Tuesday April 1 2014
Serie A Team of Week 31

Following a long weekend of dramatic football during which several Italian strikers found their feet again Dave Taylor picks his best XI.

Gianluigi Buffon [Juventus]

Produced some crucial saves from Marek Hamsik and Jose Callejon in the first half and also made another two crucial blocks in the second half, especially on Faouzi Ghoulam’s free kick. However, left unprotected on both goals. Brilliant.

Federico Fernandez [Napoli]

Outmanoeuvred Federico Llorente and Dani Osvaldo comprehensively, making them look as comfortable as Edward Scissorhands at a children’s balloon party. Unafraid to push up he also made a couple of superb forward passes. Refulgent.

Adil Rami [Milan]

Not exactly Franco Baresi, more like Coca-Cola Zero - okay perhaps but nothing like the real thing - yet more than adequate for the job in Week 31 and protected the defence well enough. Also provided a precise ball for the opening goal. Dazzling.

Faouzi Ghoulam [Napoli]

One of his best performances, kept Stephan Lichtsteiner quiet and always probed forward. In the second half he hit the bar, had another attempt saved and executed a perfect sliding tackle to block Maurico Isla’s dangerous looking cross. Irradiating.

Jose Callejon [Napoli]

Severely tested Buffon before scoring the opener after ghosting past Kwadwo Asamoah to slide in like the thief master himself, Maradona. Made several key passes switching the action instantly, while subduing Kwadwo Asamoah and Giorgio Chiellini with his illuminating technique. Incandescent.

Ricky Kaka [Milan]

Man of the match and recalled memories of the old Kaka with his elegant menace throughout, thoroughly earning a standing ovation when subbed.  Scored two utterly sumptuous goals, both right-footers, one to the left, one to the right. Sparkling.

Marco Donadel [Verona]

The former Napoli midfielder scored his first Verona goal with a right-footer from outside the box. He was also a rock in front of the defence winning everything in the air and made several important interceptions and clearances. Commanding.

Lorenzo Insigne [Napoli]

Always a real thorn in Juve’s side and covered a lot of ground, driving his side forward. A real menace down the left and embarrassed Martin Caceres all game, as well as supplying a sublime assist for the opener. Illuminating.

Senad Lulic [Lazio]

Started many of Lazio’s best moves and opened the scoring with a well struck right-footer. Also set up the second goal leaving Parma’s defenders as happy as the Minister of Defence seeing his Maserati sold on eBay. Scintillating.  

Giuseppe De Luca [Atalanta]

The Mosquito stung hard and fast and broke the deadlock with a burst of pace before shooting past the ‘keeper into the far corner. Kept persevering and set up the second goal thanks to his sheer pace and ingenuity. Buzzing.

Alessio Cerci [Torino]

His persistence caused all manner of problems up front including when he slipped into space to set up the opener. Scored number two after collecting a long ball, getting behind the defence and shooting in from an angle. Radiating 

Special mentions: Antonio Candreva [Lazio], Dries Mertens [Napoli], Mario Balotelli [Milan], Luca Toni [Verona], Dries Mertens [Napoli], Marcelo Estigarribia [Atalanta], Mattia Destro [Roma], Simone Scuffet [Udinese], Hernanes [Inter].