The next round features one of the games of the season, Juventus-Inter, and few other juicy match-ups.
Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri got the better of Fiorentina, extending their winning streak to five fixtures, but in that occasion they were not as dominant as the final score showed. Against Roma, Inter dropped points for the second time in a row on the road and, despite scoring twice, they never looked in control. The same thing happened in Bergamo, but they are extremely opportunistic, so they can never be counted out. Cristiano Ronaldo added one to his tally with a penalty in Florence, while Rodrigo Bentancur continues to impress. Mario Mandzukic is generally money in big matches, while Douglas Costa has the potential to be a factor off the bench. Despite being useful in other areas, Paulo Dybala’s offensive stats in Serie A have been subpar. Mauro Icardi has found the target at will in the last few games and the meeting with Juventus is always marked on his calendar. With Radja Nainggolan banged up and Ivan Perisic in a perennial funk, they have found a reliable second fiddle in Balde Keita, who has been stellar in the last couple of games. The Old Lady’s back-line has put together a string of clean sheets, but it will be put to test here. They have had some troubles on set pieces, while the Beneamata excels there, so some specialists like Stefan De Vrij and Matias Vecino could be longshot picks.
Napoli-Frosinone: Arkadiusz Milik came to the rescue late against Atalanta, preventing the Azzurri from being force into the second draw in a row. A nice moment for the Pole, who had hit the net just once in the previous six appearances and was being heavily overshadowed by Dries Mertens. With the monumental clash with Liverpool coming up, he could get the start here and certainly he and Lorenzo Insigne are elite options against the porous Frosinone defense. The Ciociari are indeed improving, as they have salvaged some points in five of their last six games, but they lost soundly in their last truly difficult match, against Inter away. Fabian Ruiz continues to be productive, even though he has weirdly scored only on the road. The line-up could be filled with the reserves, so Marko Rog and Adam Ounas could get a chance here: Kevin Malcuit is the one to keep an eye on. The Partenopei back-line has not been airtight lately: the biggest Frosinone weapons are Daniel Ciofani and Joel Campbell, who is more of an assist man, and they could get a boost from the return of Camillo Ciano.
Cagliari-Roma: the Sardinians have lost just once in their last seven fixtures and are still undefeated at home. They have shared the spoils a lot though. Roma have prevailed only one time in their last six games and have floundered away from home, but they are coming off a plucky performance against Inter, where they came back twice. Cagliari have a couple of fantasy studs in Leonardo Pavoletti and Joao Pedro and they will need somebody between Diego Farias, Marco Sau and Artur Ionita to step up because of the recent severe injury of Lucas Castro. The Brazilian bagged one in the previous game. Cengiz Under, Patrik Schick and Justin Kluivert are boom-or-bust players, but they are all capable of spectacular showings. Nicolò Zaniolo is blossoming, while Alessandro Florenzi has done well in a more offensive role. Eusebio Di Francesco has recovered Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore, who could be ready for a bigger load, and Lorenzo Pellegrini and Daniele De Rossi should not be far away, so reinforcements are coming for La Lupa.
Lazio-Sampdoria: four straight draws for the Biancocelesti, who have been unable to take advantage of some cozy match-ups, like the Chievo one, where they used to thrive. The Blucerchiati got out of their slump with a commanding win over Bologna, returning to winning ways after over a month. Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa continues to be the only rocks for Filippo Inzaghi, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s season remains forgetful and Luis Alberto is constantly hurt. Marco Parolo have netted some goals, but it is clear that they offensive potential has taken a toll with the two studs flopping. The whole Sampdoria arsenal was on display last week: Fabio Quagliarella is on a tear, both midfielders, Dennis Praet and Karol Linetty, knocked it on goal and Gaston Ramirez and Gianluca Caprari pulled the strings. They will have problems replicating that against a much better opponent, but on their best day they are a very well-assorted and explosive team. The fact that Ramirez is playing well makes them much more dangerous, because that position is always tricky to contain.
Milan-Torino: the Rossoneri responded to adversities in the Parma game and snatched the three points after the defeat against Juventus and the draw versus Lazio. The Granata are always fluctuating and never fully convincing, but they are coming off a win over Genoa and have never been defeated on the road. Gonzalo Higuain has served his suspension and will be reintegrated in a squad that has benefitted from Patrick Cutrone and Suso’s prolificacy and Hakan Calhanoglu’s improving play. If they avoid further injuries, they could find a consistent XI and have something interesting cooking. Despite everything that went wrong, they are fourth in the standings: they are simply over-scrutinized. The attempt by Walter Mazzarri to deply his big three together, Andrea Belotti, Simone Zaza and Iago Falque, has been fruitless and Zaza will likely be the odd man out. The other two have been okay but not impressive. They get by thanks to the overall solidity, a productive flank game and a robust midfield. They are a top-heavy, but not very reliable fantasy team. Daniele Baselli is having a nice season.
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