A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled into an XI from across Europe’s top six leagues. You can read this for all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.
Sergio Rochet | AZ Alkmaar | Uruguay | 21 | Goalkeeper: AZ Alkmaar faced FC Dordrecht over the weekend with AZ’s manager, John van der Brom giving Sergio Rochet a start between the posts. This was Rochet’s 8th appearance of the season in the league and the Uruguayan managed to successfully keep the ball out of his goal for his second clean sheet of the season. Despite not being directly involved in stopping the inbound attacks, the youngster showed sound concentration and focus throughout the 90 minutes. His tendency to come off his line was a display of confidence from a keeper seemingly mature beyond his actual years.
Hector Bellerin | Arsenal | Spain | 19 | Right Back: The Spaniard was chosen ahead of Callum Chambers in the right back position in the vital game against Manchester City this weekend. Bellerin fully repaid the faith Arsene Wenger placed in him by putting forth an excellent display against the defending Champions of England. The youngster showed great quality by keeping the experienced James Milner at bay throughout the first half, with City unable to create anything down that flank. The second half saw Silva move out wide, a sterner test for the 19 year old who stepped up his game and had his fellow countryman matched in every step. Bellerin won every single aerial duel that came his way throughout the 90 minutes, helping significantly with 4 clearances and 7 interceptions, many of which occurred in dangerous parts of the field. It’ll be interesting to see how many opportunities Bellerin gets, given the need for Arsenal to carry on from this win and justify the Betfair betting odds with Top 4 in mind.
Karim Rekik | PSV Eindhoven | Holland | 20 | Centre Back: PSV faced Vitesse over the weekend which resulted in the league leaders coming away with a 0-1 away victory, pulling 4 points away from second placed Ajax with the help of a solid defensive display from 20 year old Karim Rekik. The youngster produced several key blocks throughout the game, 6 to be precise, one of which led to the game’s only goal and another, a crucial block on what was a goal bound rocket of a shot from a Vitesse corner. With the Vitesse attackers finding it rather easy to get past the PSV midfield, Rekik showed excellent positional sense, backing off at the right time for the right amount of space. 12 clearances and 3 interceptions on the night proved to be significantly important as PSV earned their 3 vital points.
Jose Gimenez | Atletico Madrid | Uruguay | 19 | Centre Back: The weekend saw Atletico Madrid take on Granada at home with Jose Gimenez producing another stellar performance in the Atleti defense, arguably the best defender on the pitch that night. The Uruguayan, despite being barely troubled on the night, made sure his side kept the defense tight and ensured they kept a clean sheet. Gimenez made a total of 4 tackles, 6 interceptions, 2 clearances and a blocked shot, enough to statistically impress as well and cap off a good night for the defending Spanish champions.
Jordan Amavi | OGC Nice | France | 20 | Left Back: Nice were the away side to face Bordeaux in Ligue 1’s early Friday kick-off and it was Jordan Amavi’s goal that helped Nice earn their equalizer midway through the second half. A free kick was met by Amavi, who rose amongst a crowd of players and showed great awareness of where the goal was, glancing the ball to the back of the net to claim his third of the season. Defensively, Amavi did not face much trouble, patrolling up and down the left flank in a visibly comfortable state.
Marco Verratti | Paris Saint Germain | Italy | 22 | Defensive Midfielder: Defending Ligue 1 Champions, PSG faced Evian Thondon Gaillard
at home and it was the Italian, Verratti that put on a dominating display in the middle of the park. Verratti, despite his height (or the lack of), strayed away from the crowd of players that swarmed around the 6 yard line in anticipation of the in-coming free kick. The ball indirectly fell to Verratti’s feet, who slotted it home with composure and precision to give the capital club the lead. The Italian international had the second highest number of passes in the team (Motta being first), 96 to be precise, over 90% of which were accurate, in what was an important win for the big spenders.
Bernardo Silva | Monaco (On Loan from Benfica) | Portugal | 20 | Right Midfielder: The on loan Benfica man’s strike helped decide Saturday’s game between Monaco and Nantes. Silva managed to get on the end of a stray ball after a dragged shot from a teammate was met by a series of defections inside the box. Apart from scoring his second goal of the campaign, Silva contributed two key passes in the game and had the second highest number of touches among Monaco’s attacking players. While most of the attacking players from the home team had a disappointing night (barring Ferreira-Carrasco), Silva proved not to be weighed down and stood out.
Jesper Drost | PEC Zwolle | Holland | 22 | Midfielder: Jesper Drost was involved in a 4-1 victory over NAC Breda this past weekend. The youngster put on an excellent display throughout the 90 minutes. The youngster displayed signs of real quality in both halves, with excellent first touches and dribbles in and around the box. His attacking persistence paid off with a goal in the second half as well as a quality assist where he managed to drag two defenders away from goal and showed excellent vision to find a teammate at the far post.
Adam Maher | PSV Eindhoven | Holland | 21 | Midfielder: PSV’s visit to Vitesse not only was a tricky fixture for them but was vastly important in terms of their title challenge. Adam Maher’s goal was the only goal on the night and proved to be the decider between the two teams. A 9th minute Vitesse attack was halted in the PSV 18 yard box resulting in a PSV counter, leading to the goal which required Maher’s scuffed second attempt for the ball to fall into the back of the net. Maher showed excellent dynamics and pace, and was a threat throughout the game; a shot off the post iterating his potency on the field.
Raphael Guerreiro | FC Lorient | Portugal | 21 | Left Midfielder: The Portuguese youngster is becoming increasing important for Lorient and proved that yet again in this weekend’s win over Lille. Guerreiro scored the only goal on the night, despite not the easiest on the eyes, got the job done to grab his fifth goal of the campaign after guiding an off-target shot from a teammate. Statistically, Guerreiro made the right noises with 3 out of his 4 shots on target and a key pass to add to that. Guerreiro, so far, has displayed level-headed behaviour which has helped him hold on to his form this season, something that is likely to decide where Lorient will finish at the end of the season.
Domenico Berardi | Sassuolo (On Loan from Juventus) | Italy | 20 | Striker: The Italian impressed at the weekend in the 3-3 draw against Genoa. Berardi was often seen causing trouble with his movement off the ball. His pace was highlighted when he managed to skip away from a Genoa defender in the penalty area; quick enough to get fouled in the process and thus earning a penalty. Spewing confidence, the youngster stepped up to the spot and took what was not the most perfect penalty, but converted it nonetheless. His maturity and willingness to get involved in play was seen as he often dropped deep to help with the numbers and patiently build up play. Berardi’s quality was on display once again in Sassuolo’s third and final goal with the 20 year old slotting home a grounded cross with his left leg across the face of goal, a composed finish from a confident young striker.
Razim Refai is a co-founder and editor of Outside of the Boot.
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