Italians in Serie A: Simone Verdi stands out on matchday 24Salernitana’s new star was the highest-rated Italian player on the most recent matchday according to the Opta Index
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Simone Verdi was the Italian MVP from Serie A matchday 24 according to Opta data. The Salernitana new-boy, who has joined the club on loan from Torino, made his debut in front of the home crowd and what a debut it was, scoring a brace of direct free-kicks in the Monday-night match against Spezia. The winger had already managed the feat of scoring two free-kicks in a single Serie A game back in November 2017, against Crotone, when he was still a Bologna player. In general, since 2016/17, no player has scored more goals from direct free-kicks than Verdi (seven, level with Aleksandar Kolarov and Paulo Dybala).
More than just the act of scoring, his brace inside the first 16 minutes against the Aquilotti was the fastest from direct free-kicks in Serie A since 2004/05. Outside of the goals, Verdi put in an incredibly intense performance: three shots and two on target (more than any of his teammates), three crosses and the highest completion percentage of passes in the opposition half – among those with at least five attempted – (86% - 13 out of an attempted 15).
Furthermore, in the game against Motta’s men, he attempted six dribbles; only two players tried to beat their man more on this matchday (Nicolò Zanioli with nine and Hamed Traore with eight).
Simone Verdi has scored three of his last four top-flight goals from direct free-kicks (two yesterday and one against Bologna in December 2020). Furthermore, four of his last six goals have come in home games.
His stats from the Spezia game
Total shots: 3
Percentage of passes completed in the opposition half: 86.7%