It’s nearly here! The Africa Cup of Nations 2017 kicks off this weekend and it’s a tournament we love and have covered in detail in the past on Just Football. Ahead of this year’s edition in Gabon here are a selection of promising young African talents that have risen to prominence and could play an essential […]
Which of our 70 chosen young talents in the #JF70 Class of 2016/17 have stood out lately? Resident columnist Deji Faremi takes a look…
#JF70 young talents of the week
Nathan Ake has had to be extremely patient at Bournemouth. Until a month ago, when the Cherries beat Stoke City 1-0 at the Bet 365 Arena, the 21-year-old had played a total of 13 Premier League minutes. But his patience and handwork has certainly paid off, while injury to Charlie Daniels and reshuffling of the defence have helped as well.
Whichever way you see it, the fact remains that he’s finally got his chance. He’s started Bournemouth’s last three Premier League games, and he’s taken his chance with both hands.
Ake played a starring role in a dramatic, game-of-the-season contender between Bournemouth and their visitors Liverpool almost two weeks ago. The Reds were 2-0 up at half time, then 3-1 up with 16 minutes to play. Then Bournemouth started the fight back, levelling with 11 minutes to play. But it was Ake who had the final say with a close range poacher’s goal which gave his side all three points, denying Liverpool anything from a match they dominated for long periods.
For the second time in three Premier League games the Dutch defender scored to hand Bournemouth valuable three points. He’s finally launched his season, and he’ll be hoping to remain influential in the coming weeks.
Like Ake, Divock Origi is another player who’s had to be patient and wait for his chances. The Belgian has been sparingly deployed by Jurgen Klopp this season, starting his first nine Premier League games of the season as a substitute (he started two EFL Cup games in between).
But his fortunes changed when Liverpool talisman Philippe Coutinho went off injured after 34 minutes in their Premier League home fixture against Sunderland. Origi made a quick impression, scoring the opener with 14 minutes to play. Liverpool finished 2-0 winners. Since then, Origi has started Liverpool’s next two games in all competitions scoring two further goals.
He’ll be disappointed to not have taken anything from the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium despite scoring to put Liverpool 2-0 up. But he can take solace in his recent run of games, and his impressive scoring streak. Even more importantly, he’s showed that he can be a trusted goal threat for Liverpool in the absence of Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge.
Toljan had not started for Hoffenheim since their 2-1 win over Freiburg in October. So he must have been delighted to get the nod as Hoffenheim hosted Cologne at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena last Saturday. He was ready too; contributing to two of Hoffenheim’s goals – a goal and an assist – in a 4-0 win.
His first major influence came after 39 minutes. His darting run into the Cologne defence was rewarded with an equally majestic pass from Nadiem Amiri. But Toljan still had more work to do. He showed his calmness and composure to slot the ball into goal through the legs of the goalkeeper for his first goal of the season.
With a minute to play, Toljan got involved again in Hoffenheim’s attacking play. He delivered a perfect cross to the near post for Mark Uth to complete a splendid team goal.
A performance worthy of commendation, and one that could see Julian Nagelsmann stick with Toljan for the coming games.
Matchday 14 in La Liga produce quite a number of surprise results – from Deportivo trouncing high-flying Real Sociedad to Atletico Madrid failing to score a goal at home against Espanyol. Then there was Granada. They beat third place Sevilla 2-1 at the Nuevo Los Cármenes to claim their first league win of the season.
Andreas Pereira was one of the protagonists for the Andalusians in their derby win. He scored the opener on 27 minutes. After a total 31 shots in all his 13 league games for Granada so far this season, Pereira was at the right place at the right time to stroke home a cutback from the lively Jeremie Boga to put Granada 1-0 up.
The 20-year-old Manchester United loanee deservedly makes a debut appearance on our weekly review for his role in Granada’s win, as well as some impressive in performances this season.
— ManUnitedZone™ (@ManUnitedZone_) December 4, 2016
Like all the above, he’s had to wait for his opportunities. But time and again, Mbappe has showed that he can be relied upon when manager Leonardo Jardim decides to shuffle his squad.
Two weeks ago, against Bastia at Stade Louis II, Mbappe got his 4th start of the season (in all competitions). He impressed yet again, recording a goal and an assist as Monaco cruised to a 5-0 win.
The 17 year-old reacted quickly to score the opener after just 10 minutes. Later, he selflessly laid the ball to Falcao who scored the third of the game.
Mbappe has been sparingly deployed this season – as expected – but his influence has been significant whenever he’s been on the pitch. You just can’t keep him quiet.
Thomas Lemar, meanwhile, has morphed into one of the big stars of the Monaco side, churning out consistent performances that can’t be overlooked at this stage.
He put in a Man Of The Match display against Bastia, bagging a spectacular goal and recording two assists. His goal – a sublime and well placed lob – was Monaco’s second. Then he fed Falcao and Guido Carrillo for his side’s fourth and fifth goals.
Lemar’s great form has been noticed, and he’s been rewarded with a nomination for the Ligue 1 Player of the Month (November).
Kylian Mbappé has been directly involved in a goal every 57 minutes in Ligue 1 this season.
He's only 17-years-old. pic.twitter.com/DhsMeXQWpw
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 4, 2016
Vous savez ce qu'il vous reste à faire 😉 #TrophéesUNFP
— AS MONACO 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) December 6, 2016