The Serie A, Italy’s best division is best known for teams such as: Juventus, Napoli, Roma etc also the fine players the league possesses such as Gonzalo Higuaín, Gianluigi Buffon, Miralem Pjanić and so on… However not so many people would’ve heard all about the unknown talent in Serie A who impressed last season. And this is what my article is going to be about today. You may have heard of some of these players or even all of them if you follow Serie A but if you’re like me then hopefully I can make you aware of talent which you wasn’t aware of before. I’ve researched each player to get a vague understanding of each player.
Goalkeeper: Antonio Mirante (Bologna)
Mirante who is 33, is no doubt at the latter stage of his career. However this didn’t stop him getting 12 clean sheets last season for Bologna,helping them finish 14th.
Playing 33/38 games in the Serie A last season, Mirante is the number one choice at Bologna, you can tell why with these stats. Mirante made 2.02 saves per goal conceded, this means that he conceded 41 goals and made 83 saves last season. Mirante’s distribution however wasn’t the greatest with %60 accuracy. This is to be expected as he’s an older keeper. However with 84 catches, the Bologna man is a reliable goalkeeper in the Serie A.
Andrea Costa (Empoli)
Costa helped Empoli finish 10th in Serie A since getting promoted the season before last, this was a huge achievement for Empoli as they were expected among the relegation battle to Serie B.
He was part of the defense which conceded a creditable 49 goals last season. Costa, who can play left back or center back, made 92 interceptions and an impressive 23 blocks last season! The 30 year old joined from Parma last summer and helped keep Empoli up. Costa made 0 errors which lead to goals and made 136 clearances. However Andrea Costa only made 10 successful tackles with 23 being lost. Despite this, Costa won 69 aerial duels being 60.53% successful. Not to mention he had 87% pass completion from the back.
Davide Astori (Fiorentina)
The second man in my defence, Astori, is one of the more well known players in this team due to his time at Roma. He is currently at Fiorentina since signing from Cagliari. Astori helped Fiorentina finish 5th in Serie A last season.
He was at the heart of the defense with 33/38 games played! The 6’2 center back made a reasonable 95 interceptions and 18 blocks. Astori only picked up 5 yellow cards last season however this is the highest among my back 4. None the less, Davide Astori’s strengths are in the air with 62 aerial duels won and a 72.09% win percentage in the air. Furthermore, the 29 year old has an 89% pass completion rate! Despite these positives, Astori made 1 error leading to a goal. The highest in the defense regardedless, hes still very much a reliable center back.
Francesco Acerbi (Sassuolo)
Francesco Acerbi was in the heart of Sassuolo’s defense in the Serie A last season playing 36/38 games. The highest out of my back line.
Acerbi made 139 interceptions, 21 blocks and 199 clearances. This shows the former Genoa man is very much a reliable choice. At the age of 28, Acerbi is currently in his prime at a centre back. This is even more of a reason for him to be noticed along with these statistics. Acerbi recorded only 3 yellow cards despite playing the most in the defense! The Italian with 2 caps to his name won 41 tackles and lost only 29! However, Acerbi’s strengths aren’t in the air with 57 aerial duels won accompanied with a 66.28% win percentage. Acerbi’s pass completion is joint second highest on 87%.
Gonzalo Rodríguez (Fiorentina)
My final member in my defence is Gonzalo Rodríguez, the Argentinean also helped his side Fiorentina finish 5th in Serie A along with Davide Astori marshalling the back line!
Rodríguez made 87 interceptions, 17 blocks and 160 clearances last season. Comparing to the others,he’s fairly mediocre so far but with playing 35 games, his stats should no doubt be higher. Rodríguez also has a lack of discipline to a certain extent with 7 yellow cards. Higher than any other defender in this team. Contrary to this, Rodríguez has won 40 tackles but lost 53. He only managed to win 49 aerial duels and a 55.68% winning percentage. The worst out of the back 4 in the air. However he does have an 87% pass completion so that is a positive nonetheless.
