Spread out over four days, Week 14 of Serie A was a peculiar round indeed, with a number of shocking upsets and a dip in overall goals scored from recent weeks. However, entertainment both on and off the pitch were abundant per usual around the peninsula. Let's take a look at the best XI from the latest festival of football in the Italian top flight.
Sebastien Frey, Genoa
Genoa's 33 year-old battle-hardened veteran keeper was in top form against a dangerous Atalanta side for his struggling Grifone, denying German Denis and Maxi Moralez several times each in spectacular fashion. Frey's exploits were essential to his side picking up the three points with a 1-0 victory in a match where his side saw only 35% possession and was out shot 16-6 on the road in Bergamo.
Mattia De Sciglio, Milan
The young Italian's rise to prominence continued with an all-around performance against fearsome defending champions Juventus. De Sciglio nearly scored with a long range effort early on and continued to menace the Bianconeri defense throughout with his rambling forays into the offensive third, all whilst simultaneously silencing the usually dominant Kwadwo Asamoah to such a level that the Ghanaian was removed with 18 minutes to go at a deficit.
Gabriel Paletta, Palermo
The towering Argentine was exceptional on the day in repeatedly shutting down the Inter's potent duo of Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio. Paletta made a crucial last-man intervention at one point, and remained vigilant in the air and on the ground on the day, winning 75% of his aerial duels and finishing with a total of 6 tackles.
The 18 year-old displayed an air of confidence belying his years throughout as he continues to cement his place in Zdenek Zeman's starting XI over the more experienced Nicolas Burdisso. Marquinhos showed considerable comfort in possession and sure-footed passing ability, whilst his performance was essential in denying Pescara even a single shot on goal throughout the 90 minutes. The Brazilian's crucial block on an attempted volley from Elvis Abbruscato highlighted his alertness and the overall intelligence with which the youngster plies his trade.
Luis Pedro Cavanda, Lazio
Cavanda was impressive stepping in for Abdoulay Konko, especially considering that he was fielded on the right side of defense rather than in his natural position on the left. The young Belgian gave Pablo Armero not a moment's rest, surging forward to put in a score of dangerous crosses, whilst snuffing out the Colombian's attempts to stretch play out wide for his side.
Kevin Constant, Milan
The versatile Guinean furthered his case for claiming Milan's starting left-back role, turning in a fantastic shift in the Rossoneri's biggest match of the season. Constant(ly) harassed Mauricio Isla as the Chilean tried to open up the defense down the flank to such an extent that Angelo Alessio removed the former Udinese man at half. At one point, he even daringly dribbled through four Juventus defenders in midfield, earning a multitude of live tweets awarding the moniker "Diego Armando Maraconstant".
Josip Ilicic, Palermo
The 24 year-old flourished in his role on the left side of Palermo's attacking trident, netting two high quality strikes in a span of 11 minutes to effectively kill off the fiery Derby di Sicilia with a half hour still to play. He was also excellent in the passing game, feeding multiple dangerous balls to substitute Paulo Dybala in the middle, and could've scored more if it wasn't for Mariano Andujar.
Riccardo Montolivo, Milan
The Italy international thrived in the Milan midfield in his first appearance as captain of Milan, controlling the match both offensively and defensively with devastating efficiency. Montolivo's performance was of vintage caliber, as he played incisive balls upfield, dictated the tempo in possession, and won the ball back at an equal rate to holding role compatriot Nigel de Jong.
Valon Behrami, Napoli
The Swiss did it all for Napoli on a day when the squad looked slightly out of sorts for much of the match. A fantastic ball from Behrami over the top on 32 minutes nearly saw Lorenzo Insigne break the deadlock, whilst he recorded an immense and rather mind-blowing tally of 11 tackles throughout the match at the Is Arenas.
Franco Brienza, Palermo
The wily veteran was a hazard out wide for the Rosanero, most of all when cutting inside from the right flank. Brienza's experience proved vital to Palermo's massive win, as he caused constant panic among the Catania back line, supplying the each assist on Josip Illicic's wonderful brace.
Jonathan Biabiany, Parma
The Frenchman clearly had an axe to grind with his former club, racing rampantly down the right flank for the full 90 minutes and running rings around Yuto Nagatomo. Biabiany was equally effective with and without the ball, dancing past defenders with grace when in possession, and tearing apart the defense with his movement when without.