Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 3


The next round presents a couple of interesting matches.

Milan-Roma: the Rossoneri looked decent in their debut in Naples, but lasted only about an hour, up until their second goal, then showed the defensive deficiencies that held them back last season. While they work on how to feed Gonzalo Higuain properly, the usual fantasy studs shined as Giacomo Bonaventura scored and Suso provided an assist. The return of Hakan Calhanoglu will give them a boost. The Wolf is even more a work in progress after the departure of Kevin Strootman and brand-new hierarchies in the midfield and in the attack. Javier Pastore buried a fantastic goal, but overall he has not played that great. Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert look the most in-form, Edin Dzeko is the usual fulcrum, while Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini have not started off well. They were unusually lax and slow to react in the back-line against Atalanta. The Giallorossi have won in the last three trips to San Siro.

Bologna-Inter: the Felsinei have looked dismal offensively so far, basically creating only one good chance to score in 180 minutes, with Blerin Dzemaili hitting the goalie on a one-on-one against Frosinone. Federico Santander and Diego Falcinelli have not been dangerous at all, Mattia Destro is working his way into shape after a muscular injury and Rodrigo Palacio is hurt. In general, they lack creativity and speed. Inter have had two inconsistent performances: they were lacklustre in Sassuolo, a lot better offensively against Torino but fell apart in the second half. Ivan Perisic put his name in the scoresheet, Matteo Politano and Mauro Icardi picked up an assist, but their manoeuvre has not been right and the midfield is not working. They should have Radja Nainggolan back, at least in limited capacity. However, they are in prime position to bounce back in a stadium where they had a decent amount of success in recent years, but the games here have usually been low-scoring.

Parma-Juventus: the Ducali collected one point so far thanks to the disappointing tie against Udinese, where they frittered away a two-nothing lead, and a one-nil loss against SPAL. With so many summer additions, they are inevitably still gelling and they also have some key elements on the shelf. Roberto Inglese bagged a great goal in the opening game, the trident has looked OK in general. The Bianconeri showed tangible improvements in the second match against Lazio, where they tightened up in the back and played decently up front, even though far away from the level of explosivity they had against Chievo. Massimiliano Allegri has already started with his maddening rotation and the choice between an offensive or a more conservative posture will be a week-to-week, opposition-based proposition. In any case, Cristiano Ronaldo is due for a goal, Douglas Costa always performs well even off the bench, Paulo Dybala would be eager to deliver if he was chosen to start. Mario Mandzukic could end up playing, and scoring, more than he used to. The defence of the Bianconeri could be in play fantasy-wise.

Fiorentina-Udinese: the Viola had an exaggeratedly impressive debut versus Chievo, where simply everything worked like a charm, from Nikola Milenkovic improbably netting a pearler, to basically every piece of the midfield and the trident finding a way to score. When they are on, they are surely hard to tame with so much dynamism and a vast array of weapons and newcomer Gerson could not have played better. The Bianconeri are coming off a quality win over Sampdoria, where they displayed a new proactive and ball-dominant style, very distant from what the bland brand of football they have been playing in the last couple of seasons. This could turn out to be an entertaining clash of similar styles. Rodrigo De Paul is already at two goals, Darwin Machis has proven to belong in Serie A, while Antonin Barak and Kevin Lasagna have had some difficulties adjusting to the new scheme so far. Lukasz Teodorzcyk could have an increasing role. Fiorentina have an incredible track record against this opponent since they have won in the last 11 home games.

Sampdoria-Napoli: the Blucerchiati played poorly in their debut, as they could not string together anything good for about half an hour in Udine and were too sloppy in the back. Things got better in the final portion of the game, but it was too little too late. Riccardo Saponara and Dawid Kownacki had some impact off the bench, while Fabio Quagliarella, Gaston Ramirez and Fabio Quagliarella are not in the best condition. The Azzurri are coming off another, more remarkable comeback, this time against Milan. While their back-line against showed some flaws, they were uncontainable on offence, especially when they switched to a 4-2-3-1 with Dries Mertens subbing in. Arek Milik played one of his best games in Serie A here last season, but there is a vast assortment to choose from in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad. Even if he scored against Lazio, Lorenzo Insigne has not looked as good as José Callejon and Mertens, while Piotr Zielinski is ready to rise into superstardom. The Partenopei prevailed in six out of the last seven times they visited Marassi.

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