The usual suspects were up to their old tricks once again this week on the loan front as Patrick Bamford and Romelu Lukaku both found the back of the net once again, whilst Croatian forward Stipe Perica got in on the act. On a sour note, there was a rather harsh red card for Nathaniel Chalobah, but it was a small smudge on an otherwise excellent picture of the past seven days.
We begin with Bamford, who scored twice for the second game in succession to take him into double figures for the campaign. His brace came in a losing effort for MK Dons away to Gillingham but he continues to build himself quite the reputation ahead of what will be an interesting January, when his stay at StadiumMK is due to end.
His first goal was another headed effort – an area he is clearly improving in – whilst his second was the result of a scintillating first touch to trap a long ball in behind and a deft flick between the goalkeeper’s legs.
A few hours earlier, a couple of hundred miles away and two divisions higher, Romelu Lukaku was terrorising Premier League defenders as he has done for the best part of the last twelve months. He rampaged through Manchester City’s back line for most of the first half of Everton’s trip to the Etihad Stadium and scored his fourth goal of the season with a smart finish after making the chance all by himself.
Over in the Netherlands, the Vitesse six tend to steal the show as far as Chelsea youngsters go, but it was the turn of NAC Breda’s Perica this week. Despite being used as a late impact substitute as he continues to acclimatise to Dutch football, the Under-20 international has made his mark in the time made available to him and scored his second goal of the season to claim three points against Heracles on Saturday night. He showed strength and desire to get on the end of a deep free kick seven minutes from time to head home from close range and strengthen his case for inclusion from the start.
Victor Moses started for Liverpool and played just over an hour against his former club Crystal Palace as the Reds ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at Anfield on Saturday.
In The Championship, we begin with Chalobah’s unfortunate dismissal for Nottingham Forest. Having returned from a brief injury absence to feature for just under an hour away to Charlton in midweek, the trip to Brighton four days later represented a chance to get more minutes in his legs and really begin to kick on. His evening was curtailed early in the second half though as he was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Kazenga Lua-Lua which looked to be rather harsh.
Josh McEachran played 80 minutes and did well for Watford in their 2-1 win at Huddersfield at the weekend after making his own return from injury as a second half substitute away to Blackburn in midweek. That match put him up against fellow Chelsea youngster Todd Kane, who continues to be a fixture at right back for Rovers. He got a pair of ninety minute run-outs against the Hornets and away to Wigan respectively.
In League One, Sam Walker and Colchester United went down 3-0 at home to a vastly superior Wolves side, whilst Daniel Pappoe served the last of his three-match suspension.
George Saville returned to the Brentford squad after two games out with a hip injury and got fifteen minutes in a losing cause as Rotherham took the points at Griffin Park. Milan Lalkovic featured for an hour of Walsall’s 2-0 home defeat to Bradford City.
There was a double header of action for Vitesse Arnhem this week as they managed to fit in their rescheduled game away to ADO Den Haag after a waterlogged pitch saw the original fixture postponed a fortnight ago. Lucas Piazon started that match and Gael Kakuta came off the bench but Peter Bosz’s side lost 2-1 and it would get worse on Sunday as they crashed 2-1 at home to Feyenoord.
Piazon started again, whilst Patrick van Aanholt missed both matches with an injury which failed to heal sufficiently despite training in between. Christian Atsu came off the bench to assist Mike Havenaar’s consolation, and there was a first appearance in a matchday squad for Sam Hutchinson. He didn’t get on and therefore is still awaiting his debut, as is Chilean winger Cristian Cuevas.
Wallace once again watched as a substitute for Inter as they took a 3-0 hiding at home to Roma, a team which had considerable interest in his services over the summer.
Thorgan Hazard and Zulte Waregem had a European midweek to forget as they took a 4-0 thumping in Russia away to Rubin Kazan in a result which reflected the relative lack of depth in Francky Dury’s squad. Their schedule showed no signs of letting up as Standard Liege came to town on Sunday but a 1-0 win in which Hazard claimed his ninth assist of the season keeps Essevee at the business end of the Jupiler League standings.
Thibaut Courtois and Atlético Madrid continue to keep pace with Barcelona top La Liga and made it eight wins from eight on Sunday in a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo. Courtois conceded a goal in each of his outings this week as he also conceded in a 2-1 Champions League win away to FC Porto. Clean sheets or not, it’s been a very good season so far for Atléti and they look like contenders on multiple fronts.
Marko Marin was a late substitute for Sevilla in their Europa League win over Freiburg and played 90 minutes against Almeria on Sunday. Oriol Romeu got his first taste of European action away to Kuban Krasnodar in midweek, playing fifteen minutes, but was out of favour again on Sunday, not even making the squad for the trip to Bilbao.
In La Segunda, Uli Dávila played 25 minutes for Córdoba in a 2-0 defeat at Las Palmas, and he continues to await his first start at his new club. One tier further down and Jhon Pírez played the last twenty minutes of Leganés’ 2-1 defeat away to Laudio.
There was also double action in Serbia this week, but Matej Delac and FK Vojvodina remain unbeaten in domestic action courtesy of a 1-1 draw away to Radnicki and a 2-1 win at FK Rad.
Delac this week conducted a lengthy interview with a leading Serbian sports paper in which he revealed his delight at finally playing regular football, and that he had no idea what the future would hold at the end of the season, the last of his current Chelsea contract. He also hinted that should he be considered as a potential call-up by the Bosnian national team somewhere down the line that he would consider switching his allegiances from Croatia.