With thirteen loanees currently playing at various temporary clubs, the loan round-up is quickly becoming ever longer. This past weekend saw Liam Bridcutt make his Stockport County debut after some FA wranglings, and whilst he impressed, he was also dismissed in disappointing circumstances.
We’ll start at the top in the Premier League, where Michael Mancienne faced arguably his toughest ask in professional football yet, as he started at centre-back for Wolves in their visit to Manchester City. Facing Carlos Tevez, Robinho, and directly Emmanuel Adebayor, he was outmatched physically and had a torrid first half against the Togolese hitman, arguably losing him for the game’s only goal and struggled to assert himself. As the game went on he grew into his performance and his positioning improved, but it’s likely to be one to learn from rather than forget, as such experiences can make the right player stronger with the right application.
It wasn’t much better for Scott Sinclair over at Wigan’s DW Stadium, where he came off the bench for the last half an hour in their 5-0 drubbing by Man Utd. He had sporadic involvement, most notably a long-range effort over Ben Foster’s crossbar. Franco Di Santo continued the tale of Premier League woe, as despite getting his first start in English league football away to Sunderland for Blackburn, he limped out after sixteen minutes with a hamstring injury, having looked lively in the opening exchanges.
In Holland, Miroslav Stoch continued his run of starts for FC Twente and completed the whole 90 minutes as Steve McClaren’s team edged past RKC Waalwijk 2-1. Slobodan Rajkovic missed his second straight game with injury, but Stoch put in a fine performance which was arguably worthy of the man of the match award.
Back to England, and in the Championship, Jack Cork (sporting a black eye due to an unsavoury incident in a reserve friendly you may have read about) made his Coventry City debut as a sub shortly after the hour mark against Swansea City. Patrick van Aanholt continued at left back but the Sky Blues lost their first game of the season to a scrappy second half goal. By all accounts it was the team’s poorest performance so far, but Jack appears to have had a neat and tidy introduction to his latest temporary club.
The run of domestic defeats for Blues loanees continued at the Madejski Stadium as Reading fell apart against Sheffield United, losing 3-1 after taking a first-half lead. Ryan Bertrand, however, can consider himself one of few Royals to come out of the debacle with any credit, as evidenced by general supporter comments following the match:
“Bertrand was again one of our top performers today”
“Bertrand – Did two players’ work”
“Bertrand – classy player”
“Bertrand seems a genuine talent”
Shaun Cummings, however, put one in the wins column in his first home start for West Brom. The Baggies beat Ipswich 2-0 and should have had plenty more, most notably when Cummings won a second half penalty, skipping past Tommy Smith before being felled in the box. Luke Moore missed the penalty and the gaping open goal rebound, but Cummings continued to impress, only struggling with a tough dropping cross to the far post where Carson made a good save from Balkestein.
League One saw some hits and some misses. On Friday night, Lee Sawyer once again watched on as an unused substitute for Southend’s goalless draw at home to Millwall, and Saturday saw Jacob Mellis’ first home start for Southampton end at half time in a 1-1 draw against Brentford. Tom Taiwo completed another 90 minutes for Carlisle but they continue to struggle and dropped 0-1 at home to Exeter, who made the 696 mile round-trip worthwhile. Nonetheless, Tom appears to have impressed some followers:
“Taiwo – puts his foot in and keeps it simple.”
“Taiwo – really strong great tackles, showed good passion.”
“Taiwo – getting better and better.”
“Thought Taiwo played well again, off the ball and winning the ball back, needs to improve his distribution but he is young and has time on his side.”
Which leaves us with Liam Bridcutt’s Stockport debut. After manager Gary Ablett went pleading his case to the FA in midweek, County were able to debut Chelsea’s Reserve captain away to Brighton, looking for their first win of the season. He started with a yellow card after ten minutes, but soon started to play and made Carl Baker’s first goal of an afternoon which was to finish with a hat-trick. Liam’s cross from the right was flicked on and finished at the far post. He continued to be involved but his afternoon ended early, as on 84 minutes he kicked the ball away when Brighton had been awarded a free-kick, which gave the card-happy referee an excuse to show his third red card of the afternoon. Liam was in the wrong, and he will learn from that.
Updated statistics from all of the club’s loanees can be found on this page now and throughout the season.