Lucas Piazon and Romelu Lukaku scored their first goals for their respective loan clubs this season to continue an impressive streak of goalscoring amongst Chelsea loanees this season. Every week of the 2013-14 campaign to date has seen a young Blue scoring for another club, and this weekend it was the turn of some of the big hitters.
Lukaku started his Everton career where he left off after finishing up at West Brom last season. A second half substitute for the Toffees away to West Ham, he immediately injected terrorising aggression into their attack and was an absolute thorn in the side of every opposing defender.
His link-up play was smart and effective and he capped a very good debut with a brave header late in the game to secure three points. He came off a little worse for wear and may have been concussed (suggesting he should not have been allowed to continue playing) but the signs are very promising for his season to come.
Piazon, meanwhile, has settled well at Vitesse and in his first game after the winter break began to show what he’s capable of by scoring twice during their 3-0 win at home to Zwolle on Sunday. He showed composure and technique in scoring once off either foot, and whilst the defending left a lot to be desired, he did everything asked of him and provided the goalscoring touch the team has lacked in recent weeks.
After a goalscoring start to his Liverpool career, Victor Moses continued in the starting eleven for his home debut against Southampton. He had one or two bright moments and went close to another goal, but the Reds succumbed to Dejan Lovren’s second half header to go down 1-0 to the visitors.
Todd Kane was part of a rare Blackburn Rovers clean sheet effort in their 0-0 draw at home to Huddersfield on Saturday, and the England Under-21 defender is also now not alone in The Championship, with two other young internationals joining him this week.
Nathaniel Chalobah has linked up with Nottingham Forest until mid-January and made his debut this weekend in a 2-2 draw away to Doncaster. Playing in midfield, he featured for just over an hour as manager Billy Davies integrated him into the Forest starting eleven, and he promises to become a regular and a big influence in their plans.
Josh McEachran, meanwhile, will head to Chalobah’s former club Watford on Monday morning to spend the next few months at Vicarage Road. He secured his deal too late in the week to debut for the Hornets in their 5-1 win at Barnsley, but could be involved in midweek Capital One Cup action.
In League One, Sam Walker and Colchester United drew 1-1 at home to Crawley, whilst Daniel Pappoe was suspended from the match for his dismissal last weekend. Walker might have done better with Crawley’s goal, but made a few good saves over the course of the action too.
Patrick Bamford’s run of scoring in consecutive games for MK Dons came to an end at Peterborough on Saturday but he was still an influential figure throughout. The forward was the victim of early violent conduct which saw Posh’s Nathaniel Knight-Percival sent off, and later hit the woodwork before having a header saved which led to the Dons’ only goal of their 2-1 defeat.
George Saville and Brentford are in Monday night action against league leaders Leyton Orient and news of his involvement will be here in an updated revision post-match.
Milan Lalkovic got a little under half an hour as a substitute for Walsall in a 1-1 draw at home to Rotherham.
Piazon stole the show for Vitesse as described above, but he was ably supported by Patrick van Aanholt’s rampaging display along the left side of the pitch. Gael Kakuta made his long-awaited return from injury in the closing moments, and Cristian Cuevas was an unused substitute.
Christian Atsu’s paperwork is still being finalised before he can make his debut, whilst Sam Hutchinson is still a couple of weeks away from being fit to take part in meaningful action.
Over at NAC Breda, Stipe Perica was on the bench again despite a goalscoring debut last weekend and only saw a few late minutes of action in their 3-0 win over a disappointing AZ Alkmaar team.
Thibaut Courtois made his Champions League debut this week and did so in winning style as Atlético Madrid beat Zenit St. Petersburg 3-1 at the Vicente Calderón. Courtois was beaten by a trademark thunderbolt strike by Brazilian forward Hulk but otherwise proved himself very much able at the top level of the club game.
A routine La Liga clean sheet followed at the weekend in a 2-0 win over Valladolid as the best goalkeeper in Spain continues to reaffirm those credentials.
Marko Marin was also in midweek European action for Sevilla in the Europa League and laid on a goal in a 2-1 win away to Estoril. His Sunday match action came against Valencia, for whom Oriol Romeu was left out for the second time in a week, having also been excused duty against Swansea in midweek. A poor debut against Real Betis last weekend did little to endear the former Barcelona man to manager Miroslav Djukic, and right now he doesn’t look like he’ll be involved very much at all.
Marin, however, was on the losing side despite his 90 minutes as Valencia ran out 3-1 winners.
In La Segunda, Ulises Dávila got 20 minutes as a substitute for Córdoba in their goalless draw away to Real Jaén.
Jhon Pírez and Leganés took on Barakaldo in the next tier down but the Uruguayan saw no time on the pitch for the first time this season.
Wallace saw his most meaningful action for Inter so far as he got twenty minutes off the bench during the club’s 7-0 demolition of newly-promoted Sassuolo. He played a part in the build-up for the sixth goal of the game, eventually finished by Esteban Cambiasso.
BelgiumThorgan Hazard featured on English television this week as Zulte Waregem drew 0-0 with Wigan in the Europa League, and whilst the game itself was rather low in quality, the younger Hazard showed enough for some Blues fans to be curiously excited about his potential.
In league action on Sunday, he had one of his quieter games of the season but proved decisive late in the game, laying on two assists in the final five minutes to help Zulte win 4-2 having trailed twice earlier in the game at home to OH Leuven.
Matej Delac and FK Vojvodina had the weekend off and are next in action on Wednesday night in cup action against Sloga Kraljevo.