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Best Serie A players in November Underdogs and youngsters in the spotlight
According to Opta and the International Centre for Sports Studies, Omar El Kaddouri, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Matuzalem were the most effective players in the last month
by Federico Formica

Did you think that Fernando Llorente, Antonio Cassano and Alberto Gilardino were the best Serie A players in November? Well, you were wrong. At least: data and statistics tell another truth. CIES ( ), the International Centre for Sports Studies based in Neuchatel, published the new data about players' performances on the pitch of Serie A, Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1. And the results could be frustrating if you are not an expert of Italian football, since the podium is occupied by three players who are quite unknown abroad.


In Italy, the best three players in November are Omar El Kaddouri (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo) and Francesco Matuzalem (Genoa). While in the Premier League the three best footballers in November were the global stars Jesus Navas, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney and in the Spanish La Liga Isco, Gareth Bale and Carlos Vela,in Italy the honors go to a bunch of players that were rarely at the center of the national football stage.


The five parameters taken into consideration by CIES and Opta are:

- Shooting: the effectiveness of a player to shoot and score goals, excluding penalty kicks (the best was Omar El Kaddouri, Torino)

- Chance creation: the ability of a player to put teammates into shooting positions, with particular emphasis on goal assists (Francelino Matuzalem, Genoa)

- Take on: how productive and efficient a player is in dribbling, crossing and winning corners (Juan Cuadrado, Fiorentina)

- Distribution: the ability of a player to make accurate passes, with particular emphasis on those made in the opposition half (Nigel De Jong, Milan).

- Recovery: how well players tackle and intercept opposing players so as to minimize the chances for opponents to score goals and shoot, especially from close range (Nicola Murru, Cagliari).


While each parameter has its top player, it's their combination which generates the top three.


It is rather strange to find the Moroccan left forward El Kaddouri instead of his teammate Alessio Cerci (who is currently the second best scorer in Serie A) at the top of the shooting ranking, while the rising star Domenico Berardi does not excel in none of the CIES rankings, but even so he had such good performances to be considered the second best player overall in November.


Berardi (19) is the top scorer of the newly promoted Sassuolo, his goals (7, with 2 assists) are contributing to keep the Emilian team outside the relegation zone of the table. The young forward plays on the centre of the attack but he can move along the right flank as well: from this position he scored 4 goals and made 2 assists in three games (WhoScored data).

Berardi is currently in co-ownership between Juventus and Sassuolo and his exploits in this season could be decisive in order to convince Antonio Conte to give him the golden opportunity.

The Brazilian midfielder Francesco Matuzalem (33), who completes the podium, is an old fox of Serie A. He currently plays for Genoa but he already wore Parma, Napoli, Piacenza, Brescia and Lazio's jerseys, with a four years break between 2004 and 2008, when he played for Šachtar Donetsk and Real Saragozza. With one assist every three games (3/9) and one key pass per match, Matuzalem is Genoa's best  assistman. The rossoblu currently sit in the sixth position (two points over Milan and Lazio) and they have to thank also this everlasting player.

Friday, December 6 th, 2013
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