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Serie A 2019-20: The best XI of the season so far

  • The Serie A is blessed with many exciting talents right now and they have contributed to a great season.
  • Here, we pick the best in each position from the season so far.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 29 Mar 2020, 22:02 IST

Serie A 2019-20 has seen some scintillating performances.
Serie A 2019-20 has seen some scintillating performances.

Once upon a time, the Serie A used to be the league of legends. All the greatest players in the world plied their trade in the Italian top-flight and contested in some of the biggest clashes in world football.

Even though that's no longer the case, the arrivals of many stellar names and managers with proven credentials have restored some pride back in the league.

This season in particular, has been absolutely glorious and has produced one of the fiercest title challenges among Europe's top five leagues Many players too have been at the top of their game, but let's pick out the best in each position for the dream XI of the campaign so far:

Goalkeeper: Wojceich Szczesny (Juventus)

Szczesny has replaced Buffon as Juve
Szczesny has replaced Buffon as Juve's No.1 choice in goal

After a series of impressive performances, Szczesny has proved how he's an able successor to Gianluigi Buffon. The Bianconeri legend returned to Turin last summer, but has only been a deputy to the Pole. He has the best percentage of clean sheets in terms of games played, and also concedes an average of only 0.7 goals a game. Juventus also recently rewarded him for his performances with a contract extension that is set to keep him at the club until 2024.

Right-back: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

Cuadrado has turned into an important element of Sarri
Cuadrado has turned into an important element of Sarri's schemes.

The Colombian has operated out of numerous positions in his career, particularly the right wing, but has now found his sweet spot in the right wing-back position under Maurizio Sarri. Composed in possession and mature in decision-making, Juan Cuadrado is also good at anticipating.

He has become the key to breaking down defenses with his ability to carry the ball, though he has particularly stood out for his defensive contributions. The ex-Chelsea player averages more tackles than Alex Sandro on the other side, and also ranks 13th in the league for average passes laid per match. He was on the verge of leaving Juventus last summer, but such a scenario is nearly unthinkable now.

Centre-back: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio)

Acerbi has gone from battling cancer to becoming a fine defender with Lazio
Acerbi has gone from battling cancer to becoming a fine defender with Lazio
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Francesco Acerbi's journey from battling cancer to become one of the best centre-backs in Europe is truly remarkable. He has stepped in to fill Stefan De Vrij's shoes with relative ease, while Simone Inzaghi's 3-5-2 formation seems to have unlocked an extra level or two in his game.

Tall and physically imposing, Acerbi is unbeatable even in the air while his abilities on the ball are second to none. He averages almost three clearances per match and also been involved in four goals so far, showcasing his attacking instincts.

Centre-back: Stefan De Vrij (Inter Milan)

De Vrij has nailed down his spot at the heart of Inter
De Vrij has nailed down his spot at the heart of Inter's defence

Chris Smalling has made a convincing case to feature here after impressing with AS Roma, but to hold your own in an Inter Milan side containing the likes of Diego Godin and Milan Skriniar is a stellar achievement.

De Vrij hasn't failed to deliver since signing for the Nerazzurris and has elevated his game further under the tutelage of Antonio Conte. His distributions skills are top-notch, and he averages a 91.5% pass success rate! De Vrij is excellent in the air too, and has constantly reminded us of his offensive side by getting involved in five goals so far.

Left-back: Theo Hernandez (AC Milan)

Serie A
Serie A's signing of the season?

Until recently, Theo Hernandez was the most prolific scorer for AC Milan! This may be a reflection of everything wrong with the Rossoneris right now, but it is also a testament to how far he has come since his Real Madrid days.

Not only has he nailed down a spot in Stefano Pioli's starting XI, but he has also been their most consistent performer. Hernandez has clocked more minutes than anyone in the squad, and has also scored six times across league and cup games, the most by a Milan defender in a debut season in almost two decades.

Defensive midfielder: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan)

Brozovic has shown how much difference a year can make
Brozovic has shown how much difference a year can make

Antonio Conte's arrival has seen many players rediscover their best including Marcelo Brozovic. He has improved drastically since last season, and played a key role in Inter's revolution. The Croat is seen dropping the deepest in the midfield when Inter are on the back foot, makes crunch tackles, and also averages an 89% accuracy with his passes.

Brozovic doesn't hesitate to carry the ball forward either, and this trait has led to five assists so far. He was a marginal figure last year, but more consistency this term has seen him become a crucial member of Inter's midfield.

Right winger: Josip Ilicic (Atalanta)

Ilicic bagged four in his last appearance, as his stock continues to rise
Ilicic bagged four in his last appearance, as his stock continues to rise

Who says a footballer cannot hit his peak after 30? Just look at Josip Ilicic. The relentless Slovenian is witnessing the most productive days of his career and has lead Atalanta's wildly exciting and entertaining side. He has 21 goals in all competitions, already the most Ilicic has ever netted in a single campaign before, with 15 of those coming in the league alongside eight assists. He is also the highest-rated player in the Italian top-flight by WhoScored alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. The ex-Fiorentina forward is aging like fine wine, and also redefining the concept of late bloomers.

Attacking midfielder: Luis Alberto (Lazio)

Alberto
Alberto's all-round performances have drawn parallels to Lionel Messi

Another important piece in the Lazio-shaped jigsaw, Luis Alberto is the creative force upon which the likes of Ciro Immobile have thrived. His relentless ability to pick out passes and open up spaces has made him indispensable to Simone Inzaghi's side. Alberto's 12 assists so far is second to none. The Spaniard has also laid the most key passes, whilst also impressing to the hilt with his dribbling quality. Unfortunately, he is severely underrated and doesn't get the credit he actually deserves.

Attacking midfielder: Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta)

Another unsung hero in Serie A
Another unsung hero in Serie A

Since the start of 2017/18 season, only Lionel Messi, Kevin De Bruyne, Jadon Sancho, Thomas Muller and Luis Alberto have laid at least 30 assists in a season besides Alejandro Gomez. Yet, he is never really discussed and hardly gets to be in the limelight. His ability to create is also right up there amongst the very best. The Argentinian is only bettered by Alberto in the assist count in the Serie A, and has also chipped in with six goals.

Left winger: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

What new do we say about this guy?
What new do we say about this guy?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the epitome of the longevity and peerless in many other ways.. Even at the ripe old age of 35, he's taking teams apart all by himself, and Juventus have benefited from this with glee.

The Bianconeris may sit atop the pile, but without Ronaldo's interventions the circumstances would have been grim. The Portuguese ace has struck 21 times, while his blazing form also saw him equal the record for scoring in 11 consecutive games. He has also chipped in with six assists and will fire a lot more at this rate during the home stretch if and when the season resumes.

Striker: Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Immobile has been unstoppable this season
Immobile has been unstoppable this season

Lazio have emerged to be serious contenders for the title and the catalyst behind such a phenomenal campaign so far is Ciro Immobile. The 30-year old has been on fire, netting left, right and centre as he's already on 27 goals for the season, the most in Europe's top five leagues currently. With another 12 games to go, he is well on course to break the record for most in a campaign, and will be paramount in Lazio's final push for the Scudetto should Serie A resume at some point of time in the future.


Published 29 Mar 2020, 22:02 IST
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