It was a rare quiet week on the loan front, particularly over this weekend, as our regular headline acts almost all failed to find the back of the net. The streak of a Chelsea loanee scoring in every week of the club season to date was continued in midweek however, with the reliable Thorgan Hazard weighing in with a goal and French playmaker Gael Kakuta finding the back of the net for the first time in 2013-14.
Kakuta has spent much of this season injured and has only recently returned to full fitness, and whilst Vitesse’s midweek opponents came in the form of amateur outfit Noordwijk, it was nonetheless good to see him grab a brace en route to a 5-0 victory.
The match was also notable for Sam Hutchinson making his debut in Dutch football as he completed 66 minutes in defence for Peter Bosz’s side. Post-match, he revealed that cramp had forced him off early as it was his first competitive action in well over half a year, but his involvement is a welcome sight for all Chelsea fans.
Christian Atsu and Patrick van Aanholt both played 90 minutes, whilst Lucas Piazon was rested and Cristian Cuevas not involved. The week got even better for Vitesse on Saturday too, when they went to Ajax and came away with a 1-0 win that temporarily put them top of the league, before AZ knocked them back down to second later in the weekend.
Piazon was restored to the starting team and, like Van Aanholt, played the full match. Atsu played 82 minutes before giving way for Kakuta, and there was also a league debut for Hutchinson late on.
Next door in Belgium, Hazard grabbed his ninth goal of the season in Zulte Waregem’s 3-2 win over Gent. Having provided the cross for Jens Naessens to head home the first goal, he showed skill and flair to cut inside from the left before rifling into the bottom corner.
He was less involved in a 2-2 weekend draw at Mechelen but has started to see his name mentioned in the running for the 2013 Belgian Player of the (Calendar) Year award, and given his performances for Essevee, would be thoroughly deserving.
Romelu Lukaku played 86 minutes of Everton’s goalless draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur and was involved in a nasty-looking incident where his knee collided with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ head. Both players continued – Lloris really shouldn’t have – but Lukaku was forced off some ten minutes later with suggestions that he too came out of the incident with a sllight problem.
Victor Moses was a second half substitute for Liverpool in their 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.
In The Championship, Josh McEachran played 90 minutes and picked up the fans’ Man of the Match award in Watford’s disappointing 3-0 home defeat to Leicester.
Nathaniel Chalobah was an unused substitute for Nottingham Forest in a 1-0 home defeat to Blackpool, and the result combined with a red card for midfielder Djamel Abdoun should see him back in the starting eleven next week.
Todd Kane got a customary 90 minutes and yellow card in Blackburn’s 1-0 win over Middlesbrough at Ewood Park.
In League One, Patrick Bamford went a third game without a goal for Milton Keynes Dons but they still had enough to beat Milan Lalkovic’s Walsall 1-0 at StadiumMK. Bamford went close to scoring with a header under pressure from goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell, and was also booked for unsporting behaviour. Lalkovic got fifteen minutes off the bench in his usual role as an impact substitute.
Sam Walker conceded twice to Rotherham in Colchester’s 2-2 draw, and is the only Chelsea player on loan at the club now following Daniel Pappoe’s return this week. George Saville, meanwhile, played the first half of Brentford’s 1-0 win at Crawley before going off due to illness.
Stipe Perica was an unused sub for NAC Breda in their midweek cup exit at the hands of Cambuur and then got just over a half on Friday night in a 3-0 defeat to RKC Waalwijk; a result which owed much to NAC’s small squad being asked to play twice in 72 hours days.
Wallace was twice an unused substitute (as usual) for Inter in their games against Atalanta (a draw) and Udinese (a win) this week.
Thibaut Courtois lost out on a clean sheet in Atlético Madrid’s midweek win over Granada when he conceded in stoppage time to an Odion Ighalo effort, but was back in shutout form on Sunday with his seventh of the season for club and country in a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Oriol Romeu was an unused substitute for Valencia in another disappointing result when Almeria took a 2-1 win from the Mestalla on Wednesday, and watched on without playing once again as Los Che bounced back with a 1-0 win at Getafe on Sunday. Romeu has just 114 minutes of football to his name this season in a move which has not gone at all to plan.
Marko Marin remains injured for Sevilla, Uli Dávila was a second half substitute for Córdoba in their 2-2 draw with Sporting Gijon, and Jhon Pírez was absent from Leganés’ 1-0 win over Atlético Madrid B.
Matej Delac played an interesting role in Vojvodina’s midweek up win over Novi Pazar as despite keeping a 90-minute clean sheet, he was then replaced by Srdan Zakula for the ensuing penalty shootout. Restored to the starting team for league action on Sunday, he shipped two goals for just the second time in the domestic season as Radnicki Kragujevac claimed a 2-2 draw. As the video below will testify, there was little he could have done to prevent either goal scored by the team in bright orange.