Monday February 4 2013
Serie A Team of Week 23

After a weekend of amazing debuts, shock results, outstanding defending and stupendous goals, Dave Taylor picks his best XI.

Emiliano Viviano [Fiorentina]

Back in favour after a month out, the Italian made an excellent return with several match-saving stops, including a brilliant block on Ishak Belfodil’s close-up effort and Nicola Sansone’s menacing curler. Superb.

Andreas Granqvist [Genoa]

Showed immaculate form setting up two goals with his head and winning everything in the air, especially so when heading away Alvaro Gonzalez’s dangerous cross. Also made an essential interception on a Sergio Floccari run later. Stalwart.

Paolo Cannavaro [Napoli]

A real captain’s display and hardly put a foot wrong, choking Catania’s forwards at almost every turn. Equalled another legend’s appearance record and scored a goal that would have made that legend, Diego Maradona, proud. Sophisticated.

Kamil Glik [Torino]

Another top-notch performance at both ends as the Pole made several crucial interventions including an important one on Mauro Icardi. Also had a fabulous overhead kick cleared off the line before charging down an Andrea Poli attempt. Sparkling.

Stephan Lichtsteiner [Juventus]

Despite Chievo putting both Bojan Jokic and Perparim Hetemaj on him, he was still Juve’s danger man. Constantly outwitting them, while making several dangerous runs, he also scored after hammering the ball home following a well-worked move. Supreme.

Radja Nainggolan [Cagliari]

Started with a bang, scoring within five minutes, and continued to explode his way through the opposition defence with his energetic box to box running. A toss up between him and Marco Sau for Man of the Match. Splendid.

Marek Hamsik [Napoli]        

Like the winged figure in Albrecht Durer’s Melencolia I, Hamsik represents genius and calmed Napoli’s nerves when converting Juan Zuniga’s assist. He also instigated several dangerous counter-attacks, a few chances and Cannavaro’s goal. Sublime.

Juan Zuniga [Napoli]

Ruled the left flank and set up several promising goal attempts and Hamsik’s opener. Always willing to take on his man and beat him and forced back any efforts by Catania to initiate attacks down their right. Selfless.

Mario Balotelli [Milan]

What a debut. From the very start until converting a last minute penalty Super Mario dribbled, volleyed, nutmegged, made angled drives, unleashed absolute screamers, crossed dangerously, ran riot and thundered in free-kicks. Oh yes he also scored the opener. Scintillating.

Marco Sau [Cagliari]

The little man strode like a giant round the pitch, setting up Nainggolan for the first goal then getting into the perfect position to head home his own. Missed a couple of chances, nonetheless a class apart. Stunning.

Innocent Emeghara [Siena]

Javier Zanetti and Co could not handle the Nigerian-born Swiss international, who had only played 33 minutes of Serie A football. His unbelievable movement and awareness, saw him score one and win a penalty on a superb full debut. Stupendous.

Special mentions: Alberto Gilardino [Bologna], Juraj Kucka [Genoa], German Denis [Atalanta], Andrea Bertolacci [Genoa], Alessandro Rosina [Siena], Stephan El Shaarawy [Milan], M'Baye Niang [Milan], Matteo Rubin [Siena].

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