Serie A Team of the Week

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIFebruary 4, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 03:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan celebrates after scoring his second goal from the penalty spot during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Udinese Calcio at San Siro Stadium on February 3, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Zdenek Zeman is gone. That was the major story off the pitch that came out of the latest weekend of Serie A (more of the biggest story on it later, *cough* Mario Balotelli *cough*).

The Czech manager's Roma side were defeated 4-2 at home to Cagliari in one of many shock results this weekend.

Radja Nainggolan dominated the game at the Olimpico with a typical display, flying into tackles and driving the Isolani forward with great pace and power.

The Belgian opened the scoring with a delightful finish, guiding the ball—cut back to him from the right by the freakishly athletic Victor Ibarbo—into the far left corner.

The Colombian attacker had caused the Giallorossi's Brazilian left-back Dodo nightmares with his searing pace, often picking the ball up on the halfway line and knocking it into the space behind.

Ivan Pulga's side could have all made it into the team of the week and Marco Sau could feel a little aggrieved to miss out, but the former Juve Stabia striker missed a couple of very good chances while the game was still in the balance. Luckily for the Rossoblu, they did not prove to be costly.

Francesco Pisano—so often the unsung hero of this side at right-back—got forward like a train when afforded the time and space by Dodo, who did not know whether to press high or drop off throughout the game.

Pisano shrugged off challenges from Alessandro Florenzi, who was forced to cover Roma's left flank due to the mismatch created by Ibarbo and Pisano.

The 26-year-old got is reward by finishing the game and slotting the fourth goal home when Sau's shot cannoned off the cross bar.

Napoli temporarily drew level with Juventus at the top of the league with a fine 2-0 victory over Catania, inspired by Marek Hamsik.

The Slovakian was at the centre of everything good that the Partenopei did; timing his run perfectly into the box to break the deadlock and clipping a lovely cross into the path of Paolo Cannavaro to provide the much-needed two-goal cushion.

Mario Balotelli's return to Italian football was greeted with much hype and excitement as the Rossoneri entertained Udinese at the San Siro.

The former Manchester City striker hit the post in the first minute, but the 22-year-old did not have to wait too much longer, clipping a half-volley on the turn into the back of the net from Stephan El Shaarawy's pull-back.

Balotelli was on a rampage and almost had another with a fine long-range dipper that Daniele Padelli tipped over the bar.

It was a fine attacking display all around by Milan, who supported Super Mario with the ever-excellent El Shaarawy and M'Baye Niang, who has taken so well to his role on the right side of the attacking trident.

Pace and trickery—clearly inspired by Ronaldinho—was a lethal combination for the Frenchman against the Zebrette and the only thing his performance lacked was a goal.

Massimiliano Allegri has turned things around at Milan and is even bringing the best out of some of the fringe players, including Mathieu Flamini.

The Frenchman is profiting from injuries to Nigel De Jong, Massimo Ambrosini and Sulley Muntari and the former Arsenal player is scampering all over the pitch and snapping at the feet of the opposition in order to quickly reclaim possession for the Diavoli.

Fiorentina secured a fine victory against a dangerous Parma side, importantly keeping a clean sheet after four consecutive games without one.

Stefan Savic has slotted into the back three very nicely since his move from Manchester City and is proving to be a fine player with added confidence that was never present during his time in the Premier League.

Emiliano Viviano did his bit too, replacing the Brazilian Neto after his blunder in the Viola's last game. Viviano denied Nicola Sansone and Jaime Valdes with a couple of brilliant saves, which could earn him a prolonged stay at his boyhood club after a move in January failed to materialise.

Genoa's tradition of hiring and firing will continue it would seem after their new manager Davide Ballardini secured his first victory in his second game after the heroic draw at Juventus last week.

Emiliano Moretti was an obvious candidate to come into my team on the left as he dealt with Abdoulay Konko really well and managed to support the front two with some fine crosses into the area that Marco Borriello and Ciro Immobile thrived on.


Viviano; Pisano, Savic, Cannavaro, Moretti; Flamini, Nainggolan; Niang Hamsik Ibarbo; Balotelli.