The very best in the Italian league have been brought together for our top XI of the campaign to this point, with some familiar names among them
The first 17 rounds of Serie A action in 2013-14 have provided some magnificent thrills and spills, and the Goal Team of the Season so far includes the players responsible for some of the most consistently brilliant passages of play.
Notable by their absence are Milan, who have had a poor first half of the campiagn, and Verona, whose run to the top six has not quite been enough for any individual recognition. Instead though, there are four players supplied by league-leading Juventus and two each from unbeaten Roma and flair-driven Fiorentina.
There have been stages during 2013 when Gianluigi Buffon's continued reign as the peninsula's number one goalkeeper has been questioned, but his response has been to end the calendar year with a magnificent run of clean sheets. Before conceding to Atalanta's Maxi Moralez at the weekend, Buffon had not been beaten for 744 minutes since Juve's only loss away to Fiorentina.
He is protected in the back four by a familiar face in Juve's nine-match unbeaten run in the shape of Giorgio Chiellini, while a Roma side which boasts the best defence in Europe is represented by Mehdi Benatia and Leandro Castan, both of whom were key to the Giallorossi winning 10 successive games from the start of the season and conceding only one goal in the process.
Torino's run into the top seven has been bolstered by the form of Alessio Cerci, who has netted nine goals and been the star man on several occasions during the Granata's campaign so far. Juventus have again been dominant across midfield in opening up a five-point lead, with Paul Pogba continuing his meteoric rise by scoring five times and having a hand in three more in out-performing even Arturo Vidal in the Bianconeri engine room.
Esteban Cambiasso, meanwhile, has been an ever-present in the centre for Inter, taking to the responsibility of captaincy with relish and bagging himself four goals into the bargain. The final spot across the middle goes to the outstanding Borja Valero, who has fast become a cult hero at the Artemio Franchi with his artistic displays. His five league goals and six assists have also helped to endear him to Serie A fanatics.
Carlos Tevez takes one of the spots up front having proved to be the goal-scoring solution for Juve. Having scored 11 goals in 17 appearances, the Argentine has already superceded the tallies of Arturo Vidal and Mirko Vucinic, who were joint-top scorers for the champions last term. Another man netting regularly is Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain, who has grabbed nine goals to date in leading the Partenopei to third place. Giuseppe Rossi has usurped both men though, sailing to the top of the Capocannoniere charts with 14 goals in 17 games, with that memorable hat-trick for Fiorentina against Juventus providing the pinnacle of his season thus far. ----------------- goal.com