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 rolls on and performances are only getting better as we edge towards the end of the season. While the likes of Bayern and Juventus managed to extend their lead atop the standings, the chasing pack across the continent seemed to falter, with teams like Dortmund and Spurs dropping points. All considered, it was anothe good week for Monaco, who dominate the Talent Radar Rankings again.
Defence: While he has dropped places in our latest keeper rankings (February), Sergio Rico is working towards making amends and a good performance on the weekend have earned him a spot on the team of the week. A rare clean sheet against Las Palmas will do both him, and his team a world of good on the confidence scales.
The first of the 2 center backs is Yeray Alvarez of Athletic Bilbao. The young defender was a force of nature for at the San Mames winning 7 aerials to go with his 3 interceptions. A fine haul for the night as he spearheaded a very capable backline in conjunction with partner and long time Talent Radar favourite Aymeric Laporte. His partner on the other hand makes it in for his contribution going forward. It isn’t everyday that you get to laud your center back for scoring and assisting in the same match, but Issa Diop managed to get us to do just that. Toulouse continued their fine recent run with this 4-1 win against 9 man Bastia, and Diop made a big difference to the scoreline.
The wings were dominated by the two Monaco men. The left back, Bernard Mendy continued his impressive run, with two excellent performances in the week. While Monaco laboured to a 2-1 win away from home after going a man down in midweek, Mendy was one of the stars, chipping in with an important assist, in a win that could prove to be crucial in determining the destination of the Ligue 1 title. He continued the show over the weekend, with an assist for Falcao in the dominant win over Metz. His partner from the other side, Almamy Toure also got in the act, setting up the same player for a wonderful goal during the rout.
Midfield: Starting off with the wings, we begin on the right side of midfield, where we have the Montpellier attacker, Issac Mbenza. The youngster scored twice in the Montpellier’s 0-3 win away from home. The headlines were all on the left though, as Anthony Martial silenced his critics with a goal and an assist to firmly put himself in the running for a spot in the team. After some very public criticism from Mourinho, many expected martial to be on his way out, but the talented Frenchman isn’t giving up without a fight, responding to his manager in style.
In the middle of the park, we have Walace from Hamburg, who scored a goal and generally ran the show as Hamburg won at Leipzig and ended their unbeaten home record with a crushing 0-3 win. It was no easy job, coming as it did against the likes of Keita and the reurning Emil Forsberg, but 7 interceptions from Walace alone meant that Leipzig were stopped in their tracks.
Another team enjoying a resurgence are Schalke. At the heart of it all is Nabil Bentaleb. The former Spurs man showed his worth this weekend, chipping in with both assists as his side won 2-0. The deep lying midfielder also did really well going backwards, effectively saving his team a goal on one particular occasions. Markus Weinzierl seems to be getting closer to coaxing the best out of this talented Schalke side, with the likes of Goretzka now firing after the addition of the catalyst, Burgstaller.
Strikers: Carrying on from where the wing backs left off, we have Kylian Mbappe-Lottin ready to get in the act in the forward line. The teenager has had an incredible week, scoring 4 times over the course of his 2 appearances, including a hattrick against Metz. His pace, precise finishing, and quick movement have earned him comparisons to the likes of Thierry Henry, and as flattering as they may be, they are founded on something.
His partner, Francois Kamano makes it in on the back of an incredible performance in midweek. The Cameroon man was in fine sharp shooting form, scoring with both his shots on target as Bordeaux won a fine victory away from home at struggling Caen.