A look at how Chelsea's loaned players performed over the past week
It was a pretty good week for most of Chelsea's loanees, with Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, and Patrick van Aanholt all putting in man of the match level performances. There were some other encouraging displays as well, and a return to action for a pair of players that have been out for a while:
- Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion): Another game, another goal. Lukaku now sits on 13 for the season, and could easily have been 14 had he converted his penalty on Saturday. His all around game has come so far this season that West Brom now looks like a totally different team when he's starting at center forward as opposed to Shane Long. I don't think I'm alone is wishing we had recalled him in January, as he'd be starting the majority of our games.
- Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid): Thibaut's streak of not conceding at home came to an end this weekend, as Atletico lost 1-0 to Real Sociedad. To put things in perspective, the last time Courtois allowed a goal from open play at home, Mark Clattenburg was busy sending off a pair of Chelsea players and allowing an offside goal to stand. My, how things have changed in that time...
- Michael Essien (Real Madrid): Essien was not involved when Madrid knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League, but he started at right back over the weekend.
- Lucas Piazon (Malaga): Piazon started again for Malaga over the weekend, and had a fairly excellent 77 minutes. He'd draw a free kick that he'd eventually take, earning an assist on the only Malaga goal of the contest. he had plenty of moments where he looked a bit indecisive, but that's to be expected from someone his age.
- Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen): De Bruyne was absolutely sensational in a 1-1 draw for Werder Bremen. He had an assist, a goal-line clearance, six shots (two on target), 81% passing accuracy, and was generally a menace every time he touched the ball. He's still fairly anonymous defensively, but there is little question that he's already a better player than Marko Marin or Yossi Benayoun.
- Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburger SV): Bruma was back starting at center back in HSV's 1-0 win this weekend, and he had an excellent game overall. He's notably better in the air this season than in the past, and certainly made his case for more minutes this weekend.
- Matej Delac (Inter Zapresic): Delac saw another start, but ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 score. One of the goals was nothing he could have done anything about, but he did his best David de Gea impression in controlling the rebound on the winner.
- Tomas Kalas, Patrick van Aanholt, Gael Kakuta (Vitesse Arnhem): Vitesse won again this weekend as they kept within three points of league leading Ajax this Sunday. All three Chelsea players started, but Tomas Kalas was pulled at halftime after a pair of crucial first half clearances, and was playing well enough that I'd assume it was injury or illness related. Gael Kakuta was very good, and had a goal disallowed that probably should have stood. PvA was the standout though, and was easily the man of the match. What Chelsea do with him next season will be one of the more interesting storylines of the summer.
- Kenneth Omeruo (ADO Den Haag): Omeruo took up his usual starting position at right back, and Den Haag drew with AZ Alkmaar. Omerou was largely responsible for marking the in-form Jozy Altidore on set pieces, and did a fairly excellent job in containing the American. I'm not sure I'd be bringing the Nigerian back to Chelsea next season, but he's probably ready for a more aggressive assignment. This weeken'd game against Vitesse will be fun.
- Amin Affane (Roda JC): Not involved again after clashing with the coaching staff, it appears he'll return to Cobham to see out the last two months of his contract before leaving the club in the summer. This is probably the last time we'll see Affane in the loan report.
- Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem): Hazard reportedly continues to impress in Belgium, although his side ended up on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline this weekend. Unfortunately I didn't get to see this one when I couldn't find a stream, but that just made it possible to catch Ulises Davila instead.
- Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough): McEachran played 59 solid but unspectacular minutes for Boro midweek, and was not involved this weekend due to sickness. The club has been in awful form for the bulk of the calendar year, and has dropped all the way to 9th in the Championship table.
- Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest): Hutch made a late cameo against Ipswich, after being surprisingly included on the bench. He's probably not anywhere near a return to the starting 11 yet, but it's nice to see him back in action. Forest have pushed all the way up to 6th in the table, and have been in excellent form of late.
- George Saville (Millwall): Saville waas not involved on Tuesday, and started this weekend's FA Cup tie with Blackburn on the bench. He didn't leave the bench though, and anyone unfortunate enough to watch that game in hopes of seeing Saville should ask for those two hours of their lives back. Ugh.
- Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford): It was a shortened week for Chalobah, as he only saw 45 minutes of action in Watford's pair of games. he started on the bench on Tuesday, but came on with Watford trailing at halftime and helped spark the comeback to win 2-1. He played very well in that second half, but would pick up a slight hamstring problem that kept him out of the weekend's game.
- Ulises Davila (CE Sabadell): Davila started this weekend on the bench, but came on at halftime in a 3-0 loss. I actually got to see this game, and Davila did little of note. Sabadell looked fairly poor on the whole though, and didn't create much in the way of chances.
- Patrick Bamford (MK Dons): Bamford returned to action this week with just over half an hour against Sheffield United. It was a quiet game from the Forest academy product, but it's just nice to see him back on the pitch.
- Sam Walker, Billy Clifford (Colchester United): Both Clifford and Walker started a pair of games this past week, with Colchester picking up one point out of a possible six. Clifford was pretty good in both games, and has been one of Colchester's best players since arriving on loan. Walker was excellent for the vast majority of the pair of games, but had an Arsenal netminder moment late on the weekend that probably turned a draw into a loss.
- Jhon Pirez (Leganes): Did not play, but was on the bench