MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Gary Hooper (R) of Celtic tries to shoot past Thibaut Courtois of Atletico de Madrid during the UEFA Europa League match between Atletico de Madrid and Celtic at Vicente Calderon Stadium on September 15, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
This week marked the debut performances for several of our loanees, namely Gael Kakuta and Patrick van Aanholt. It also marked the end of the initial loan deal for Milan Lalkovic, but both Doncaster and Chelsea were happy enough with the arrangement that it has now been extended another month. So without further ado, here's how the Chelsea youngsters (and Benayoun) fared this week and what they have coming for the week ahead.
Thibaut Courtois - I was pretty high on the job Courtois did last week, and this week has done nothing to dim my opinion. Courtois started both games that Atletico played (Setander and Gijon), and kept both clubs from finding the back of the net. Courtois has now played six games for Atletico and allowed only a single ball to get by him. He's easily been the best of the bunch that Chelsea has sent out on loan to this point, and he's looking like a very wise purchase indeed. This week will be an interesting one to watch, as Atletico begin with a trip to Camp Nou on Saturday. That game kicks off at 4 PM EST, so it won't conflict with any games in England if you want to watch (it's on ESPN 3 for North American readers). They also have another Europa League tie on Thursday, this time traveling to Rennes to square off against rumored summer Chelsea target Yann M'Vila. That one will go off at 1 PM EST.
Yossi Benayoun - Yossi has quickly worked his way into Arsene Wenger's rotation at Arsenal. While he was an unused substitute in the debacle at home against Blackburn last weekend, he played the full game in the Carling Cup tie against Shrewsbury, both scoring and assisting in the contest. Yossi picked up a knock in the waning minutes of that contest, and it appears unlikely that he'll feature in either of their contests this week.
Tomas Kalas - Tomas Kalas finally made his debut at Vitesse Arnhem this week, starting both of their contests. He played 79 minutes in the 5-0 drubbing of Roda JC on Saturday and was very good in the center of the defense. He then played the entire contest in the cup tie against NAC Breda on Tuesday and was easily the best player on the pitch. Vitesse advanced to the next round of the competition after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes was won in penalties. Vitesse are off until Sunday when they will travel to Excelsior for a 10:30 AM EST contest.
Ulises Davila - Like teammate Tomas Kalas, Davila made his debut this week as well. He started on the left wing in both contests this week, playing 68 minutes against Roda before playing 77 against Breda. Davila hasn't yet netted for Vitesse, but he's looked very solid on the wing so far. Vitesse don't appear to lack options in the attack at this point, so I'd expect he'll need to continue to impress to keep his spot in the starting 11. So far so good though, and like Kalas he'll likely start on Sunday vs Excelsior.
Jeffrey Bruma - Bruma is struggling to find the pitch lately, as last weekends game was his third straight as an unused substitute. The decision to sell Slobodan Rajkovic there at this point seems baffling to me, as it's now seemingly put Bruma into a very similar situation as he was at here. He'll hopefully get some time on the pitch tomorrow, as Hamburg travel to Stuttgart for a 2 PM EST start.
Gael Kakuta - I was expecting to see Gael Kakuta feature in Bolton's weekend clash with Norwich, but that likely went out the window when Owen Coyle's side went down to ten men. Kakuta did, however, make his debut on Tuesday in the Carling Cup draw against Aston Villa. While the game was not televised, Kakuta was by all accounts the best player on the pitch that evening. He was on the right wing, and he capped his performance off with a beautiful goal which we posted that evening. He was good enough that I'd fully expect to see him featuring more regularly for the club, and this week might offer a nice wide open game for Kakuta to make an impact in. Bolton head to the Emirates for a 10 AM start on Saturday morning. That game will be the featured one on FSC.
Patrick van Aanholt - After impressing in his debut in the Carling Cup loss to Crystal Palace, PvA got his second crack in the starting lineup on their trip to Everton. Despite the 3-1 loss, PvA looked pretty solid on the defensive end and was menacing on the left flank. He's certainly looked like a capable Premier League starter to this point, and I'd expect to see him continue to play regularly. This week he'll be tested if he starts, as Wigan host Luka Modric and his chicken badge wearing teammates at 10 AM Saturday morning.
Milan Lalkovic - As was already pointed out, Lalkovic will be staying at Doncaster for another month on loan. He was again a second half substitute against Reading last weekend, and he immediately began to create havoc with his speed and attacking runs. Lalkovic will likely be getting his first start in one of Doncaster's contests this week, as they have two games to play at home. They host Crystal Palace on Saturday at 10 AM before Hull City come to town on Tuesday at 2:45 PM. Hopefully Lalkovic finds the back of the net this week as well as getting a start or two.
Sam Walker - Sam again played 90 minutes this week, this time against Macclesfield Town. He allowed 3 goals to find the back of the net in the loss, but all three were probably nothing he could do anything about. He's been generally solid thus far, and will be starting again when Dag&Red come to town on Saturday morning at 10 AM.
Ben Gordon - Gordon was not involved last weekend as an unused substitute on the bench. He'll likely see some minutes this week as Petersborough take the Avram Grant relegation tour of the Championship this week. They travels to London to square off with West Ham Saturday morning at 10 AM before heading down to Portsmouth Tuesday afternoon at 2:45 PM.
Matej Delac - Delac was not on the bench this weekend as he had just joined the club earlier in the week. While I fully expect to see Delac as the eventual starter, he may not yet be fully acclimated to his new teammates yet and I'b be surprised to see him involved this week. If he does feature, however, his new club host Pilsen tomorrow afternoon.
That's it for loan news this week, we'll be updating you again next week after Thibaut Courtois and Atletico finish up Thursday afternoon. If any new deals are announced between now and then we'll make sure to keep you informed.
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