Pierluigi Gollini vs Napoli
For just second time, this season a goalkeeper is featured on my performers of the week. During the entirety of last season only twice has a goalkeeper made it onto my list. It is difficult to give a goalkeeper this level of recognition only outstanding performances get on to this list and because of the midfielders and the strikers who steal the headlines it makes it very difficult for me to select a goalkeeper. However with all that being said Atalanta’s goalkeeper Gollini showed some unbelievable qualities in a tough match against Napoli. Napoli is one of the best attacking teams in all of Italy and has firepower all over the place. To perform at that high level on the biggest stage against that offense was incredibly impressive. Gollini arrived in Atalanta two years ago after leaving Aston Villa since he has been here he has been an incredibly special one of the most underrated Keepers in the entire league. This was an Aston Villa team that wasn’t even in the Premier League and was struggling in the championship despite this they didn’t feel he was good enough play for them. He was a big part of Atalanta’s Champions League race last season and has continued to show unbelievable performances Aston Villa just got this one wrong it was a ruthless attack by Napoli and he was there for all of it making saves after save an extraordinary performance by Gollini. Without question one of the best performers in Italian football this week he made some really big saves and big moments and adjusted to tough situations. Robin Olsen is the only other goalkeeper to have made this list so far this season. Golini was thoroughly deserving of this spot he was incredibly special against Napoli. Even though Napoli did score on him twice he made some extraordinary saves almost single-handedly preventing opportunities. Gollini kept them in this game and his teammates held up their end of the bargain getting a huge Point against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo. Gollini was incredibly special as he continues to display is an unbelievable level of brilliance against Napoli on the big stage was further proof of what he is capable of.
Radja Nainggolan vs Bologna
Radja Nainggolan has been quietly having a sensational season. He isn’t at the level he once was when he played for Roma but nonetheless, he has shown qualities this season as well as last season at Inter Milan. Despite all this, the Milan club gave up on him and he rejoined Cagliari a club that helped him become a star. This week I thought he was pretty special a sensational performance. Cagliari won a back-and-forth battle with bologna he was a big reason why the game opened up and Cagliari had the opportunities they did. After his Thunderbolt goal from last week, he follows it up with a tactical brilliant performance. He displayed vision intelligence and toughness throughout the match he didn’t play all 90 minutes but during his 64 minutes of play, he was incredibly effective. Especially in the passing lanes allowing attack to open up and was an absolute bully in the defense as bologna struggled in certain aspects of cutting inside a large part of that was the defensive toughness that he shows consistently. I thought he was one of the best performers of the week. You can argue that they were other people who more deserving of recognition but his tactical impact in a very tough match proved to be incredibly crucial. On top of all of that he supplied and assist to Giovanni Simeone who gave them a 2-1 lead that ultimately led to three points by a very underrated Cagliari team that continues to perform. Radja Nainggolan may not be in his prime anymore but we have to appreciate it for what he is a mentally and physically tough player that impacts the game without stealing headlines. He has been there Dynamo in the Midfield and even though the stats don’t blow you away the impact he has on the game is undeniable. This week, in particular, I saw that he showed his real qualities with an important performance as his team collects all three points in a tough match he was the difference-maker. He may not get on this list very often but he is certainly deserving of this week the performance as he quietly had a phenomenal game.
Javier Pastore vs Udinesse
Javier Pastore has earned a spot as one of the performers of the week as he had thrilling and exhilarating performance against Udinesse. He was brought to Roma last season and quite honestly has failed to live up to the hype. It was thought that he would be one of Roma’s important players for the next several seasons for whatever reason it simply did not happen. However this season he has made a lot of progress as he is now looking like a very important asset to Roma. His performance against was another display of that. Javier Pastore was thrown into the starting lineup when Lorenzo Pellegrini went down. That is a big task to carry Lorenzo Pellegrini is arguably one of the best midfielders in all of Italian football and no player in Italy that has more value to a position then Lorenzo Pellegrini. Those are big expectations to live up to. Roma Midfield does not function at the same level when Lorenzo Pellegrini is not fit. Javier Pastore, for the most part, has done a solid job stepping in as he has stepped up in a few instances. However, his performance on Wednesday night was just something else something that he can certainly build on and gives Roma some sense of quality that they paid for last season. On Wednesday he was Sensational he supplied and an assist on a counter-attacked to Justin kluivert on a play that required a high level of intelligence and unselfishness. Not to mention he could have scored a couple of times himself and Supplied some really important tackles in big parts of that game. He had an all-around performance and even though he isn’t one of the best players in the league this week he performed like he was. This may not be a performance we see often from him but he has proven he can do well enough to do the job when it is asked of him. If he continues to build on this he certainly is capable of more performances like this season if he’s given the opportunity. Roma got a big win and it was a collective performance but Javier Pastore was the standout in the performance.
DONKEY OF THE WEEK: Napoli
The donkey of the week this week could have gone to Udinesse who has conceded 11 goals in their last two games. However, they didn’t have high expectations coming into the season. Napoli has utterly been a disappointment it is really hard to tell what the problem is and why are they having so much trouble. Napoli has all the ingredients to take Juventus Crown from them but for some reason, they’re just unable to do it. If you just look at the roster they have a better team then Inter Milan and on paper are a more worthy challenger. Napoli has the best coach in Italian football. One of the best young goalkeepers in Italy in Alex Meret a rising star in Hirving Lozano and you could argue they have five players that would be considered one of the 20 best in all of Italian football. A good defense a very dangerous attack everything they have makes sense. I picked Napoli to win the league title this season and they have let me down time and time again. They have been chaotic not only are they not competing for the title they have might have fallen out of the race altogether. Not only that after a poor performance against Atalanta they have fallen out of the champions league and now find themselves in 6th Place and then next weekend if they lose to Roma who has won two games in a row this will take them in a dark path. Napoli has dropped points in three of their last four games. They’ve had to settle for a draws in their last two and honestly, they should have put the game away against Atalanta. They are a tough team and found a way back in the game but Napoli’s took the lead two different times. This is not a team with a winning mentality. There was a penalty claim at the end right before the equalizer but that doesn’t excuse the way they played they should have put the game away earlier. Failing to win three of the last five games is just not good enough. This Napoli team is just too good to be in to be slipping as much as they have. They have not lived up to the expectations and we are continuing to see a downward spiral as they seem to be unraveling. If you look at their team player for player There is no excuse. They will not be the donkey of the week many weeks but it certainly seems fitting by the way they failed to live up to the expectations. It is a two-team race and Napoli is not a part of it and they only have themselves to blame.