Top Three Performers and Donkey of the week (Make up games) #787

Aaron Ramsey vs Inter Milan 

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Aaron Ramsey came to Italy from Arsenal in the summer. It was expected to be one of the Italian Giants Marquee signings ahead of the new year. Maybe his level isn’t something to get overly excited about but it was one of the deals that Juventus put together to continue to try to win trophies. The main problem with Aaron Ramsey is his injury issues when healthy he is a fantastic player the concern is he is just not healthy enough. However he had a Breakout game in their biggest match of the Season against one of their biggest rivals in the title race. He was one of the performers of the week as he was a big part of why Juventus managed to retake their position at the top of Italian football. He finally had that Breakout game that really highlighted his quality and potential importance to the Midfield. Juventus does not have a very strong Midfield but because of this Ramsey actually more important. He was not the superstar in the match and he didn’t steal the headlines but he accounted for both of the goals. You can make an argument that it was just based on the circumstances but none the less he scored one goal and assisted another against Inter in the derby d’Italia one of the biggest matches in Italy. Ramsey is just trying to find himself more comfortable within this team. A performance on that stage take another step towards it. On the first goal of the game Aaron Ramsey just found himself at the right place at the right time. The play was largely orchestrated by Higuaín and Ronaldo but Ramsey came in and took advantage of the opportunity sticking the ball into the back of the net to give Juventus at the time a 1-0 lead. On the second goal it was dybala brilliance but Aaron Ramsey’s touchpass was really important as it set up dybala strike that killed off the game. He hasn’t had very many games like this but Aaron Ramsey could become a more important part of the Midfield. He is capable of putting a performance like this even if it’s not very often. Now that he’s healthy after dealing with injury issues once again he’s starting to grasp the team and finding his place within it. A performance like this should give him unbelievable confidence going forward throughout the rest of the season. Aaron Ramsey’s performance put Juventus once again in the driver seat of the title race. I acknowledge him as a performer of the week for the first time this season as he continues to find his place within the team a performance on this stage proves that he may be a little bit more important then he may seem.

 

Fabio Quagliarella vs Verona (2)

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Sampdoria last season was one of the surprises of the Italian football calendar. Obviously Atalanta storyline so most of the headline but sampdoria quietly had a very productive season at points they were on the verge of European football. They broke down at the back half of the season and ultimately missed out on European competitions but nonetheless it was a very productive season for sampdoria. This season it has been the polar opposite of what we have seen from them. They started the season with just one win in the first 10 games. With ultimately led to the sacking of eusebio di Francesco. Claudio Ranieri was the man to take over for him just like at Roma last season. He guided sampdoria out of the relegation Zone but that does not change the fact that sampdoria are still not playing up to their standard and still are only out of the relegation Zone by inches. The biggest issue with this team was the lack of production they have seen from Fabio Quagliarella. He was the League’s top scorer last season and despite all the penalties that he ended up taking last year he proved to be one of the best players in the league. He is one of the League’s most seasoned players being 37 years old he is still shown to be able to deliver. He is not someone who’s going to be delivering frequently but an important games occasionally is showing up to the party. Sampdoria took down Hellas Verona one of the surprises of the season. The side from Verona came into the season after winning promotion last season. It was highly expected that they would be one of the teams fighting it out for survival an Italian football but surprisingly they have been a borderline European team this season. They went into this match as favorites  even though they took a 1-0 lead. This was a game that belong to Fabio Quagliarella. He ended up scoring twice  late in the second half to ultimately earn sampdoria all three points as they still are hanging out of the relegation Zone by just a few points. Once again proves age is just a number as he provides the goals that sampdoria needed to take them to the points against a really strong team. A late strike from the elderly Striker brought them Samp back in the game. Late in the match up sampdoria was given a late penalty with a possibility of stealing point in a match in which Verona looked like the better team at many points. Fabio Quagliarella stepped up and deliver taking sampdoria to all three points as Fabio Quagliarella makes a rare appearance as one of the performers of the week. He came through when his team needed him the most. Even though his second goal was a penalty this was a different then my usual terminology when it comes to penalties. This was high stakes and high pressure given the fact that it was in the last few minutes of the game. Even though the game was even at the time he did a great job converting it and ultimately taking his team to all three points that is why he’s earned recognition as one of the performers of the week.

