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.
Loris Karius | Mainz | Germany | 21 | Goalkeeper: The German keeper has continued impressing since his breakthrough from the middle of last season, rising to dominate his category this season. He had an excellent performance against Schalke, keeping a clean-sheet in a 2-0 win that saw Mainz’s European hopes ignited, dampening that of their opponents. His best moment came in the opening stages of the game, pulling off an incredible point-blank save from Joel Matip’s header.
Hector Bellerin | Arsenal | Spain | 20 | Right Back: The stand out fixture in England over the past weekend was the one between Chelsea and Arsenal. An Arsenal win might have just delayed the inevitable but the Mourinho-Wenger rivalry and indeed contrasting philosophies made the game all the more interesting. All eyes were on Eden Hazard but the Belgian was kept largely quiet on the night thanks in some part to young Spaniard Hector Bellerin. Bellerin who is normally more than willing to bomb forward was more selective in doing so, wary of the threat posed by Hazard. A subdued role saw him hold his own against the Chelsea attack as he made 3 tackles, 1 interception, and 4 clearances on the night. His most notable contribution came early in the piece as he did well to clear Oscar’s goal-bound shot by heading the ball wide of the post.
John Stones | Everton | England | 20 | Center Back: The strong young center back put in a very good performance in Everton’s crushing win over Manchester United over the weekend. Roberto Martinez sought to imitate Mourinho’s game plan from the previous week. The success of this plan was dependent on his side defending well, and his two center backs did well to keep the clean sheet. Individually, he made 4 successful tackles, and 5 clearances. Stones even got a goal, which was a bonus, as it was his first strike of the season.
Reece Burke | West Ham United | England | 18 | Centre Back: West Ham United traveled to Loftus Road to face a QPR side desperately chasing a win, and were up against it. That they managed to escape with a 0-0 draw is great credit to the Hammers’ players and defence. 18 year old Reece Burke made quite an impression on his debut, with a solid performance at the back. Partnering James Collins, the youngster made 4 tackles, 4 interceptions, and a massive 20 clearances to ensure that QPR were kept at bay. His side will need more such performances if they are to improve their position in the table.
Jose Gimenez | Atletico Madrid | Uruguay | 20 | Centre Back: The La Liga might have now become a 2 horse race between the usual suspects but Atletico still have plenty to play for. Diego Simeone’s side had to put the mid-week heart break of Champions League elimination behind them as they faced Elche. The home side romped to a 3-0 victory courtesy a brace from Antoine Griezmann and a goal from Raul Garcia. At the back though, it was young Jose Gimenez who stood out as the home side kept a clean sheet. The Uruguayan defender had a solid game at the back as he made 4 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 6 clearances to thwart the Elche attack.
Mitchell Weiser | Bayern Munich | Germany | 21 | Left Back: Keeping up with his universality of roles obsession, Pep Guardiola played 21-year-old winger Mitchell Weiser at left-back, in a game that involved plenty of changes and eventually guaranteed the German giants the Bundesliga title. Despite his defensive role, Weiser kept to his natural attacking instincts, pulling off an incredible 9 dribbles in the game. It was one such run that saw him go past five opponents, before playing a neat weighted low cross to Bastian Schweinsteiger, for the only goal of the game.
Assane Gnoukouri | Inter Milan | Ivory Coast | 18 | Centre Midfield: Inter may be languishing in mid-table but they’re still a force to reckon with in Serie A. They’ve put a run of decent results together in contrast to their opponents the past weekend, AS Roma. Roberto Mancini showed his faith in young Gnoukouri in the Milan derby, something the young Ivorian repaid in full with an eye catching display. The 18 year-old kept his spot in midfield for the game against Roma and once again impressed. Bustling with energy and maturity on the ball well beyond his years, the Ivorian put forth a tide display as he played the most passes by an Inter player at an accuracy of 87.2%.
Johannes Geis | FSV Mainz | Germany | 21 | Centre Midfield: Mainz pulled off a good win against Schalke over the weekend, and Johannes Geis was crucial to the home side picking up the 3 points. Stefan Bell scored both the goals, but the plaudits have to come to the feet of Johannes Geis. The player is known for his excellence with the dead ball, and two perfect corners led to the goals. Both the kicks were initially hit quite high, and then dipped viciously. The balls were very hard to defend, especially the second one, which landed on Bell’s head. As if to underline his skill from set pieces, he even hit the post late on from a direct free kick.
Clinton N’Jie | Lyon | Cameroon | 21 | Striker: Lyon are still very much in the Ligue 1 title race and responded to PSG’s emphatic victory this weekend with one of their own. Their game against Nice got off to an insane start with 4 goals in the first 20 minutes, 3 of which were courtesy the away side. Young Clinton N’Jie set up Alexandre Lacazette’s goal with a wonderful first time ball to the back post which the latter put away with aplomb. The Cameroonian made a good run out wide and wasted no time in delivering a high quality cross. The 21 year-old went one better in the 20th minute as he made a well timed run to the front post to turn in Henri Bedimo’s cross with the outside of his boot.
Sebastien Haller | Utrecht | France | 20 | Striker: Haller and his sharp finishing made the difference for Utrecht, as they ran out 0-2 winners against the Go Ahead Eagles. He was dominant aerially, winning 9 duels. While that helped with flick ons, and hold up play, the real difference maker was his intelligent running off the ball. For both goals, Haller ran off the shoulder of his marker to find space in behind and score. While the first one was a fairly simple finish, the second one saw a great touch from him to beat the keeper.
Memphis Depay | PSV | Netherlands | 21 | Striker: PSV may have already been crowned Champions but they still served up an entertaining come from behind victory against Excelsior. A goal and a man down with less than 20 minutes to go, they turned to talisman Memphis Depay and he duly obliged. Memphis reinforced his reputation as a dead ball specialist as he wrong footed the Excelsior ‘keeper with a low effort to level proceedings. He then turned provider for Jurgen Locadia in injury time after running in behind the home side’s defence. The highly sought after attacker unleashed 7 shots on the night including one audacious lob from some way out which went just over.
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