Another weekend is in the books, and we have another weekend worth of loan action to report on. Josh McEachran got his first start before being placed safely back in the basket this week as Swansea played Chelsea in yesterday's fixture. Milan Lalkovic was sent off to the Netherlands. Kevin de Bruyne was signed and loaned back to Genk. Other than that we have lots to talk about (because that's clearly not enough), so here we go:
Thibaut Courtois - Courtois was again the starter as Atletico traveled to face Osasuna. It may have been the young Belgian's best performance of the season. Thibaut was excellent in dealing with crosses and set pieces and had several absolutely fantastic saves as he kept his fourth consecutive clean sheet. Every time I think I can't be more impressed with this kid he goes and has a game like this.
Josh McEachran - Josh played the full 90 minutes as Swansea were beaten 2-1 by Bolton in the FA Cup. He looked pretty solid in a squad filled mostly with backups. His passing was again first rate, but unfortunately nobody seems to have stats for FA Cup games for me to back that statement up with.
Sam Walker - Walker had himself a very quiet weekend. He faced only one shot in the 2-1 victory and there was basically nothing he could have done about it as it found the net. He did look good taking goal kicks though...
Rhys Taylor - Taylor had a much more eventful afternoon than Walker in his side's 3-2 loss. Two of the three goals that found the back of the net were scored by his teammates, so there really wasn't a whole lot to complain about in his performance either. He seems to have pretty securely entrenched himself as the #1 at Rotherham. Taylor's loan was extended for the remainder of the season.
Matej Delac - While we're on keepers, we might as well touch on Delac. After seeing 45 minutes of friendly action last week (and playing very well), Delac was rewarded by starting one of his club's two friendlies this week. Delac and company were defeated 3-0 by Dynamo Drazdany in his start.
Jeffrey Bruma - Bruma gave us more of what we've come to expect with him, although he's beginning to show a little more aggressiveness in his tackling since the break. Bruma had a fantastic defensive display as HSV beat Hertha Berlin by a 2-1 scoreline, but some of his decision making in regards to his passing left something to be desired. I'll applaud Bruma's willingness to go for the aggressive longer pass and start the counter, but with a 2 goal lead he might have been better served simply taking the safe route and building up from the back. I'm nitpicking though...it was an excellent game overall. He was also notably poised when he was clearing the ball, I'd have a hard time criticizing any of his decisions in this one.
Gael Kakuta - After impressing in his debut last week Kakuta found himself coming off the bench as Dijon faced Lyon. He provided more attacking threat as Dijon managed to level the score in the second half (he came on in the 54th minute), but Dijon would go on to lose the game by a 3-1 scoreline. Kakuta hit on 12 of 16 passes and managed a couple of shots but didn't ever appear to be fully in sync with his teammates. Hopefully with more time on the pitch he'll look more comfortable.
Kevin de Bruyne - It feels good to finally add the young Belgian to the loan report. KdB had himself a respectable game as Genk were beaten by Mechelen last week. You can see some of his nice passing on display below but at the same time he does make a few poor decisions when defending. Not his best game by any stretch, but he was still among the better players Genk had.
Tomas Kalas - Kalas had a bit of a down week, but that's really not saying he was poor. He was fairly good for most of the 3-1 loss to PSV over the weekend, but he was caught out of position on the second goal which likely resulted in the chance happening. He hasn't made too many mistakes like that one, and it does happen to everyone from time to time. He was good overall in yesterday's cup game which Vitesse also lost. The Vitesse midfield was pretty poor in that one and allowed the opposition way too much pressure and possession. The first goal they allowed came via a set piece, while the second was just a very nicely played counter that the midfield failed to track back on. Not great, not bad, and 180 more minutes for the young Czech.
Patrick van Aanholt - PvA finally got back on the pitch this week. Yay! He came on in the second half of the 3-1 loss to PSV while the team was trailing 1-0. He was probably about equally at fault as Kalas for the second goal, but his driving run was key to creating the Vitesse goal shortly after. All in all it was a pretty good cameo. He was rewarded with a start in the cup tie yesterday and was possibly Vitesse's most dangerous attacker. The second goal conceded was created from his side after a marauding run forward, but with a player like PvA the midfield has to be aware that he'll be caught upfield occasionally. He did immediately produce a few good chances to equalize, but the opostion's keeper was up for the challenge. It looks like there will be some adjustments necessary by the Vitesse midfield, but I can't imagine he hasn't already made enough impact to feature regularly
Ulises Davila - Basket
Ben Gordon - Gordon played the full 90 in Killie's semi-final victory in the Scottish Communities League Cup. Gordon reportedly looked very good in attack and didn't really have to do any defending as Ayr didn't really make any effort to attack at all. Gordon and Killie will now face Celtic in the final.