Tops and Flops of Serie A Round 11: Resurgent Juventus, Unstoppable Diaz

Prior to the start of the extended-weekend, all eyes in the peninsula were on the thrilling Olimpico clash between Roma and league leaders Napoli. Now whether this encounter delivered or not is matter of perspective, but one thing is certain, the Partenopei have consolidated their status as Scudetto favorites on the back of a well-deserved away victory. Now let’s recap some of the other action of what was a truly memorable weekend in Italian football in our Tops and Flops from Serie A round 11.

Top (Player): Brahim Diaz

When Milan first signed Charles De Ketelaere in the summer, most of us expected Brahim Diaz to be the sacrificial lamb. After all, the Spaniard had been struggling for form and playing at the end of the previous campaign.

But perhaps the Belgian’s arrival was the spark that Brahim needed to swiftly put his stint with the Rossoneri back on track, and even reach new heights.

The attacking midfielder has been on a thrilling form since the start of the season, and in round 11, he made short work of Serie A newcomers Monza by scoring two fabulous goals in the first half.

What a baller!

Top (Player): Lautaro Martinez

Although Diaz is our top player of the weekend, failing to mention Lautaro Martinez’s exploits against Fiorentina would be blasphemous.

Amid the chaos in Florence, the Argentine showcased his immense talent as he led Inter towards a timely victory over the Tuscans.

The 24-year-old striker put Nicolò Barella through on goal with a sublime assist, before scoring the second goal himself with a thrilling solo run. He then restored the Nerazzurri’s lead by winning a spot kick and leaving the goalkeeper with absolutely no chance.

Flop (Player): Lorenzo Venuti

While Lautaro directly contributed in Inter’s first three goals, it was Lorenzo Venuti’s last-second blunder that gifted the three points to the visitors. Ironically, this isn’t the first time that the Fiorentina right-back commits such mistake in the final moments of a crucial clash at the Artemio Franchi.

Last season, the Italian scored an own goal in the first leg of the Coppa Italia Semi Final, which paved Juve’s path towards the finale. This time around, he tried to clear the square ball away, only to hit it into Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

While we do feel for the unlucky Venuti, we must say that he has a lot of work to do in order to improve his defensive skills.

Top (Manager): Stefano Pioli

As we all know, managers live and die based on their results on the pitch. So when a tactician decides to pull off a risky manoeuvre, it better pays off.

Luckily for Stefano Pioli, his rotated lineup was enough to put Monza to sleep. Ahead of an important Champions League meeting with Dinamo Zagreb, the coach opted to rest some of his most important players; the likes of Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud and Sandro Tonali.

Yet, Diaz and Divock Origi were able to do the damage, allowing Pioli to collect three league points while preserving fresh legs for Tuesday.

Flop (Team): Atalanta

On Round 11, Atalanta suffered their first Serie A defeat of the season at the hands of Lazio. So even though its harsh to label the Orobici as the ultimate flops following their maiden stumble, their display was so uncharacteristically woeful that earned the the “honor”.

Despite conceding early, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men failed to produce a single dangerous opportunity throughout the match, expect for Hans Hateboer’s chance who was standing offside anyway, allowing Lazio to earn a surprisingly easy win in Bergamo.

Top (Team): Juventus

Well, it’s refreshing to see Juventus landing on the “Top” section for a change. The Bianconeri displayed their superiority over Empoli from start to finish, scoring four unanswered goals.

What made the victory even more special is the team spirit showcased by Massimiliano Allegri’s men, with the goals coming from various players, rather than solely relying on Dusan Vlahovic.

Flop (Match): Atalanta vs Lazio

As we mentioned above, Atalanta failed to show up for what was supposed to be an exciting encounter. For their part, Lazio found it much easier than expected. Even their goals came from avoidable defensive blunders La Dea’s part.

All in all, the encounter didn’t live up to the expectations.

Top (Match): Fiorentina vs Inter

Seven goals, back-and-forth action, controversial calls, stunning goals, an injury-time equalizer and a last-second winner. The Calcio gods truly spoiled us with this one!

Whether you liked the final outcome or not, this epic battle will remain in the memory-lane for quite some time.

Top (Goalkeeper): Barlomiej Dragowski

Despite ending up on the losing side, the Polish goalkeeper enjoyed a strong outing on round 11 when Salernitana hosted Spezia in a potential relegation dogfight.

The hosts eventually emerged victorious by a single goal, but if it wasn’t for Dragowski’s fantastic saves, it wouldn’t have been such a tight affair.

Top (Goal): Pasquale Mazzocchi

As we mentioned above, Dragowski was in a splendid form. Thus, it required something special to beat the Spezia goalkeeper, and Salernitana’s Pasquale Mazzocchi accomplished the deed with a stunning curler that landed in the far corner.

Nonetheless, Victor Osimhen, Jonathan Ikone, Lautaro Martinez, Brahim Diaz and Filippo Ranocchia all deserve honorable mentions, as it truly was a weekend filled with jaw-dropping strikes.

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