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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 weekend and midweek saw some important fixtures take place, with the Champions League quarter finals sandwiching some important league matches. While the likes of Monaco, Real Madrid, and Juventus made bold claims for their semi finals spots, Manchester United capped off a great week with a strong win against Chelsea. Bundesliga too, saw Bayern drop points, but the status quo was maintained pretty much everywhere else. While things may look like they’re settled in a lot of places, there’s definitely a bit of a current underneath the surface, it it may not be a bad idea to check some odds. There are several sports free betting apps around, and a quick buck can only make Easter eggs taste a little sweeter.
Defence: Andre Onana makes a return to our team on the back of a strong week. Eredivisie is nearing its end, and a thrilling title race is unfolding in The Netherlands. Ajax are just a point behind the leaders, and only seem to be improving every day. Onana followed up his clean sheet in the win against Schalke with a solid effort in their 5-1 win over the weekend.
Along with Onana, one of the best defenders in Europe this season, Davinson Sanchez has been a real revelation. The Colombian is a proven commodity now, showing pace, strength, skill, and agility. He’s fitted well into the Ajax system, and is only going to come forward in leaps and bounds at that great club.
Like Onana and Sanchez, our regular customer Yeray Alvarez too was on the right end of a 5-1 mauling this past weekend. Athletic Bilbao beat Las Palmas quite comfortably, and they were able to impose their aggressive style without much of a fuss. We ended up seeing Yeray make 5 interceptions and 3 tackles, proving very effective.
Finally, completing the quota of defenders for this week, we have a newbie in Dayotchanculle Upamecano from Leipzig. The surprise contenders moved to within 8 points of Bayern with their 4th consecutive win. The 18 year old made 5 interceptions and 3 tackles for his side, helping them to a 4-0 win.
Midfield: In the middle of midfield, we have his teammate, and now established TOTW midfielder Naby Keita. The box to box midfield machine chipped in with yet another goal against SC Freiburg, taking his tally for the season to 8. That’s a mighty impressive total for a player that started out the season as a defensive midfielder, and nominally, still serves as one.
His partner is a name we’re very accustomed to seeing in central midfield. Jose Gimenez has a natural flair for tackling and does that part of his job with great flair. But his lapses in concentration and over-eager defending have often led to trouble for Atletico. Simeone may have just found the perfect solution for the youngster, putting him in midfield. Gimenez went about his job with terrier like aggression, finishing the match with 6 tackles and creating a solid base for his more creative teammates. His work set up a comfortable 3-0 win for his team over Osasuna.
The wide areas see two very quick and pacy players. Firstly, Ousmane Dembele. Everyone knows about the events surrounding Borussia Dortmund this week, and the difficulty faced by them and their players with respect to their football. Keeping that in mind, it’s even more impressive that Dembele has put in the performances he has to make it onto this team. He came on against Eintracht to use his pace and set up the goal for Aubemeyang. Aside from the goal, he was the perfect sub for Tuchel to introduce to the game as Dortmund could break against an advancing Frankfurt.
On the other side is a proud graduate of the Bundesliga. Leroy Sane took some time to earn his spot in the City starting line up, but he hasn’t looked back after making it in once. Sane is a player that offers skill and pace down the left hand side, a combination that seldom goes wrong. His measured running has made him a scary threat for teams on the break, as he’s times them carefully to avoid drifting offside. His goal against Southampton this weekend is the perfect demonstration of how to not drift off.
Forwards: Making a comeback to this team after a while is Enes Unal. The big man scored twice and picked up an assist in Twente’s dominant win against Nijmegen. To be fair to Unal though, he’s needed a big performance for a while, after his performance graph has basically dropped off a cliff since the beginning of the season.
He’s got two more all round strikers as his partners. Firstly, Kylian Mbappe. The youngster has been a revelation, especially after his exploits in the Champions League. He got another brace at Dortmund to give his team an advantage going into the second leg at the Stade Louis II this midweek. Mbappe certainly looks like the real deal, with pace, strength, and venomous finishing ability making him one of the top marksmen in Ligue 1 this season. It’s a wonder to think he started the season for their reserves in the French Third Division.
A player who has had a slightly contrasting season though, is Marcus Rashford. The England striker burst onto the scene last season after some electric performances against teams like Arsenal. The fear was that Mourinho would stifle his development. On the contrary, the tough love under Mourinho seems to be working just fine. 2 goals in his last 2 appearances in the league, including the one against Chelsea this weekend are worth their weight in gold. Of course, anyone who watched the game will tell you that the goal was just the icing on the cake, with his energy, intelligent running, and constant harrying leaving David Luiz almost yearning for the sweet physicality of Zlatan. Now there’s a sentence we didn’t see coming!