Juan Musso (7 points): a pretty good number of clean sheets in this round as seven defences managed to stymie the opponents. Udinese’s Argentinian goalie had the best save of the weekend, actually a double one as he parried away a point-blank header going to the ground with cat-like agility and then had the alertness of slapping away the ball before a tap-in. Parma’s Simone Colombi had a sensational save as well on an attempted chip shot.
Adama Soumaoro (8 points): on top of stopping an in-form Bologna team, three Genoa defenders picked up bonus point for their contribution on the other end. The spot on behalf of the trio goes to the newcomer Soumaoro, who has taken full advantage of Cristiano Romero’s absence to show his worth and scored with a clinical sliding finish, on feed by Andrea Masiello (7 points) no less. Domenico Criscito (9) instead canned another penalty late to round up the score.
Elseid Hysaj (7 points): he got the start over Mario Rui and had a pretty solid outing, although Cagliari were not at full force on that flank. He tacked on two more points to the standard five for finding Dries Mertens in the box prior to the game-winning goal, although his teammate did most of the heavy lifting on that occasion.
Simone Iacoponi (5 points): holding Sassuolo in check is not an easy feat, especially on the road, but Parma managed through the usual team effort. The perennially unheralded Iacoponi is the pick to represent the whole back-line.
Marco Mancosu (6 points): he has taken a slight hit with Riccardo Saponara coming to town in January, even unexpectedly so, but he got the nod on Saturday and willed his team to victory thanks to a penalty and a pinpoint through ball for the trailing Zan Majer to set up the second goal. He has found the target eight times so far and he is the most prolific midfielder out of any promoted team across Europe.
Dries Mertens (6 points): the Cagliari bout had come to a standstill and required something special to be solved. He provided in the form of a dazzling curled shot, moving closer to Napoli’s all-time scorers’ list. After a long Winter, he has snapped out of his funk with two goals and one assist in the last three appearances.
Juan Cuadrado (6 points): the injury to Douglas Costa has opened the door for him to move back to his natural position as right winger and he fully exploited it against Brescia, dealing and wheeling throughout the game and scoring with a little chip in front of the goalie.
Federico Chiesa (8 points): Fiorentina’s front-line delivered big time versus the reeling Sampdoria, as both the starlet and Dusan Vlahovic (7 points) bagged a brace. Chiesa is finally back on last season’s levels of energy and leadership, scored from the penalty spot and with a potent strike from distance and hit the post twice.
Antonio Sanabria (4 points): he has recently been the solution to Genoa’s scoring woes with three goals in the past six matches. He netted a wonderful one in Bologna, as he was not to be denied on a coast-to-coast and shook off a defender with a pair of dummies in the box before beating the goalie.
Paulo Dybala (4 points): he bagged one of the prettiest goals of the weekend with a deadly accurate lefty free kick from the edge of the box that kissed the post on the goalie’s zone before going in. He did not shy away from the increased responsibilities in a game where Juventus did not have Cristiano Ronaldo.
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