A seminal Serie A weekend is approaching, featuring the Derby della Capitale and Juventus-Napoli.
Roma-Lazio: the Giallorossi shook off at least part of the negativity surrounding them by routing Frosinone on Wednesday, which is not particularly difficult these days, but they needed it. They had won just in the opening round. The Biancocelesti keep feasting on the minnows and are coming off four wins in a row. La Lupa has been so inconsistent so far, but 4-2-3-1 with Javier Pastore in the hole and Steven Nzonzi and Daniele De Rossi screening the defence might ultimately be the way to go, at least in big matches. Stephan El Shaarawy has been their most trustworthy player so far, but Cengiz Under broke through on Wednesday and he does not need a lot to get hot. They certainly need more from their strikers as Edin Dzeko and Patrik Shick have both underperformed. As always, Lazio are counting on their trio of studs, Ciro Immobile, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto: they have all chipped in so far, even though never in the same game. Joaquin Correa re-introduced himself to the Serie A audience with a great goal in Friuli. Roma prevailed in six out of the last ten derbies, while the Eagles nabbed just one win.
Juventus-Napoli: both teams have been doing well so far and, if it was not for Napoli’s tumble against Sampdoria, they would arrived to this clash of titans with a perfect record. Most importantly, they have been improving game after game. As for the Bianconeri, Cristiano Ronaldo has notched three goals and is not his dominating self yet, but he usually frustrates opponents in big matches. Paulo Dybala found the target for the first time on Wednesday, but they have also gotten a lot from their less flashy players such as Mario Mandzukic and Blaise Matuidi. Their flat-out best performer has been without question Federico Bernardeschi and this could be the right platform for him to further elevate his profile. Miralem Pjanic is another one who tends to show up in big games, when set pieces have increased importance. As expected, Carlo Ancelotti is using his whole roster, which is working fine for them, but is suboptimal for fantasy managers. Lorenzo Insigne has been their one constant and Arek Milik a close second, then Piotr Zielinski, José Callejon and Simone Verdi have all given their contribution on offence. The Polish midfielder, in particular, could be one to watch in this situation. Dries Mertens has had a slow start and has been imprecise, but he remains a weapon. The Old Lady has had a ton of success against the Azzurri in Turin, but the latter famously came away with a vital win here late last season.
Inter-Cagliari: the Biscione has won in three out of its last fixtures, where, even though they have not been particularly impressive, they have been able to get the results they needed. Mauro Icardi bagged his first one in Serie A in the midweek round and he is likely to get it going soon. Ivan Perisic slowed down after a hot start, their trio of attacking midfielders has not been particularly reliable in terms of fantasy points, but Radja Nainggolan and Matteo Politano are capable contributors that could come through in a favourable match-up. Balde Keita has yet to settle in and Antonio Candreva took advantage of that, making the most of his playing time. Cagliari won just once so far and historically struggle on the road, but sometimes catch top teams by surprise. They do have the horses to be dangerous, since Leonardo Pavoletti, Joao Pedro, Nicolò Barella and Lucas Castro are quality players. They need a better contribution from their second-strikers, since Marco Sau and Diego Farias are still scoreless and also missed few good chances so far.
Fiorentina-Atalanta: La Viola suffered their second loss of the season at San Siro versus Inter, while the other one came in Naples. They had a good performance in Milan, but them having troubles against the better squads might become a trend. The other game they did not win was against Sampdoria on the road. As expected, Federico Chiesa has been leading the ways, with some help from Giovanni Simeone, who still lacks the consistency, and some feeds, to become a top player, and Marco Benassi and Jordan Veretout. Marko Pjaca has looked increasingly better and could be the major contributor they expected him to be. Their defence has been solid so far, so it could be in play here, especially because Atalanta has been pretty enigmatic so far. The Orobici have showed up in big games, against Roma and Milan, while they have wobbled in the easier ones, at times failing to hit the net. They have an eye-catching offensive arsenal, starting with Alejandro Gomez and Duvan Zapata, but also Emiliano Rigoni and Mario Pasalic, who are more trick-or-threat players, but sometimes they simply do not seem to have any juice.
Sassuolo-Milan: the Neroverdi so far have dropped points only against Cagliari and Juventus, both times on the road, sweeping through the rest of the schedule. On the other hand, the Rossoneri continue to concede goals and have tied in their last three games, versus Cagliari, Atalanta and Empoli. They have had some convincing stretches, but they have often been hampered by mental lapses, lack of killer instinct when they have the lead and sudden decrease of intensity. As for the home team, they are humming offensively and they have scored the most goals of everybody in the league. They have been led by Kevin-Prince Boateng, but also Khouma Babacar, Domenico Berardi and Federico Di Francesco have already been able to find the target. The Rossoneri might again be without Gonzalo Higuain, who was ruled out late for the previous fixture. Patrick Cutrone is not 100% yet and Fabio Borini is utterly ineffective as a striker at this point of his career. With Suso more focused on assisting and Hakan Calhanoglu playing poorly, Giacomo Bonaventura would be the main candidate to pick up the slack scoring-wise, or they would have to rely on some occasional scorers, like in Empoli. It might be time for Gennaro Gattuso to see what Samuel Castillejo can do with more minutes. The Emilians are certainly not the stingiest team though.
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