Serie A 2016-17: Team of the Week – Round 17
He was valued at €94 million for a reason: Gonzalo Higuain gave Juventus the win over Roma, leaving the Giallorossi seven points behind the runaway leaders.
As AC Milan were held by Atalanta, a Dries Mertens-inspired Napoli demolished Torino, Inter found a third consecutive win in Sassuolo, whilst Lazio beat Fiorentina.
At the bottom, Empoli and Palermo found three crucial points as Pescara and Crotone lost.
Our Team of the Week will see a 3-4-3 formation deployed.
Orestis Karnezis – Udinese (2 Team of the Week appearances)
It seemed like an easy game for a keeper, against minnows Crotone, but if Udinese added three points to their season it is thanks to the Greek No.1, able to stop every visitor attack and maintain the clean sheet.
Daniele Rugani – Juventus (2 apps)
The youngster is coming of age. What he has learnt from the Bianconeri BBC – Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini – is showing finally and in the toughest game so far this season Massimiliano Allegri chose him over Mehdi Benatia. And Juve didn’t concede a single goal against free scoring Roma.
Vlad Chiriches – Napoli
The elegance applied to solidity. He stopped Torino when it still mattered, and it wasn’t easy with someone like Andrea Belotti, and was also able to find himself up front to score a goal.
Andrea Rispoli – Palermo
The bad start did not influence his night: he stopped Diego Laxalt first and then Edenilson down his flank and then scored the vital goal worth the equaliser for the Rosanero.
Antonio Candreva – Inter (3 apps)
Three goals in four games under Stefano Pioli: the Nerazzurri are starting to enjoy the best Candreva, one of the best midfielders in the league. Against the Neroverdi his finish was the decisive one to bring home three vital points.
Stefano Sturaro – Juventus
Luciano Spalletti defined the Bianconeri as “physically animals” and the first player that comes to mind is Sturaro. He fought on every ball against every opponent for the entirety of the 90 minutes, showing a spirit the Giallorossi did not have and that ultimately made a difference.
Aleksandar Trajkovski – Palermo
His late winner in Genoa could be the goal that keeps the Rosanero in Serie A come May. Palermo came from a streak of 9 consecutive losses: now their season could change for the better.
Dries Mertens – Napoli (3 apps)
A “Maradonian” performance for the Belgian, who destroyed Torino from beginning to end, with four goals (after scoring three just seven days ago), including the unbelievable magical lob for Napoli’s fifth. An unforgettable afternoon.
Gonzalo Higuain – Juventus (5 apps)
Strength, power, class and precision: Higuain’s winning strike has everything. The Pipita showed all his worth scoring the most important goal of Juve’s season so far, leading the Bianconeri to a seven point lead on Roma.
Levan Mchedlidze – Empoli
He hadn’t scored since the 2014-2015 season ad decided to get back to winning ways with a brace in what was a fundamental game for Empoli’s future. With the opponents at the bottom losing, the Azzurri were able to take home three points that could mean Serie A for another season.
Giovanni Simeone – Genoa (3 apps)
Two goals and an assist were not enough to give Genoa the win over Palermo, who incredibly found the 3-4. But Diego Simeone’s son confirmed he is ready to replace Leonardo Pavoletti, on his way to Napoli.