With Napoli wining eight of their last nine games they now share a Champions League place with four more clubs, as Dave Taylor selects his top XI from Week Nine.
Stefano Sorrentino [Palermo]
Another top performance from the Italian who made several sensational saves which proved crucial, including palming away Stefan Jovetic’s free kick and a wonderful full-length fingertip save to deny Freddy Guarin. Also critically blocked Jonathan Biabiany late on. Commanding.
Hardly put a foot wrong and had a high successful passing rate making several important clearances, especially in winning his aerial battles. He was like a human version of the Bate’s Motel - everything checks in but nothing checked out. Dominant.
Ervin Zukanovic [Sampdoria]
A commanding show from the big man whose control of the opposition’s forwards meant they displayed little danger to the Doriani defence. At his best coming forward when he scored with a diving header at the near post. Prevailing.
Leonardo Bonucci [Juventus]
The stalwart of the backline, he never allowed the opposition any hold. Even when the Bianconeri defence was broken occasionally, Bonucci stood strong and cleared up any problems leaving the Atalanta forwards as timid as neutered hamsters. Sturdy.
Piotr Zielinski [Empoli]
With his strikes and crosses causing serious problems, including his assist for the first goal he was the best and busiest on the park. Always alert he scored himself from being first to Massimo Maccarone’s rebound. Integral.
Senad Lulic [Lazio]
An energetic performance as he attempted several assists, started off counter attacks and finally broke the deadlock with the opener. Following a Dusan Basta cross Lulic cleverly volleyed the ball into the ground so it would bounce over Daniele Padelli. Lively.
Roberto Soriano [Sampdoria]
A goal and assist from the dashing Italian who set up Zukanovic’s goal with his cross from the left. Continually menacing, just before half time he converted Eder’s sublime pass with a fine low volley. Threatening.
Felipe Anderson [Lazio]
A top performance scoring a brace and generally being a nuisance with his crosses and strikes on goals. His first goal was from a flick on from Miroslav Klose with a sublime left foot finish before a right-footer at the death.
Gonzalo Higuain [Napoli]
Caused several early problems, going close without much fortune. However, just when needed he was as lithe as a ferret down a rabbit hole latching onto Faouzi Ghoulam’s pass to ferociously burn a volley home from 12 yards. Superb.
Paulo Dybala [Juventus]
A man of the match performance from the young Argentine who showed real talent with a superb opening goal, an assist and later when slicing through the opposition defence almost at will, earned the penalty that Paul Pogba missed. Fundamental.
Mohamed Salah [Roma]
At the heart of everything that worked for the Giallorossi, he opened the scoring after neat work involving Radja Nainggolan and Miralem Pjanic ended with his pacey left footer curling into the net from the edge of the box. Controlling.
Special Mentions: Eder [Sampdoria], Luis Muriel [Sampdoria], Franco Vazquez [Palermo], Faouzi Ghoulam [Napoli], Paul Pogba [Juventus], Marek Hamsik [Napoli], Gervinho [Roma].
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