The winter break is over for most of our youngsters on loan so we'll actually have a pretty full report for you today. Matej Delac is the only player whose club is still on break, but they have a series of friendlies leading up to the resumption of their season in late February. Young Kenneth Omeruo has not yet officially joined ADO Den Haag as he finishes completing some paperwork. Word is that he will likely be granted his Dutch work permit on either Monday or Tuesday with an official announcement to follow. I guess you're all reading though to find out how the kids actually did, so here we go:
Sam Walker - Walker is the unquestioned number one at Yeovil now and started his first game for them on the weekend. Yeovil suffered a 3-2 defeat but Walker was supposedly pretty solid. It seems to be a pattern that Sam is hung out to dry by his defense far too often but at least the youngster is getting some starts.
Jeffrey Bruma - Bruma had a rough go of it as HSV got buried by Dortmund. Jeffrey picked up his second yellow of the season early and was fairly passive after the booking. He made a few good blocks and clearances but was pretty poor on the whole. He was probably still the best HSV defender today for whatever that is worth. Drawing Dortmund after a long layoff probably didn't do them any favors, Hertha Berlin next week ought to be a better game.
Tomas Kalas - Kalas was solid again as Vitesse returned to action. Vitesse lost 1-0 to NEC and looked fairly lethargic on the offensive end. All in all it was yet another really nice display from Kalas as he was forced to partner with a new center back this morning.
Patrick van Aanholt - PvA was named to the bench for this one but didn't actually participate. I'm not too worried about it as his first official day of training with Vitesse came in the middle of the week. I'd expect to see his debut next week, although they may opt to wait until after their Friday visit to powerhouse PSV Eindhoven.
Ulises Davila - Davila was again not involved in the fixture. He'll continue to get regular action with Jong Vitesse for now and hopefully he'll be ready if/when injuries give him a shot.
Ben Gordon - Killie got beaten 3-0, but Gordon seems to be one of the few Killie players in that contest who impressed. Ben covered a lot of ground, providing solid defense on the left while being a threat on the attack. That's about all you can ask from your fullbacks, hopefully his teammates will play a little better next week.
Gael Kakuta - I'm sure Gael was thrilled to get a start in the French Cup for Dijon after a wasted loan spell at Bolton. He made sure to make an impression early on, generally being the most dangerous player on the pitch in the first half and scoring a beautiful goal from a free kick. He still looked good in the second half but his lack of match fitness began to show. It was a very good game for Kakuta and I'm sure he's earned himself some more minutes on the pitch. Hopefully he'll get another chance as Dijon head to Lyon next weekend.
Josh McEachran - Josh started the game
- Matej Delac - Delac actually got a start for Ceske Budejovice against Jablonic. He played 45 relatively uneventful minutes and didn't allow a goal. While I didn't see this one I've been told he was fairly solid in his debut performance. With any luck he'll earn himself some playing time in real games with his work in friendlies so we'll keep a close eye on what he does.
- Thibaut Courtois - Courtois kept another clean sheet on the weekend as Atletico blanked Real Sociedad 4-0. The big Belgian had a quiet day and only handled the ball a handful of times. It's nice to see he manages to keep his focus well when he's not constantly under pressure, but I'd prefer to see a few more tests to help him develop.
- Rhys Taylor - Taylor was pretty good in a 1-0 loss to Port Vale. The lone goal in that match was from the penalty spot so their really isn't too much blame to place at Taylor's feet. From all reports he was very effective at handling crosses and corners throughout the game.
in the basket on the bench but came on for the final 30 minutes. He looked very good in his cameo, successfully completing 25 of his 26 passes and creating one very nice shooting opportunity with a nice layoff. He also released Scott Sinclair on a very nice run which didn't really lead to anything. Swansea have some quality in their midfield, but Josh was easily good enough to assure he's not going to be living in the Swansea basket.
That's it for this week, hopefully next week will mark the Vitesse debut for PvA. It's nice to have all of the youngsters back in action though so I have more than a few goalkeepers to watch.