Danilo – Udinese
Udinese’s early season rise to the top of the table has been based on defence rather than the free-flowing attacking football of last season. Despite losing Cristian Zapata to Villarreal, la Zebrette have the meanest defence in Serie A thanks due to summer signing Brazilian Danilo. The centre-back has settled in quickly in Serie A and has become a commanding presence at the heart of Udinese’s back three where positioning and communication is key, attributes the ex Palmeiras defender has certainly shown. The South American, who has made the jump to Europe relatively late in his career at the age of 27 compared to most of his compatriots, is again evidence of Udinese’s seemingly infinite ability to sign quality players from under the radar.
Miroslav Klose – Lazio
A prolific goal scorer at World Cups, the Polish-born German striker has brought his international form with him to Serie A. Having made the move from the Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich in the summer, there was intrigue rather than expectation as to whether the 33 year old still had it. Any doubts will have surely been erased by Klose’s excellent strike rate so far – four goals in six league games. The striker seems to be just what the Aquile needed to boost an attack that struggled for goals last season and is a major reason why some people are expecting Lazio to finish in a Champions League place. Just ask Roma, who lost the recent derby della capitale thanks to a trademark deadly finish from the hitman in the dying seconds of the game. It was just what Lazio had lacked last season and what Klose now brings – a cool head in front of goal in the most decisive of moments.
Andrea Pirlo – Juventus
The Juventus renaissance continues as does the excellent form of the Bianconeri’s new creative midfielder. Reckoned to be past it by Milan in the summer, rivals Juventus were only too happy to pick up the Italian international on free transfer. After a superb debut on the opening day of the season against Parma where the maestro got two assists in a 4-1 win – chipping two delightfully delicate through balls over the defence. Teammate Gigi Buffon was only too happy to rave about Juve’s new playmaker calling him the signing of the century. The former Rossonero has become the creative hub of the side making use Juve’s width with pinpoint passes out to the wings while his calming presence seems to have had a positive effect on the attacking forays of fellow midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
Pablo Osvaldo – AS Roma
After some crucial goals in wins over Parma and Atalanta Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli made the controversial decision to call up the ex-Fiorentina striker for the recent Euro 2012 qualifiers. A contentious issue because he was born in Argentina, the summer signing from Espanyol is the latest in a long line of ‘oriundi’ to wear the Azzurri shirt following the likes of 2006 World Cup winner Mauro Camoranesi. The striker has adapted quickly to Luis Enrique’s project which sees the naturalised Italian deployed to the left of the Giallorossi attack where he has been adept at latching onto crosses running across his marker and make clever use of space left by Totti, who likes to drop deep. Osvaldo scored against Lazio in the derby and his calmness in front of goal has brought him a good return of four goals in seven games.
Maxi Moralez – Atalanta
The season started in the worst way possible for the newly promoted side when club captain Cristiano Doni was suspended after being found guilty of match fixing, while the club was also docked 6 points. However Nerazzurri spirits were quickly lifted after new signing Moralez helped himself to two goals at Genoa instantly making himself a hero with the fans. The pint sized Argentina midfielder has since gone on to form a superb partnership with fellow countryman German Denis and has been credited with the good form of the previously struggling striker. He has been key in linking the midfield with Denis while he’s also benefited by making clever runs off the big man into space which has seen him score four goals. Atalanta would have been in a Champions League place by now if it was not for the six point deduction and, while they probably would not have finished there come the end of the season anyway, at least they are safe in the knowledge that they have a fighting chance of staying in the league. After all, Moralez has been a superb substitute for the suspended captain.