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 past week sees the season moving on to the next level. The FA Cups semis were concluded, setting up a London derby in the final. The Champions League also enters the last 4 stage, with a Madrid derby offering Simeone and Atletico a shot at redemption against history chasing Real Madrid. Of course, the Galacticos’ title bid took a hit at the hands of Lionel Messi, and La Liga is an open bet once again. Without further ado, let’s look at our team of this past week.
Defence: An injury time winner from Raul Garcia sealed the points for Bilbao on Monday night, but the defence was due its fair share of credit. Kepa in goal managed to keep a clean sheet, which was also down to his proactive positioning, and not just his save making ability. His partner in defence, Aymeric Laporte was also an important part of the resistance. 11 clearances backed up with 3 tackles and 2 interceptions made him the rock at the back, allowing Bilbao to get their win.
The other defender in the middle of the defence is Freiburg’s Caglar Soyuncu. This isn’t the first time he’s made it onto our TOTW, and it certainly doesn’t look like it will be his last. 7 tackles in the surprise win over Leverkusen help him earn his place in this team.
On the right, we have Almamy Toure. Toure has been given a chance in the starting XI because of an injury to Djibril Sidibe. While there certainly isn’t a conclusive decision on who the better player is, many believe Toure is the more solid defender of the duo. These qualities of his came to the fore as Monaco won their home leg against Dortmund 3-1 to make it into the semis.
The left back for this week is Rafa Soares from Rio Ave, who scored for his side in their 3-0 win over Arouca.
Midfield: The midfield is one dominated by Atletico Madrid. Firstly is Saul Niguez. The player confessed his injury troubles a few days back, and that simply serves to make us respect him more. He scored against Leicester, and his away goal more or less sealed the tie for Atleti. Alongside him is Jose Gimenez. The erstwhile defender seems to have found a new home in midfield. Strong performances against Leicester in midweek, and away at Espanyol over the weekend only serve to strengthen Simeone’s conviction that he’s found the solution to make the best of Gimenez’ talents.
Another man in the news for good performances in Europe is Leon Gorezka. The Schalke man played his part in a very exciting second half at the Veltins arena against Ajax. He set up the first goal for Burgstaller, and was a menace as the Ruhr side won 3-2 on the night.
The final midfielder also earns a spot due to European performance. Rashford’s internship in the wide areas under Mourinho seems to be paying rich dividends for the youngster. His work rate, and intelligence have only got better, and he seems to have refound his scoring touch too. He capped his performance against Chelsea from last week with a winning goal in extra time, to take an insipid United into the next round to face Celta.
Forwards: Both our young forwards have been in the news for all the right reasons this weekend (obviously). Mbappe is Europe’s top rated youngster, and not without reason. His goal over the weekend allows Monaco to maintain the pace, and score a win over a rival like Lyon. In midweek too, his persistence paid off as he managed to help his side put Dortmund away with his goal scoring exploits.
His partner, Balde Keita, scored a fine hattrick on his way preparing for the Derby Dell Capitale. While the hattrick was of course very impressive, the most impressive part was its speed. He broke the Serie A record for fastest hat-trick scored, taking it from an obscure Ukranian politician named Andriy Shevchenko.