Chelsea FC: Grading Loanees Thibaut Courtois and Jeffrey BrumaOctober 21, 2011
Chelsea FC: Grading Loanees Thibaut Courtois and Jeffrey Bruma
We're about a quarter of the way through the European season, and I've kept a near-exhaustive game-by-game summary of Chelsea loanees Thibaut Courtois and Jeffrey Bruma.
Courtois, a 19-year-old Belgian goalkeeper, is on loan at Atlético Madrid.
Bruma, a 19-year-old Dutch centre back, is on loan at Hamburg.
The article analyses the performance of Courtois and Bruma and provides a conclusion on current form if they're good enough to make it at Chelsea.
What You Need to Know About Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois is a member of the Belgian golden generation, though he is a few steps behind Simon Mignolet.
Keep in mind, Courtois is four years younger than Mignolet.
Courtois was originally a left back but was tried out as goalkeeper, and at 16 years of age, he made his professional debut.
In terms of persona, he reminds me of Wojciech Szczęsny. He just says what he says, even if sometimes it's best to just bite the tongue.
Here is what Courtois said about Petr Čech:
The Chelsea goalkeeping coach (Christophe Lollichon) said to me that he does not know how long he [Čech] can continue to play at the highest level. He has problems with his knees and with his back.
I guess it's easier to look past what he says because he is a fantastic prospect in goals.
Thibaut Courtois Report
Fortune has been kind to Thibaut Courtois.
I'd seriously doubt he'd the No. 1 if not for Sergio Asenjo nursing a cruciate ligament injury.
Remember Asenjo was also usurped by youngster David de Gea, who of course is now at Manchester United. The injury made Courtois' job a lot easier, as he just needed to beat out fellow youngster Joel Robles, which he did.
Courtois is Atlético Madrid's No. 1 goalkeeper and barring unforeseeable circumstances, Courtois will not lose his position.
Summary: 7 clean sheets in 11 games. Maturity beyond his years. Exudes confidence. Good shot stopper.
The next slide will present his grading.
Grading Thibaut Courtois Part 1
4-0 win vs. Sporting Gijón | Grade B | Again, not much to do. Made one save to deny Óscar Trejo, but that shot was a futsal-like shot attempted from a ridiculous angle.
4-0 win vs. Racing | Grade B | I'm tempted to give a N/A because on my notes, I have next to no comments on Thibaut Courtois. Sure enough, I looked up ESPN statistics and Racing didn't have one single shot on goal in the entire game.
2-0 win vs. Celtic | Grade A | Commanded his box well. Didn't do much aside from parrying an ambitious Ki Sung-Yueng shot early in the second half.
1-0 loss vs. Valencia | Grade: A | Stood firm against a Valencia barrage of shots. Truth be told, generally made routine saves, plus one solid save to deny Jonas.
0-0 draw vs. Osasuna | Grade: B | La Liga debut. Made one great save against Roland Lamah. A few mistimed punches.
Grading Thibaut Courtois Part 2
2-0 loss vs. Udinese | Grade: C | Outkept by Samir Handanović. Thibaut Courtois was flat footed when Mehdi Benatia scored the vital goal late in the game.
0-0 draw vs. Sevilla | Grade: A+ | Falcao should have won the game for Atlético Madrid but missed in Fernando Torres-esq fashion. Courtois kept Atlético in the game with a fantastic save against Manu del Moral. Made a few more solid saves toward the end of the game.
1-1 draw vs. Rennes | Grade: A+ | Immense. Great character from Courtois to bounce back from Barcelona. Man of the match. The reason why Atlético did not lose. Having just seen his team snatch a late equaliser, he then makes a monumental save to deny Jonathan Pitroipa a certain winner.
5-0 loss vs. Barcelona | Grade: F | Deer caught in the headlights. Made a good save to deny Lionel Messi, but the ball rebounded off Miranda for an own goal. After that, Courtois lost interest. Caught at the near post and let in a goal between his legs.
Will be a learning experience for the youngster.
* This list doesn't include games against Vitória de Guimarães and Granada because I didn't watch those games.
Thibaut Courtois Quarterly Season Conclusion
Overall grade: A
Thibaut Courtois has been very impressive. He has only had one bad game and that was against Barcelona, which can be excused.
It's interesting to see how the career of Matej Delač, who is on loan at Dynamo České Budějovice, has stagnated whereas Courtois has improved in leaps and bounds.
At the end of the day, the Belgian is only 19.
He has revealed that Chelsea will loan him out for three more years. If he is this good at 19, one wonders how good he'll be at 22.
He's a world-class goalkeeper in the making.
What You Need to Know About Jeffrey Bruma
Along with Michael Mancienne, Gökhan Töre, Jacopo Sala and Slobodan Rajković, Jeffrey Bruma arrived at Hamburg with links to Chelsea.
All aforementioned players were brought in by new sporting director and former Chelsea director of football Frank Arnesen.
Hamburg are bottom of the ladder and have the second-worse defence.
How much blame is attached to Bruma?
Jeffrey Bruma Report
If there is any consolation to Jeffrey Bruma, he isn't the Bundesliga's worst defender.
That unwanted title goes to former Chelsea player Michael Mancienne.
Just a quick note on Mancienne: he's not good enough at centre back and is as worse as a right back as Carl Jenkinson.
Summary: Bruma started five games at centre back, with no clean sheets and 11 goals conceded. Benched for three consecutive games. Too slow physically and mentally. Not resilient enough. Consistently caught out of position. Doesn't seem to be good enough to play in the Bundesliga let alone play for Hamburg.
The next slide will present his grading.
Grading Jeffrey Bruma
2-1 win vs. Freiburg | Grade: D | The battle of the cellar dwellers. Former Chelsea player Gökhan Töre was brilliant. Schoolboy defending from Hamburg to allow Papiss Cissé to score. In the 80th minute, Jeffrey Bruma failed to clear the ball, lost it to Stefan Reisinger and then hauled down Reisinger to concede a pointless penalty. Cissé fluffed his lines.
2-1 loss vs. Schalke | Grade: F | Bruma ball watched as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored his first. Then Bruma and former Chelsea player Slobodan Rajković both comically attempted to slide in on Huntelaar, only for the forward to score again.
2-1 win vs. Stuttgart | Grade: A | Having been benched for three consecutive games, Bruma had a very good game as he kept Cacau quite. Some redemption when Bruma headed in to equalise. Töre was a star.
5-0 loss vs. Bayern Munich | Grade: F | It was men against boys. The scoreline should have been at least 8-0. Such a one-sided game. Bruma was all over the place.
2-2 draw vs. Hertha Berlin | Grade: D | Bruma's Bundesliga debut. Literally his first touch is to give the ball away and Hertha Berlin failed to capitalise. Looked very nervy. His best moment was blasting a free kick wide.
Jeffrey Bruma Quarterly Season Conclusion
Overall grade: D
Jeffrey Bruma has been disappointing to say the least.
This is why Chelsea loaned him out: to give him some experience and see how he reacts outside his comfort barrier. Sure, by all accounts, he played well in reserves and at youth level, but senior football is a different proposition.
Seemingly a proposition in which Bruma is failing.
If he can't make the grade at a sinking Hamburg side then he isn't good enough for Chelsea.
Please read The 10 Most Underrated Soccer Players in History.