After grading and analyzing the performance of Lazio defense during the last season (which if you missed can be found here) today it is the turn to grade the performance of Lazio midfielders.
Ledesma – 7,5: This was probably Cris`s best season since he arrived at Lazio. Leaving his contractual problems behind, he had focused all his attention to doing well with the team. One of the best playmakers in Serie A and Guardian`s Paolo Bandini had him included in the best Serie A 11. He makes Lazio click, excellent at passes, a lot of running, grinta, he has it all. Lazio is lucky to have such a player.What is more, he is in love with Lazio and does not even think of moving from the capital. With 28 years of age, he has completely matured and raised his game.
Mauri – 7,5: What can we say about Stefano`s season: absolutely incredible. He was so close to leaving for Sampdoria, but Lotito insisted he remains and he did not only disappoint, but exceeded expectations. When Mauri played, Lazio grabbed 54 points in 29 matches (average being 1,86); without him, 12 points in 9 matches (average 1,33). If this was not enough, he scored 6 goals along with 9 assist. Despite this, he is whistled by some pseudo-supporters who think they understand football. Mauri is vital for Lazio`s offensive game.
Brocchi – 7: Who would have thought that Tommy would have had such a great season at this age. He formed alongside Ledesma Lazio midfield, in particular when playing 4-2-3-1. As usual, he ran a lot, double teamed, passed, helped every department. If only his shot against Juve would go in and his mark would have raised to 8.
Hernanes – 8: 12 goals in his first season in Italy and Lazio`s best goal scorer! This is Hernanes, who justified the amount of time and money spent to sign him from Sao Paolo last summer. A player with undisputed class and technique is expected to do even better next season, taking into consideration that unlike last summer when he had no break at all from one competition to another, this one he will have the time to recharge his batteries and return stronger.
Matuzalem – 6,5: He had a better season than I expected. Also, given the arrival of Hernanes and tactics employed by Reja even more playing time than I though he would get. Overall a positive season for Matu, who was lucky enough to be less injured than his usual.
Gonzales – 6,5: The surprise and revelation of this season. When signed, we were not aware of his qualities nor the exact role. I though he was a defensive midfielder, but in reality he is an all round midfielder capable of playing as a winger as well as other roles based on the tactical set-up. He proved to be a valuable signing. Reja hesitated to play him for some time, but once he gave Alvaro a chance, he featured regularly.
Bresciano – 6: A genuine ‘jocker’ of the team (as used in the football jargon). Had some good matches and some less good ones. With the arrival of probably at least 1 midfielder this summer, he will probably be moved back in the rotation.