It is well documented that Chelsea have an “interesting” loan system, in which the club send an army of young (well, mostly) talent across England and Europe. Some fare better in their loan spells than others and a few effectively win the lottery by making the first-team at Chelsea after impressing elsewhere. An example of this is Andreas Christensen who stepped into Chelsea’s backline this weekend and put in a solid performance, helping Chelsea to rack up an impressive 2-1 away win against rivals Spurs at Wembley. He’s one of the few successful products of Chelsea’s loan system, but let’s see how the rest fared this week.
Kurt Zouma – Stoke City
This, in my opinion, was by far the best loanee performance we’ve seen in a while. Kurt Zouma was a rock as Stoke City stunned Arsenal and defeated the Gunners 1-0. The French centre-back’s dominance was demonstrated by the Potter’s impressive clean sheet, something not many teams will achieve this season. While this was a team effort, Zouma was the stand-out performer in the backline as he managed to completely shut down Arsenal’s attacking talent. Kurt “Happy” Zouma will certainly send Stoke City fans home feeling just that as he put in a mature, dominant display in defence. With 7 clearances, 3 interceptions and 3 tackles to go along with his 87% passing accuracy, the French 22-year-old showed experience and ability beyond his years and kept his countryman Alexandre Lacazette, who cost Arsenal in advance of £50m, quiet for the majority of the game.
Overall a fantastic performance for Kurt Zouma – strong, solid and stable.
My rating: 9/10
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace
“This is a future England player” the words of our former manager and player Ruud Gullit, and I wholeheartedly agree. This is a player who every Chelsea fan knows has true ability and potential as well as versatility. Now, as a team Crystal Palace have had a shocking start to the season with two straight losses and not a single goal scored but in both of the premier league games so far, Ruben has stood out. A physical, athletic specimen like Loftus-Cheek can always be a threat but combined with his technical ability he truly could become a Chelsea stalwart. Despite the 1-0 defeat to Liverpool this weekend, the English midfielder demonstrated his ability and stood out as a key performer for Palace. His willingness to run at the defence with pace and power as well a pick passes shone through at times and he actually should have registered an assist but Benteke wasted a golden chance after some fantastic work and square ball from Ruben set the Belgian up, only for him to blaze the shot over. Throughout the game, he looked solid and looks set to be a key player for Palace this season but sometimes his decision-making can, and did, let him down. With minutes this season, however, he will only improve.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Tammy Abraham – Swansea City
Last season everyone saw the pure ability Abraham has to poach goals in the Championship and I do honestly believe he’s good enough to do this in the Premier League. The reality was that he cut a lonely figure up top for Swansea as they were overpowered in the early fixture on Saturday. Swansea were emphatically beaten 4-0 at home to Manchester United. Tammy worked incredibly hard for Swansea, leading the press and trying to craft chances and make effective runs but he was offered next to no support by other attackers for the majority of the game. Abraham is a penalty box striker, relying on good service and balls in behind from his teammates and this was just not provided for him against the Red Devils. The Englishman had some bright moments but was limited in what was possible by a fairly poor attacking display by Swansea as a team. Abraham is a player with refined, pure finishing ability and can become a 20 goal-per-season striker in the Premier League but will rely this season on Swansea managing to attack with more prowess and quality which I’m not sure they are capable of as they certainly didn’t demonstrate it in this match.
My Rating: 6/10
The best (and worst) of the rest;
Marco Van Ginkel scored for PSV yet again this weekend and is becoming a great goal scoring midfielder in the Dutch League, taking himself to 17 goals in 30 league games over two seasons and becoming the captain of PSV Eindhoven, but the 24-year-old Dutchman’s time is running out to impress the Chelsea hierarchy.
Lucas Piazon, who seems to have been on Chelsea’s books since the club was founded in 1905 despite being only 23 years old, suffered another major setback as he suffered a fractured ankle playing for Fulham against Leeds. This will see him sidelined for a long stretch of the season.
Kasey Palmer came on as a substitute in Huddersfield’s 1-0 win at home to Newcastle and Isaiah Brown remained sidelined for Brighton after a disappointing hamstring strain in last weeks game but luckily, this injury is not expected to be long-term and he could make a return within the next few game weeks. Both of these players have a great attacking ability and will look to help their respected teams remain in the Premier League in their first ever seasons in the top flight.
Lewis Baker, who is a favourite amongst Chelsea fans, made a substitute appearance for Boro as they were defeated by the impressive Nottingham Forest 2-1 at The City Ground. Elsewhere in the championship Ola Aina and Michael Hector suffered defeat to QPR with Hull, however, Aina did stand out with a decent performance despite the defeat.
There were plenty of other Chelsea loanees in action this weekend, from non-league all the way to Russia and Serbia but the only other standout is our boys from Vitesse, while Mason Mount is yet to make his debut; Dabo, Colkett and Miazga all played and impressed in Vitesse’s 3-1 win on Friday.
The Absolute Chelsea loan watch is a regular report of our loanees, written by Dan Barker (@danbarkzr)