A look in on how Chelsea's youngsters on loan did over the past week.
Another week of action is in the books, and Chelsea had an awful lot of their youngsters away on loan in action. Here's the summary of what each of the loanees did this week:
- Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion): Lukaku was awarded a start against Newcastle, and he responded by being a handful all game. He played 65 very solid minutes for West Brom, generally creating havoc while on the pitch. He managed to level the game early in the second half, but with some better finishing he'd have likely had a hat trick. There's a lot to like with the way he's playing, but he still clearly needs some polish.
- Yossi Benayoun (West Ham United): Yossi started for West Ham against Wigan and generally looked pretty terrible. He was pulled from the game at halftime after making basically no positive impact on the game.
- Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid): Courtois was again rested during Atletico's mid-week Europa tie, something that is probably in the bets interest of the club with them looking to advance comfortably. He played well on the weekend in a 3-1 victory, saving all three shots that he could do anything about as Atletico stayed level on points with Barcelona.
- Michael Essien (Real Madrid): With Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao out, Michael Essien was again Jose Mourinho's emergency left back against Mallorca and Borussia Dortmund. He again impressed in the role on the weekend, but did not look great against the German champions. He'll likely be the regular starter at the position until the injury crisis subsides, so Essien will continue to have an opportunity to shine.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen): De Bruyne was again very solid for Werder Bremen as they drew Greuther Furth. He was less aggressive than usual with his passing, and continued to look excellent with the ball at his feet. He's been playing a more central role of late as well, and it's getting easy to picture the youngster interchanging with Oscar, Eden Hazard, and Juan Mata. For an area that Chelsea were so weak in last season, we just have an embarrassment of riches at the moment.
- Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburger SV): HSV started winning with Bruma out injured, and they've kept winning now that he's back. Unfortunately he was unused again this week as HSV climbed into the European places in the Bundesliga standings. It's a rough situation for the young Dutchman, as the losing was certainly not his fault.
- Milan Lalkovic (Vitoria SC): Lalkovic did not take part over the weekend, he was not named to the bench. There was no official word on an injury or illness, but he's been a regular in the 18-man squads.
- Matej Delac (Vitoria SC): Delac took up his usual place on the Vitoria bench. He'll likely continue as the cup keeper.
- Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnhem): Kalas was solid in 90 minutes of play over the weekend, he continues to look like fullback is his position of the future.
- Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem): PvA had a defensive hiccup on one of the goals in the 2-1 loss to AZ Alkmaar, but he generally had another very solid showing at left back in 90 minutes of play.
- Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem): It's about time that Kakuta made his debut for Vitesse, injury and disciplinary issues have really derailed the early portion of his season. He had an assist, and generally looked very good this weekend in his 23 minutes on the pitch. After that showing, he'll definitely be getting more time on the pitch.
- Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag): Omerou played 69 excellent minutes in a 2-0 win over the weekend. I continue to be amazed at the raw physical ability that this guy has, he really is Lukaku-esque in that regard. He's a long way from Chelsea caliber, but he may be one of the most interesting prospects I've ever seen. There's never going to be a limit on his ceiling, as his physical tools are just out of this world.
- Amin Affane (Roda JC): Affane got a start and played the full 90 minutes this weekend, but he struggled to make an impact in the scoreless draw.
- Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem): The younger Hazard played 79 minutes in a 2-0 win over the weekend, and he was very impressive in that game. If he continues in this form for the entire season, it will be interesting to see what next season holds for the young Belgian.
- Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough): Josh had another solid week for Boro, playing 75 minutes against Hull and 87 minutes against Bolton. The pair of wins has seen Boro climb up the table and they are now level on points with second place Leicester. Josh will likely see action in another pair of games this week, as Boro face Sunderland on Tuesday in addition to their Championship game on the weekend.
- Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest): Sam is making little to no progress with his knee injury, and his future with Forest is now up in the air. The club is in a bit of a crisis in the defense, and has brought Elliot Ward in from Norwich to help cover the crisis. I'm almost expecting a recall at this point, as Forest just need bodies on the pitch.
- Ben Gordon (Birmingham City): Like Hutchinson, Gordon is currently suffering from a knee injury and did not take part for Birmingham. Unlike Hutchinson, Gordon hadn't been featuring anyway.
- Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford): Chalobah didn't get as much action as he could have this week, as he was suspended on the weekend after receiving a pair of yellow cards mid-week. There seems very little chance his place is in jeopardy though, and he'll likely start again in Watford's next contest on Saturday.
- Ulises Davila (CE Sabadell): Davila started the game against Cordoba on the bench and came on in the 64th minute with his side down 1-0. Six minutes later it was level, as Davila found the back of the net. The game ended in a draw, with Davila again impressing.
- Archange Nkumu (Colchester United): Nkumu made his first bench the day he officially joined Colchester on loan, but he's yet to make an appearance with his new club. I'd imagine we'll see him take some time to develop a role there, so my expectations for the next few weeks are low.
- Sam Walker (Bristol Rovers): Sam was again on the bench for Bristol, he did not get on the pitch this week.
- Jhon Pirez (Leganes): As usual, Pirez did not feature.