Empoli Bartłomiej Drągowski
This week we have a very shocking surprise making an appearance on the list. A player I have not talked about practically at all this season. Atalanta took on relegation-threatened Empoli in Bergamo one of the most difficult places to get results as the opposing team. However, there was a surprising result given the circumstances of the game. Atalanta put together one of the most dominating performances of the entire season. They were so dominant it was borderline historic the type of numbers they were putting up offensively. In fact, this game should not have been closed at all. Throughout the 90 minutes, Atalanta registered 48 shots which is the most in Italian football in almost 10 years. It was such a dominating display but it didn’t seem to matter it wasn’t enough to get them the three points at the end of the game. The Empoli goalkeeper played the game of his life. Once viewed as the next big star Drągowski finally showed how skilled he actually is making 17 saves with is a Serie A record. The 21-year-old showed some unbelievable ability I’m not sure his performance does that much for Empoli’s survival but nonetheless, it was a breathtaking performance. He was supposed to be the next great goalkeeper coming out of Poland. Florentina signed him just a few seasons ago. But ultimately he failed to break into the first-team. After Lafont, the 19-year-old Superstar beat him to the starting job. In light of this, he was sent on loan to an Empoli. Even though he’s only made eight appearances for Empoli he proved this week what his worth is. He isn’t going to surpass Lafont in Florence but hopefully, it will urge someone in the top-flight to take a chance on him in the summer. His performance against Atalanta certainly helps himself. This was the best I have ever seen him play he was at the Forefront of a constant and ruthless Atalanta attack that just came out swinging. 48 shots 17 shots on Target and they couldn’t find the back of the net Drągowski was absolutely sensational. On the day he could do no wrong he can make no mistake he was a step ahead on practically every shot. It was a performance of a lifetime without question one of the best performers of the week in Italian football. He is highly unlikely to make this list again this season or in the near future but his performance against Atalanta was one for the ages something we will remember for a long time he deserved to be recognized his display was nothing short of world-class.
Napoli Centerback Kalidou Koulibaly
Napoli Koulibaly it’s considered one of the best defenders in the world. He is wanted by Manchester United PSG Manchester City and so many other massive clubs. The Napoli Defender is a Neapolitan he loves Napoli and I would be surprised if he left. Regardless his market value is over 100 million. He has known for his incredible work ethic his toughness leadership and great defensive abilities. However, against Chievo Verona, he was not recognized for his defense that was not the standout Factor. It was for his offense on set pieces specifically. Koulibaly the defensive specialist and Bulldog that he is found the back of the net. That’s not all that uncommon in this day and age you can occasionally see Defenders score from time to time. Some even are attacking minded. However, the difference is Koulibaly the centre-back he doesn’t go forward. Backs typically can score a large portion of goals because their position allows them to run down the flanks. Koulibaly is in a position where he’s naturally holding the defense. He does not go up and attack it never happens. However, he didn’t just score once he scored twice. Defensive Mastermind Koulibaly had a two-goal performance it was absolutely unbelievable. You can say what you want about Verona not being a worthy opponent which is a fair point because they’re one of the worst teams in Italian football in quite a while. Despite that Koulibaly scored twice playing as a center back a truly unbelievable performance defensively as always but for him to get in position on two occasions and find the back of the meant was something to be truly appreciated. The single-handedly a center-back ended Chievo Verona stay in the top-flight of Italian football. Koulibaly without question is one of the best defenders in the world this week he proved his abilities don’t solely lie in the defensive area.
Roma Winger Stephan El Shaarawy (3)
Stephan El Shaarawy is the most underrated player in Italian football. He’s furthermore proved that in his breathtaking performance on Saturday night against Udin. He showed his unbelievable quality even if the majority of the football and world will never give him the respect he deserves. Make no mistake Stephan El Shaarawy is in the team of the season. He has dealt with many injuries this season had he been healthy the entire year he would have scored 15 or more goals that’s how good he has been when he has played. He has nine goals in the League this season and his passing ability was put on notice. Without question one of the top performers in Italian football this week. He showed leadership qualities he showed his ability to get into spaces creating opportunities for himself and his teammates. He gave everything he had using his pace and Agility he made himself very dangerous the defense could not control him his intelligence and pace gave them huge issues. It was an unbelievably important game and Stephan El Shaarawy gave Roma the performance they were looking for. He had multiple opportunities to stick the ball in the back of the net as he continued and continued to fight for every ball. His movement was in itself brilliant. I have said this so many different times Stephan El Shaarawy is movement without the balls is the best in football. He may not be considered world class because of his numbers or his lack of statistical value. However, there’s no question about it he is a world-class level player who will probably never get the respect he deserves. He is Roma’s best player and he’s going to be a big part of this club moving forward. From the second he arrived he started getting his career back another Sensational display like the one we saw last night just justifies him moving to the capital was the best thing for his career. As I mentioned he was a nightmare to control as there was very little that they could do to stop them. In the game’s most important moment his passing got Roma to the end. An unbelievably accurately placed through ball arrived at the feet of Edin Dzeko who put away a one-on-one to give Roma the lead and the eventual three points. Stephan El Shaarawy did absolutely everything that was asked of him and Beyond it. He performs to such a level after being out with injury having just recently come back he showed Roma exactly what they missed. Roma is on the front foot of the Champions League now they are only one point separating them from that spot all of a sudden with Stephan El Shaarawy’s imminent return to the starting lineup Roma look dangerous once again.
DONKEY OF THE WEEK: Chievo Verona
The donkey of the week this week goes to Chievo Verona for the very last time. That’s right Chievo Verona becomes the first team to be relegated this season. Its been inevitable for the majority of the year. This is one of the worst seasons in Italian football history. While Chievo Verona deserves a lot of credit because they stayed in this league for 11 seasons and 10 out of the 11 seasons they were a mid-table team. This team never was really in threat of relegation until this season. The mistakes they made it obvious and that is why they have been relegated. I often poke fun at them because they are one of the most boring teams to watch in Italian football and from just a viewership point of view I’m happy because I really do not like their style of football it is almost unwatchable. However, for a decade, it worked they are the donkey of the week because of what occurred prior to the season. They got into financial trouble and started the season with negative 3 points which did not help them especially given the fact that they were one of the worst teams in the league already. Allowing Roberto Inglesse to leave for Parma is the reason they have fallen straight on their face. They could have negotiated another loan for one more season. He was their top scorer last year with 13 goals their next closest did not even score 5. They had an exposable defense and no capable goal scorer. For bottom teams the one thing you need someone who can give you 10 to 15 goals of the season. Its the only way to give them a fighting chance. Even though last season Benevento had the worst start to a season in Italian football history Chievo was even worse. Benevento won 6 games accumulating 21 points which were just four points worse than 19th Hellas Verona. Chievo Verona has one win and 11 points with six matches to go it is quite possible they lose their next six games. Even If you eliminate the negative 3 points to start the season. It would only leave them with 14 which is 9 points off of 19th Place. This team was historically bad and they only have themselves to blame however you must respect their ability to stay in the Italian top-flight for over a decade nobody really is going to miss them. So for the very last time but the donkey of the week goes to the flying donkeys of Chievo Verona.