The Best XI Serie A Players in the First-Half of 2021/22

Last Wednesday, Serie A officially reached its half way point following the conclusion of round 19. The clubs dispatched their troops to join their loved ones for the holiday season before resuming action on January 6. Luckily for you, we at the Cult of Calcio are never on holiday (though we’re not exactly sure whether it’s a good or bad thing). Therefore, this sounds like the perfect timing to take a look back at the first half of the season and honor its best performers. So here are our Best XI Serie A players thus far in 2021/22.

Goalkeeper: Mike Maignan (Milan)

Following the controversial departure of Gianluigi Donnarumma last summer, Mike Maignan had some literally gigantic gloves to fill after making his landing in Milan.

Despite missing a chunk of the action due to a wrist injury, the Frenchman has swiftly cemented himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in Serie A.

The former Lille goalkeeper might not be a physical specimen like Gigio, but his on-the-ball skills are helping the Rossoneri building their plays from the back.

Honorable Mention: David Ospina (Napoli)

Right Center Back: Fikayo Tomori (Milan)

Another on-point signing from Paolo Maldnini and Ricky Massara in 2021.

The Englishman started his year as a Chelsea benchwarmer, but is now considered as one of the most reliable center backs in the land of legendary defenders.

The 24-year-old built a great understanding with Simon Kjaer, and is now helping his captain Alessio Romagnoli in regaining his best form during the Dane’s absence.

Honorable Mention: Bremer (Torino)

Center Back: Milan Skriniar (Inter)

Now we move to the other side of Milano. The former Sampdoria man has everything one would want in a defender.

A strong physical presence, the ability to win a duel, level-headed aggression, and of course some leadership skills.

Even in the absence of Stefan de Vrij, the Slovak marshalled Simone Inzaghi’s backline with confidence and ease, and he even contributed in three goals thus far this season.

Honorable Mention: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

Left Center Back: Matthijs De Ligt (Juventus)

Despite his club’s underwhelming start to the Serie A campaign, Matthijs de Ligt continues to develop into one of the best defenders in the world.

According to Opta, the Dutchman allowed himself to be dribbled by an opponent on just one occasion since the start the Serie A campaign, which makes him the absolute best in this regard.

Honorable Mention: Alessandro Bastoni (Inter)

Right Wingback: Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli)

Truth to be told, we’re yet to see a right-back or a right wingback take the league by storm this season.

Therefore, consistency wins the day, as the ever-present Napoli man gets the recognition.

The Euro 2020 winner is always solid at the back, but at the same time, he’s willing to put some effort in order to support his teammates up-front.

His well-rounded game gave him a slight advantage over the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Davide Zappacosta.

Honorable Mention: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

Right Central Midfielder: Hakan Calhanoglu (Inter)

The Turkey international isn’t the first player and nor will be the last to make the move across town from Milan towards Inter (or vice versa).

But the playmaker’s swift adjustment to his new club has been remarkable to see. While it’s never easy for a new player to cement himself within a championship-winning side, the 27-year-old earned a regular spot from the very first match of the season, contributing in a goal and an assist.

The former Bayer Leverkusen star has already registered six goals and eight assists this term, and the best is yet to come.

Honorable Mention: Mario Pasalic (Atalanta)

Defensive Midfielder: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)

Calhanoglu might be the star of the show, but his job would have been much more complicated if it wasn’t for the presence of Marcelo Brozovic by his side.

The Croatian simply is lynchpin that holds it all together for Simone Inzaghi. He’s the engine that operates at the heart of the defending champions.

The Regista can often be seen dropping back to defense in order to advance play and take the ball out from the tightest of situations, while also running his socks off to help his team in retrieving the ball.

Simply the best deep-lying playmaker in Serie A.

Honorable Mention: Sandro Tonali (Milan)

Left Central Midfielder: Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)

The Roman captain has been out for a while, and it’s unfortunate that he sustained an injury while he was displaying some of the best football of his career following the arrival of José Mourinho to the capital.

The midfielder is the heart and soul of the present Giallorossi side and has already contributed with five goals and two assists in his 13 appearances this term, while linking up the midfield with the attack with his smooth touch and confident leadership.

Honorable Mention: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Napoli)

Left Wingback: Ivan Perisic (Inter)

In the summer of 2019, Antonio Conte sent Ivan Perisic packing towards Bayern Munich because he felt that the latter doesn’t fit within the 3-5-2 formation and would struggle to interpret the wingback role.

Fast forward to the middle of the of the 2021/22 campaign, the Croatian has a claim for being amongst the elite left wingbacks in the world.

At the age of 32, the former Wolfsburg man can still gallop up and down the flank, helping his side in both aspects of the match, and he still hasn’t lost his knack for goals, with four already thus far this season.

Honorable Mention: Theo Hernandez (Milan)

Center Forward: Giovanni Simeone (Verona)

After degrading into an afterthought in the past few seasons, Diego Simeone’s first born is finally putting it all together under the guidance of Igor Tudor at Verona.

The Argentine has already found the back of the net on 12 occasions, and if it wasn’t for penalty kicks, he would have been the leading the Serie A goal-scoring charts.

His displays against Juventus and Venezia remain some of the most memorable performances in the first half of the season.

Honorable Mention: Lautaro Martinez (Inter)

Center Forward: Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina)

At the age of 21, Dusan Vlahovic is already regarded as one of the deadliest strikers in the Old Continent.

Blessed with a strong physique and blistering left foot, the Serbian possesses everything one would want in a center forward.

The Fiorentina man is leading the Cappcannoniere race with 16 strikes thus far as he continues to drag the Tuscans towards an unlikely European spot.

Honorable Mention: Ciro Immobile (Lazio)