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Juventus 2013-14 Season in Review: The Central Midfielders

A double dose of Simone Padoin!

Maurizio Lagana

The Old Lady's midfield has been one of the best fixtures of the Antonio Conte era. Sure, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini have been a rock at the back, and this year, Carlos Tévez and Fernando Llorente led the most prolific attack in the Serie A. But the midfield has been the engine that keeps everything ticking.

So, without further ado, let's see how our central midfielders have done this season.

Paul Pogba - 7.5

Last year, we discovered Paul Pogba as he slowly carved a place in the starting lineup. This year, he was probably one of the first names in Conte's line-up. Pogba scored seven goals and had seven assists. He also is our highest ranking player in WhoScored.  He seemed slow and complacent between February and April probably due to exhaustion.  Psychologically and physically this has been the most demanding season for the Frenchman. With this experience I am excited to see what he can do next year. Let's just hope Raiola leaves him be for a while.

Simone Padoin - 6.5

Padoin continues to see minutes in black and white despite his lack of natural talent.  He started eight games and came on 13 times as a substitute in Serie A. Why you ask? Because Conte knows what he is going to get.  Padoin works hard, runs hard and will take a bullet for Conte if needed be. Also, whether you like it or not, he was instrumental in Juve getting 102 points this season (Juve 1-0 Atalanta).

Andrea Pirlo - 7.5

His impact directing Juve's game has been steadily decreasing after his first season. It may be because since the 2011-12 season, he has been heavily marked. With that being said, his impact and contribution to the Old Lady has been equally as impressive as his first season. With six goals, this season has been Pirlo's highest scoring since joining Juve. More importantly, he has done this while playing 14 games less than the 2012-13 season and 10 games less than the 2011-12 season.

Arturo Vidal - 8.0

For me, Arturo Vidal was the best midfielder of the season. Sure, his impact decreased towards the end when his knee was busted but despite this he could always be counted on. Even with a bad knee and less than impressive performances towards the end of the season, Vidal scored three more goals than last year. I don't know how he ranks with respect to other midfielders in Europe, but he has to be one of highest scoring central midfielders around. Add to that his 4.1 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game as his defensive contributions. It is no surprise that most rich teams will be looking for his signature. It is also no surprise that Marotta has confirmed Vidal as an integral par of the team.

Claudio Marchisio 7.0

Claudio had an interesting season. Without a doubt, his confidence received a hit when he noticed a 20 year old kid that had been in the club for one year had displaced him. By the end of the season, Pogba had played an extra 1200 minutes (that is over 13 full games) than Marchisio. In a more personal note, Claudio scored four goals this season compared to the six last season and the 10 the season before that. The trend is the same with regards to assists.  With that being said, Claudio was his good ol' reliable self. Without being as dominating as in the past he helped close down the team when needed. It is no surprise that Conte trusted him to shut down Real Madrid's wing in the biggest game Juventus played all season. The bench time may have done Claudio well as his performances have been improving as of late. The goals against Sassuolo and Cagliari are a clear example that Il Principino has not lost his amazing technical ability. I look forward to seeing a renewed Claudio Marchisio next year.