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 seven leagues. You can read this for all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2016 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
The season rolled on, and we’re into December now. Most leagues have finished a third of their season at least, and heading into what will be a winter break for a number of leagues, clubs are looking to get as far up the table as possible. This week’s team of the week draws heavily from Ligue 1, a league that draws heavily from younger footballers.
Defence: At the heart of this defence, is the heart of the team currently leading Ligue 1. Nice are 3 points ahead of the nearest competitors, and their young keeper has much to be proud of in this run to the top of the table. This past week as well, Cardinale kept 2 clean sheets as Nice picked up 2 important wins to keep their lead. His performance at Guinamp was excellent, in a tough 0-1 away win that will do much to silence those that doubt their title credentials.
There’s a small movement over at OOTB Towers to stop Talent Radar for the season and just hand all the awards over to Monaco. This week as well, Monaco have got 3 of their many talented young players on the Team of the Week. While it seems strange to include a defender from a team that has won 5-0 over the weekend, Almamy Toure does make it this week thanks to a solid performance. 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 3 clearances ensured that his side kept a clean sheet as well.
A defender from Ligue 1 who has had a tough few weeks but has made it into the team this time around is Ramy Bensebaini. The Algerian had a strong start to the season, but, as mentioned above, ran into a tough few weeks as his team’s results suffered as well. However, a good solid performance in a 2-0 win for his side. He made a massive 11 clearances to ensure they kept a clean sheet. Alongside him is Davinson Sanchez. The young defender signed for Ajax in the summer, and made an immediate impact. Sanchez got a goal in a relatively straightforward win for Ajax, and had a fairly solid defensive outing as well. His teammate Daley Sinkgraven features as well, with a strong performance down the left flank sealing the deal for him. The Ajax left back got a couple of key passes made, but more importantly, he made 4 interceptions, allwoing his team to stay on the front foot.
Midfield: We continue the Ligue 1 flavour to this team with Rony Lopes of Lille. Lille scored a great 4-2 win in the midweek fixtures against Caen, and central to that amazing victory was Rony Lopes. The midfielder pulled all the strings from a deeper position, and even ended up with a goal and assist for himself. His partner in midfield is on the team for very different reasons. While Lopes was pulling the strings for his team, Ellyes Skhiri was busy cutting them off for the opposition. 8 interceptions in a losing cause are not something that are easily noticed, but his performance in the 3-0 win over reigning champions PSG made him fairly conspicuous. 5 tackles and 3 interceptions in that game helped keep PSG out.
Further forward is Thomas Lemar staking his claim to his customary place in the team. The Monaco man has been superb all season, and this past week too, he starred in their 5-0 win against Bastia. An assists and a goal simply added to his tally for the season, and the recently capped France international continues to go from strength to strength. His compatriot, and our rank 1 midfielder in Europe, Corentin Tolisso. The Lyon dynamo got a goal and enjoyed a terrific performance against Nantes in a 0-6 win. The final piece of the midfield puzzle is Pablo Fornals. The Malaga man picked up a fine brace over the weekend to earn his team a 2-2 draw at the Mestalla against a struggling Valencia side.
Forward: Leading the line is the young 17 year old Kylian MbappeLottin. The Monaco man has been superb this season, really putting together a good partnership with the fallen angel of European football, Radamel Falcao. His energetic play has made it much easier for the experienced Colombian to play like he’s back to his best. During the win over Bastia as well, Mbappe-Lottin set up his strike partner for a goal, and scored one himself as well. A good all round performance from him, and his team!