Nine of Chelsea’s ten loanees were in action on Saturday, including wins for Miroslav Stoch and Scott Sinclair, and a professional debut for Jacob Mellis, whilst Lee Sawyer experienced both good and bad.
Starting in brief with the four club loanees from the fringes of the first team, and Michael Mancienne. Joining Wolves for the season on Thursday, he was named at the heart of their defence for their home opener against West Ham. He played a useful 67 minutes before being withdrawn, the hosts having just gone 2-0 behind. They played well by and large, but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Another note from this game is that in the dying stages, Frank Nouble made his West Ham debut, having rejected Chelsea’s offer of a professional contract in the summer.
Things were better for Scott Sinclair, who got 22 minutes as a Wigan substitute in their impressive 2-0 win at Aston Villa. Franco Di Santo was also a sub and got 25 minutes in a frustrating 2-0 defeat for Blackburn Rovers at home to Manchester City. Over in Holland, Miroslav Stoch continued his run of starting every FC Twente game to date by playing 71 minutes in a 1-0 away win at ADO Den Haag.
In the Championship, fortunes were mixed for the two young left-backs representing the club. Ryan Bertrand played all 90 minutes for Reading away to Newcastle live on Sky, but despite putting in a performance some Reading fans described as the best in their team on the day (including one brilliant cross), the Royals fell to a 3-0 defeat and a Shola Ameobi hat-trick. In contrast, Patrick van Aanholt also played the entireity of the match in Coventry’s second straight win, 2-0 away to Barnsley. He looked very, very good going forward, and whilst he has some learning to do defensively, it’s going very well for him in the early stages.
Whilst Liam Bridcutt joined Stockport County too late on Friday for selection today, Jacob Mellis was able to represent Southampton and make his senior professional debut. He joined the match away to Huddersfield in the 54th minute, just as Rickie Lambert had equalised Jordan Rhodes’ opener. The hosts were to grab two more though, and run out 3-1 victors. He doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong, nor anything of note, but it would have been hard on debut at a bad day at the office for the Saints.
Tom Taiwo featured for 90 minutes as Carlisle earned a creditable goalless draw away to Millwall, and Lee Sawyer returned from injury as a second half substitute away to Walsall. It was to be an eventful 28 minute cameo for Lee, because he conceded an injury-time penalty to give Sam Parkin a goal which robbed the Shrimpers of all three points. However, such was his performance that the Southend fans are forgiving of the misdemeanour, and very much still on his side, as the following selection of comments show:
“Sawyer HAS to start, he changed our play for the better”
“I can forgive Sawyer the penalty because he made a difference when he came on”
“Sawyer looked really good and completely bossed the midfield”
“Sawyer 9 – Starts next week. Simple as.”
Sounds like Lee will continue to be an integral part of the club’s plans when he fully returns from this knee injury.