MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JULY 28: (C) Romelu Lukaku #18 of Chelsea is challenged by (L) Mario Yepes #76 of Milan and (R) Mathieu Flamini #16 of Milan during the Herbal Life World Football Challenge at Sun Life Stadium on July 28, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
For the first time this fall, Chelsea had a significant number of youngsters in real action over the weekend. I've been holding off on starting the loan roundup back up until we through the pre-season, but from now on you can expect to be seeing these weekly. Rohan Ince, Josh McEachran, Ben Gordon, and Sam Hutchinson were all absent from their respective loan clubs this weekend with either injury or having just arrived, so none of those three will be debuting in the roundup this week. Amin Affane is not yet officially on loan either, so we won't be seeing him either. Jhon Pirez has apparently had some more fitness issues, so he's rehabbing with Chelsea at Cobham and not out with Ulises Davila on loan. Enough with the injured though, here's the recap of those who are actually playing:
- Tomas Kalas - Vitesse have been underway for a bit with their Europa League qualifying happening throughout the summer. Kalas played a key role in getting the Arnhem side to the 3rd round where they were knocked out by Anzhi, but he had to sit the first leg of that tie due to a red card suspension. Kalas played the full 90 minutes in both of Vitesse's Eredivisie games last week, and as usual he was solid at the back.
- Romelu Lukaku - Lukaku had a 30 minute cameo against Liverpool, and boy was it a good one. Steve Clarke had some nice things to say about Lukaku, as poor finishing by his teammates was all that kept him from adding a pair of assists to his headed goal:
- Thibaut Courtois - Courtois had a relatively uneventful weekend in net, as Atletico drew Levante 1-1. He'd face only three shots, but he'd deal well with a trio of good crosses in this one. Courtois has confirmed that he'll be eligible to square of with his parent club for the Super Cup, so we'll all get a chance to see how he fares against the Champions of Europe. Here's the highlights form this weekend's fixture:
- Matej Delac - Yesterday was Delac turned 20. He celebrated from his usual spot on the bench. It remains to be seen what role he'll have with the Portuguese club, but hopefully he can force his way into the lineup.
- Milan Lalkovic - Like his loan teammate, Milan started this one from the bench. He did make his debut though, coming on in the 87th minute. Hopefully he'll see more meaningful minutes soon.
- Ulises Davila - Davila has been very impressive throughout the pre-season, and he was the best player on the pitch for his 88 minute debut this weekend. There would be no goals scored in that game, but we're starting to get a look at exactly why Chelsea brought the youngster in to begin with.
- Sam Walker - Walker played a pair of solid game this week, as he was knocked out of the Capital One Cup and lost in the league opener. He was impressive by all reports though, and he did save a penalty in the cup game.
- Jeffrey Bruma - Like KDB, Bruma made his season debut in cup action over the weekend. Also like KDB, Bruma was on the losing side. He played 90 minutes at center back, and he looks to be entrenched there for this season as well.
That's it for this week, but I'd expect to have more for you next week as both McEachran and Hutchinson should be debuting for their clubs. I don't have an injury timetable on Gordon or Ince, but Gordon doesn't look to be that far off either. We'll fill you in with the latest next weekend though, so stay tuned.