Armando Broja has had a mixed start to the season on loan from Chelsea at Southampton. While the young striker has impressed often when he has been named in the starting lineup, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has preferred the pairing of Adam Armstrong and Che Adams instead. However, Broja did start the game against Brighton on Saturday, and the 20-year-old grasped the opportunity with both hands.
Broja would open the scoring in the game in the 29th minute, after collecting a headed flick from Nathan Redmond. With one to beat, Broja chopped the ball behind himself with his heel, leaving Shane Duffy sprawled on the ground, before hitting a powerful shot beyond the goalkeeper with the outside of his right foot. What panache!
While the match ended 1-1 courtesy of a Neal Maupay injury-time equalizer, Broja was arguably the best player on the pitch. Hopefully, this performance earns him more game-time going forward — which would help his ambitions of a potential first-team role with Chelsea next season, especially with Timo Werner constantly linked with a move away, and with the Blues in clear need of another pure No.9 who can rotate with Romelu Lukaku.
Down in the Championship, Nathan Baxter’s resurgence is continuing, with the goalkeeper making his fifth consecutive start for Hull City after being omitted from the starting lineup for much of the season. While the Tigers only managed to draw the game against Reading 1-1, Baxter had another influential evening where he made a number of important saves.
One such moment of brilliance came in a one-on-one against former Chelsea prospect John Swift, as Baxter managed to save the well drilled shot along the ground.
Excellent one on one save from Nathan Baxter yesterday vs Reading pic.twitter.com/X4GmrKIqgT— Chelsea Loan Army (@CFCLoanArmy_) December 5, 2021
Baxter has conceded just 2 goals in his 5 appearances and has a save percentage of 92.6% (for comparison’s sake, former first-choice Matt Ingram had conceded 22 goals in 16 games with a save percentage of 70.7%).
The 23-year-old is once again starting to show why he is one of the best goalkeepers our Academy has produced, and a player who has risen to the challenge in each of his successively more challenging loan stints. Hopefully, he can keep up his current form!