After a goal frenzy in Round 5 of the latest Serie A TIM campaign, here are our selections for Italian Football Daily’s Team of the Week.
Manager- Rolando Moran (Chievo Verona): The Flying Donkeys are, well, flying. They currently sit in fourth place and their manager has the squad exceeding expectations early on. Similar to last year, Chievo jumped out of the gates with an overly impressive start. With a 2-1 win over Sassuolo yesterday, the Bentegodi outfit appears to be an early dark-horse for the Europa League.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (A.C. Milan): The teenager once again played a major role for Milan in the 2-0 win over Lazio. Donnarumma made some key stops early on in the first half when things could have otherwise gone haywire for the Rossoneri. Five saves and an 8.2 match rating, via Who Scored, makes him an easy candidate for Team of the Week.
Davide Calabria (A.C. Milan): The teenage right back was among the newcomers to Vincenzo Montella’s adjusted starting XI v Lazio. Calabria returned the favor to Montella by disrupting any sort of momentum Lazio tried to build up. He also should have had an assist but M’Baye Niang squandered the open goal chance. Nonetheless, Calabria shined bright on match day five.
Gabriel Paletta (A.C. Milan): Milan lack depth in the defending department, so when something is working, it’s best not to adjust it. Paletta looks to be the ideal partner alongside Alessio Romagnoli in the central defense, and his performance in the win on Tuesday supports that.
Daniele Rugani (Juventus): The former Empoli loanee was granted a starting role last night versus Cagliari. Rugani’s talent has never been in question; all he needs is minutes to prove his worth. In the 4-0 win over the Rossoblu, Rugani took the spot from Leonardo Bonucci, scoring the opener while also being the protagonist in the back, converting on 89% of his passes. There is no debate, Rugani is ready to start consistently.
Cristiano Biraghi (Pescara): Newly promoted Pescara need all the resources they have if they wish to avoid an immediate drop back to Serie B, and Biraghi is one of those key resources. In the scoreless draw with Torino, the young fullback hit the woodwork but his effort on the back end was on the money. Four tackles won and 84% passing accuracy makes him an easy inclusion. Massimo Oddo must be pleased.
Juraj Kucka (A.C. Milan): The Slovakian returned from a two match suspension after he picked up a red card v Napoli on match day 2. Milan went on to defeat Lazio 2-0, and the former Genoa man was doing it all. He assisted Carlos Bacca’s go ahead goal before the half and was a disruptor in the middle of the park all night long. A Man of the Match performance for “The Tank.”
Miralem Pjanic (Juventus): Juventus’ Bosnian playmaker got the nod alongside Mario Lemina in the double-pivot. It was a solid bounce back performance from the ex-Roma man, tallying an assist and testing the keeper with 100% of his shots hitting the target. Typically, you’ll find Pjanic in a more advanced role for Allegri’s Juve side but his skill-set does translate well in the role guarding the defense.
Nicola Rigoni (Chievo Verona): Rigoni opened the scoring at the Bentegodi on Wednesday in the 21′. The Italian midfielder pulled all the strings for Rolando Moran’s Flying Donkey’s in the 2-1 victory over Europa League side Sassuolo. He was easily the top player for Chievo in a winning effort and for a surging club, that goes a long way against a tough opponent.
Mohamed Salah (Roma): The star man from Egypt, like many others in the Roma squad, was on his game against a relegation-favorite in Crotone. Salah grabbed a goal and assist in this one, getting back to his scoring ways. The winger opposite Salah — Stephan El Shaarawy — matched his numbers today, but the former Viola attacker was a bit more influential in killing this one off early.
Mauro Icardi (Inter): Must we say more? Inter’s captain was the top performer in the weekend Derby d’Italia win over Juventus, and remained hungry in the commanding 2-0 victory over Empoli. Icardi’s first half brace was all the Nerazzurri needed to see out the match and right now, it’s hard to argue against the Argentine being the hottest forward in Italy.
Ladislav Krejčí (Bologna): In a match otherwise dominated by the sensational goal off the boot of Simone Verdi, Ladislav Krejci was the man making all things tick for the Rossoblu. The Czech winger supplied the assist on each of the goals scored by Verdi and Mattia Destro in the 2-0 win over Sampdoria at Stadio Renato. It’s also worth noting that Bologna are level with Milan on 9 pts for sixth place early on.
Edin Dzeko (Roma): The Bosnian often comes under major scrutiny from Giallorossi supporters. However, Dzeko showed up to play for Luciano Spalletti on Wednesday v Crotone. He scored two goals in a 4-0 win for his Roma side. Spalletti went with a 4-2-3-1 setup which saw Francesco Totti play in behind Dzeko. The attack of Salah, Dzeko and El Shaarawy all seemed to click with the soon to be 40 year old, so maybe this is something Spalletti will analyze further.
Simone Verdi (Bologna): The ex-Milan product’s audacious goal is an early candidate for Goal of the Year. Verdi has shown in rare spells the type of quality he has, but his one-timer from the side of the box was struck so perfectly that he makes the cut.
Joao Mario (Inter): The big-money Portuguese midfielder had his best performance in an Inter kit, though it’s only been a few matches. Frank de Boer has experimented with Joao Mario in a few different roles so far, but it appears that his ideal location is on the right side of a three-man midfield, which is where he played v Empoli. Earning an assist and Man of the Match honors by Who Scored, the former Sporting CP playmaker will look to build upon this performance for the next few fixtures.
Jose Reina (Napoli): Though Napoli and Genoa played to a scoreless stalemate at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Pepe Reina was superb. The Rossoblu are a difficult opponent when playing at home, but most thought Napoli would be able to find a way to grab three points. The Partenopei struggled to break down a compact and organized Genoa side, and Reina ensured his club escaped with a point by making five saves.
Dani Alves (Juventus): The long-time Barcelona man opened his account with Juventus in the 4-0 win over Cagliari with a goal from the edge of the box. Before Alves scored, it seemed that Juve had the game under wraps with a 2-0 lead, but the Brazilian’s goal minutes before the break sealed this game after 45 minutes of play. Another day at the office for Dani Alves.
Do you agree with our Round 5 selections, or did we exclude someone worthy of a Team of the Week nod? Let us know on Twitter!