Serie A Best XI – Round Nine

Andrea Consigli (7 points): Sassuolo were quite amazingly the only team to keep a clean sheet in this round, so their goalie gets the token spot representing everybody. Consigli had a pair of nice saves in the first half, then was a tad lucky on Verona’s misses.

Mattia Bani (4 points): he is separating himself from the competition in the back at Bologna and his towering header, the second successful one this season, allowed the Felsinei to get back on track after a sizeable winless stretch.

Theo Hernandez (3 points): his goal instead did not allow Milan to garner points, but it was enough to crack the team of the week in a round where defenders struggled. Regardless of the Rossoneri’s woes, he has been a plus since snatching the starting job away from Ricardo Rodriguez, always providing some juice and offense on that flank.

Jordan Lukaku (2 points): he had often been Simone Inzaghi’s break-in-case-of-emergency weapon in the past, but he had spent the initial portion of the season recovering from a severe knee injury. He was a deciding factor in his first appearance, delivering a beautiful cross that found Ciro Immobile for the game-winning header.

Josip Ilicic (8 points): so far he had been the missing piece in Atalanta’s goal-scoring machine, but he amended that in the trashing of Udinese, netting two opportunistic goals and bringing his seasonal tally to three.

Filip Djuricic (5 points): he had fallen way behind in the pecking order to open the year even though he is a pet player of the coach. He saw decent minutes for two weeks in a row and scored twice, making the most, and beyond, of his opportunity. He bagged a proper stunner right in the top corner to sink Verona.

Antonio Candreva (5 points): he is the Inter player where the Antonio Conte-effect is most visible, as he looks completely re-energized by a new role where he can put his motor to good use. His shooting skills from yesteryears are coming back too and he also assisted Romelu Lukaku with a dime.

Nicolo Zaniolo (4 points): he finally found the target in Serie A after being denied on multiple chances in previous matches. The goal was simplified by an ugly giveaway by Milan, but his lefty finish was still very classy.

Luis Muriel (14 points): his scoring average is insane after Sunday’s hat-trick, since he is hitting the net every 42 minutes and Atalanta now have two legitimate contenders for the capocannoniere chart. Two penalties, which he both drew, and one easy finish for him against Udinese.

Ciro Immobile (6 points): his superb season continues as he almost single-handedly took down Fiorentina even in a game where he was not particularly active. He set up Joaquin Correa with a slide rule pass and then decided the contest with terrific positioning in the box and a sweet header.

Christian Kouame (6 points): he took the match by the scruff of its neck immediately after subbing on Saturday night. He smacked the crossbar with a header on his first touch, then buried a pretty overhead kick and assisted Goran Pandev’s goal. Thiago Motta’s style is slated to revive every Genoa attacker.

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