In the latest Loan Report, a pair of young Croatian loanees were responsible for extending the unbroken streak of Chelsea players scoring this season up to a 25th consecutive week. Mario Pašalić and Stipe Perica may not be household names (yet), but they both had good weekends when many of the more recognisable faces didn’t.
Pašalić’s signing hasn’t officially been announced by Chelsea yet, but with all other parties having spoken of the deal in passing since the January transfer deadline day, it’s clear that he’s at least a part of the club’s big picture at this stage. As the HNL resumed after a winter break, he and Hajduk Split took on RNK Split on an absolute bog of a pitch this past Saturday, and trailed with less than ten minutes remaining.
They were his first goals since ‘becoming’ a Blues player and took him up to seventh for the season. That’s not bad at all for a player who turned 19 the day after the game, and whilst his immediate future will certainly be elsewhere on loan next season, the tall, left-footed midfielder appears to be one to watch.
Perica, meanwhile, has been making steady if quiet progress over at NAC Breda in the Netherlands, and has largely been used as an impact substitute this season with his exceptionally big presence able to cause problems for tired defences.
That was the case this week as he showed an impressive work ethic to close down Roda goalkeeper Filip Kurto, win the ball back and finish coolly to seal a 2-0 win with his fifth goal of the campaign.
Romelu Lukaku is edging closer to a return from his recent ankle ligament injury but was not in a position to play against Tottenham this weekend.
Victor Moses was an unused substitute for Liverpool as they eviscerated Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield.
Ryan Bertrand continued his ever-present run at left-back for Aston Villa in their disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to West Ham. He was substituted after 73 minutes and is a doubt for the club’s midweek fixture vs Cardiff after injuring his ribs in a collision with the goalpost.
In The Championship, Nathaniel Chalobah and Todd Kane went head to head at the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough hosted Blackburn Rovers, with Kenneth Omeruo only a substitute. Neither player was able to claim the bragging rights however as Boro recorded a third consecutive goalless draw. Chalobah was booked, Kane was substituted late in the second half, and Omeruo didn’t even get onto the pitch.
Josh McEachran was also an unused substitute as Wigan lost 1-0 away to Huddersfield Town, but will likely come into the reckoning for playing time this coming Tuesday as the Latics head to Sheffield to take on a resurgent Wednesday team.
Patrick Bamford and Derby County take on Queens Park Rangers on Monday night in a match televised live by Sky. There will be full coverage of his involvement on Twitter @chelseayouth and this report will be updated with a summary of how he fared.
In League One, Milan Lalkovic and Walsall had a frustrating afternoon as they lost 3-0 at home to MK Dons, whilst George Saville and Brentford were prevented from extending their lead at the top of the table by the weather, with their home fixture against Crawley postponed due to a waterlogged Griffin Park pitch.
2014 has been a year to forget for Vitesse Arnhem as a four-game winless streak has seen their title hopes take more than a bit of a dent. A 2-0 defeat at home to AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday night was the first time they’ve failed to score in the league all season, and they drew another blank on Friday with a 0-0 draw at home to ADO Den Haag, who were bottom of the table.
Patrick van Aanholt was the unfortunate scorer of an own goal in the AZ defeat, slicing a close range finish into his own net in an attempt to clear a cross, but nobody in yellow and black played all that well in either match. He was the only Blues loanee to complete both matches, with Christian Atsu and Lucas Piazon replaced in the first outing and Piazon withdrawn again in the second, having yet to impact the scoresheet whatsoever since the Eredivisie returned from its winter break.
Bertrand Traore earned a first start against ADO after another sub outing against AZ and he played as the lone forward ahead of Piazon, Atsu and Renato Ibarra rather than playing wide. He at least looked the part, linking well with Atsu in particular, but drew no more than a few half-chances without ever truly threatening.
Results elsewhere in the league have left them just about in touch with leaders Ajax but Feyenoord and Twente have diluted the picture, so they’re now fighting for a Champions League place as well.
The past seven days will surely go down as one of the more frustrating spells Thibaut Courtois has experienced at Atlético Madrid. Wednesday’s Copa del Rey defeat at the hands of Real Madrid came courtesy of two heavily deflected efforts which left the Belgian custodian helpless, and to compound his misery, he missed the weekend trip to Almería through injury. Atlético lost 2-0 and backup stopper Daniel Aranzubia hardly covered himself in glory.
Marko Marin misses Sevilla’s match against Barcelona through personal matters requiring him to leave the team for a few days, whilst Oriol Romeu will be out for a month with a knee injury picked up last weekend away to the Catalan outfit.
In La Segunda, Uli Dávila remains an afterthought in the Córdoba squad, getting just twenty minutes off the bench in a 2-0 defeat to Eibar.
Jhon Pírez had a good fifteen-minute cameo as Leganés racked up a a fourth win in five Segunda B matches, beating Peña Sport 1-0 to go second in the league behind leaders Las Palmas.
Kurt Zouma played the full match as Saint-Etienne recorded back to back clean sheets, drawing 0-0 away to Toulouse on Friday evening.
Thorgan Hazard had a disappointing afternoon and was booked as Zulte Waregem lost 2-0 to runaway Jupiler League title favourites Standard Liege on Sunday, and at this point Francky Dury’s team have to just be focusing on ensuring they finish above the league split come March.
Billy Clifford played fifteen minutes for Royal Antwerp in a 1-1 draw with Vise, and whilst it was reported here last weekend that Lamisha Musonda had been loaned to KV Mechelen, the deal was confirmed to be a permanent departure on Friday, meaning he will not be included in the Loan Report.
Gael Kakuta made the Lazio squad for the eternal city derby against Roma on Sunday but remained an unused substitute instead of debuting in the club’s biggest fixture of the season.
Wallace didn’t even make Inter’s bench for Sunday’s hosting of Sassuolo.
Matej Delac and FK Sarajevo have been continuing their winter break schedule of friendlies, with three more weeks remaining until the league slate resumes.