Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 16


An extra-long Serie A round is main evented by the Derby della Mole on Saturday night.

Inter-Udinese: the Nerazzurri will be looking to bounce back after a heartbreaking elimination from Champions League, where they fumbled away a great opportunity, and the tough loss against Juventus, where they squandered their chances. The Zebrette were handed their first loss under Davide Nicola by Atalanta last week. Inter continue to be carried by Mauro Icardi and Matteo Politano, with Balde Keita capable of some impressive showings, but still lacking that consistent playing time necessary to be a fantasy stud, even though the real Ivan Perisic has not showed up in a while. As for the opposition, the new coach has installed a much more defensive scheme, which could enhance Kevin Lasagna and Rodrigo De Paul’s ability on the open space, but now their chances are limited compared to the previous and more proactive regime. Ignacio Pussetto is performing pretty neatly, but he too is not a regular starter. Marco D’Alessandro did well in a weird position last week. Inter’s back-line is worth considering since they have not allowed a goal in the last four home games.

Torino-Juventus: the Granata were able to grab a point in San Siro against Milan and they have lost just once, to Parma, in their last ten fixtures. Weirdly enough, their three defeats have all come at home. The Bianconeri keep churning out wins even when they are dominant, as it was the case last week versus Inter. With some many difference makers, prevailing gets easier if the back-line does its thing, as it has been the case in the past four Serie A matches. Torino are not a particularly prolific team: their most consistent scorer has been Andrea Belotti, but four goals are not a particularly rich haul. Daniele Baselli and Iago Falque have chipped in a little, while Simone Zaza found the target just once. Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic keep bearing most of the load scoring-wise for the Old Lady, with Paulo Dybala more focused on the build-up rather than in the finishing part of the actions. The suspension of Rodrigo Bentancur opens up minutes for Emre Can. Joao Cancelo is on a tear lately.

Cagliari-Napoli: the Sardinians preserved their undefeated streak at home with an unlikely comeback in the final minutes of the Roma game. However, they have not won in five weeks. The Azzurri easily took care of business at home against Frosinone: they have triumphed six times and tied twice in their last eight matches. The Rossoblù will be pretty depleted since Darijo Srna and Luca Ceppitelli were red carded in the last game and Leonardo Pavoletti picked up a thigh injury. Joao Pedro and Nicolò Barella will take on a larger role, hoping that Marco Sau, Diego Farias and Artur Ionita could contribute like they have done in the past two matches. Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne are slowing down after a torrid stretch for the Partenopei, while Arkadiusz Milik is coming in hot. Piotr Zielinski resumed scoring in the last round and Adam Ounas is always spry when he is called upon, which perhaps could be the case here after a draining clash at Anfield. Fabian Ruiz has done a lot of damage on the road.

Roma-Genoa: the Giallorossi can not get out of their own way and allowed two late goals to Cagliari, so they stay at just one win in the last seven outings. Cesare Prandelli’s debut was marred by an early red card, but they still came away with a draw versus SPAL. It will take some time to see the hand of the new coach, but the early indications point to him moving away from a three-man defence and relying heavily on the likes of Romulo, Christian Kouame and inevitably Krzysztof Piatek, perhaps inserting a trequartista, Goran Pandev, Daniel Bessa or Iuri Medeiros, or an offensive winger. As for La Lupa, Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti are inching closer to a full recovery, but actually they have suffered more from solidity and character problems, rather than offensive ones, since Cengiz Under, Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert have been pretty good. It certainly would not have hurt in Patrik Schick was more clinical though, but Edin Dzeko should not spend much more time on the sidelines.

Atalanta-Lazio: the Bergamaschi returned to winning ways after two slip-ups with an impressive showing in Udine, where Duvan Zapata led the charge with a hat-trick. Lazio found a way to tie for the fourth time in a row versus Sampdoria, despite successfully coming back late. The Goddess will have Josip Ilicic back on this occasion, re-assembling their menacing trident with Alejandro Gomez, who has not bagged one in a month, and the Colombian striker. They also have a tendency of getting goals from defenders on set pieces and the fullbacks Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens are very involved offensively. Ciro Immobile has been producing as usual, but he has gotten little help. Joaquin Correa has been a spark plug player, while Felipe Caicedo is generally positive, but he does a lot of dirty work for his teammate. While Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has drawn the ire of the fans, Marco Parolo has been the second top scorer in the team.

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