In our weekly feature, here on Italian Football Daily, we take a look at the weekend performances of Italian players currently based in the top two divisions in England.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Claudio Ranieri (Manager – Leicester City)
Claudio Ranieri hosted his old club, Chelsea, when they travelled to the Walker’s Stadium to play title-chasing Leicester City on Monday evening. The match saw Ranieri lock horns with former Inter coach, Jose Mourinho, who had replaced Ranieri as Chelsea manager back in 2004.
Ranieri selected his strongest team as Leicester showed that their early season form was no fluke by running out comprehensive 2-1 winners against the reigning champions, thanks to goals from the prolific Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
Matteo Darmian (Manchester United)
Matteo Darmian missed Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat away at Bournemouth due to the hamstring injury that he picked up against Wolfsburg in United’s midweek defeat in the UEFA Champions League. He is likely to be out until January with the injury.
Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United)
Angelo Ogbonna again put in an excellent performance as West Ham United secured their second clean sheet in succession in a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City. He and his fellow centre-half, James Collins, managed to quell the constant threat posed by the Stoke front line, something which Manchester City had failed to do the previous week.
Ogbonna was decisive in the air during the match, and marshalled The Hammers’ defence well. He also showed his excellent distribution and range of passing ability, which was epitomised by one excellent ball which Michail Antonio was unable to convert past Stoke ‘keeper, Jack Butland. His performances will serve as a reminder to Antonio Conte of Ogbonna’s abilities ahead of Euro 2016.
Graziano Pelle (Southampton)
Graziano Pelle was relegated to a place on the substitute’s bench in Southampton’s 1-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace, as the Saints poor run of form continued.
Pelle did make it onto the pitch after 67 minutes, and almost made some impact on the match. The Azzurri front man provided a flick-on to Shane Long in the final minute of the match which gave the Ireland centre-forward with a fantastic opportunity to equalise, but he was thwarted by an excellent save by the Palace goalkeeper, Wayne Hennessey.
Fabio Borini & Vito Mannone (Sunderland)
Fabio Borini played 57 minutes of Sunderland’s 1-0 home defeat to Watford on Saturday afternoon. Borini had two excellent chances in the first half to equalise for the Black Cats, but on both occasions he fired narrowly past the post.
Vito Mannone was an unused substitutes in this fixture.
Alessandro Diamanti (Watford)
Alessandro Diamanti was, once again, an unused substitute in Watford’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland at The Stadium of Light.
Fernando Forestieri (Sheffield Wednesday)
Sheffield Wednesday came from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw away at Cardiff City on Saturday, thanks to an inspirational performance by Fernando Forestieri.
Forestieri played the full game as Wednesday looked to move up into the top 6, and scored Wednesday’s first goal to start their fight-back after a poor first-half by The Owls. His performances continue to drive Wednesday’s promotion charge, and they will be lucky to retain his services in the January transfer window.
Diego Fabbrini (on loan from Watford) & Michael Agazzi (Middlesbrough)
Middlesbrough maintained second place in the Championship with a 0-0 win at home to fellow promotion hopefuls, Birmingham City. Diego Fabbrini started the game on the substitutes’ bench, and only got onto the pitch with three minutes remaining, which gave him no opportunity to make an impact.
Michael Agazzi did not feature in Middlesbrough’s squad for this fixture.
Mirco Antenucci, Giuseppe Bellusci, Marco Silvestri & Tommaso Bianchi (Leeds United)
Massimo Cellino’s Leeds United played out a dull 0-0 draw against Charlton Athletic at the Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Marco Silvestri and Giuseppe Bellusci both started the game, and the former had to again be in top form as he made several outstanding saves to keep The Addicks at bay, including one save from Ricardo Vaz Te from close range. Bellusci once again put in a solid performance, and ably supported his compatriot.
Antenucci was an unused substitute in the victory, whilst Bianchi did not make the match day squad.
Francesco Pisano (Bolton Wanderers)
Francesco Pisano was not included in Bolton Wanderers’ squad for their trip to third place Hull City, on Saturday afternoon.
The Trotters are in serious financial trouble at the moment, and face a winding-up petition relating to unpaid taxes and employee national insurance contributions, and the result on the Saturday added to their woes as they fell to a 1-0 defeat that left them rooted to the bottom of the table, five points from safety.
Gabriele Angella (Queens Park Rangers – on loan from Watford)
Gabrielle Angella was an unused substitute in QPR’s 0-0 draw at home to Burnley. The match was QPR’s first fixture since they appointed Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink as manager last week.
Federico Macheda (Cardiff City)
Federico Macheda was an unused substitute in Cardiff City’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.