Serie A Team of the Season – Part 2: Midfielders

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As predicted, Serie A finished with a thrilling finale which saw Empoli relegated despite a battling performance away at Inter, Atalanta reach the Champions League for the first time ever, and Milan narrowly miss out on a top-four spot to their Nerazzurri rivals.

As the season has now drawn to a close, it is time to look at the best performers in the Italian top-flight, as Football Index constructs their team of the season in a 3-4-3 formation.

 

Wide Midfielders – Timothy Castagne (£0.47), Ola Aina (£0.47)

 

As Atalanta finished 3rd in Serie A with a record number of points and a first-ever qualification for the Champions League, Coach Gian Piero Gasperini had drawn the very most from his side. One of the lesser-known members of his fantastic band of committed squad members this season was 23-year-old Timothy Castagne.

His energy was unbounded as he mainly featured down the left flank, working tirelessly to help out Atalanta’s relentless attack or get back to come to the aid of the three-man defence. The Belgian finished the season with four goals and two assists, as many were alerted to his sheer quality.

He may, therefore be in high demand this summer, however Atalanta’s place in the Champions League may convince him to stay put. “The next players [to leave]could be [Duvan] Zapata, [Gianluca] Mancini and Castagne,” Gasperini admitted to reporters back in February. “But I have a great relationship with the President.”

Another man who can cover both flanks as a wing-back is Chelsea loanee Ola Aina. The 22-year-old arrived at Torino at the beginning of the season, having spent the previous campaign on loan at Hull City and has performed brilliantly for boss Sinisa Mihajlovic. His strengths were discussed in detail in this previous post, and it now seems as though the Torinese outfit will pay his redemption fee of £8.8 million to secure his services permanently from Stamford Bridge.

 

Central Midfielders – Marcelo Brozovic (£0.97), Daniele De Rossi (£0.19)

 

Midfield is an area where few have truly excelled in Serie A this season, with many of the top sides likely to make major purchases in this position during the summer transfer window.

Where Inter have struggled to find consistency, Marcelo Brozovic has been a major stand-out performer in the middle of the park in 2018/19, having been converted to a deeper role by the now departed Coach Luciano Spalletti last season.

The 26-year-old Croatian made the joint third highest number of tackles in the entire league with statistics provided by Whoscored.com showing an average of 3.2 per game last term, and he also led Serie A by recording an impressive 78.8 passes per match with a 90.1% success rate.

Meanwhile, a veteran player wins a place in the XI despite only making 15 starts for Roma this season. Daniele De Rossi has not been offered an extension to his contract after 18 years in Giallorossi, however his performances this season – even though playing time was limited due to injury – do not reflect such a rejection from the club.

A very difficult season in Rome saw both Coach Eusebio Di Francesco and sporting director Monchi leave the club part way through the campaign after many poor performances from the team. Yet the capital club always looked vastly improved when De Rossi helped to shield the defence alongside Steven N’Zonzi in midfield, and this is reflected in the Captain’s stats.

The 35-year-old made more interceptions than any other Roma midfielder this term and was third in terms of average number of passes per match with 51.4. His age means he no longer gets forward like he used to do, but is still highly skilful on the ball and does a superb job of winning the ball back and making a simple, but accurate pass to a team-mate.

His leadership skills will be sorely missed too, as Roma are added to the list of Italian sides that are searching for quality midfielders in the forthcoming transfer window.

If you missed it, you can read Part 1 of my team of the season here!

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About Author

Chloe Beresford is a freelance Serie A writer who has been featured in Mundial magazine, Guardian Sport and in addition to Football Index, regularly contributes to The Sportsman, Tifo Football, Football Whispers and more. She supports Fiorentina and can often be found in the Curva Fiesole as well as attending as many other matches on the peninsula as possible.

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