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Mid season rankings: Chiellini is the best defender in Europe. Juventus and Roma players dominate
CIES and Opta published the individual top-5 rankings since the start of the season. Roma and Juventus shine in every role. Tevez is the best forward, while Pjanic is first among the offensive midfielders
by Federico Formica
Giorgio Chiellini is the best center back among the big-5 (Serie A, Premier League, Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1) so far, and the Italian young talent Marco Verratti (Psg) is the best central midfielder, better than Gabi Fernandez (Atletico Madrid) and Juventus' Arturo Vidal.


In Italy, Roma and Juventus have the best defensive players of Serie A. But the two main competitors for the title also have the best forward and the best offensive midfielders. According to CIES, the International Centre for Sports Studies based in Neuchatel, the Bianconeri and the Giallorossi are dominating not only in the table, but in the individual performances as well.


Together with Opta, CIES published a top-5 ranking since the start of the season for each of the main roles (forwards, offensive midfielders, central/defensive midfielders, center backs and full backs). Data take into consideration five skills:

- Shooting: the ability to take advantage of goal opportunities through accurate shooting

- Chance creation: the ability to create goal opportunities through efficient passing

- Take on: the ability to create dangerous situations by successfully challenging opponents

- Distribution: the ability to hold the grip on the game through efficient passing

- Recovery: the ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents through proficient ball recovery

- Rigour: the ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents by efficiently blocking their actions


According to CIES and Opta data, Carlos Tevez has been the best forward in the first half of the season, with Torino's Alessio Cerci and Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne completing the podium. The Bosnian Miralem Pjanić  has been the best offensive midfielder (the second is the unexpected Inter player Ricardo Alvarez while the third is Kwadwo Asamoah). Among the full backs, the Brazilian Maicon returned to shine after the brilliant years at Inter: he's currently the best in his role ahead of Dramè (Chievo Verona) and Inter's Jonathan.


But you can't win a championship if you don't have the best defenders (especially in Serie A); Juventus and Roma literally dominate the central defenders and the center backs top-5. Take a look with your own eyes:


Best center backs since the start of the season :

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

2 Leandro Castan (Roma)

3 Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

4 Mehdi Benatia (Roma)

5 Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)


Best full backs since the start of the season:

1 Douglas Maicon (Roma)

2 Boukary Dramé (Chievo Verona)

3 Jonathan Cicero (Inter)

4 Manuel Pasqual (Fiorentina)

5 Dusan Basta (Udinese)


Best central/defensive midfielders since the start of the season:

1 Arturo Vidal (Juventus)

2 Paul Pogba (Juventus)

3 Kevin Strootman (Roma)

4 Luca Cigarini (Atalanta)

5 Riccardo Montolivo (Milan)


Best offensive midfielders since the start of the season:

1 Miralem Pjanic (Roma)

2 Ricardo Alvarez (Inter)

3 Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)

4 Fredy Guarin (Inter)

5 Antonio Candreva (Lazio)


Best forwards since the start of the season:

1 Carlos Tevez (Juventus)

2 Alessio Cerci (Torino)

3 Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli)

4 Rodrigo Palacio (Inter)

5 Mario Balotelli (Milan)


Thursday, January 9 th, 2014
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