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Transfer Rater: Malcom to Arsenal, Mata to Juve

Football Whispers
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Transfer Rater: Mata to Arsenal, Foden to Juve

Football Whispers
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The best Juventus players of 2012

The year 2012 proved to be a magnificent year for the Italian giants. There have been some great moments as they lifted the coveted league trophy, sad moments as they waved goodbye to their legendary captain Alessandro Del Piero and some truly exceptional triumphs.

As the Old Lady begins a New Year, it is only right to look back at 2012 and judge which players deserve a mention for helping the team climb to the top of Serie A and European football.

Most improved player: Leonardo Bonucci

A player who was susceptible to individual errors and a man who used to shy away from a tackle has vastly improved under Antonio Conte's tutelage. A ball-playing defender who is adept at both passing and delivering accurate passes to initiate attacking movements; he has proved essential in the attacking phase of the game.

At the back, his clever clearances and ability to maintain control under pressure has helped Juventus maintain the best defensive record in Serie A.

Best defender: Giorgio Chiellini

Chiellini with his passionate displays and aggressive performances have always made him a beloved figure among the Juve fans. A leader at the back, his tough talking, ability to evade a yellow card at all cost and effective interceptions has made him Juve's best defender. Statistically, few can match his figures, but defensive contributions aside, his ability to push forward and launch key passes from the back has offered Juventus another dimension to their attack.

Best midfielder/Best player: Andrea Pirlo

This is perhaps the most difficult choice to make since the team are the formidable unit they are largely because of their midfield. A trio that combine superbly well in the middle of the park has offered Juventus all the creativity they need as well as securing the back-line. However, without Andrea Pirlo, the Old Lady may well just be a hard working old gal without the brain that allows her to boast superiority.

Statistically, and according to Whoscored.com, Pirlo is Serie A's best player. He completes the most amount of passes in the Italian league and provides the highest number of key passes on average per game of any player in Italy.

He is effectively the beating heart of Juve's midfield and the man the team look to unlock opposing defences and launch the squad's runners. His defensive contributions have also proved essential as he keeps his place at the back, ready to make necessary interceptions. His cunning ability to snatch back possession and launch attacks forward have not only made him Juve's best midfielder but the club's best player of 2012.

Best Forward: Mirko Vucinic

Alongside Arturo Vidal, no player has scored as many goals as Vucinic in the year 2012. A creative genius up top, his clever touches, intricate passing and perfect positioning has not only resulted in goals but in better performances from the teammates who play alongside him.

His perfect control of the ball and innate awareness of those around him allows his attacking teammates the ability to score goals. His positioning permits easy deliveries to him and his ability to uncover space and drag defenders away allow the midfield runners ample room to make those well-timed runs and score. Without him on the pitch, Juve's attacking department are simply bereft of the genius ability needed to knock down defensive walls.

Most valuable player: Arturo Vidal

A midfielder with the ability to finish, Vidal, like Vucinic, has scored the highest number of goals for Juventus in 2012. His powerful shots have proved necessary but it is his ability to carry out Conte's tactics so perfectly on the pitch that has allowed him to be Juve's most important player.

Positioning himself high up the pitch when his team lose possession, the constant harrying, the relentless running and the tough tackling have made him an essential member of the Bianconeri team. Capable of always winning the ball back, he secures the back-line by intercepting, clearing and tackling and he contributes offensively by pushing forward when Juve are in possession. Always aware of what his teammates are doing, even when he adopts an attacking possession, he is performing his defensive duties. Never one to let go of the ball, he pressures the opponents so that the ball is won high up the pitch to simplify Juve's attacking game and allow for a more direct route to goal.

Best new player: Sebastian Giovinco

From all the players who arrived over the summer to bolster an already competitive squad, Giovinco has proved to be the best purchase. Having suffered when it comes to finishing goal-scoring opportunities, the diminutive Juventus youth product has improved with each passing game, providing the highest amount of assists of any other player in the squad. His willingness to impress as well as his agile play have gifted Juventus another creative outlet up top to encourage more strikes on goal.

A superb 2012 for Juventus, the Italian giants hope 2013 will allow them to reap the rewards for all the hard work they have put into creating a united squad.