Best XI of Serie A Round 24: Giroud Wins It For Milan

A two-week break finally came to an end last weekend as Serie A teams were back in full action to begin the final stages of the season.

In Round 24, the 14-day football famine was ended with the biggest match of the season so far, as Inter and Milan met in the Derby della Madonnina. The game really deserved the hype, as Milan won 2-1 against their city rivals thanks to two late goals from Olivier Giroud.

In the other games, Napoli picked up their fourth win in a row with a 2-0 victory over Venezia and are now just one point behind leaders Inter. In contrast, Atalanta are gradually slipping out of the title race as La Dea suffered an unexpected 2-1 defeat to Cagliari.

Here we take a look at the best statistical XI of Serie A Round 24.

Goalkeeper – Wladimiro Falcone (Sampdoria)

The 26-year-old Italian made only his fourth Serie A start against Sassuolo, but that was enough for him to put in his best performance of the season.

In the 4-0 win over the Neroverdi, Falcone made a remarkable 9 saves, 4 of which came on a diving effort, and totalled 1.37 xGC (Expected Goals Conceded).

FotMob Rating – 8.7

Right-Back / Right Wing-Back – Danilo (Juventus)

Despite a rather disappointing season so far, the Bianconeri can still be considered one of the teams that have the best chance of catching one of the Milan clubs at the top of the table.

The 2-0 win over Verona means Juventus are now eight points behind Inter, and right-back Danilo played a big part in helping his team keep a clean sheet. The Brazilian won 8 defensive duels, was successful in 3 out of 4 tackle attempts and made 6 ball recoveries.

FotMob Rating – 8.1

Right Centre-Back – Chris Smalling (Roma)

Roma missed a great opportunity to close the gap on the top four with a goalless draw against Genoa. Still, Jose Mourinho’s men deserve praise for keeping a clean sheet, and centre back Chris Smalling was one of the reasons.

The former Manchester United defender won an incredible 90% of his duels against the Genoa forwards, including 5 aerial duels, and also successfully intercepted 13 balls.

FotMob Rating – 7.8

Left Centre-Back – Roger Ibanez (Roma)

The second best centre-back of the weekend is Roger Ibanez, another Roma defender.

The Brazilian formed an irresistible partnership with Smalling against Genoa and helped his team keep a clean sheet. In that match Ibanez won 9 out of 13 defensive duels, made 4 interceptions and recovered the ball 14 times.

FotMob Rating – 8.1

Left-Back / Left Wing-Back – Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus)

While Roma won the trophy for the best central defence of the weekend, it is Juventus’ two full-backs who received the same nomination.

Left-back Mattia De Sciglio was as solid on the left side of defence as Danilo was on the right. The Italian won 8 out of 9 defensive duels and made 4 ball recoveries in the win against Verona.

FotMob Rating – 7.6

Central Midfielder – Stefano Sensi (Sampdoria)

Sampdoria have not been having a good season so far and are involved in the relegation battle, at least for the moment.

The 4-0 win over Sassuolo gave the team a big boost going forward, as did Stefano Sensi, who scored his first goal of the season against the Neroverdi (xG 0.59).

FotMob Rating – 8.7

Central/Right Midfielder – Antonio Candreva (Sampdoria)

While Sampdoria are not playing their best football this season, veteran midfielder Antonio Candreva has been in brilliant form in this Serie A campaign.

The 34-year-old scored his seventh goal of the season against Sassuolo and also contributed 2 assists, giving him a total of 14 goals and assists this season.

FotMob Rating – 9.2

Central Attacking Midfielder – Simone Verdi (Salernitana)

This season’s newcomer, Salernitana, are trying its best to stay in Serie A. Although it looks like only a miracle could prevent relegation to Serie B, a 2-2 draw against Spezia gives the team a glimmer of hope.

Attacking midfielder Simone Verdi was the star of the game, scoring both of Salernitana’s goals (xG 0.13) and also playing 1 key pass.

FotMob Rating – 8.9

Forward – Francesco Caputo (Sampdoria)

Another Sampdoria veteran who is in good form despite the team’s difficulties this season is striker Francesco Caputo.

The 34-year-old scored his sixth goal of the season over the weekend and is now Sampdoria’s second highest scorer. Caputo also completed 85% of his passing attempts and played 1 key pass.

FotMob Rating – 8.5

Forward – Gaston Pereiro (Cagliari)

Cagliari provided probably the biggest surprise of the weekend with a 2-1 win over Atalanta. The hero of the day for the Islanders was their versatile forward Gaston Pereiro.

The Uruguayan scored a brace, including the winner in the 68th minute, to secure three important points for his team in the fight to stay in Serie A.

FotMob Rating – 8.8

Centre Forward – Olivier Giroud (Milan)

Wrapping up our best XI analysis of Round 24 is the incomparable Olivier Giroud.

The Frenchman can arguably be considered one of the most underrated strikers in Serie A, as his two goals in just three minutes sealed Milan a much-needed 2-1 win over direct title rivals Inter.

FotMob Rating – 8.9