Week 7 saw an excellent mixture of solid goalkeeping, staunch defending, and fantastic forward play after its predecessor threw prudence to the wind with an all-out attacking display. An abundance of quality performances has made for an eclectic balance of resurrected stars, young talent, and weekly heroes in this edition of Team of the Week. Let's take a look at Serie A's best XI of match day 7.
Maarten Stekelenburg, Roma
The recently maligned Dutch international silenced his critics with a match defining performance in goal, keeping a clean sheet to allow Roma to rediscover its attacking stride and press forward to defeat a plucky Atalanta side. Stekelenburg's outing was highlighted by a fantastic stop on German Denis when the Argentine was clear on goal, and a delightful smothering catch from an Ezequiel Schelotto header early on in the day.
Walter Samuel, Inter
The grizzled Argentine turned in an all-action beauty for the Nerazzurri, deflating Milan early on with a wonderful blind header from Esteban Cambiasso's free-kick, and stifling the Rossoneri presence in the penalty area after Yuto Nagatomo was sent off early in the second half. Samuel's leadership in the back has undoubtedly been influential to Andrea Ranocchia's resurgence in defense, both in the Derby della Madonnina and throughout the beginning of the campaign.
Davide Astori, Cagliari
After a tumultuous start to the season, the 25 year-old Italian seems to have recaptured the form which has seen him linked with scores of prestigious clubs over the past two summers. Astori was a particular nuisance to the powerful Rolando Bianchi, playing a crucial role in shutting down a Torino attack that showed its true potential with a 5 goal performance against Atalanta one week ago. He also was responsible for creating the winning goal for the Isolani, pressing forward to see his shot handled in the box for Nene's penalty.
Andrea Ranocchia, Inter
Alongside Samuel, Ranocchia was key to Inter's success at maintaining a clean sheet despite only having 10 men on the pitch for half of the match. The Italian constantly foiled the pacy Bojan, and shut down the dynamic and recently prolific Stephan El Sharaawy with a confident approach that few have taken against the dynamic 19 year-old. He was excellent both in the air and on the ground, appearing comfortable in possession whilst emerging victorious from every aerial battle he took part in.
Following a disappointing showing midweek in the Europa League against Maribor, the Brazilian international returned to his usual level of fantasy, curling in a dazzling free-kick from 30 yards and linking up with Miroslav Klose on a corner for the German's second goal of the day. Hernanes was a constant threat in midfield, touching the ball more than any other player on the pitch and giving Pescara fits with silky dribbling and utmost control in possession.
Marek Hamsik, Napoli
What more can be said about the Azzurri playmaker that has not already graced Serie A headlines this season? The perennial Team of the Week member constantly threatened Udinese's security at the back with fantastic runs off the ball and deathly accurate distribution from his role in the heart of the Napoli midfield. His opening goal was a product of his indomitable will to compete, and Hamsik's emphatic celebration perfectly encapsulated the dedication and enthusiasm with which the Slovakian competes for the Partenopei shirt.
Andrea Pirlo, Juventus
Il Metronomo was his usual incisive self against a determined Siena side, opening the scoring with a wily free-kick under the defensive wall and continuing to probe with lethally accurate passing throughout the match. Pirlo touched the ball an incredible 111 times on the day, underlining his importance to a Juventus side that continues to win games even when not at their best.
Gokhan Inler, Napoli
The Swiss midfielder complemented Hamsik with superbly accurate passing of his own, but added another dimension to Napoli's game with his unique tactical mind in defense, providing extra cover for the young Federico Fernandez in the centre of the park and effectively pressuring Antonio Di Natale and Maicosuel whenever they came near the ball in the offensive third. Inler also provided the assist for Goran Pandev's match winning goal, picking out the Macedonian expertly in the Udinese penalty area after receiving a back pass from Edinson Cavani.
Miroslav Klose, Lazio
The veteran German took home a first half brace from the Stadio Adriatico, demonstrating his trademark ability to always be in the right place at the right time. Klose's opening strike was made possible by excellent positioning to go clear on goal and round the promising Mattia Perin, whilst his second was the object of intelligent movement in the box to evade the marking of the physically imposing Christian Terlizzi.
Francesco Totti, Roma
The talismanic captain led the Giallorossi to a much needed victory against Atalanta at the Olimpico with an inspiring performance from his hybrid playmaker role on the left wing. The King of Rome was excellent as usual in the pass, creating Erik Lamela's goal with a visionary and audacious chipped pass through the heart of the Orobici defense, and was denied a sensational goal from distance only due to an exceptional save from Andrea Consigli. At 36 years of age, Totti had the most touches of any player on the pitch, a testament to the work ethic that drives the Roma captain forward at a rate that belies his seniority.
Erik Lamela, Roma
After greatly disappointing in his past 2 outings against Juventus and Sampdoria, the highly touted Argentine youngster turned in a tireless performance to get back on track. Lamela moved up and down the right flank wonderfully, linking up with the midfield and showing increased initiative by dangerously running at defenders. His goal was the product of a fine run and tactical understanding with Totti, and he even chipped in on the defensive front admirably in leading the squad with 5 tackles.