With another great week of calcio in the bag, there were plenty of notable performances this week in Serie A and other leagues around the world by none other than the Azzurri d’Italia. This week features Antonio Conte’s trustworthy 3-5-2 and a lineup that reflects the best Italian national team players of week 26.
Andrea Consigli (Sassuolo)– Probably not the GK of choice for Antonio Conte to start but had a heroic performance vs. Juve, stopping 4 shots on target but letting the Pogba goal slide into his lower left corner off of a wonder strike. Honorable Mentions: Perin (Genoa), Sirigu (PSG), Marchetti (Lazio)
Defenders (Left to Right)
Giorgio Chiellini(Juventus)– Maintained a clean sheet for his squad despite a valiant effort from an organized and motivated Sassuolo team.
Leo Bonucci(Juventus)- Another stud at the back for Juve and the national team. Has a knack for pinging passes around out of the back and defending in transition well. Dangerous in the air off set pieces given the few touches he had towards goal vs. Sassuolo.
Davide Astori(Roma)- Did help keep a clean sheet for i lupi di Roma but what an ugly game all around. Mattiello injury definitely set a tone for the rest of the match.
Honorable mentions: Romagnoli (Sampdoria)
Midfield (Left to Right)
Simone Pepe (Juventus)– Yes, Pepe. He has been a bright spot for Juventus off the bench with both his defensive work rate and crossing ability. He had two assists this week to Llorente and Pogba. Darmian, Pasqual, Maggio all poor or didn’t play this week.
Candreva (Lazio)– The man ran the show vs Fiorentina. A team that put away 4 goals vs a Fiorentina side that broke the Juventus home record merits a spot in the Azzurri. He has shown to be inconsistent at times for the national team but slowly solidifying his place in CM or out wide.
Claudio Marchisio (Juventus)-A true workhorse vs. Sassuolo. This man has the motor of a Ferrari Modena that is ripping up the track on high octane. Extremely valuable to the national team and to Antonion Conte. Ball winner, leader, and hunger for the ball will always keep his spot concrete for the Azzurri.
Marco Verratti (PSG)– Deserves a spot in an Azzurri lineup as a vice Pirlo or DeRossi but didn’t have the greatest of performances vs. Lens. Was torn between Franco Vazquez here but Verratti did complete 80/90 passes and won the ball 7 times. A warrior in the making, yet subbed out for Pastore who scored and provided an assist. Next to Marchisio nothing will get through to the back line (Lets just make sure he doesn’t get too many yellows).
Alessandro Florenzi-(Roma)– Another average performance for the Roma man but completed almost 75% of his passes. Best man to play this position from whats available, he could play in the central midfield as well. Darmian didn’t play for Torino but usually a solid option at this position for Conte.
Honorable Mentions: Franco Vazquez (Palermo), Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan)
Forwards (Left to Right)
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)- Over the Atlantic we go! He set up a lovely assist for Jozy Altidore while playing a trequartista role. The only number 10 this Azzurri team may field at the moment. As a free roaming striker he could sit behind well and create for a CF which leads me to…
Fabio Quagliarella (Torino) – The Napoli man has returned to the scene with the Azzurri. Showed his finishing ability and took 4 shots on target vs. Udinese. A CF part of the “semi-old” guard that still could crack the list for the Euro 2016.
Honorable Mentions: Antonio DiNatale (Udinese), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Simone Zaza (Sassuolo), Ciro Immobile (BVB)
(Disclaimer: This lineup is based upon personal opinion. If one feels the need to comment and/or discuss about the choices selected, please feel free to contribute to a healthy debate)