2016-17 SERIE A REVIEW

Serie A Flops XI

While 2016-2017 has been a happy season for some, it has also been a disaster for others. Edo Dalmonte takes you through his Worst XI.

Joe Hart (Torino)

Dropped by Pep Guardiola so that he could start a 35-year-old Willy Caballero, Hart was expected to benefit from the technical culture that has spawned the likes of Gianluigi Buffon and Dino Zoff. No such luck, the Shrewsbury native making five mistakes leading to goals, bested (or worsted) only by Josip Posavec of Palermo.

Jeison Murillo (Inter)

Where is the defender who helped Inter build a rock-solid partnership with Joao Miranda last season? Though the decline began in January 2016, the Colombian has shown no sign of mending his ways, prompting three different Coaches to turn to a converted midfielder (Gary Medel) and a bench lifer (Marco Andreolli) to solve the problem.

Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria)

The Slovakia international spent most of his time looking markedly out of his depth in Serie A. The lowlight was a 7-3 defeat to Lazio, where Skriniar was torn to shreds by Keita Balde Diao, giving away a penalty and receiving two yellow cards to cut his performance mercifully short at 18 minutes. Imagine the damage he could’ve done with longer.

Sebastien De Maio (Fiorentina)

What is it with Fiorentina and signing centre-backs who never play? Last season it was Yohan Benalouane, this time De Maio with his nine appearances in all competition at a cost of €1m. The former Genoa defender had been sold to Anderlecht for €3.3m in July and ran straight back to Italy six weeks later because his wife didn’t like living in Belgium. He did seem at home on the Viola bench, though.

Mattia De Sciglio (Milan)

Watching MDS romp up and down and the wing against Spain at Euro 2016, many of us would have been fooled into thinking that one Milan's most-criticised youths was finally turning a corner. Cue this season, where the 24-year-old has struggled to make an impression, failing to register an assist and often injured or jeered. Are Juventus really so sure that they've found a diamond in the rough here?

Andrea Bertolacci (Milan)

The other face of the €45m deal that brought Alessio Romagnoli to San Siro, Bertolacci has struggled with injuries and poor form, making only nine Serie A starts this season behind the likes of Jose Sosa and Mario Pasalic. For a budding Azzurro who managed six goals and eight assists in his final year at Genoa, that’s simply not good enough.

Danilo Cataldi (Lazio and Genoa)

Last season, it looked like the stubborn Stefano Pioli was the reason this teen wasn't getting any game time, resulting in the young Roman celebrating a goal for Italy's Under-21 team by holding his index finger against his mouth. Fast forward 12 months and the Lazio product has failed to leave his mark on loan at Genoa, who just about sputtered to safety. It’s a bad sign when you go on loan to get playing time and still end up on the bench.

Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)

The odd bright spark (five of his eight Serie A goals have come in November or December) were enough to attract Arsenal and Chelsea last summer. No such luck this year, where the 24-year-old has lost his spot to Roberto Gagliardini and Geoffrey Kondogbia without a shot being fired. Regularly criticised by fans for focusing more on social media than his profession.

Gabigol (Inter)

Acquired for a hefty €29.5m - with €4m going to one of Kia Joorabchian's partners - the Brazilian was imposed on to two different Coaches by a divided hierarchy. It says a lot that the 35-year-old Rodrigo Palacio’s number is always called before his. With suggestions he struggles with tactics and just wants to showboat, it looks like Inter have signed another Vampeta.

Mattia Destro (Bologna)

Adriano Galliani’s decision to pitch a tent outside of Destro’s home looks even more farcical in hindsight. Expected to do an Alberto Gilardino and perform for a provincial club, the 26-year-old netted only two goals between October and January, prompting desperate fantasy owners to turn to increasingly cutting memes to vent their anger.

Eder (Inter)

Does anyone know what his best position is, 18 months into his Inter experience? Probably not.  Six Serie A goals and only 12 starts are proof - if ever it was needed - that ceding to Roberto Mancini's whims is not a good way to build a winner.

Coach: Giovanni Martusciello (Empoli)

It turns out there was a reason why Giampaolo was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. After working as assistant manager to the likes of Maurizio Sarri and Marco Giampaolo, Martusciello was given the main job and a well-drilled squad he already knew inside out. He still turned out a team that was unrecognisable from the Empoli seen in the recent years, where results were almost as bad as the performances.