Seven of the last eight goals scored by Chelsea loanees have come from those stationed in the Eredivisie, with two more of those arriving this weekend. Marco van Ginkel added to a prolific tally at PSV on Saturday whilst Todd Kane grabbed his first goal for NEC Nijmegen on Sunday.
Kane has had a wonderful season on loan at Nijmegen, just a twenty minute journey down the road from his Chelsea friends at Vitesse Arnhem. He’s been an ever-present in the league, was voted in as vice-captain by his team-mates, and has earned plenty of interest from some of Europe’s foremost clubs.
He’s not interested in that though. In a fascinating and must-read interview with Peter McVitie this week he outlined his ambitions to play for his Chelsea, and immediately made good on his words by scoring his first of the season on Sunday, albeit in a losing cause:
He’s got a long way to go but, with Chelsea approaching their biggest transitional period in well over a decade, now’s the time to stand up and show the world what you’ve got.
Van Ginkel has done that and then some since swapping Stoke for Eindhoven in January, returning to the Netherlands and running riot for title-chasing PSV. He scored his sixth goal in twelve matches against Willem II on Saturday, another opportunist effort, and talks are expected to increase between all parties regarding a longer, perhaps more permanent stay.
It wasn’t quite as good a week in the English top flight though. Nathan Aké was rested by Watford for their home draw against Everton whilst Victor Moses was an unused substitute for West Ham against Arsenal as he approaches the end of another loan that won’t turn into a permanent stay.
Patrick Bamford did come on for Norwich as a second-half substitute against Crystal Palace, where he spent the first half of the season, but he had an altogether forgettable cameo outing that rather summed up an abject waste of a year for a player who, twelve months ago, was named the Championship Player of the Season.
There was a double round of Championship action itself this week as the season races towards another exciting finale, with Tomas Kalas still very much chasing promotion with Middlesbrough. Experiencing something of a renaissance lately, he played his part in central defence to help preserve a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Huddersfield before taking a back seat and watching his team-mates shut out Preston 1-0 on Saturday.
Boro sit second with a game in hand to take them top and are potentially a couple of results away from returning to the Premier League after a long absence. Kalas spoke about realising that dream with the local Boro press this week.
It’s going to be a rather less eventful last five or six games for the other Blues in the division though. Lucas Piazon played 60 and 45 minutes in a pair of Reading home matches in which Michael Hector remained on the bench in each after suffering a recent injury. John Swift too remains sidelined with a cut achilles and missed two Brentford wins.
Jordan Houghton is doing his best to help Plymouth out of League Two but after an hour and a defeat at home to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, he might have to settle for the playoffs.
It was another frustrating Saturday for Vitesse as they drew 2-2 at home to ADO Den Haag to lose yet more ground on their fellow European qualification hopefuls and are hanging onto the last spot in seventh by the skin of their teeth. Lewis Baker was by some distance their best player and provided an assist with an excellent free kick headed home by Guram Kashia, but they couldn’t find a way to take all three points.
Dominic Solanke also completed ninety minutes, his first since returning from injury, but both Nathan and Izzy Brown were out with ailments of their own.
Andreas Christensen played the full match as Gladbach’s Champions League hopes were dented by a 1-0 reverse away to Ingolstadt, whilst Papy Djilobodji served the second of his three-match ban for an obscene gesture.
Juan Cuadrado saw ten minutes as a substitute for Juventus as they won 2-1 at Milan to stay on course for the title. Nathaniel Chalobah also played ten for Napoli late in their comfortable 3-0 win over the doomed Verona, but Stipe Perica wasn’t so lucky and played no part for Udinese at Sampdoria.
Jeremie Boga was the centre of some attention in the French media this week, being featured in a short video as well as on the official Ligue 1 website. He was duly granted a starting place in the Rennes team for their trip to Nice on Sunday afternoon with both sides chasing a Champions League place, but it wasn’t to be his day. Hatem Ben Arfa stole the show with a hat-trick for the hosts as Rennes were brushed aside, with Boga guilty of a big miss in the second half to potentially help his team back into the match.
Mario Pašalić remains back at Cobham working his way towards full fitness following a back injury.
Charly Musonda shrugged off injury concerns to start for Real Betis and help them beat Levante 1-0 on Saturday; he’s perhaps lost a tiny bit of his initial wow factor but he’s nonetheless established himself as a wonderful talent in a top league in just ten matches.
Christian Atsu got 22 minutes for Málaga in a dull 0-0 draw at Granada on Friday night.
It’s one point from two games for Sint-Truiden in their unlikely hunt for Europa League football after a 1-1 draw at Charleroi on Saturday. Cristian Cuevas, back at left-back, played the full match picking up a yellow card whilst Victorien Angban returned from suspension as an 80th-minute substitute. Joao Rodriguez remained absent.
Angban, incidentally, was linked with a summer move to Gladbach this past week, whilst it was also reported that STVV and Chelsea are happy with their relationship and expect players to return to the club on loan again next season, although it’s clear that Angban won’t be one of them.
Marko Marin came on for 25 minutes for Trabzonspor against Istanbul BB on Sunday whilst Kenneth Omeruo and Kasimpasa face Akhisar Belediyespor on Monday.
Alex Davey picked up his first win in Stabaek colours on Saturday in a 2-1 win over Valerenga; he completed the full match in his usual midfield role.
The Allsvenskan season is underway in earnest now and, so it appears, is Jamal Blackman’s professional career. Having made his debut for Ostersunds at Hammarby last weekend, he suffered a 2-0 defeat on his home bow against AIK in midweek but fared better on Sunday, picking up his first win 2-1 against Falkenburgs.
Matej Delač is now back with FK Sarajevo for the conclusion of their league season and, sitting third five points off league leaders Zrinjski Mostar, there is still a chance he could end up with a winner’s medal. Whether or not he features in the final six matches or not will be determined by how quickly he can return to full training after his ACL surgery, with the majority of his rehab now complete.
Wallace returned from injury to play for the first time in a month on Wednesday, playing a full ninety minutes in a 4-1 win over Brasil de Pelotas in the Campeonato Gaucho. His next hope for action will come in Thursday’s Copa Libertadores trip to Quito to face Ecuador’s LDU.