The weekend’s loan action at home and abroad saw Franco Di Santo score his first goal in English football during an outstanding performance for Blackburn, but results elsewhere weren’t so good for Chelsea’s contingent at other clubs.
Di Santo was given the nod to start up front in Rovers’ keenly-anticipated derby with Burnley, the first in many years. After going a goal behind early, the hosts were dragged back into the game by the Argentine hitman. After a quarter of an hour he showed a deftness of touch and brilliant vision to flick a cross back towards David Dunn with his heel to allow the equaliser to be bent into the far corner, before minutes later he was on hand to cause Brian Jensen problems from an aerial ball, which he was able to nod into an unguarded net.
Booked for his celebrations with the fans, he continued to cause all sorts of problems for the Clarets defence. His hold-up play was exceptional, he worried opponents when running with the ball, and had the supporters singing his name throughout. He was withdrawn with 15 minutes to go and Blackburn were able to hold on for a 3-2 win.
For the club’s other two Premier League loanees, there was no action. Michael Mancienne missed Wolves’ trip to Everton through illness but won’t be feeling much better after seeing a re-shaped defence draw 1-1 with the Toffees. Mancienne hasn’t looked his best in recent weeks and the performances of George Elokobi and Ronald Zubar were impressive enough to warrant further outings, perhaps at Michael’s expense. Scott Sinclair, meanwhile, remained an unused substitute for Wigan as they impressively held big-spending Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium.
Coventry duo Jack Cork and Patrick van Aanholt both played 90 minutes in the Championship away to Sheffield Wednesday as the Sky Blues succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. Van Aanholt had a glorious chance to score his first professional goal but spurned the opportunity in an otherwise impressive outing, whilst Cork played well but missed the presence of the injured Sammy Clingan alongside him. You can read more on their performances at GMK Online.
Elsewhere in the division, Reading’s woes continued with a 3-1 defeat at West Brom which increases the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers. Ryan Bertrand started the match but was withdrawn after 42 minutes with a head injury which shouldn’t be too serious.
Fortunes didn’t get much better in League One, with heavy defeats for both Tom Taiwo and Liam Bridcutt, although there was a win for Lee Sawyer’s Southend. The Shrimpers won courtesy of two more goals from the extremely prolific Lee Barnard, with Sawyer predictably a substitute again, getting the last quarter of an hour on the pitch. Some supporters have begun a campaign for Lee to start, with his continued absence from the starting team ever more surprising.
Bridcutt’s Stockport crashed 4-0 at home to Millwall to end a recent run of good form, whilst Taiwo and Carlisle fell 3-1 to Bridcutt’s former team Yeovul at Huish Park. Both players featured for the entire game but were powerless in poor team performances. Taiwo in particular came out of the performance with high praise from Carlisle fans. Jacob Mellis remained on the bench for Southampton in their win at Oldham after a busy international week where he played and scored in all three of England’s Under-19 international qualifiers.
Over in Holland, Miroslav Stoch and FC Twente remain top of the Eredivisie after a hard-fought 3-2 win over defending champions AZ Alkmaar. Slobodan Rajkovic continues to recover from hernia surgery, whilst Croatian goalkeeper Matej Delac remains sidelined with glandular fever.