Bees’ second goal in a 3-2 win over Peterborough. After further review, however, Will Grigg was adjudged to have bundled the ball home with the last touch.
Saville came off the bench just before the hour at the weekend with a 1-0 win for the upwardly mobile West Londoners at Notts County, a result which moves them into fourth place in the table.
Up at Colchester on Tuesday night, Sam Walker went up against Patrick Bamford and came out on the winning side as the U’s triumphed 3-1 against an MK Dons team that continues to flounder. Bamford played the full ninety minutes, as he did at the weekend when Karl Robinson’s side went down to Coventry City by the same scoreline, whilst Walker and Colchester bumped back down to earth with a 2-1 defeat at Tranmere Rovers.
Milan Lalkovic continued in his most tangible period of action this term for Walsall with an hour first in a credible 1-1 draw at Sheffield United and then again on Saturday in a losing effort at home to Port Vale.
Vitesse Arnhem remain atop the Eredivisie with four of Chelsea’s six loanees stationed at the Gelredome once again key figures in their latest outing. Lucas Piazon and Gael Kakuta each claimed an assist in the 3-0 beating of Cambuur, whilst Christian Atsu delivered the corner which eventually led to the other goal.
Patrick van Aanholt got ninety minutes whilst Piazon and Atsu were rested later in the game, with Kakuta replacing the former. Sam Hutchinson and Cristian Cuevas are still not involved, although Hutchinson did at least make the matchday squad as an unused substitute.
We saw a rare mistake from Thibaut Courtois this week as the Belgian was at fault for the goal Atlético Madrid conceded in their 1-1 Champions League draw against Zenit St. Petersburg. He claimed that he was dazzled by the floodlights in tracking a high ball, and, well, you can see how that ended for him…
He was back to his normal self at the weekend, picking up another clean sheet as Atléti beat Elche 2-0.
It was also a much better week for Oriol Romeu, who took his Europa League chance against Swansea with both hands, putting in a man of the match performance which earned him a first league start since September for Sunday’s game against Osasuna. Los Che played as well as perhaps they have all season, winning 3-0, with Romeu putting in another terrific shift.
This week could prove to be a watershed moment for the young Spanish midfielder and hopefully a turning point in his career. A long-term injury layoff was doubtless tough to overcome and opportunities haven’t been so forthcoming thus far this season, but based on the last two outings, that may change going forward.
Marko Marin missed Sevilla’s Europa action through injury and was unable to return on Sunday at Granada either. There is no timetable for his return at this stage.
Uli Dávila got 90 minutes for Córdoba in a 2-1 defeat at home to Barcelona B; the Mexican forward having one or two chances to add to his three goals for the season without taking them. In the third tier, Jhon Pírez got fifteen minutes for Leganés in a 2-0 win over Las Palmas Atlético.
Wallace doesn’t play for Inter and didn’t change that this week, watching from the bench as the Nerazzurri drew 1-1 with Sampdoria.
Matej Delac missed a second consecutive game through injury as Vojvodina beat Napredak 3-1.