Jorginho was an integral part of the Napoli midfield which finished 2nd in the Serie A last season.
Jorginho, who is 24, racked up 35 games last season and got a stunning 91% pass completion along with 61 key passes. The 5’11 man got 4 assists and created 65 chances with his passing. Not only is his passing impressive, he has a 76.47% successful take on’s last season! However his defensive work is mediocre with a 54.05% aerial win percentage and he got 78 interceptions, 55 tackles which he won but lost 125. Despite not scoring once, he made 3176 successful passes and a total of 3487 passes. The highest in the selected midfield.
Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta)
Alejandro Gomez was a shining star in a mediocre season for Atalanta as they finished 13th in Serie A last season.
He controlled the midfield with 54 key passes and getting 7 assists. He also got a decent 80% pass completion, furthermore, he created 61 chances. However in the air he isn’t great with only a 25% win percentage but his 5’5 height does restrict him to a certain extent. His successful take on’s are only at 60.28%. The 28 year old’s defensive work has been fairly good considering his small frame with 43 interceptions but only winning 31 tackles. Despite this Gomez lost only 65, the lowest in the midfield. He did chip in with 7 goals which shows he is a bit of a box to box midfielder. However, he didn’t make many passes with only 1089 passes with 867 of them being successful. While playing 34 games.
Borja Valero (Fiorentina)
Valero was the creative spark in Fiorentina’s team which finished 5th in the Serie A.
His 70 key passes and 6 assists massively helped during the course of the season. The Spanish man created 76 chances for his side last season and scored 4 goals. He only won 46.15% of his aerial duels last season however his passing more than made up for this. His defensive contributions haven’t been great with 30 interceptions and 41 tackles won but he only lost an impressive 70 which is the second best in the midfield. The 5’9 man made a total of 2134 passes with 1899 being successful therefore he had a 89% pass completion rate.
Franco Vázquez (Was at Palermo, now at Sevilla)
Vázquez impressed for Palermo last season hes been rewarded with a move to Spanish side Sevilla. The former Palermo midfielder played a total of 36/38 games helping his old team finish 16th.
A shining star in a poor season, he made a total of 47 key passes leading to 7 assists. He had a 77% pass completion rate which isn’t impressive however it must be noted that his team as a whole didn’t perform as a whole. He created 54 chances last term, however his strengths are more defensive with 71 tackles won but only 24 interceptions. Contrary to this; he did manage to score 8 goals last season. He did only make 1056/1376 successful passes.
Leonardo Pavoletti (Genoa)
Despite only playing 25 games last season, I felt Pavoletti deserved a spot in the starting 11 due to his stats.
The Genoa man scored 14 goals last season which is impressive. The 27 year old has an 84% shot accuracy. He also got 3 assists which shows he can also contribute to the rest of the team. Pavoletti scored 4 headed goals with his 6’2 frame! This shows he doesn’t rely on just his feet to score goals with! Perfect for a good striker who is unpredictable to defenders.
Cyril Théréau (Undinese)
The Undinese man played a total of 36 games last season racking up 11 goals helping Undinese survive relegation last season.
The low amount of goals could be down to the lack of service throughout the season however with an 100% shot accuracy he didn’t waste many chances! Théréau also got 3 assists, the same as Pavoletti. The Frenchman didn’t score a single penalty like Pavoletti however he did have a sum of 77 shots last season. He scored twice from corners last season and scored all 11 goals from inside the box. The 6’2 striker also won 89 aerial duels with a win percentage of 85%! Finally all of his take ons were successful with a full 100%.
So this has been my 11 underrated Serie A players last season. I feel despite them not having clubs like Juventus, Napoli, Roma etc they deserve recognition and could prove a bargain if any get snapped up by bigger clubs perhaps in the Premier League!(apart from Vázquez as he has already got a move.) I hope you enjoyed and if this article gets good feedback, I will move onto a new league which I will let you decide!
Stats via http://www.squawka.com/
Apologises if the images do not work on this article, mainly PC compatible.