 

 

Paulo Dybala vs Inter (5)

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Paulo dybala continues week in & 2 week out to prove that he is the best player in Italian football. He is without question the player of the season and I don’t think it’s even close anymore. He has significantly separated himself from everyone else with a string of performances on the big stage is against the best teams in Italy. While his stats don’t really reflect his impact on the game it doesn’t matter he is driving this team to the league title. Every time there’s been a big game he has come through and performed. Juventus has not been at their best a large portion the season but in a good amount of those games Paulo Dybala has made the biggest impact on the team and he is the architect of this Juventus team. Cristiano Ronaldo has done a great job by supplying the team the goals but a lot of the times dybala is the one creating opportunities for teammates put them in the best position the wins game. Inter Milan with Antonio Conte is a different animal than what we have seen from them over the last several seasons. Antonio Conte’s teams always play time are really physical and make things difficult on the opposition. In two games against Inter Milan Paulo dybala has scored twice. In both games he’s scored the dagger then ultimately led to Juventus picking up all three points. This was already a game of high-stakes with inter and Juventus going head-to-head  components of the title race. In the end it will continue to be a dog fight between both teams as well as Lazio. With Juventus having not played prior to this match they had a chance to go to Top with a victory against a heated rival. Paulo dybala was absolutely Sensational he just continue to show his unbelievable quality as he is slowly becoming one of the most underrated players in the world football. Juventus just plays at a different tune when Paulo dybala is involved and is playing at his best. At his best no one even come close in Italy. There have been certain point in the season in which the race for the player this season has been a little closer he is separated himself significantly from everyone else and unless something chaotic happens he has it in the bag. He is one of the best players in football it’s unclear at this point whether Juventus will win the league title but if they do it will be behind the back of dybala. The way he has impacted the game through the Midfield his unselfishness and his Killer Instinct in front of goal the numbers may not be flashing but when you watch the games you see what kind of player is there’s a reason he ends up on this list almost every week he is just a level above everyone else. This was a massively important match in the derby d’Italia not only because the history of the fixture but because of what it could meant for the league table. Juventus had an opportunity to go top and Paulo Dybala came off the bench and delivered as he often does in big matches this is what makes him so explosive and so much better than everyone else.

 

DONKEY OF THE WEEK: AC MILAN 

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It has been quite a while since AC Milan has found themselves as the donkey of the week. Since the signing of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic the club have more or less been together. Even though is Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not contributed all that much on the pitch he has helped them in the locker room and has taught them how to win games. They managed to crawl outside of the mid-table and closer to the European places. Everything seemed to be going well at AC Milan at least considering what the reputation has been and the expectation is for the season. AC Milan are clearly not as talented as many of the teams that are fighting for European places . However the Run of good form ended this weekend and even more than that AC Milan seems to start to implode again. AC Milan fell to a Genoa team that is fighting for realgation. They managed to escape it with a victory over AC Milan but still are very much in that part of the table and will be a fight to the end for their survival. This is exactly the wrong time for them to hit something in the middle of the road. Napoli are heating up and are one of the most in-form teams this season. Napoli is their biggest rival to the Europa League next season. Then on top of that Roma have not played well lately even though they managed to get two consecutive wins this was the time for AC Milan to try to make up some ground. Against some of the bigger teams dropping points is more acceptable and I would give them the benefit of the doubt against bigger team. However a Genoa team with very limited attacking there’s no excuse for AC Milan to have lost that game. It ended up being a close match but ultimately Genoa ended up holding on to earn a very important to 2-1 victory. On top of that they have sacked one of their directors who was largely responsible for bringing in Ibrahimovic. This is a disaster even though their performances have improved on the pitch this is just too much drama to have in a season. There are also rumors about possibly Paolo Maldini stepping down after the horror show he has put together since he has it taken up a position at AC Milan in the front office. The problem is he was the one who brought Ibrahimovic to AC Milan in January. With that being said his future does seem uncertain after this season. There could be more and more changes with AC Milan that they frankly need. The fact they did this is not a bad thing the timing is what is concerning. AC Milan will eventually need to blow the entire thing up because of the lack of results for a team of this caliber. AC Milan is not a big Club anymore the expectation is for them to make a Champions League football but the problem is they’re not at that level anymore and there needs to be a lot of changes for something like that to happen. While I realize AC Milan was one point away from making the Champions League last season everybody underperformed so it was not an appropriate reflection of what was actually going on. AC Milan seems to be going backwards and they’re not taking the appropriate steps to build a winning tradition. Yet another season in which AC Milan is going nowhere fast they earned themselves the donkey of the week again.

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