6 Hottest Players in Serie A
As we reach the half-way point to the Christmas break in Serie A, there has been some sensational football on the Peninsula.
Roma have shocked the calcio world with a perfect start under Rudi Garcia, despite the sales of key players from last season, such as Erik Lamela and Marquinhos.
Juventus and Napoli remain the teams to beat, though, although Inter have adapted quicker than most would expect to Walter Mazzarri's methods.
Milan have started terribly and more pressure will mount on the shoulders of Massimiliano Allegri, while Fiorentina have done as well as the Viola could have envisaged given the injuries to key players such as Mario Gomez and recently Giuseppe Rossi.
Notable mentions who could feasibly be included on this list but just missed out include Goran Pandev, who stepped in brilliantly for the injured Gonzalo Higuain.
Rossi, as mentioned before, has had his scorching hot run stalled by injury. Alessandro Florenzi is squeezed out by a couple of teammates, who just happen to be playing at a higher level right now. That is no disgrace, mind you, when you consider that all of the Giallorossi players right now are playing at an elite standard.
Antonio Cassano has just started to bubble and his performances are getting closer to the quality that we imagined, while Marek Hamsik and Paul Pogba have been outstanding at times, too.
Here are my six hottest players in the league right now.
6. Jose Maria Callejon, Napoli
Jose Maria Callejon was labelled as an overpriced acquisition by many. Alongside Napoli's move for Raul Albiol, he was considered a sweetener for Real Madrid in the Partenopei's race with Arsenal for Gonzalo Higuain.
The Spaniard's record at both Los Merengues and Espanyol during his time in La Liga was not outstanding by any means, but Rafael Benitez clearly saw enough to make an £8.4 million move to bring him to Campania.
Since then, the 26-year-old has been in scintillating form. The fact that he is the pick of Rafa's support strikers for the lone striker, Pipita, is even more impressive.
Dries Mertens, Goran Pandev and Lorenzo Insigne provide some of the fiercest competition in Europe for a place in the starting lineup, yet Callejon has made himself the No. 1 option.
Scoring four times in five starts—with two coming from his right boot and two from his left—has lessened the load on Higuain and helped Napoli to become the second-highest scorers in the league with 18 in their seven matches so far, averaging 2.6 goals per game.
5. Alessio Cerci, Torino
Alessio Cerci is one of Serie A's most in-form players and is currently carrying Torino.
If the 26-year-old was to be injured or miss any period of time, the Granata would be in a world of trouble.
Cerci has scored six times this season—contributing 60 percent of his side's goals—as well as assisting one more goal in just six starts. Indeed, the Azzurri international shines in his role just behind the striker.
Having originally been deployed as a wide man throughout his career, Cerci's close control and searing pace over short distances make him even more effective when picking up the ball in the final third and darting straight for goal.
Look for Cesare Prandelli to begin to contemplate using Cerci as a starter, rather than just a squad player for the World Cup next year.
4. Juan Manuel Iturbe, Hellas Verona
Juan Manuel Iturbe could be the revelation of the season.
The Argentine had struggled to adjust to European football after his move to Porto, but a spell with River Plate rejuvenated his confidence and Iturbe is now shining for the Mastini.
After picking up the ball on the half-way line, Iturbe danced past a couple of Rossoblu challenges before lashing home a shot from outside of the area.
If Iturbe keeps this form up, it will not only be Hellas who struggle to hold onto the 20-year-old, but the Dragoes could find a whole host of clubs sniffing around this great young talent as well.
3. Gervinho, Roma
Gervinho has looked like a different player since his summer move to Roma.
The former Arsenal player has found some confidence under Rudi Garcia, with whom he was so successful for Lille, prompting the Gunners to sign the Ivorian for £10.6 million.
With lightning pace and a bag of tricks in his game, Serie A defenders appear confused whenever fronted up by the 26-year-old.
Sensational performances against Sampdoria and Bologna set him up to continue his fine run of form in the big clash at the San Siro against Inter.
Gervinho was able to tie Juan Jesus in a knot and win the penalty that made it 2-0 to the Giallorossi. He is currently one of the most dangerous players in one-on-one situations.
2. Ricky Alvarez
Part of Who Scored's European team of the month for September, Alvarez has been in stunning form for Inter since the back end of last season.
The Argentine has two goals and three assists in seven Serie A appearances so far, with the Nerazzurri sitting in fourth place, behind only Roma, Juventus and Napoli.
Reminiscent of Kaka in his prime, Alvarez has that injection of pace to ghost past defenders.
With a fierce shot and quick feet to manipulate space in and around the area, Inter have the perfect support for Rodrigo Palacio.
1. Francesco Totti, Roma
What else is there to say about Il Capitano?
Francesco Totti is in the form of his life and is leading a Roma scudetto charge by spearheading Rudi Garcia's attack.
Two goals at Inter cemented Roma's place at the top of the league as legitimate after questions arose as to whether they could defeat another quality team on the top of their game.
Three goals and six assists in six starts is a frightening return for a man entering his 22nd season in the league.
Moreover, Totti averages almost four (3.9) key passes per game and is ranked third in Who Scored's average game rating table for the season so far.
A second title for Roma's greatest ever player would perhaps be his greatest achievement of all.