Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 20


Roma-Torino: the Giallorossi are on the up and up with three wins in the last four games, over Genoa, Sassuolo and Parma and have re-entered the Champions League fray. The Granata continue to be a little uninspiring, they have prevailed just twice in their last seven games, but they are still undefeated on the road and have shared the spoils in the majority of away matches. Patrick Schick has had a resurgence is the last month and the duel with Edin Dzeko is legitimate now. They have also recovered Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was having a great season before getting hurt and makes them very menacing up front, since Cengiz Under, Bryan Cristante, Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert have all been productive before the break and even Javier Pastore showed some life in Coppa Italia. Torino are not a very explosive team, but they get by with some good enough output up front by Andrea Belotti and Iago Falque, some goals on set pieces and a solid flank game provided by Ola Aina, Lorenzo De Silvestri and Cristian Ansaldi. They will be down two starters though, Armando Izzo and Soualiho Meite, who are suspended, which puts them in a dangerous spot against an in-form opponent.

Inter-Sassuolo: the wins have kept coming for the Nerazzurri despite the fact that they are going through a meager offensive stretch, as they have failed to score more than once in the past five games. The date with Sassuolo, who gave up nine goals in the last two games could help in that regard, and the Neroverdi have won just once in the last eight games. Despite not having much continuity scoring-wise, Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Matteo Politano are worth a look and even Antonio Candreva could be a cheap plug since Balde Keita got hurt. The Beneamata have also kept six straight clean sheets at home. The guests have maintained their offensive vein despite the poor results: Alfred Duncan has been straight up fantastic in his last appearances, Khouma Babacar chipped in and they should have Kevin-Prince Boateng, who was terrific before getting hurt, close to full speed by now. It is always a particular game for Domenico Berardi and the returns can go to all kind of directions. Stefano Sensi is coming on strong, but the new role limits his fantasy appeal.

Napoli-Lazio: the Partenopei bounced back after the tough loss against Inter by outlasting Bologna at home with another late goal. They have won in five of their last six games, despite displaying some cracks. The Biancolesti are coming off a paltry performance versus Torino, where they were held to a one-one tie and were therefore unable to build on the six points they convincingly corralled against Cagliari and Bologna. Lorenzo Insigne will serve the second game of his suspension, so it will be again up to Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik to lead the charge and the Pole has been on fire lately. Fabian Ruiz had a great showing in Coppa Italia, while Simone Verdi showed well in the last Serie A game. As for the Eagles, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has snapped out of his season-long dry spell in a definitive way, bagging two goals in the last three rounds, including a gem. Luis Alberto is rounding into form too, so they could be back to last year’s winning configuration, with then Joaquin Correa serving as one extra weapon. Ciro Immobile has been held scoreless for three games, which is uncharacteristic. Lazio have a tendency to falter when facing elite competition, but the Azzurri will be undermanned with Allan and Kalidou Koulibaly suspended and Marek Hamsik hurt.

Genoa-Milan: the Griffon has not scored in a couple of matches, but at least against Fiorentina they were able to keep their first clean sheet in ages, even though they were certainly lucky to do so. They have brought home just one win in the last 13 games, even though they improved a little under Cesare Prandelli. Milan solved both of their slumps versus SPAL, returning to winning ways after four matches and also scoring twice. They had mixed results at the beginning of 2019, besting Sampdoria in Coppa Italia with goals in the overtime and then losing in the Supercoppa. Amidst the abundant transfer market rumours, Krzysztof Piatek is conveniently suspended, which is a big break for the Rossoneri, whose defense has been stout recently. Christian Kouamé and one between Andrea Favilli and Goran Pandev will have big shoes to fill, but obviously the whole squad, starting from the players like Romulo, Daniel Bessa and Darko Lazovic, will have to step up offensively. Patrick Cutrone will likely draw the start here since Gonzalo Higuain has one foot out of the door and he is generally a terror. Hakan Calhanoglu has benefitted from playing in a different position, but they need more from him. Suso is banged up and they have few suspensions to deal with, so Lucas Paquetà, Samu Castillejo and other reserves could have a chance to shine against a leaky back-line.

Juventus-Chievo: the Bianconeri keep racking up wins even when they do not look particularly fly, which has been the case for the past few weeks in the League, but they crushed Bologna in Coppa Italia. The Flying Donkeys have been very resilient under Domenico Di Carlo, losing just once in seven fixtures, against Sampdoria, and winning their first match of the season against Frosinone. They next few games will decide if they can credibly re-enter the race to avoid relegation. The injury to Mario Mandzukic opens up minutes for Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, who have fared well in the first two appearances in 2019 and Cristiano Ronaldo becomes even more of a scoring threat, while Paulo Dybala has some adjusting to do, but he too could benefit. Miralem Pjanic is suspended, so Emre Can or Sami Khedira could get a shot from the get-go and the ex-Real Madrid man is their most prolific midfielder. As for the Gialloblù, Sergio Pellissier has been stellar in their recent stretch and Emanuele Giaccherini buried a free kick in the last game: they are now their nexuses with Valter Birsa gone. Mariusz Stepinski has already hurt the Old Lady.

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