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.
Timo Horn | FC Koln | Germany | 21 | Goalkeeper: The game between Hamburg and Koln saw the return of Olic to the former but there was not much to celebrate on his second debut as Timo Horn kept Olic and company out. Horn kept his side in the game in the 9th minute as he palmed away Heiko Westermann’s goal bound header with both hands. The 21 year old made 4 saves en route to collecting his 7th clean sheet of the season and ensuring that Koln came away with 3 points.
Hector Bellerin | Arsenal | Spain | 19 | Right Back: Arsenal faced Aston Villa this past weekend at The Emirates and the Gunners came in firing all cylinders and taking three points after putting 5 goals past the team from Birmingham. Hector Bellerin was scored Arsenal’s 5th goal which was his first of the Premier League season in seven appearances so far. An steady pass from in form Santi Carzola found the Spaniard in quite a bit of space on the right hand side late in the game; the youngster taking the first time shot, a grounded one and exquisitely placed the ball in the back of the net from at least ten yards outside the box. The youngster managed to help the London side keep a clean sheet and defensively contributed with 3 interceptions, 4 clearances and helped out with 4 crosses as well.
Jannik Vestergaard | Werder Bremen | Denmark | 22 | Centre Back: Vestergaard made the move to Bremen from Hoffenheim late in the January transfer window. He made his debut against Hertha Berlin and impressed throughout the game. A strong central defender, Vestergaard showed his aerial prowess throughout the game winning 7 duels in the air. The 22 year old almost opened his account in his new club early on as he carried the ball out of defence and saw his fierce strike go just over the cross bar. With 3 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 4 clearances the Danish International would have been very satisfied with his debut.
Aymeric Laporte | Athletic Bilbao | France | 20 | Centre Back: Athletic Bilbao were the visiting side this past weekend, facing Levante. Athletic came away with the three points and a solid defensive game, keeping a clean sheet, much thanks to the two centre backs, one of whom was Laporte. The youngster had 7 clearances and 4 interceptions on the night, looking quite comfortable with what he had to handle. The Frenchman tried quite a bit to get play going from the defensive third, with a total of 14 long balls through out the course of the game. Heat maps and player tracking showed that Laporte did venture quite a bit forward but was able to track back to position in time excellently every time.
Sven van Beek | Feyenoord | Holland | 20 | Centre Back:
Feyenoord were made to work harder than they might have expected as they overcame Den Haag 2-1
at home. Den Haag delivered an improved performance and Feyenoord were forced to defend their 2-1 lead to secure all 3 points. Van Beek has been one of the players who has benefited from Feyenoord’s post World Cup exodus and delivered another solid performance in the heart of the defence. The 20 year old made 4 tackles and 10 clearances in a performance that did no harm to his already rising stock.
Christian Gunter | Freiburg | Germany | 21 | Left Back: Bottom side Freiburg hosted Eintracht Frankfurt and the home side got off to a bad start as they went a goal down early on in the game. However, they came back in some style and eventually ran out 4-1 winners with new signing Nils Petersen coming off the bench to register a hat-trick. Before Petersen’s heroics though it was a penalty that triggered the comeback as Christian Gunter was fouled by Aigner in the box. As all full-backs are expected to do, Gunter contributed in both defence and attack as he made 2 tackles, 4 interceptions and a sizable 13 clearances.
Maximilian Arnold| Wolfsburg | Germany | 20 | Defensive Midfielder: Wolfsburg welcomed Bayern Munich on Friday
in the game that was the opener for the second half of the Bundesliga season and what a game it was. A surprising result saw the home team put 4 past Guardiola’s men and while there were many standout performers from the Wolfsburg team, Arnold was surely one of them. Arnold, paired with Gustavo in the centre of midfield, put forward a quality defensive display throughout the 90 minutes that saw the German champions severely struggle to work anything through the central channel. Offensively, the youngster helped provide two assists to Kevin de Bruyne in the second half. The German completed the night with an 86% pass accuracy and 7 long balls in the game, 6 of which found a team mate.
Marco Benassi | Torino | Italy | 20 | Defensive Midfielder: Serie A’s only entry to this week’s Team of the Week was from the game between Torino and Sampdoria. The home side, comfortable winners in the end with a 5-1 scoreline, was helped with Benassi providing 2 assists in the game. Quagliarella managed to complete his hat-trick against his old club in the 64th minute thanks to a cross field pass from Benassi that made its way through three Sampdoria defenders before finding him and ending up in the back of the net. Maxi Perez made it 5 for Torino in injury time with the assist once again coming from Benassi; although the assist was not as fancy as the first, the goal surely made up for it. Three shots, two dribbles, a couple of clearances and two important key passes capped a good night for the Italian youngster.
Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool | Brazil | 22 | Attacking Midfielder: Liverpool returned to Anfield over the weekend, entertaining West Ham. The Merseyside club bagged all three points, with a 2-0 scoreline; both goals being assisted in the second half by Coutinho. The first goal saw a quick exchange between Raheem Sterling and the Brazilian: Sterling chesting down the ball for the 22 year old who brilliant put a first time through ball over the top for Sterling to score. Coutinho’s reaction and quick thinking on mark here, an excellent assist from the attacking forward. The second goal saw Coutinho run from almost the centre of the pitch to the edge of the box before taking a touch to switch the side of play that was being focused heavily, and found the returning Daniel Sturridge who doubled Liverpool’s lead.
Harry Kane | Tottenham Hotspur | England | 21 | Striker: Harry Kane has been quite the sensation for Spurs this season with yet another impressive performance. Spurs were the away side facing West Brom this past weekend. With Christian Eriksen opening the scoring, Kane gave the London club some breathing room after doubling their advantage. Dembele slipped Kane in down the left side, the Englishman with one touch to beat the defender for good and smashed the ball in the back of the net. Kane’s movement, first touch, shot power and confidence, all signs of a quality striker that England have been in desperate search for. Kane put the game to bed after scoring a penalty in the second half; a penalty that was slotted perfectly in the left side netting.
Uros Djurdevic | Vitesse | Serbia | 20 | Striker:
Ajax were on the road to face Vitesse this past Sunday. The two teams were separated by just the one late goal, which was score by none other than Djurdevic. The 83rd minute saw Bertrand Traore substituted out and on came the 20 year old Serbian to take his place. Within a minute of being on the pitch, the youngster managed to have an instant impact and found the back of the net in supreme style. The ball was whipped in from the left flank with the youngster the only Vitesse player in the box. Djurdevic found himself in the space between the two centre backs where he chested the ball and proceeded to juggle it over the closest centre back and strike it into the back of the net, all in one spectacular move. Despite not being on the pitch for long, the goal, in terms of quality and impact, was worthy for Djurdevic making it to our Team of the Week.
Razim Refai is a co-founder and editor of Outside of the Boot.
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