Serie A Team of the Week
It was a sensational weekend of football in Italy that produced a remarkable set of results that delivered some enthralling action to the fans.
The weekend gave us plenty of upsets, including Genoa drawing at the Juventus Stadium, Chievo stealing a win at Lazio, Catania coming from behind to defeat Fiorentina and Torino holding Inter at the San Siro.
Milan's slender victory over Atalanta, and Napoli's late win at Parma gave both sides the spoils from the weekend—these victories pushed the Rossoneri back into the picture for the Champions League places, and gave the Partenopei belief in the title bid.
To start my team of the week, it is an easy choice with Samir Handanovic picking up another selection as the goalkeeper, if for nothing else but his world-class save to deny Rolando Bianchi and Torino a deserved 3-2 victory with fingertips, pushing the ball onto the post.
Torino were a joy to watch, and their performance merited a victory in truth. Riccardo Meggiorini's double was the reward for an outstanding forward display by the 27-year-old, whose movement was too good throughout the game for Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus.
Meggiorini linked superbly with the sensational Alessio Cerci, who delivered a combination of raw pace and quick feet to mesmerise Yuto Nagatomo and Alvaro Pereira, forcing the Nerazzurri to kick lumps out of him in order to halt his progress.
There was uproar at the Juventus Stadium on Saturday as the Grifone held the Bianconeri, despite the home side having several good shouts for a penalty. The main appeal surrounded the unintentional handball from Andreas Granqvist that incensed the Bianconeri to appeal vociferously amid ugly scenes.
The Swedish centre-back might have cost his team at the death, had the referee awarded a penalty, but that should not disguise the fact that he was a beast at the back and delivered a really dominant display.
In an excellent defensive display of a different kind, Bostjan Cesar has adjusted to his role as a libero in Chievo's new 5-3-2 formation. The Flying Donkeys have utilised the Slovenian in this rather negative formation to good effect, picking up four points against top sides like Parma and, now, Lazio.
Cesar has adapted quickly to his role and organises the back five well, even using the ball productively, if not exactly in an expansive way.
Cesar has been helped by Luca Rigoni, who drops deep at the base of the midfield trident, allowing the remaining two centre-backs to split, and push the full-backs out to the bylines. Rigoni, Chievo's captain, provides a calming influence in possession which enables Chievo a better base to build their attacks from.
The most outstanding individual display of the weekend came from Samp's Mauro Icardi, who helped himself to four goals in the 6-0 rout of Pescara. The Argentine-born striker has recently been courted by Cesare Prandelli to play for Italy.
The 19-year-old showed off his searing pace, as well as his composure in front of goal, to provide a glimpse of one of the game's next great strikers. Icardi is not the only jewell that Samp possess though.
Pedro Obiang is dominating the midfield like never before and it appears as if this is the breakout season for the Spaniard. Neat and tidy in possession, Obiang has great athleticism and power to be able to drive the team forward.
Blerim Dzemaili stepped in for the suspended Valon Behrami and delivered a fine performance for Walter Mazzarri, proving the difference in the final third of the pitch by laying on a sensational assist for Marek Hamsik to break the deadlock against Parma.
The Gialloblu reacted well though in one of the games of the week, feeding the lightning fast Jonathan Biabiany, who prevented Juan Zuniga from joining in with the Napoli attacks and delivering some dangerous crosses into the path of Ishak Belfodil.
The Swiss international is a classier midfielder than the former West Ham midfielder, and with Parma matching the Partenopei with a trio of centre-midfielders, Dzemaili was able to dissect the Gialloblu with some smooth passing.
Against Atalanta, Philippe Mexes gave Rossoneri fans a glimpse of the player that they thought they had signed from Roma. The Frenchman was commanding and powerful against the dangerous German Denis, and even made the highlight shows with this spectacular clearance to deny Facundo Parra a certain goal.
Handanovic; Mexes, Cesar, Granqvist; Obiang, Rigoni; Biabiany, Dzemaili, Cerci; Icardi, Meggiorini
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