La Liga and the Bundesliga kicked off this weekend, bringing six Chelsea loanees into their first action of the 2014-15 season. The Blues have eighteen players out on loan at this current point in time and whilst some of them are yet to get started competitively, business is picking up.
We’re still without a goalscorer through three weeks of football but Lucas Piazon made a fairly decent impact on his Eintracht Frankfurt debut and played a part in their solitary goal against Freiburg. He combined with Takashi Inui to help provide Haris Seferovic with an early strike which proved enough to secure all three points.
Elsewhere in Germany, Thorgan Hazard and Oriol Romeu began their careers in the country by facing each other as Borussia Mönchengladbach hosted Stuttgart on Sunday. Hazard was a second half substitute and sparkled in his cameo outing during the eventual 1-1 draw, playing mainly as a centre-forward and hitting the post with a fiercely-struck shot. Romeu saw ninety minutes in defensive midfield for a visiting team looking to mount a much better campaign than they did in 2013-14.
Unfortunately, Tomas Kalas was an unused substitute for Köln in their goalless draw with Hamburg.
There was also a goalless draw for Ryan Bertrand and Southampton as they were held to a stalemate by West Brom at St. Mary’s. Bertrand had a solid match and already appears to be in for plenty of playing time for the Saints this season.
Christian Atsu made his Everton debut as a late substitute against Arsenal but arrived into the fray far too late to make any tangible impact. Victor Moses was not named in Stoke’s squad for their 1-1 draw at Hull.
In The Championship, Kenneth Omeruo had a shaky outing for Middlesbrough in their defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and was arguably at fault for at least two goals; firstly allowing Stevie May to ghost across him far too easily and then failing to pick up Atdhe Nuhiu from a set piece. It was a shame for the big Nigerian, who also played 90 minutes at Bolton in midweek, and it was also a rare below-par outing during his stay on Teesside.
John Swift saw late action for Rotherham in a midweek defeat to Watford but was then an unused substitute on Saturday as they won 1-0 away to Milllwall.
Joao Rodriguez played the final fifteen minutes of Bastia’s 1-0 win over Toulouse; the Colombian appearing in front of his home fans in Corsica for the first time.
Things continue to go very badly over in Arnhem as Vitesse crashed to a late 2-1 defeat away to Zwolle; their twelfth consecutive match without a win stretching back to early March. For the fifth match in succession the geel en zwart conceded inside the last five minutes and once again the standard of defending was downright atrocious in places.
Brazilian defender Wallace missed out due to a lack of match fitness whilst winger Bertrand Traore was withdrawn with a muscle problem midway through the first half. Josh McEachran, who joined the club for the season last Monday, saw fifteen minutes of debut football from the bench but was ultimately unable to affect the result.
In Breda, Stipe Perica began his second season at NAC with a start and a full ninety minutes – both scarcities last term – in a 1-1 draw against FC Twente. There is additional Chelsea interest at the club this season in the form of Swedish defender Isak Ssewankambo, who signed a permanent contract there over the summer.
Gael Kakuta started for Rayo Vallecano in their opener against league champions Atlético Madrid and played pretty well in holding them to a scoreless draw. Holding perhaps does Rayo an injustice as they enjoyed the better of the chances and could have won the game with their second half display. The Frenchman was a lively presence on the left wing, diligent in his defensive duties, and flashed enough to suggest the Madrid club have picked up a useful asset.
Mario Pašalić made his Elche debut at Barcelona on Saturday night and the Liga minnows duly lost 3-0, although they didn’t disgrace themselves. The Croatian was severely restricted in his attacking instincts as a result of Elche’s exceptionally defensive tactics and will get a better chance to show what he can do next week as they host Granada.
Finally, we drop in on Cristian Cuevas at Universidad de Chile. He played the duration of their Copa Chile draw away to Magallanes on Wednesday but didn’t feature in the league against Huachipato two days later.