Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 25: Sarri Derails Napoli

Admittedly, this wasn’t exactly the most fascinating weekend in Calcio, with the lack of goals proving to be a common theme all across the peninsula. Nevertheless, this matchday still had its moments, including a couple of surprising results and some banger goals. As usual, we’ll wrap up the most interesting action in our own way, while recognizing the best and worst performers of the weekend. So here are our Tops and Flops from Serie A Round 25.

Top (Player): Armand Laurienté

Well, it wouldn’t be a Serie A campaign without at least one exciting breakout star at Sassuolo. So please step forward Armand Laurienté!

With Giacomo Raspadori gone and Domenico Berardi not enjoying his finest season, the 24-year-old has slowly but surely cemented himself as the main talisman at the Mapei Stadium.

On Monday, the Frenchman broke the deadlock against Cremonese from a direct freekick, before providing the assist for Davide Frattesi who doubled the hosts’ lead. When the visitors mounted a comeback, it was Laurienté who picked up Nedim Bajrami with a sublime assist with the outside of the boot to snatch the late winner.

Flop (Player): Moise Kean

On some occasions, 40 seconds can be enough for a player to cement himself either as a hero or a zero. Sadly for Moise Kean, it was the latter case. When Juventus needed a savior at the Olimpico, Massimiliano Allegri thrusted his striker in the final minutes, but the decision instantly backfired.

The 23-year-old fell straight into Gianluca Mancini’s trap, replying to the defender’s provocative action with a leg kick that earned him his marching orders, ending his cameo in less than a minute.

This could earn him a lengthy ban.

Top (Manager): Maurizio Sarri

On his return to the Maradona Stadium, Maurizio Sarri sported a whole different approach from the one that Neapolitans had come accustomed to. The Lazio manager traded his perfectionist ideology with a more pragmatic stance.

The Biancocelesti were cautious, yet effective, as their boss had seemingly found the right recipe to sabotage Luciano Spalletti’s well-oiled machine.

In the end, Matias Vecino’s wonder striker was enough to seal the Partenopei’s first home defeat of the Serie A campaign, starting Round 25 with an unexpected result.

Flop (Manager): Gian Piero Gasperini

For the second match in a row, Gian Piero Gasperini hasn’t been able to inspire his players, as they settle for a goalless draw against Udinese.

The experienced tactician must find a way to get Atalanta back to the win column as soon as possible, otherwise, a Champions League spot will become unattainable.

Top (Team): Fiorentina

For the first time in a while, Fiorentina pulled off an enchanting display in Serie A. The Tuscans delivered the biggest upset of the weekend as they toppled Milan with two goals to one.

The Viola produced a positive brand of football, bringing back memories from last season when Vincenzo Italiano’s men were entertaining the crowds at the Artemio Franchi on a constant basis.

Flop (Team): Napoli

First of all, it was to be said that the “Flop” tag doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual or the team was the absolute worst of the weekend, but rather the most disappointing.

So based on the immense expectations currently laid on Napoli’s shoulders, the uninspiring display on Friday night surely left much to be desired.

Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Stanislav Lobokta all weren’t at their best against Lazio, but luckily for the Partenopei, they still have another 15 points to spare, as they remain the runaway Serie A leaders after Round 25.

Top (Goalkeeper): Marco Silvestri

As we mentioned above, Atalanta weren’t at their absolute best against Udinese, yet, a few Marco Silvestri heroics were still required to deny Gasperini’s men. The goalkeeper earned his clean sheet the hard way.

Top (Match): Sassuolo vs Cremonese

In an underwhelming Serie A weekend that only bore 16 goals overall, we must be thankful for Sassuolo and Cremonese for raising the tally in an entertaining brawl that produced five goals – that’s almost a third of the strikes from the entirety of Round 25.

But more importantly, the matchup itself was genuinely intriguing. The home side seemed to be heading towards a comfortable win, going to the interval with a two-goal cushion. Nonetheless, Cyriel Dessers came off the bench to drag the Tigers back to the encounter with a personal brace, but the Neroverdi had the last word, as Bajrami struck home in added-time, much to the delight of the crowd at the Mapei.

Flop (Match): Sampdoria vs Salernitana

While Liverpool were dismantling the hapless Manchester United at Anfield Road with seven unanswered goals, the disappointed Serie A supporters had been witnessing a series of dull affairs in Round 25, but none more tedious than the one between Sampdoria and Salernitana.

Kudos to both sets of fans who kept cheering on their teams from the first to the final whistle, but sadly, their enthusiasm didn’t translate to the pitch.

Top (Goal): Matias Vecino

Although we picked Laurienté as the best player of the round, Matias Vecino also had a genuine claim. The Uruguayan got the nod ahead of his Lazio teammate Danilo Cataldi, and he repaid Sarri’s trust with an impeccable display in the middle of the park, playing a pivotal role in shutting down Napoli’s attacks.

Nonetheless, his most significant contribution remains the thunderous low drive seemingly out of nowhere which proved to be worth three vital points for the capital side.

Top (Super-Sub): Luka Jovic

It has been a season of highs and lows for Luka Jovic – with the negatives arguably outweighing the positives.

Yet, the Serbian bomber possesses a true killer instinct, and his splendid diving header against Milan stands as a perfect testament to his lethal touch in front of goal.

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