Serie A Midseason Special

GENOA, ITALY - DECEMBER 22: Krzysztof Piatek of Genoa celebratess with his team-mates after scoring a goal during the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and Atalanta BC at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on December 22, 2018 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)

Now that the last matchday before the Serie A Midseason break has passed, let’s take a step back. It’s been a fast and furious Serie A this season, with some really great achievements to champion. Things like Juventus breaking the first-half points record, Cristiano Ronaldo alone atop the Capocannoniere standings and a furious mid-table battle with some really fascinating members.

Serie A Midseason Special

Juve Break First Half Points Record

Juventus came into their last game of the first-half knowing that with a win, they would break the Serie A midseason points record, and they could not have started better when Cristiano Ronaldo cut inside on his right foot and unleashed the opening goal in the second minute. Juve spent all day attacking down that left-hand side with Ronaldo, Alex Sandro, and Blaise Matuidi constantly interchanging in attack en-route to a 2-1 win.

The understanding that those three players have developed is far beyond that of a normal six-month partnership. The quality of that partnership has contributed heavily to Ronaldo leading the Capocannoniere at the halfway point.

Juventus’ quality season has been the result of total team performance, though. They’ve got ten clean sheets, with the best defense in the league.  They’re also only one goal behind Serie A midseason top scorers Atalanta.  It’s that type of quality throughout a team that results in 17 wins and two draws through 19 games.

The Battle for Europe

Aside from Juventus, this Serie A season has been defined by its strength in depth.  At the midseason mark, the difference between fourth place Lazio and twelfth place Sassuolo is only seven points, and there are some great stories in amongst that group of clubs.

Take a club like Parma, currently sitting in eleventh place. This is one of the oldest and proudest clubs in Serie A.  The place where legends like Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, and Alessandro Lucarelli made their name. They are back in Serie A for the first time since 2015 after being financially relegated to Serie D.

Or a tiny club like Atalanta, in the north of Italy, once again competing for Europe. Behind the great performances of Alejandro Gomez and Duvan Zapata, Atalanta find themselves sitting in eighth just two points behind Roma.  They’re the top scoring side in the league thanks in large part to Zapata and his outstanding run of nine goals in his last six games.

Hopefully, these smaller clubs can keep in touch with the Roma’s and the Milan’s for the rest of the season.  They all play some great football and deserve to have a chance on the European stage.  It just feels like after their early struggles, Roma and Milan are taking control of those European places.

Midseason Awards

Finally, let’s wrap this up with some Serie A midseason awards. Three areas of the pitch to highlight with these awards; scorer, creator and defender of the first half. Plus, signing of the first half as well.

Scorer of the First Half: Fabio Quagliarella

After having the highest scoring season of his career last season, Fabio Quagliarella has picked up right where he left off.  The 35-year-old has 12 goals at the midseason point of the campaign, good for third in Serie A. With Quagliarella, though, the quality of those goals stand out above the rest.

His right-footed flick behind his left thigh against Napoli is still the leading candidate for goal of the season, but this season he has added the consistent performances to go with the world class strikes. It’s quite the renaissance for the 35-year-old.

Creator of the First Half: Alejandro Gomez

Alejandro Gomez is having another outstanding season.  The 5’4″ Argentine known as ‘Papu’ has been the catalyst for Atalanta’s great attacking play this season.  His 7.5 average Whoscored.com rating is second only to Ronaldo in Serie A this season.

He’s creating almost six chances per game for Atalanta and it shows throughout their team.  They have four players with four league goals or more this year combining for a well balanced 39 goals at the Serie A midseason point but Gomez has been doing this for years at Atalanta.  Almost every goal scored in Bergamo has gone through the diminutive Argentine.

Defender of the First Half: Kalidou Koulibaly

The Senegalese international has had a wild season filled with all kinds of chaos from transfer rumors to racist chants. He has stood above all the muck to have another world-class season in Naples.

Koulibaly is one of those defenders who can do it all.  He’s elegant in possession, physical in defense and quick in recovery. Plus, he’s one of those center backs that loves to take the ball and go on 60+ yard runs through the field; just to put in a poor cross as the end. There are few things better than a defender that wants to be joining in the attack every chance they get.

Signing of the First Half: Krzysztof Piatek

Finally, let’s look at the signing of the first half.  It would have been easy to go for Cristiano Ronaldo, but the man he’s just ahead of in the top scorer race is just as good.  Krzysztof Piatek came to Genoa for €4 million after scoring 21 goals for Cracovia in the Polish league last season.

The freshly capped Poland international has 13 goals in Serie A so far this season.  After a hot start, it was fair to question whether Piatek would keep it up, but he has shown throughout this season that he is here to stay, making this easily the best business of any Serie A side this summer.

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