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]
Another week with a lot of football as we move closer to international selections for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. The Champions League saw an incredible result as Barcelona completed an unbelievable comeback to defeat PSG 6-1. They undid their good work over the weekend of course by losing at the Riazor, as Real took advantage. Bayern and Juventus continued their marches to the title in their respective leagues, with wins too. Juventus though, continued their flirtation with controversy, as they got a late penalty to beat a dogged Milan side.
Defence: Continuing with the theme of the controversy at the Juventus Stadium, credit has to be given where it is due, and it is definitely due to Gigi Donnarumma. The young keeper has been a revelation. Much could be made of the saves he pulled off, keeping a Milan side with a non-existent midfield in the game almost single-handedly. The keeper hardly makes any mistakes, and continues to pull off winder saves time and again, and he’s now openly declared as the heir-apparent to Buffon. All of that needs to be taken into account after considering the fact that he’s just turned 18.
In defence, making a return to this time after a long absence is Kevin Diks. The Vitesse full back has always been known for his excellent work on the right flank, both in an attacking and a defensive sense. He put in quite the shift for his team during their excellent 5-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam this weekend. His teammate, Matt Miazga also features at center back for the first time. The on-loan Chelsea star is trying to develop and make a name for himself at Vitesse, and performances like this go a long way towards doing just that.
His partner, Emanuel Mamanna, keeps his place in the side. The Argentine has, as previously mentioned, struggled to make a case for himself at times this season, but he’s finally coming into his own now. The spotlight was, of course, all on Memphis Depay as he scored a great goal, but equally impressive was Mamanna. 3 tackles and 3 interceptions for the defender kept his team well ahead of a disheveled looking Toulouse.
At left back we have Ronael Pierre-Gabriel. ASSE may have given away the points to a last second goal, but at least Pierre-Gabriel can be pleased with his performance on the night. 3 tackles and 3 interceptions from left back are no mean feat. Add the fact that he also made a clearance of the line, and that one of those tackles was when his opponent was clean through on goal, and you have a very impressive performance indeed.
Midfield: Starting off with the middle of the park, we have Jakub Jankto from Udinese in midfield for his goal and assist in a fine 1-3 away win for Udinese at Pescara. The Zebrette haven’t been in the best of form of late, languishing in 12th position in the Premier League, but Delneri managed to get a good result to hopefully stem the tide for them this weekend.
His partner is Mauricio Lemos. Lemos is nominally a defensive midfielder, but scored twice this weekend in a thrilling defeat for Las Palmas at Espanyol. Of course, his goal scoring exploits didn’t see him neglect his defensive duties, as he made 5 interceptions during the match.
One the left wing, is his fellow La Liga star Munir. The ex-Barcelona man made the move to Los Che in the summer as part of a swap for Paco Alcacer. Of course, he’s had a tough season at Valencia, with that club in the relegation battle,but it sjould prove to be a good learning experience for the youngster. He saved his team some blushes with a late goal this weekend to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Sporting Gijon.
On the other flank, we have Christian Pulisic. Featuring for his excellent performance in the Dortmund rout of Benfica in midweek, the prodigy picked up a goal and an assist, but was generally buzzing around the filed, serving as a fine creative outlet for his side. The fixture was tight in the first half, with Dortmund only managing one goal, and Benfica slowly growing into it. Pulisic made the difference in the second half though, and made it a comfortable evening for the hosts.
Forwards: We begin our two man strike force with Steve Mounie of Montpellier. The young striker makes it onto out TOTW for the first time, thanks to his goal in their 2-3 defeat to Nantes. Interestingly, Mounie took 4 shots in this game, getting all of them on target. There’s some promise here for sure.
His partner is also a very promising striker, and features rather regularly in this column. The young Kasper Dolberg has been one of the highlights of an entertaining Eredivise season so far, with his skill and goals proving to be a source of great excitement for Ajax fans. His brace against Twente has ensured Ajax stay within touching distance of Feyenoord, who themselves recorded a good win.