We're going to try to give you reports on how the Chelsea youth who are out on loan are doing this season on a regular basis, and now that the transfer window has closed we'll hopefully start to see some of our youth settle in to regular action with their new clubs. While Yossi Benayoun, Gael Kakuta, and Patrick van Aanholt have not yet been around for an official match with their new clubs, several of our other youngsters have had the opportunity to debut for their temporary squads. We're going to take a look at how often they've played and what they did, and this week we'll start with the goalkeepers:
- Sam Walker has been the regular starter for Northampton Town so far this season. He's played every minute of their 9 games thus far, and has generally left a solid impression. He's regustered 34 saves in his League, Johnstone Paint, and Carling Cup games thus far this season and has done nothing to show any signs of losing his place in the team. Walker does need to work on controlling his area better, but other than that there has been little to complain about with his performance.
- Thibaut Courtois was expected to push incumbent backup Joel hard for playing time at Atletico, but it doesn't look like that was all that much of an issue for him. After sitting in his club's first Europa qualifier due to a slight knee issue, Courtois has started both the final Europa qualifier for the club and their La Liga opener. He's managed to keep clean sheets in both contests, and while he wasn't particulary challenged in his La Liga debut he made an incredible save in the Europa League tie. The highlights of that match can be found after the jump, and the save is a beauty.
- Tomas Kalas just arrived at Vitesse Arnhem on August 22nd and began training with the club on the 24th. He was in uniform for their trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax just 2 days later, but was an unused substitute on the bench. Now that he's had some training with the first team, Kalas is expected to start regularly. If rumor is to be believed, he will be featuring as their starting right back as soon as this coming weekend against AZ Alkmaar. I'm very interested to see how Kalas plays on the right, as Chelsea desperately need some talent in the youth ranks capable of filling in there in the future and his skills on the ball certainly would lead me to believe he'll excel there.
- Ben Gordon reported to Peterborough after returning from the U20 world cup and has been eased into regular duty there. He's featured twice as a substitute, playing first 30 minutes against Ipswich and then 45 against Middlesboro before failing to feature in an away loss to Brighton. He's been fairly solid in both showings, and is certainly adding noticeable width to the Peterborough attack when he enters the game. Hopefully he begins to start regularly once they return from the international break.
- Milan Lalkovic has featured twice for Doncaster, playing the full 90 against Derby while coming on for the final 30 minutes against Bristol City. Lalkovic has looked threatening, but there doesn't seem to be much familiarity in the injury ravaged Doncaster strike force at the moment. Lalkovic was left out of the Carling Cup tie against Leeds as to avoid being cup tied, so that can only be seen as a positive sign about his standing with Chelsea.
- Jeffrey Bruma has started in 2 out of the first 3 games this season for Hamburg, but that did not include their most recent game where new signing Slobodan Rajkovic started in his place. Bruma has been less than impressive so far, although Hamburg have been playing an ultra conservative deep line that is poorly suited to his strengths. It will be interesting to see if Bruma beats out former Chelsea man Michael Mancienne for playing time, or if he simply begins to see action in other positions. As long as he's playing I'll be happy to see him play all over the pitch.
We'll hopefully have another update for you after this coming weekend's games, and this one will likely feature the debuts of several other youngsters. I'd also expect to hear loan deals finalized for several other Chelsea players shortly after the window reopens for the lower divisions this Friday, so we'll keep you posted as we hear details of those moves.