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Chelsea FC loan report: 9/29/11

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Another week has passed for Chelsea's loanees, and one of our youngsters has had their loan spell cut short unexpectedly.  Chelsea were reportedly unhappy with the amount of time on the pitch that Ben Gordon was receiving at Peterborough and have decided to recall the youngster to Stamford Bridge.  It's unclear what exactly the plan for Gordon is going forward, but it seems that Chelsea want him to either be playing every week or training in London.  Gordon is now only eligible to play for one more club this season, so I'd expect his next move to be of the full season variety.

  • Tomas Kalas - Kalas was fantastic again in the center of the defense.  He's been an absolute rock in the center of the Vitesse defense as they kept their 3rd clean sheet in the 3rd of Kalas's starts.  Excelsior is not the strongest team Vitesse will face this season, but the defense was organised and didn't look like they could concede no matter how long they played.  It will be interesting to see how they fare against the top teams in the Netherlands, but they'll have to wait on that type of fixture for a bit.  This Saturday they'll host another mid-table team in Heereveen at 1:45 PM EST before the international break gives them some time off.  I'd be shocked if Kalas is not firmly entrenched as a starter now, so 90 minutes seems likely.
  • Ulises Davila - Davila started again on the left wing for Vitesse and was not as impressive as he was last week.  Davila was a bit slow and indecisive on the ball, and was subbed off at halftime.  He's shown flashes of being absolutely fantastic in his time at Vitesse, but I think he'll be tougher to evaluate until he becomes more comfortable with his new teammates and position on the flank.  I'd expect him to play a part on Saturday, but Vitesse have been rotating their attackers regularly so it may come off the bench this week.
  • Jeffrey Bruma - Bruma was inserted in the starting lineup versus Stuttgart due to Michael Mancienne's injury and he certainly made a very impressive case for himself to be a regular starter when the new manager is announced.  Bruma certainly made an argument for being the man of the match for this game, even managing to find the back of the net.  His passing accuracy was a bit low overall at only 69%, but other than that it was difficult to find a gripe with Bruma's game.  It's also worth noting that most of Bruma's errant passes were in the other teams half of the pitch as he often pushed forward in the attack.  His defense was generally excellent, and he often had to do the work of two players as Slobodan Rajkovic was remarkably poor overall and often forced Bruma into difficult situations.  He'll likely start again for Hamburg Sunday when they take on Schalke 04 at 11:30 AM EST.  In case you missed it earlier in the week, here's the highlights that include his fantastic goal against Stuttgart:

    • Gael Kakuta - Kakuta was on the bench in Bolton's loss against Arsenal this weekend but did not feature.  He was warming up before the red card by David Wheater reduced Bolton to ten, but that disadvantage probably ended any chance Kakuta had of making a cameo at the Emirates.  Kakuta will not be available against Chelsea this weekend (part of the loan agreement), so his next opportunity to play for Bolton will be in mid-October.  Chelsea can probably do their youngster a favor in his quest to start by shutting down the Bolton attack this weekend.
    • Patrick Van Aanholt - PvA made his second Premier League start for Wigan against Tottenham, and he held his own in this one.  He was solid defensively again and his passing was much better than it was against Everton.  As you can see in the chalkboards below, PvA spent a lot less time pinned back in his defensive zone against Spurs than he did against Everton, and he generally only missed on longer passes in the attacking areas of the pitch.  It appears PvA is cementing his place in the starting lineup, and he'll likely have a chance to further cement it Saturday morning when the Latics travel to Villa Park for a 10 AM EST start.


    • Sam Walker - Walker was again very solid in the team's 2-1 victory over Dag&Red on Saturday, allowing only a stoppage time volley to get by him after making a number of sensational saves throughout the match.  Walker has been very good in his time on loan, and that streak will hopefully continue when his club travel to London to face off against Barnet this Saturday at 10 AM EST.
    • Yossi Benayoun - Yossi missed the weekend fixture at Bolton with an injury and was also absent from the midweek Champions League fixture.  I'd doubt we see him in action against Spurs Sunday at 11 AM EST, but you just never know how the injury situation at Arsenal will shake out.
    • Matej Delac - Delac was again left out of the squad as he assimilates with his new squad.  No surprises there yet, as it was unlikely that he'd be involved with so little work with the new club.  I'd expect to see him make the bench as the backup keeper very shortly, possibly as soon as this Sunday when his club travel to Hradec Kralove.  They also have a midweek cup game on 10/6 when they host Viktoria Zizkov.
    • Milan Lalkovic - After extending his loan spell into late October, Lalkovic turned in his best performance at Doncaster to date.  Lalkovic was inserted on the right wing after 57 minutes and the move immediately paid dividends.  Lalkovic created havoc throughout his 35 minutes of action, and Doncaster managed to jump ahead when one of his driving runs created room for a long range effort.  Lalkovic was widely regarded as the man of the match despite only being on for 35 minutes.  Lalkovic was again a second half substitute against Hull on Tuesday, and again was among the best players on the pitch.  Despite not having found the net yet, Lalkovic has seemed to be the key to making Doncasters attack dangerous.  I'm really confused as to why he's yet to start as he's generally been one of the best players on the pitch, but hopefully that situation will correct itself soon.  We'll see if Lalkovic is rewarded for several solid outings in a row on Saturday when Doncaster travels to Peterborough for a 10 AM EST start.
    • Thibaut Courtois - Courtois faced the biggest test he'll likely face this season when Atletico traveled up to Barcelona.  The scoreline was ugly at 5-0, but Courtois was not bad in the performance.  He made a number of nice stops, but his defense repeatedly left him alone with the dangerous Barcelona attackers.  All that said, he probably could have done better on several of the occasions he was left one on one with Lionel Messi.  He was back to top form again against Rennes in the Europa League in Atletico's 1-1 draw this afternoon.  It's hard to find fault in Courtois for being caught wrong footed when the ball deflected into the net off an Atletico defender, and he was again responsible for some superb saves.  He'll be in action again as Atletico host Sevilla on Sunday at noon eastern.  Here's the video highlights of the Barca game:

      All in all it was a very good week for the Chelsea loanees.  I've been quite happy with what I've seen over the past two weeks, and the only thing really bothering me at this point is the amount of use Gael Kakuta has been getting.  Hopefully both he and Delac can iron down starting spots fairly soon, as that would really give us a better chance to evaluate what we have in those two.  Hopefully the next loan report will be as positive as this one.

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