Juventus' 5 Most Influential Players of the Season So Far

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2014

Juventus' 5 Most Influential Players of the Season So Far

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    While many will lament the Champions League and Coppa Italia exits, it has been an undeniably good season thus far for Juventus. Currently nine points clear in Serie A—and Roma’s game-in-hand against Parma is far from an easy fixture—the Bianconeri have dominated even more so than in their two previous title-winning campaigns.

    Despite their rivals making some impressive signings, Roma, Fiorentina and Napoli all had to contend with first replacing three of their most influential players. As that trio lamented to losses of Erick Lamela, Stevan Jovetic and Edinson Cavani, La Madama only reinforced her already impressive squad.

    But which players have been the most influential this season? Over the following slides you’ll find the top-five ranked in order of importance, let us know if you agree or disagree with the selections.

    All stats courtesy of the WhoScored.com website

5: Paul Pogba

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    The incredible rise of Paul Pogba—from Manchester United reserve to a regular starter at Juventus—has been nothing short of remarkable. It looked impossible for any player to add anything to the special blend of Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo, but the young Frenchman has done just that.

    He is now a regular starter in place of Marchisio and has contributed six goals and five assists already this season. The performances Pogba turns in on a weekly basis mean Juve need to secure his long-term future quickly as other European giants approach.

4: Gigi Buffon

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    While it is difficult to analyse the impact of a goalkeeper due to the lack of statistics available for them, Gigi Buffon’s absences from the team have coincided with some of their poorest performances.

    Not only is the Juventus captain an incredible shot-stopper who still surely ranks among the best on the planet, but he is also a superb captain. Marco Storari filled in for the Coppa Italia defeat to Roma and in the next game, Buffon was sent off.

    In the three games without their No. 1, the Bianconeri struggled to overcome Hellas, drew with Lazio and conceded in every match. Contrast that with 11 clean sheets for Buffon in 20 appearances and his importance becomes clear.

3: Andrea Pirlo

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    Another player whose importance is defined by his absence, Andrea Pirlo’s knee injury was almost certainly crucial to their Champions League hopes. The pitch in Istanbul may have been a disaster, but without the bearded genius Juventus clearly lack creativity.

    According to stats site WhoScored, the midfielder leads Serie A with an average of 70.8 passes per game at a 89.5 per cent completion rate. The same source shows that in the club’s last two matches alone—against Inter and Hellas—Pirlo has completed a staggering 223 passes.

2: Carlos Tevez

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    Unlike the two previous players, what Carlos Tevez adds to Juventus is clearly tangible and is on display every time he takes the field. Since Antonio Conte took charge of the club, no striker has surpassed 10 league goals, the former Manchester United striker already has 13.

    With six assists also to his name—as well as a match-winning performance in August’s Super Coppa—it is clear his arrival has truly shifted Juventus into a higher gear.

1: Arturo Vidal

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    If Tevez has been the catalyst, then the player who was arguably Juve’s best over the previous two campaigns has raised his own game to surpass the Argentinean. Vidal has already beaten his tally of 10 goals last term and is on pace to score more than any midfielder in the history of Serie A.

    Yet there is so much more to his game than finding the back of the net, as his league-leading 109 tackles show. With five assists and an average of 1.3 interceptions per game while completing almost 50 passes at an 84 per cent clip, it is clear Vidal is still the best player at Juve’s disposal.