Serie A 2023/24: Player of the Week – Matchday 14

A goal and an assist was enough to win Nicolo Barella the 2023/24 Serie A Player of the Week award for Matchday 14, as Inter defeated reigning champions Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez celebrate for Inter against Napoli (@Inter_en).

Inter returned to the top of the Serie A table after a 3-0 win over Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, as the contribution of Nicolo Barella won the midfielder the 2023/24 Serie A Player of the Week crown for Matchday 14.

The reigning champions had been expected to give the Nerazzurri a tough test in Naples, but an assist and goal from the Italy international helped the Milanese giants brush aside their rivals from the south with relative ease.

Nicolo Barella and Marcus Thuram celebrate the Italian’s goal against Napoli (@Inter_en).

Nicolo Barella got back to his best against Napoli

Ahead of the game with the Partenopei, the 26-year-old had registered just one assist so far this term and was not dominating games in the same way as he had since joining the club from Cagliari in the summer of 2019.

It was Barella who played a crucial role in Inter taking the lead just before half-time in Naples, though. Deftly touching the ball onto the oncoming Hakan Calhanoglu, who fired a low first-time shot past goalkeeper Alex Meret.

Inter’s Carlos Augusto and Nicolo Barella celebrate in their orange third kit. (@Inter)

Balance of Nicolo Barella helps beat Napoli

The Neapolitans could have had the chance to equalise against Inter, but a penalty appeal by Victor Osimhen for a challenge on him by Francesco Acerbi was waved away by the referee, and the hosts quickly paid the price.

Almost immediately, the Nerazzurri broke on the counter-attack and Barella displayed excellent technique and balance to collect the ball in his stride, hurdle past two challenges and slip the ball past Meret whilst going to ground.

It was the first time he had scored a goal and provided an assist away from the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza since December 2020, against former side Cagliari.