Josh McEachran made us drool on Friday to highlight the week for our youngsters.
- Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion):Lukaku started and played 87 minutes as West Brom defeated Wigan 2-1. It was good, but not great in general, although there was an awful lot to like about the performance. He looked very good in the air on Saturday, although he turned the ball over too often during the game. His holdup play is definitely improving, and at this point he at least factors into the discussion of the Chelsea first team.
- Yossi Benayoun (West Ham United): Benayoun started and played 52 generally poor minutes. Yawn.
- Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid): Getafe actually managed to test Courtois a few times, and the youngster was up to the challenge in a 2-0 win over the weekend. As usual, he was given the Europa League tie mid-week off.
- Michael Essien (Real Madrid): It was a tale of two matches for Essien this week. He looked pretty good after coming on at halftime for Real Madrid in the 2-2 draw with Dortmund, but he was as bad as I've ever seen him on the weekend against Levante. Bad games happen, but he was terrible. I've literally never seen a deep midfielder pass as poorly as he did in that game, or be as careless with possession. In fairness though, the pitch was awful and that game should have been postponed.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen): De Bruyne had less of an attacking impact than he usually does against Schalke, he was utilized deeper as Werder lost 2-1. His defensive contribution is getting better and better though, something that will really help him as he fights for a spot at Chelsea. His touches from the game can be seen here.
- Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburger SV): Bruma started the game against Freiburg on the bench, but came on in the 40th minute after Paul Scharner picked up a second yellow. He was excellent during his time on the pitch in the 0-0 draw.
- Milan Lalkovic (Vitoria SC): Lalkovic did not make the bench this weekend, despite being healthy. Poor little guy...
- Matej Delac (Vitoria SC): Delac made the Vitoria bench, but as usual, that's where the second choice keeper stayed.
- Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnhem): As usual, Kalas started and was excellent as Vitesse held Twente to a scoreless draw.
- Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem): As usual,
KalasPvA started and was excellent as Vitesse held Twente to a scoreless draw.
- Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem): Kakuta also got 90 minutes against Twente, and looked pretty good in the process. His decision making was better than it's typically been, and he's definitely cutting down on some of the risks he likes to take. Good stuff, he's been solid thus far for Vitesse.
- Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag): Omeruo started, and played fairly well in a 2-2 draw with AZ Alkmaar. He was caught out of position a few times, but he's athletic enough to recover from mistakes like that in the Eredivisie.
- Amin Affane (Roda JC): Affane and Roda got crushed, but a pair of great deliveries by the young Swede led directly to the two Roda goals. The kid can certainly deliver on set pieces.
- Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem): Hazard created havoc as usual in the 1-1 draw over the weekend, but the dropped points now sees the Belgian club two points behind Anderlecht at the top of the table. He's not ready to team up with his brother yet, but this is looking like a good buy.
- Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough): Josh played 180 minutes this week, and was absolutely fantastic for Boro. He's been playing more centrally of late, and that shift into a very similar role to our double pivot has seen him producing some stunningly good outings.
- Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest): Still out with injury, but not being recalled.
- Ben Gordon (Birmingham City): He's healthy, and he's nowhere near the Birmingham 18-man roster. I don't know what it is about England and Gordon, but he can't seem to find the pitch in his homeland.
- Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford): Chalobah was excellent in a Tuesday draw with Millwall, but he did not feature in the 6-1 victory over Leeds on the weekend. Watford currently sit 12th, and are very much in the discussion of the promotion picture at the moment.
- Ulises Davila (CE Sabadell): Davila got another start, and was fantastic in the 1-0 win this weekend. He drew the penalty that won the game, in addition to creating the majority of Sabadell's chances.
- Archange Nkumu (Colchester): Nkumu made the bench this weekend, but did not see the pitch.
- Sam Walker (Bristol Rovers): Like Delac, Walker had a great view from the bench.
- Jhon Pirez (Leganes): Last I knew, he was helping Santa double check the naughty/nice list.