The last Loan Report before Christmas comes laden with goodies in the form of four more goals to bring you this week.
The first of them was scored on Wednesday night by Brentford’s John Swift. He came off the bench away to Cardiff in midweek to score another very ‘Lampard-esque’ goal to bring the Bees level at 2-2 late in the game, only for them to then concede at the death.
It was enough to earn him his first start of the season on Saturday as Dean Smith’s side beat Huddersfield 4-2 and he’s certainly caught the eye of his new manager in the fortnight since he took charge. Chelsea met Brentford in an Under-21 friendly on Thursday and discussions regarding an extension to Swift’s stay at Griffin Park, currently due to end next month, were held with a view to an arrangement suiting all parties.
On Friday night in Arnhem, Dominic Solanke made good on a statement earlier in the week that it was on him to score more than the four goals he’d tallied in Arnhem before FC Twente came to town by scoring the third of their five in a resounding home win to sign off before the winter break. He was joined in the starting eleven by Izzy Brown, who impressed in his first start since August, and showed strength and ingenuity in notching this improvised finish:
Brown was especially impactful playing from the left, driving in and playing with more confidence and freshness than previously seen and laying on a goal for Milot Rashica too. Manager Peter Bosz explained earlier in the campaign that he was helping the young forward to adapt his playing style to the rigours of the professional game and signs of that were very much evident here. After making lively cameo performances from the bench since recovering from injury and playing well for the reserve team, Bosz reasoned it was time to reward him with a start, and it paid dividends.
Lewis Baker played the last quarter of an hour from the bench whilst Danilo Pantic was an unused substitute and Nathan wasn’t risked as he approaches full fitness following a recent medial ligament problem. The players will now enjoy a fortnight’s holiday before reconvening for a warm weather training camp in Spain at the start of January.
On Sunday, Nathan Aké got in on the act with his maiden goal in senior football. It came in the third minute of Watford’s 3-0 win at home to Liverpool and from a corner that he won with his typically bustling, busy style down the left side. Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan didn’t deal with a corner and Aké did the rest:
Finally, Stipe Perica’s second Serie A start of the season produced his first Serie A goal – and second in all competitions – this term with a smart finish against Torino after putting in the hard graft to make it happen:
Marco van Ginkel played 75 minutes for Stoke against Crystal Palace, for whom Patrick Bamford was an unused substitute. West Ham were without Victor Moses at Swansea but manager Slaven Bilic hinted at a quicker-than-expected return from his hamstring problem, but Christian Atsu is still a few weeks away from being in a position to contribute for Bournemouth.
Tomas Kalas helped Middlesbrough go top of the Championship this week, firstly completing ninety minutes and a clean sheet in a 1-0 home win over Burnley, then coming on for the closing stages of their 3-0 win at Brighton, ending the hosts’ unbeaten record this season and usurping them at the league summit.
Michael Hector played in defensive midfield for Reading at Hull in midweek before returning to centre-back at home to Blackburn on Sunday, whilst Lucas Piazon was an unused substitute at Hull and came on at half time in the latter of those two clashes.
Jordan Houghton was an unused substitute for Gillingham on Saturday whilst Alex Davey has been back at Chelsea for a few weeks now and will be looking for a new loan club once his arrangement with Peterborough officially expires.
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s previously staunch defence continued to be unusually porous this week as they lost 4-3 to Werder Bremen in the German Cup. That result followed 4-2 and 5-0 defeats and Andreas Christensen, impressive as he’s been at the heart of their defence, was involved in all three performances. They shipped two more at home to Darmstadt on Sunday, Christensen getting his usual 90 minutes, but at least they won 3-2.
Jeremie Boga proved relatively influential for Rennes in their midweek up tie at home to Toulouse, winning a second-half penalty in a bid to help Philippe Montanier’s strugglers turn around a two-goal deficit. They ultimately lost 2-1 and the young playmaker was an unused substitute in their weekend league match, but this showed what he can do if given more minutes on the pitch:
Mario Pašalić played 73 minutes for Monaco as they too were dumped out of the Coup de la Ligue at the hands of Bordeaux before he then took a back seat in their weekend draw at Troyes.
Nathaniel Chalobah saw his first domestic action for Napoli this week, playing the final 23 minutes of their Coppa Italia victory over Verona and impressing for his cool, calm and collected midfield performance to secure the win. He’s still awaiting his Serie A debut with no involvement at Atalanta on Sunday but he’s getting there.
Juan Cuadrado played 83 minutes of Juventus’ 3-2 win at Carpi after sitting it out against Torino in the Cup. Wallace didn’t feature for Carpi because he’s injured, but also because he’s on the verge of securing a year-long loan to Gremio back in Brazil (the deal will run from January to December in line with the Brazilian fixture patterns).
Todd Kane and NEC Nijmegen have been one of the Eredivisie’s surprise packages this season but even that wasn’t enough to make them immune to a Dutch Cup upset; their 2-0 defeat at HHC in midweek the very definition of that. They made amends for it on Sunday though, beating Feyenoord 3-1 (with Kane coming out on top in his battle with Eljero Elia) to go into Christmas in 6th place, just a point behind Vitesse in the chase for European football.
Cristian Cuevas, back from suspension, was the only one of Chelsea’s three loanees at Sint-Truiden to take part in their 3-0 defeat at Genk on Saturday. The Chilean played 83 minutes in a more advanced role on the left, but Victorien Angban (adductor) and Joao Rodriguez (meniscus) were both unavailable through injury.
Cristian Manea also played against Genk this week, coming on as a half-time sub in their Beker van Belgie defeat. League minutes continue to elude him though as he remained an unused substitute at home to Waasland-Beveren at the weekend.
Marko Marin came through a full ninety minutes for Trabzonspor in their midweek cup win at Nazilli Belediyespor and then made a fifteen-minute appearance from the bench in an impressive 3-0 league win over Antalyaspor on Saturday.
Kenneth Omeruo’s Kasimpasa are already out of the cup, leaving just a league match at Mersin for this week’s schedule. The Nigerian played the full duration of the match and helped them come away with a 2-1 win.
Islam Feruz, as usual, came off the bench in the last five minutes for Hibs at home to Queen of the South.