Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 2


After some flashes in the first match day, the second one is more intriguing on paper.

Juventus-Lazio: the Old Lady had to toil to defeat Chievo, but the attack confirmed to be deep and hard to contain, even though few players had an off game, while the defence needs some fine-tuning. Cristiano Ronaldo was electric, but teammates had troubles finding him and Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa suffered from the fact that the spaces were all clogged up. Among the forwards, Federico Bernardeschi certainly looked the most in-form. Perhaps things will be a little more open against better competition. The Portuguese was devastating on the wing, which is good news for Mario Mandzukic, his ideal partner in crime, and for Alex Sandro as well because he had much more room to operate. Lazio rode an incredible play by Ciro Immobile against Napoli, but did not do much more else, with Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic unable to step up as they did so many times in the past and they have another big challenge on their hands. Prior to last season, the Biancocelesti had not won in Turin since 2002.

Napoli-Milan: the new-look Azzurri looked pretty decent against Lazio, as they put it together after a slow start and ended up coming back, and deservedly so because they controlled the game in the final hour. Arek Milik could be extremely prolific if he continued to be the focal point of the attack, Dries Mertens was mostly excellent in that same role, but the Pole is simply a purer goal poacher. It looks like not much has changed for José Maria Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, while Marek Hamik’s fantasy upside is limited in this new role, we will see whether one between Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz will be able to take full advantage of this opportunity. Milan’s first game was postponed, so Hakan Calhanoglu’s suspension will carry over. It appeared that Gennaro Gattuso was ready to field Giacomo Bonaventura in the trident, with Tiemoué Bakayoko joining Lucas Biglia and Franck Kessie in the midfield, which would obviously benefit the former Atalanta. Suso could be pushed by Samu Castillejo if he does not show well. Needless to say, there is always a lot of intrigue when Gonzalo Higuain returns at San Paolo. Milan have had very little success here, winning just once in the last 12 trips.

Inter-Torino: the Nerazzurri stumbled right out of the gate against Sassuolo, where they could not muster any convincing offence, especially in the first half. Lautaro Martinez and Matteo Politano tried to do something, but only with solo actions and Mauro Icardi needs to be fed to be dangerous. The left chain with Dalbert and Kwadwo Asamoah was baffling. Ivan Perisic brought some instant energy off the bench, but it did not last for long. The Croatian ace is expected to start here and is huge role is intact despite the summer arrivals. The Granata played a good game against Roma, but they just could not capitalize when they had the upper hand and were punished by a jaw-dropping goal by Edin Dzeko. Iago Falque was the most active, Andrea Belotti missed a chance, now Walter Mazzarri will try to integrate Simone Zaza and Roberto Soriano, so their front-line could be in flux.

Udinese-Sampdoria: the Bianconeri looked lost for a good chunk of the Parma game, then an unexpected penalty woke them up and they ended up equalizing a little later. They system of Julio Velazquez is proactive, but they might not have a solid enough defence to sustain it. Rodrigo De Paul and Darwin Machis were fine, Kevin Lasagna was engulfed by Bruno Alves and Antonin Barak looked out of sorts: they were more effective when Lukas Teodorzcyk entered the game and with a more traditional two-striker set, allowing Lasagna to move around more. The Blucerchiati will not have Dennis Praet for a while and it is unclear yet what the starting pair up front will be: Dawid Kownacki should make the leap this year, but Gregoire Defrel could thrive in Marco Giampaolo’s tactics and it is always difficult to supplant Fabio Quagliarella. Jakub Jankto had the best pre-season for them.

Roma-Atalanta: after so many movements, Eusebio Di Francesco is still establishing the hierarchies and looking for the best position for some players. Javier Pastore looked behind in terms of conditioning, Cengiz Under and Stephan El Shaarawy had only a pair of interesting plays each. On the other hand, Justin Kluivert changed the game with his dynamism and Edin Dzeko obviously buried a great goal. Atalanta pummelled Frosinone with the help of a dazzling performance by Alejandro Gomez, who completely took the reins with Josip Ilicic sidelined. Hans Hateboer and Mario Pasalic were at the end of two of his deliveries. Musa Barrow had some aim issues and could be a big threat if the Goddess will have room to counter in this one, but the battle to start with Duvan Zapata will be constant. The Orobici were able to score in most of their last visits at Olimpico.

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