A look at how Chelsea's young players on loan (and Michael Essien) did this past week
The loan roundup is a bit longer this week, as most leagues have returned from their hibernation. Here's a look at how they did:
- Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion): Lukaku continued to be the first choice starter for West Bromwich Albion, with a pair of starts this week. He played the full 90 minutes of a disappointing 1-0 FA Cup loss to QPR midweek, and added another assist to his tally for the season in a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on the weekend. With the way he has been playing this season, it's very hard to see Chelsea agreeing to another loan next fall.
- Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid): Courtois had a pair of games this week, and kept a pair of clean sheets in those contests. He was absolutely fantastic in both games, and had some gif-able momentsin the Copa Del Rey tie with Real Betis. There's a reason he's now being linked with moves to top clubs, as he's most certainly ready.
- Michael Essien (Real Madrid): Essien and Real Madrid played Valencia twice this week, and The Bison took part in both games. He played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 cup tie midweek before coming on as a second half sub in the 5-0 victory this weekend. He looked pretty solid in both games.
- Lucas Piazon (Malaga): Piazon joined Malaga this weekend, but is yet to make his debut. Manuel Pelligrini let us know that he was not officially registered in time to take place, and that he'd likely need a few training sessions with the club before featuring anyway.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen): De Bruyne and Werder Bremen were back in action this weekend, and I'm sure they wish they were not. They were absolutely destroyed by Borussia Dortmund, and Kevin De Bruyne the "center forward" was not particularly involved in the match. Honestly, this one probably isn't worth paying too much attention to, as Werder Bremen drastically altered their tactics because of the opponent.
- Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburger SV): Bruma is still at HSV, despite loads of speculation linking him to a move to either PSV or Vitesse Arnhem. He started in his usual spot on the bench, but came on early when Michael Mancienne was injured and had to come off. It turns out that Mancienne has torn some ligaments in his ankle and will be out at least six weeks, so I'd expect any move away for Bruma is now probably off the table. FWIW, Bruma was excellent in his 75+ minutes on Sunday.
- Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem): Hazard played well in his 90 minutes as Zulte defeated Genk in a cup tie midweek, but snow on the weekend postponed his chance to play against league-leading Anderlecht. Unfortunately for Hazard and his club, the 1-0 victory over Genk was not enough to make up from the 5-0 defeat in the first leg, and their cup run is now over.
- Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnhem): I bet Kalas wishes he was still on break. He was repeatedly caught too far up the pitch, and AZ ran wild in a 4-1 win over the weekend. Jozy Altidore in particular was a nightmare for the young fullback to deal with.
- Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem): See Kalas, Tomas. Not a good game for Vitesse's defense at all.
- Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem): Kakuta had been scoring at will in Vitesse's friendlies over their winter break, and added his first league goal for the dutch club this weekend. Unfortunately it was not enough to match the four that Vitesse allowed. Still, at least one of Chelsea's loanees at Vitesse had a good game this weekend.
- Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag): Away at the African Cup of Nations, he was a late substitute in Nigeria's opener.
- Amin Affane (Roda JC): Was not involved over the weekend, I'm not sure if it was injury or illness related but I'd assume it was not due to performance.
- Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough): McEachran moved further up the pitch on Friday, and I'm not sure it was the greatest use of his considerable talent. By playing almost as a striker, McEachran saw far less of the ball than he usually does and didn't have the same sort of impact he does from the midfield. Boro's loss to Leicester City has them currently sitting in 5th, just one point ahead of 6th placed Watford who have a game in hand.
- Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest): Still injured...
- Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford): Chalobah and Watford cruised to an easy win this weekend, and the young midfielder was pulled off midway through the second half to give him some rest. Watford are now firmly in the promotion picture, and are playing well enough that a top two place looks very reasonable.
- Todd Kane (Blackburn Rovers): Kane made his second Blackburn start in the loss to Charlton over the weekend, and was easily Rovers' best player in that one. It's good to see him have a game like that early on in his loan spell, as it should erase any doubts the fans had about him being ready for the Championship.
- Ulises Davila (CE Sabadell): Davila started and played 90 minutes in his side's 4-1 victory over the weekend, and by all acounts, he played fairly well.
- Sam Walker (Colchester United): Did not play due to snow
- Billy Clifford (Colchester United): Like Walker, did not play due to snow
- Jhon Pirez (Leganes):...