As the football season nears its curtain call following a hard fought campaign in each respective league, the title races are all but drawing to a premature end. Bayern Munich and Manchester United have wrapped up the Bundesliga and Premier League respectively, Paris Saint-Germain are on course to add their first Ligue 1 title since 1994 and Barcelona continue to pull away from the chasing pack in Spain.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Juventus are now within four points of securing their second successive Scudetto following the professional 1-0 win over AC Milan. While cementing a European place remains in the forefront of the thoughts of Milan, Internazionale, Fiorentina and Napoli, the need to stave off the threat of relegation remains high.
While Pescara look set to drop into Serie B, Genoa, Palermo and Siena will all remain confident they can secure their place in the top tier of Italian football, with a solitary point separating the trio. Above the three teams is 16th placed Torino, who will remain hopeful of confirming their Serie A future over the coming weeks, regardless of their current run of four games without a victory, picking up only one point in the process.
In that same run of games, I Granata have conceded 13 times - shipping an average of one goal every 27.6 minutes. Furthermore, having conceded 49 goals this season, Torino currently sit with the fifth worst goal difference in Serie A, with their record only better than Pescara, Genoa, Cagliari and AS Roma.
Nevertheless, it is a Torino defender that currently boasts the highest overall tackles per game figure across Europe's top five leagues. Matteo Darmian, who is predominantly a right-back, has been an impressive performer in the defence of Giampiero Ventura's side this season, averaging 5.3 tackles per match in his 26 appearances for the Turin outfit, with Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal the closest to the Italian, with 5.1.
Looking at his performances at the Stadio Olimpico this year, Darmian has continuously impressed for his side and his performances at home have heralded an average rating of 7.22 over 14 appearances.
The 23-year-old is, at the time of writing, making 5.4 tackles per game when Torino welcome opponents to Turin, further highlighting his defensive astuteness in a team that boasts a stronger goals-against record at home (22) than Inter Milan.
Making 2.1 interceptions per home encounter and 4.1 clearances over the 14 appearances at the Stadio Olimpico, it's no shock to see Darmian score so highly in a team that have conceded 49 goals in 33 Serie A games this campaign.
Away from home, the stats of the Torino man slip a little, with Darmian making marginally fewer tackles per game (5.2) compared to his home average, although it's notable that the defender has made two fewer appearances on the road.
His interceptions drop, but only from 2.1 to 2 per game, while his clearances improve from four per game to five, not to mention that Darmian has won more offsides away from the Stadio Olimpico than at Torino's home stadium, with the 0.9 a significant mark up from 0.1. However, his WhoScored rating does drop from 7.22 to 7.07 when his side are on the road.
Darmian's defensive capabilities are once again highlighted in his ability to prevent his team from conceding over his 26 appearances, in which the defender has made two last man tackles. That is the joint second highest for Torino alongside Guillermo Rodriguez and Kamil Glik, but five challenges behind highly rated teammate Angelo Ogbonna, with the Italian centre-back making nine appearances less than his compatriot.
Nevertheless, his tally is made all the more impressive considering there are six full backs in the top 10 tacklers across Europe's top five leagues, but Il Toro have in fact fared better without Darmian in the starting XI.
Turning out 26 times for the north-western Italian side has seen the club secure a win percentage of 23% with the young defender starting, or six wins from 26. However, that figure rises to 28% when Darmian has been unavailable for selection, with Torino picking up two wins from seven games without the former Italy U-21 international.
Furthermore, the team have lost just two (28%) of the seven games without Darmian in the starting XI, which is a far cry from the 38% when he has started. Torino have also scored more when the defender has been unavailable for selection, and the defence are shipping more goals with him in the back line – 1.54 per game when he's started dropping to 1.29 without him.
While Darmian may be the best tackler across the top five leagues on the continent, Torino's results have been better without him in the starting XI, currently garnering 1.28 points per game with the defender sidelined in comparison to the 1.07 with him in defence.
On top of that, while his tackling is of the highest standard, Darmian needs to significantly improve on his discipline, and is currently the most yellow carded player in the Torino squad (9), picking up a booking every 2.8 starts. Unfortunately for the player, it will see him sit out the upcoming Turin derby - an encounter where Juventus could secure Serie A glory if Napoli fail to overcome Pescara on Saturday - after he received his second yellow and subsequent red during Sunday's hotly contested 4-3 defeat to Serie A counterparts Fiorentina.
Nevertheless, if the club's points-per-game ratio is anything to go by, his loss could be exactly what the club needs to pull off a surprise result against a team that have dropped points just five times away from home all season.