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UEFA Champions League 2016-17: Matchday 4 and 5 Youngsters in Action This Week


UEFA Champions League logoWe’re now in the second half of the Champions League group stages with a handful teams in a position to secure their place in the Round of 16, should results go their way over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday night.

The biggest headline from the previous matchday was undoubtedly Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Manchester City at The Nou Camp. Pep Guardiola’s return to Catalonia was not a good one, as former teammate Luis Enrique’s side eventually ran riot after Claudio Bravo’s sending off for handling outside the area.

City will now look to atone for that defeat by getting revenge when the two teams meet at The Etihad in midweek. The big question will be whether or not Sergio Aguero will be among the starting eleven, after being left on the bench a couple of weeks ago. After Aguero scored a brace against West Brom on Saturday, you get the feeling that he will be too hot to drop this time around.

This will be once again without question the biggest game of the matchday, but let’s not forget that Tottenham return to Wembley to host Bayer and they will hope to have a better outing than their homecoming on Matchday 1, when they lost to Monaco.

Matchday 3 saw them earn a point against the Leverkusen side in what was a game of two halves, with Tottenham on top for the first half and then Bayer on top for the second. Neither side managed to get that all-important goal, and Spurs will have Hugo Lloris and goalline technology to thank, as a combination of the two managed to keep Javier Hernandez at bay.

Leicester travel to Copenhagen with a maximum point haul of nine and they know that a win in Denmark will secure their passage to the Round of 16. When these two sides met a fortnight ago, it was Riyad Mahrez’s header, which was the difference and Ranieri’s boys will hope for more of the same on Wednesday night.

Holders Real Madrid travel to Poland to take on Legia Warsaw. These two sides have already met at The Bernabeu, with Real running out 5-1 winners. However, this game in Warsaw will be played behind closed doors, due to previous fan disturbances in the qualifying stages.

In Group D Bayern Munich face PSV Eindhoven, Allianz Arena will host PSV Eindhovenwhile Atletico Madrid will continue their bid to go one better than 2014 and 2016, as they play host to Champions League newboys FC Rostov. These two met a fortnight ago with Atletico running out slender 1-0 winners.

Top Youngsters in action this week

RENATO SANCHES, Bayern Munich

This is not the first time we pay attention to one of the biggest openings of EURO 2016. Renato Sanches gets his chance both in Bundesliga and Champions League, but the Portuguese teenager is yet to score for his new team. Initially started out on the left wing but developed into a box-to-box midfielder, Renato Sanches has the composure to dictate the tempo of games. Manchester United were beaten to his signature by Bayern Munich and he looks worth every penny of his £60m move to the German giants after being part of the Portuguese EURO 2016 winning squad back in July.

DELE ALLI, Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham's Dele Alli, one of England's biggest talents these daysIt’s Alli’s second season at White Hart Lane and if he can build on the first one, then it will be a very impressive campaign for the youngster. Alli was an obvious disappointment at international level with England during EURO 2016, but Alli will be hoping that his foray in the Champions League is more rewarding. Despite the young age, Alli is one of the most important players of Mauricio Pochettino’s system. He has played in 16 out of 18 matches this season so far. 
  
MOISE BIOTY KEAN, Juventus

After the successful story of Paul Pogba, any youngster of the Turin side will be under the loop from now on. A striker who can play on the left or centrally, Kean has attracted the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea to recent tournaments, as well as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The 16-year-old has been starring for Italy U17s also and is in negotiations to sign a contract with Juventus, who are desperate to protect their asset. He hasn’t played a single minute for the senior team yet, but, due to injuries of Paolo Dybala and Marko Pjaca, the probability to see his debut in the next match is quite high. Kean has been sitting on the bench in the last 5 matches, including the ones against Lyon, Milan and Napoli. 

RUBEN NEVES, Porto

Ruben Neves, yet another Portuguese talent, is only 19, but he Ruben Neves of FC Porto is one of the most promising Portuguese youngstershas a very bright future ahead of him. The composed midfielder in the Xabi Alonso mould has already enjoyed a record-breaking career as Porto’s youngest league scorer, Portugal’s youngest Champions League player and youngest Champions League captain ever. He was only 18, when he led his team onto the pitch in a match against Maccabi in Champions League 2015-16 Group Stage. Scouts from Manchester, London and Liverpool are regulars at his games. Although Neves was not among the 23 that brought the first major senior trophy to Portugal this summer, it is believed, that Joao Moutinho’s replacement is not a problem for Portugal national team any more.

OUSMANE DEMBELE, Borussia Dortmund

This exciting 19-year-old forward joined the German vice-champions from the French side Rennes in the summer. The French youth international is quick, likes to dribble and can play across the front line. He has currently scored just the solitary goal for Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga, but the best is certainly yet to come from this striker. The talented teenager collected his first two international caps a couple of months ago, making his debut in a friendly against Italy. Ligue 1 Young Player of The Year 2015-16 is now ready to conquer the German and European showgrounds.   

Check Dan Tracey's blog


2016-10-31


Physical attributes

acceleration
agility
balance
jumping
pace
reactions
stamina
strength
reflexes

Technical attributes

ball control
corners
crossing
dribbling
finishing
free kicks
heading
long throws
marking
penalties
shooting accuracy
shooting power
slide tackle
stand tackle
technique
volleys
aerial control
diving
handling
kicking
one on ones
off the area
penalty saving

Mental attributes

adaptability
anticipation
aggression
composure
concentration
consistency
creativity
decisions
determination
leadership
positioning
vision
tactical awareness
teamwork
work rate
communication
eccentricity
positioning in the line
punching
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