The limited number of games of the final month of the year allows for some funky stuff to happen, however, while the highest earner in May was unusually a defender, it was a fantasy stud, one of the most reliable players all year long: Roma’s left back Aleksandar Kolarov.
The top offensive players did not deliver big time down the stretch: the striker who was the closest to make the Team of the Month was SPAL’s Mirco Antenucci, who brought home 14 points thanks to three goals and an assist, but fell two points short of Memphis Depay and Martin Braithwaite. So the nod goes to the Serbia fullback, who amassed 15 total points thanks to three clean sheets in the last three games, against Cagliari, Juventus and Sassuolo.
Kolarov was signed for cheap in the summer from Manchester City and plugged a pretty sizeable hole in Roma’s tactics because the starter Emerson was set to be on the shelf for a while due to a ACL tear. The former Lazio player outperformed expectations and immediately demonstrated to be one of the best playmaking fullbacks in Serie A, a true force down the left flank and a very threatening set piece taker. His contribution became so valuable that Emerson, who was coming off a splendid year and is clearly a youngster on the rise, became expendable and was sold to Chelsea in January for a good profit. Since the attack of the Giallorossi was not always that efficient, especially on the wings, and Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti had so-so seasons, he was a precious reference point.
Kolarov turned into a workhorse and an integral part of Eusebio Di Francesco’s schemes, barely missing any game. He finished the year with two goals, against Atalanta and Torino, and a whopping 12 assists in Serie A. He collected 88 points in the year, most than any striker but Ciro Immobile, Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala. He barely missed the cut for the Team of the Year and was the 12th highest earner in Serie A. An appropriate choice for the final shout-out, even though his month was rather uneventful.
Two other representatives of the Italian league cracked the best XI in the fantasy game: Federico Fazio, who garnered one fewer point than his teammate due to a yellow card, and Cagliari’s goalkeeper Alessio Cragno, who gained 14 points thanks to two key clean sheets in the two final matches, which helped the Sardinians avoid the drop.
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