Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 4


Inter-Parma: the Beneamata grabbed their first win of the season in Bologna, where they were shorthanded and were led by Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic. Mauro Icardi should be back this week. Luciano Spalletti is still figuring out how the best way to incorporate the newcomers and is looking for the best solution in the midfield, which lacks in creativity. The performances in the three matches have been wildly inconsistent, both on the bright side and on the more negative one. Anyway, the two goal scorers from the past game are good picks in this round and will likely be for the rest of the season. Matteo Politano has been the only one to fit right away among the new faces and already provided two assists. Parma have been gritty, but have just a point to show for it. They tested Juventus, but they need to clean up some defensive mistakes that could hamper them in the long run. Inter’s back-line has been so-so, therefore Gervinho, who has looked very good in his first game back in Serie A and could be devastating with room, and Roberto Inglese could be longshot bets.

Napoli-Fiorentina: the Azzurri are coming off a bad loss against Sampdoria, where they could not stage a comeback like they did against Lazio and Milan. Their defence has been way too sloppy for their standards and going down in the score quickly caught up to them. Carlo Ancelotti is still working on his rotations, but the upcoming busy stretch will help sort them naturally. Simone Verdi did not seize his opportunity, while Lorenzo Insigne is not in good shape. It remains hard to bench José Callejon, while Dries Mertens is able to make an impact in limited stints. Piotr Zielinski has been their best performer and Arek Milik has always had a chance or two to score. Fiorentina won both of their games, with Marco Benassi shining the brightest. Federico Chiesa hauled in bonus points in both occasions, while Giovanni Simeone last year used to find the target in big matches. The break should have helped Marko Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas getting up to speed, the latter could be a fantasy asset. The last few trips of the Viola to San Paolo have usually generated high scoring matches.

Roma-Chievo: the Lupa has been pretty perplexing so far, with Eusebio Di Francesco tinkering too much with the scheme and having trouble navigating through his new options. The loss against Milan was unlucky because of the late goal, but they did not play well at all. The coach is expected to go back to his well-drilled 4-3-3, which will benefit Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini, who have both been underwhelming, and more importantly Cengiz Under, Justin Kluivert, Stephan El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti. Edin Dzeko has not been able to build a rapport with Patrik Schick, so he would be in a good spot as well. Chievo did well against Juventus, very poorly on the road against Fiorentina and then were average versus Empoli. The home/away split is likely to become a trend for the Flying Donkeys. Emanuele Giaccherini and Mariusz Stepinski have been their best players and that is not a surprise at all. Perhaps they will be able to take advantage of a defence that has been way laxer than usual and gave up three goals to Atalanta at home. However, the Giallorossi have a good tradition against this enemy.

Juventus-Sassuolo: the Bianconeri have been insipid, but got the job done in all three fixtures. The best performance came against Lazio, where they shut down a potent attack. Sassuolo will present a similar challenge since they have scoring a whopping nine goals so far, thanks to the five-goal explosion against Genoa. As you may know, Cristiano Ronaldo is still scoreless: he has shot a lot, but has not been able to find himself at the end of clear-cut chances. Mario Mandzukic has picked up the slack, while Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi both had their moments. That has not been the case for Paulo Dybala, who was benched twice for tactical purposes. Sassuolo rode the red-hot Domenico Berardi and Kevin Boateng in the first two matches, then Khouma Babacar put on a show versus Genoa. They have few options up front, considering that Federico Di Francesco and Enrico Brignola will eventually start to contribute as well. On the flip side, Roberto De Zerbi’s teams are not exactly known for their sturdy defensive phase, which could be detrimental in this case. The Old Lady won all previous games against the Neroverdi at home.

Cagliari-Milan: the Sardinians grabbed an unexpected win against Atalanta on the road prior to the international break and will try to build on that and on the positive showing versus Sassuolo, where the opponents equalized with a penalty in the stoppage time. Even after the coaching chance, it has been more of the same with the Rossoblù, with Leonardo Pavoletti and Nicolò Barella leading the way. Joao Pedro will return from his suspension, but may need some time to have the right conditioning. He has always been a big weapon for them and, alongside newcomers Filip Bradaric and Lucas Castro, they have built a very interesting midfield. The Devil redeemed itself against Roma, in a game that had a similar script than the Napoli one, but a different finale: they started strong, slowed down and welcomed the opponent’s pressure, but Gonzalo Higuain and Patrick Cutrone allowed them to cash in late on a misplaced pass. El Pipita has yet to hit the net, but he has been very involved, so it is likely just a matter of time. Hakan Calhanoglu looked fine in his seasonal debut, Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura have been pushing as usual. Samu Castillejo was positive off the bench, but he will likely remain a part-time contributor until Gennaro Gattuso switches to 4-2-3-1. Cagliari last season had a lot of troubles containing the top teams and was on the wrong end of few drubbings.

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