Heading off to the destination with the most number of Chelsea loanees, Vitesse Arnhem lost their first home game since January, to current table-toppers, Ajax. Ajax were without Anwar El Ghazi, but still managed to clinch the victory relatively comfortably.
Lewis Baker and Dominic Solanke started and finished the game, while Danilo Pantic and Nathan were substitutes. Pantic came on in the 84th minute but there was no such luck for Nathan, who remained on the bench throughout. Izzy Brown was declared fit by manager Peter Bosz (whose touchline ban was in effect for this game as well) before the game but didn't feature in the matchday squad. A few minutes before the game, Brown tweeted that he'd return to full fitness soon but that tweet was mysteriously deleted afterwards... However, he has been out for a while, so in all probability, he was lacking match fitness.
Baker and Marvelous Nakamba seemed to be easily winning the midfield battle in the opening twenty minutes but Ajax soon began to grow into the game and overwhelmed them with ease. Dominic Solanke looks strong as ever and serves as a reliable target for long balls but he was almost starved of service from Vitesse's midfield yesterday. The youngster couldn't even manage one shot on goal.
For a detailed match report, check out From Arnhem with Love.
Todd Kane played the entirety of NEC Nijmegen's 1-1 draw against FC Groningen. The right-back has firmly established himself in the NEC starting XI, and spoke about the team's performance after the game. He was allowed plenty of space and got forward on many occasions, putting in a few good crosses in the second half.
Kane also spoke recently about Dutch football and why he chose NEC Nijmegen as his loan destination. Kane claims that even though football is a contact sport, one is simply not allowed to tackle in the Eredivisie as he would be in England, and that the football in the Netherlands is much slower-paced. He goes on to say that the practice of diving is predominant in the league and that the referees always seem to fall for it. He does state that he's happy to be playing there however. He turned down the option to play at Vitesse as he didn't want to 'play football with his friends' and wanted to get out of his comfort zone, to learn to stand on his own two feet. Interesting words from the youngster.
Speaking to the press before Juventus' game versus Atalanta, manager Max Allegri said that he'd like to give a few players a breather, specifically mentioning that Juan Cuadrado would be on the bench. Surely enough, Cuadrado was given the whole game's rest, watching his team win 2-0.
Stipe Perica was an unused substitute for Udinese.
I know Mohamed Salah isn't a Chelsea loanee anymore, but he scored a great goal against none other than everyone's friendly neighbourhood good guys (and his former club), Fiorentina. Just for the banter, okay?
Andreas Christensen started for Borussia Monchengladbach against Schalke 04 but alongside Tony Jantschke instead of his usual partner in defence, the injured Alvaro Dominguez. Gladbach ran out 3-1 winners, Schalke's only goal coming from an unfortunate own goal scored by the Chelsea loanee. In an attempt to clear Max Meyer's cross, Christensen inadvertently turned the ball into his own net. In his defence, if he hadn't got to the ball it would've certainly fallen at the feet of a Schalke player, waiting to tap it in. He could've done much better with the clearance, though. Have a look.
Is Christian Atsu a mythical beast?
Mario Pasalic completed the whole 90 minutes in AS Monaco's 1-0 win over Reims. Pasalic had a whopping six attempts on goal yesterday, four of them coming from inside the box. Sadly, all failed to hit the target. Though his defensive work leaves a lot to be desired, it's more than apparent that he's a better player when given the license to roam forward and finish off moves.
Ulises Davila wasn't involved for Vitoria de Setubal.
St. Truiden finally won a game, with both Victorien Angban and Cristian Cuevas completing the game. Joao Rodriguez, who was a sub, came on in the 77th minute.
There was a detailed piece on VotebalBelgie earlier this week on Angban, with extensive quotes from the 19-year-old midfielder about his hopes of making it at Chelsea and his experience with the Ivory Coast national team.
The article begins by mentioning how we first scouted Angban in the U17 World Cup in Mexico, when he was only fifteen years of age. Angban apparently arrived in England for the first time in January 2015 and often trained with the first team. Angban also speaks highly of Charly Musonda, claiming that the young Belgina with get his break with the Chelsea first team soon. It also seems to scare him, that a talent such as Musonda's still hasn't been given a chance at Chelsea. Angban's Chelsea contract runs till 2019 and the youngster hopes to make it to the first team as soon as next season and if not, then with a smaller English side. He explains how our very own Paulo Ferreira, who is in charge of all the foreign loans, sends him video clips each week and calls him to discuss them.
Angban goes on to talk about why exactly he didn't have the chance to make his Ivory Coast debut in the previous International break, and life in Sint-Truiden, away from his family. This article is definitely worth a read!