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Talent Radar 2016-17 Young Players Team of the Week #30: Saul Niguez, Balde Keita, and Thomas Lemar feature

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]

A week without European actio saw teams focus on their domestic leagues once again. While the Premier League has some midweek fixtures, most of the other European leagues had their big games this weekend. Nice managed to maintain their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 and give their title hopes a big boost with a win over PSG. Bayern Munich ended Bundesliga with a dominant win, in a week that also saw them lose a cup game to fierce rivals Dortmund.

Defence: We have a number of new faces in our team today, and we start off in goal with Mike Maignan. The young stopper earned his share of the plaudits this weekend as Lille cruised to a 0-3 win against Montpellier. The scoreline may look rather one sided on paper, but the 7 saves Maignan had to make are surefire evidence that it was anything but one sided.

Claud Adjapong too,  makes a first appearance in our TOTW at right back. The defender was excellent in his side’s 1-3 win away at Empoli, making 3 tackles, and a superb 6 interceptions.

His partner at full back, on the left flank, Nicola Murru made quite an impression this week. The 22 year old was excellent going forwards and backwards, contributing at both ends of the pitch as Cagliari beat Pescara. He chipped in with 2 tackles, and 4 interceptions, and even managed to get 2 shots away during the match.

Bouncing back from a terrible loss at Barcelona were Osasuna, who managed a 2-2 draw with Deportivo la Coruna over the weekend. Their young defender Jhon Mondragon is in the line up, after opening the scoring for his side in the 4th minute of the game.

His partner is the equally fresh faced Lucas Hernandez of Atletico. Of course, he didn’t have much to do as the Rojiblancos crushed Las Palmas 0-5 to ensure their preparation for the Champions League semi final against Real Madrid in midweek. That being said, Hernandez was certainly not underemployed, making 9 clearances alongside Savic, and giving Simeone some food for thought.

Midfield: Continuing the Atleti trend, we start off in midfield with Saul Niguez. The midfielder has been in the news recently for health reasons, but he’s also been there for his form. Another goal and assists will do his cause no harm as he prepares to try and repeat his performance from last year’s semi final match up.

His partner in the middle of the park this week is Maxime Lopez. Marsielle won a comfortable 1-5 win over Caen, and a brace for the player has helped him break into the team this week, in a rather competitive midfield.

The left wing is populated by a regular, Thomas Lemar. AS Monaco in general had a very good weekend, as they came from behind to win, and saw PSG lose at Nice. It will be quite the achievement if they can break PSG’s dominance in Ligue 1, and players like Lemar are helping them do just that. He scored a deft goal this weekend as they beat Toulouse 3-1 in a hard fought encounter that may well be crucial to their title hopes going forward.

While Lemar is contributing to possibly winning the title with Monaco, at the other end of the table, Ismaila Sarr quite possibly contributed to ensuring that Metz stay in Ligue 1 for yet another season. He opened the scoring, and Metz went on to win 2-1, leaving them 6 points clear of the drop zone.

Forwards: Keeping his place in the side from last week is Balde Keita. The young striker scored an excellent hattrick last time, and this time, ruined the farewell that Roma wanted to give Francesco Totti against Lazio. A brace from the striker ensured that his side ran out 1-3 winners on the night, making Keita a very famous man.

His partner, Boateng, scored an impressive brace this weekend, allowing his team, Moreirense to bounce back from a 2 goal deficit to 2-2 against Arouca in the Liga NOS.

Talent Radar Team of the Week // Performance Rankings

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