Things are starting to settle into a familiar pattern early in this Loan Report season and, although it might be a little too soon to jump to such conclusions, there are signs that Mario Pašalić might be a big hit for Monaco in 2015-16.
The Croatian midfielder had already opened his account for the Ligue 1 side with a ferocious strike away to Young Boys in the Champions League Qualifiers and he doubled his tally in his efforts to help the club reach the group stages with a veritable poacher’s effort away to Valencia this past midweek. It was a goal that bore all of the hallmarks of his game; energy, opportunism, awareness and decisiveness:
Unfortunately for Monaco, they fell to a late 3-1 defeat, leaving them plenty to do in the return leg at Stade Louis II. With that fixture a matter of days away, he was rested for the weekend’s league draw at Toulouse.
Marco van Ginkel remains the sole notable representative in the Premier League as he continued his 100% record of starting for Stoke City, playing 79 solid minutes in their 1-1 draw at Stoke City. Patrick Bamford was an unused substitute for Crystal Palace at home to Aston Villa and will not be eligible to play against Chelsea next weekend, whilst Christian Atsu is yet to break into the Bournemouth matchday squad and Nathan Aké didn’t find a way into Watford’s side against Southampton.
Things are more promising lower down the ladder; Tomas Kalas played 90 minutes at right-back for Middlesbrough in a draw at Derby in midweek before getting a full outing at centre-back against Bristol City at the weekend. Manager Aitor Karanka noted the move was made specifically as Kalas was best suited to deal with Bristol City’s direct approach but Boro lost out by a goal to nil.
In League One, Jordan Houghton and Gillingham sit proudly at the top of the table after wins over Bradford and Wigan this week. Houghton played every minute in a defensive midfield role and was named Man of the Match in the latter of the two fixtures.
Alex Davey and Peterborough have had a harder time of things though, losing to Sheffield United and Burton Albion. The young defender began the former of those at right-back before shifting to left-back to cover an injury and then eventually going off himself, but he was able to play the entirety of the Burton game.
It was a big weekend for Vitesse Arnhem as they travelled to Feyenoord with all five Chelsea youngsters in their matchday squad for the first time. Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown both started in a ferocious De Kuip atmosphere in front of more than 50,000 fans and acquitted themselves very well; Brown in particular looked much sharper and more at home in a role on the left wing, and was denied a clear first-half penalty when tripped by Rick Karsdorp in the box.
Brown was replaced by Nathan midway through the second half whilst Dominic Solanke made his debut with ten minutes remaining after his paperwork was finally processed. Danilo Pantic was therefore an unused substitute and, despite playing well for long spells, two goals in three minutes (one from their own contentious penalty) saw Feyenoord run out 2-0 winners.
Earlier in the day, Todd Kane made his first start for NEC Nijmegen at home to Ajax and did well, playing ninety minutes.
Three more Chelsea youngsters are stationed over at Sint-Truiden and have helped the club to a positive beginning to their Jupiler League campaign. Midfielder Victorien Angban played well in Friday night’s 3-1 win over Genk and, whilst Joao Rodriguez and Cristian Cuevas were unused subs, they all figure to contribute often throughout the season to come.
Andreas Christensen’s rude introduction to Bundesliga football last week at Dortmund meant he was relegated to the Borussia Mönchengladbach bench for Sunday’s home match against Mainz with the more experienced Tony Jantschke favoured alongside Marvin Schulz. It didn’t particularly help them however as they lost 2-1.
Serie A kicked off this weekend with Mohamed Salah playing 66 minutes on debut for Roma away to Verona. After a productive series of friendly action he was a little more subdued but promises to be every bit as dynamic as he was for Fiorentina last season.
Stipe Perica was an unused substitute for Udinese as they won at Juventus, whilst Wallace was a 69th minute substitute for a Carpi side hammered 5-2 at Sampdoria in their first-ever top-flight match.
Uli Dávila and Vitória Setúbal travel to Académica on Monday night; you can keep up with anything he does on Twitter @chelseayouth.
Kenneth Omeruo and Kasimpasa made it two wins and two clean sheets to begin the season with a 1-0 win over Istanbul BB on Friday.
Matej Delač conceded once as FK Sarajevo drew 1-1 away to Celik Zenica.