Cristian Speranza (@Spero1926) cast his watchful gaze over tonight’s match. Here’s how the players fared in his eyes:
Reina (7): Forced into some theatrical dives following a few dangerous shots from range, however there was minimal pressure on the veteran keeper this week.
Hysaj (7): A great example of consistency on that right flank, however was susceptible to leaving gaps behind.
Albiol (7.5): Calm, composed and subtly brutish, the big Spaniard held the back line tremendously well, staving off a confident Benevento attack in the first half. His distribution has improved tremendously, minimising his mistakes.
Koulibaly (7): Did well to stoke the flames of a fiery Benevento in the early minutes of the match, who looked like they may bag the first goal. Very fortunate not to concede a ridiculously rash penalty as the VAR ruled it’s build-up play offside.
Rui (7.5): Finally looks like he’s moulded into Sarri’s football, attacking with clinical ferocity and joining in the intricate passing play with far fewer mistakes.
Hamsik (8): Highly composed for a majority of the match, making his subtly intricate passing game look almost easy. A cheeky dink almost set up a second for Dries, whilst a bombarding run on the end of a Callejon cross saw him bag his fifth of the season.
Allan (8) : An absolute powerhouse, bullying the Benevento players with what seemed like his limitless energy! The only player consistently at full speed for the whole 90 minutes.
Jorginho (6): Somewhat weak in possession at times, losing out to any pressure from the Benevento midfield. Was strong in intercepting most of the forward play before it became dangerous.
Callejon (7.5): I felt he was much more effective in offense than he has been these past few weeks, making some crucial runs behind the back line and even coming close to finding the net himself late on. A brilliantly calm and calculated assist for Hamsik capitalised on the mistake of a shell-shocked Benevento defense.
Insigne (7.5): Came close to scoring a chip of pure class early on in the match, denied only by the woodwork and his own poor luck. Almost caught out early on by not following the run of a Benevento forward, but made up for it with his usually impressive offensive presence as well as his commitment to being a deep option at times.
Mertens (8): Scored an accidentally amazing goal early in the first half, shutting down a Benevento side who had been frighteningly intense thus far. Was involved in most of the attacking play, drifting to the left at times to accommodate Insigne’s deep play. Hobbled off the field after a terrible challenge, however the lack of any urgent concern should be a reassuring sign.
Zielinski: Came on to replace Hamsik and is slowly looking like a real threat with the speed and tenacity of a young Hamsik, as well as some silky strokes of the ball.
Rog: Played with his usual intensity, shutting down the Benevento midfield as their confidence was draining.
Diawara: A player I’ve been dying to see get more game time, just wish he’d had a few more minutes and a more intense game to show his stuff.