Ranking the 20 Serie A Clubs on Their Attacking Talent
The return to prominence of the 3-5-2 formation has brought Serie A back to an era of strike partnerships, with many of Italy’s top sides boasting a fine duo of attacking players. With comparisons to the Roberto Mancini-Gianluca Vialli ‘Goal Twins’ or the famous Juventus pairing of John Charles and Omar Sivori, the peninsula is awash with attacking talent.
Even at the relegation-threaten teams, the front line is often filled with young talent from the bigger clubs, making for more goals and some truly exciting matches. Some high profile transfers last summer have brought big-name players to the league, with the likes of Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain battling to be the nation’s leading scorer.
Over the following pages, the 20 Serie A sides are ranked in order of the attacking prowess within their squads.
With Francesco Lodi looking a shadow of the player who left for Genoa, the Sicilian club have struggled to score, their meagre total of 24 goals making them certain of relegation to Serie B. That rivals Palermo will surely earn promotion back to the top flight can only pour salt in the wound of a truly woeful campaign.
Milan-owned striker Alberto Paloschi has become undisputed first choice this term, netting 13 times in 30 appearances for the Veronese side. French winger Cyril Thereau has added six more but, with Sergio Pellissier showing his age, Chievo’s attack has spluttered all season.
The second worst attack in the league, Bologna sorely miss the creativity of Alessandro Diamanti, despite the 30-year-old moving to China in early February. Davide Moscardelli, Robert Acquafresca and Rolando Bianchi look out of their depth at this level in 2014.
Mauricio Pinilla, Nene and Marco Sau have each failed to fire this term, netting a total of just 16 goals between them. That form has seen the Sardinian side net a total of just 31 times this season, their solid defence the only thing keeping them from being dragged into the relegation battle.
Alberto Gilardino has carried the load for Genoa, with his 14 goals totalling a staggering 39 per cent of their total thus far. That left back Luca Antonelli is the side’s second highest scorer with just three goals highlights just how weak their attack has been this term.
German Denis continues to lead the Atalanta attack, ably supported by the emerging talent of Giacomo Bonaventura and the creative Maxi Morales. Giuseppe De Luca has been superb in recent weeks, while the January arrival of Marcelo Estigarribia has added another dimension to their attack.
With Sergio Floccari and Hernanes no longer playing for Lazio, the Biancocelesti attack is not as potent as last year, but Miroslav Klose continues to guarantee goals. While the German hit-man has struggled with injury, Antonio Candreva has been in sensational form, netting nine goals and adding five assists.
Helder Postiga has been utterly disappointing, but the Roman side have benefitted from the emergence of Barcelona youth product Keita. The 19-year-old has registered five goals and five assists this term, his stellar play on the left flank providing an excellent balance to Candreva on the right.
12. Hellas Verona
Luca Toni has rolled back the years this term, with only Carlos Tevez and Ciro Immobile netting more than his tally of 17 league goals. Adding seven assists, the lumbering 36-year-old has been helped by the impressive Juan Iturbe as his form has lifted Hellas into the top half of the table.
While the teams below them have some instantly recognisable names, Livorno’s unheralded attack has been quietly effective. Despite their impending relegation, it contains some players who should remain in the top flight, with Paulinho (13 goals ), Luca Siligardi and Innocent Emeghara all names to look out for.
Perhaps one of the most underrated sides in the division, Sampdoria have combined veteran talent like Maxi Lopez and Eder with some bright prospects for the future. Manolo Gabbiadini, Pawel Wszolek, Roberto Soriano and Birkir Bjarnason can all look back on an impressive campaign with pride.
Once again in inspirational form, Antonio Cassano has played his way back into contention for a World Cup place away from the peninsula’s bigger clubs. Now 31, his 11 goals and five assists have sparked Robero Donadoni’s side into contention for a Europa League berth, drawing the best from the likes of Amauri and Jonathan Biabiany.
With the depth of young attacking talent at their disposal, newly-promoted Sassuolo could well have found themselves much higher on the list. A lack of chemistry and the raw potential going largely unrealised saw others pull ahead, but Domenico Berardi, Simone Zaza and Nicola Sansone can all expect much closer attention in future.
7. Inter Milan
He may have made the headlines for the wrong reasons recently, but when he sticks to playing football, Mauro Icardi has proven to have an excellent eye for goal. His double against former club Sampdoria at the weekend took his tally for the season to eight, second behind leading Nerazzurri scorer Rodrigo Palacio.
The rat-tailed 32-year-old has 15 to his name, while Diego Milito’s injury-hit campaign has limited him to just two goals this term. Ricky Alvarez (four goals and eight assists) have also been invaluable, while Fredy Guarin (three goals, six assists) has made an important contribution.
A tale of two men, but what a season they have had! Ciro Immobile is unrecognisable from the man who played second fiddle to Marco Borriello at Genoa last term, his 19 goals leading all players in Serie A thus far.
He has been supported by the hugely talented Alessio Cerci, with the 26-year-old drawing major attention for a campaign in which he has registered 13 goals and nine assists. Both Omar El Kaddouri and Alexander Farnerud have added four goals each as the two Italy internationals carry the Granata to the brink of a European place.
Perhaps only injury has prevented the Viola from being even higher on this list, with both Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez suffering lengthy lay-offs. Their absences have ultimately cost Fiorentina the chance of a Champions League berth, something Vincenzo Montella’s men will look to rectify next term.
If Sassuolo’s potential is based on the youth of the players available, Milan’s attacking talent remains unlocked due to a combination of injuries and inept coaching. Both Massimiliano Allegri and, to a lesser extent, Clarence Seedorf have failed to capitalise on a wealth of options.
With Mario Balotelli, Stephan El Shaarawy (whose importance was noted here), Giampaolo Pazzini, Keisuke Honda, Adel Taarabt, Robinho and Kaka all in the Rossoneri squad, is there any doubt they should have scored more than 50 league goals already?
The one department where there is still definite room for improvement, the Juventus attack has made a huge leap forward this season. The arrivals of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente have given Antonio Conte two reliable goal-scorers to call upon, and both have delivered in abundance.
The Argentinean has been in contention for the Serie A Capocannoniere crown, his 18 goals the most by a Bianconeri player since Alessandro Del Piero’s 20 in 2008-09. His big Basque partner has weighed in with 14 of his own while Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella and even Daniel Osvaldo have made contributions.
Rudi Garcia’s improvements in defence have allowed Roma to contend for the title this term, but it has not come at the expense of the team’s attacking prowess. Francesco Totti has continued to deliver for his home-town club, notching seven goals and nine assists despite his advancing years.
Mattia Destro leads the Giallorossi with 13 goals in just 18 appearances, while Gervinho has been a revelation out wide, his league-high 10 assists fueling their push for a Champions League berth. With Alessandro Florenzi and Adem Ljajic rounding out their frontline, the midfield has also pressed forward with great effect.
The southern club have only scored the third-highest number of goals in the league this term, their current tally of 63 trailing both Juventus (71) and Roma (68). Yet the collection of attacking talent available to Rafael Benitez is unsurpassed in Italy. Gonzalo Higuain has lead the line superbly, netting 22 goals to effectively cover the absence of Edinson Cavani, while his 11 assists hints at an unselfish streak which has greatly benefitted the team.
Jose Callejon’s 14 goals tops an incredible supporting cast, with Dries Mertens (8 goals 4 assists) Goran Pandev (7 goals) Marek Hamsik (6 goals, six assists) and Lorenzo Insigne (5 goals, 6 assists) forming a formidable attack.