Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 21


Sampdoria-Udinese: the Blucerchiati were pipped at the post in Florence last week, in a game that turned on its head a thousand times. They have won three straight at home. After three positive, or semi-positives, results Udinese took a tumble at home against Parma. They have managed to prevail just once on the road thus far. Fabio Quagliarella has found the target in ten straight appearances and is one shy of tying the record, so he is obviously a must-start, considering that the match-up is not that hard. Gaston Ramirez is suspended, so Riccardo Saponara will draw the start and could be worth a look. Even Jakub Jankto showed some life in the last game, but Karol Linetty might be able to return in the midfield. The Blucerchiati have not gotten much from the second-striker spot in the last couple of games, as Gregoire Defrel has vanished and Gianluca Caprari got seriously hurt: maybe Manolo Gabbiadini will help there. As for the Zebrette, Stefano Okaka returned with a bang and the tandem with Kevin Lasagna seems to be working well, but that could be detrimental for some fantasy assets like Rodrigo De Paul and Ignacio Pussetto, who will have to play more far away from the goal. They are trying to get something offensively from their midfield, Valon Behrami and Seko Fofana in particular.

Milan-Napoli: the Rossoneri had to labour, but they eventually got the better of Genoa thanks to an excellent second half, so that makes it two wins in a row for them. The Partenopei should have perhaps gotten a larger result versus Lazio, where they looked in control for the large majority of the bout. They have brought home the full spoils in six of their last seven fixtures. It will be perhaps the day of Krzysztof Piatek’s debut with the Devil, then it will have to be seen whether Gennaro Gattuso will pick him over Patrick Cutrone or if the two will play together, like it happened most recently with Gonzalo Higuain. The difference is that now they have one more midfielder they can count on, Lucas Paquetà, so one between him and Hakan Calhanoglu would have to stay out with a 4-4-2 and the coach loves the Turk, despite his season-long funk. In any case, Suso has been their best fantasy player all year and resumed scoring on Monday, while Andrea Conti will be a weapon moving forward. The Azzurri will get Kalidou Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne back from suspension, which will re-open the three-way duel up front with Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik, but the Pole has been so good recently. Fabian Ruiz is in a nice groove, while José Maria Callejon is coming off his first goal of the season.

Atalanta-Roma: the Orobici manhandled Frosinone and bagged 11 goals in the last two games. They got got just once in their last six games. It will be a clash between in-form squads, since the Giallorossi have earned three victories in a row, four in five matches. Duvan Zapata keeps racking up goals and netted four in Ciociaria. His otherworldly form has damaged a little their two other fantasy studs, Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez, even though the former did score a hat-trick in Sassuolo before the break, but certainly the Colombian striker has cannibalized their goals. They are one of the best team in set pieces. As for La Lupa, Nicolò Zaniolo’s rise continues and Stephan El Shaarawy delivered immediately upon returning from injury. They will need both the Pharaoh and Justin Kluivert to step up because Cengiz Under got hurt and Diego Perotti is out as well. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Bryan Cristante are very solid but a little limited by their role. They could use more consistency out of their centre-forwards, Edin Dzeko and Patrik Schick, who have combined for just four goals in Serie A play.

Torino-Inter: the Granata showed some fight, but eventually picked up their first road loss of the year against Roma, despite coming back from 0-2. They have won just twice in the last nine fixtures. The Nerazzurri’s home streak was snapped by a nil-nil tie with Sassuolo, while they are not as efficient on the road. Andrea Belotti and Iago Falque never fully got it going this year, but they are getting contribution scoring-wise from players like Tomas Rincon, Daniele Baselli and Cristian Ansaldi. The Beneamata keeps sputtering up front and have now failed to bag more than one in six consecutive outings. Lautaro Martinez, despite featuring mostly in short stints, might be their hottest commodity, even though obviously Mauro Icardi can not ever be discounted. While Ivan Perisic seems to have fallen back in a slump and Radja Nainggolan can not recapture his best form, Matteo Politano continues to serve as their second fiddle.

Lazio-Juventus: the Biancocelesti will get another crack at a top team after losing at San Paolo versus Napoli, where they made it close in the second half but were pretty severely outplayed in the first one. They are notably wobbly versus elite competition. On the other hand, the Bianconeri romped Chievo Verona in one of their best performances of the season. Ciro Immobile netted a pretty one on Sunday, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto took a step back compared to their previous showing and Joaquin Correa needs to be more than a spark-plug off the bench. The Bianconeri’s trio of fantasistas, Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi, shined in a night when Miralem Pjanic was not around and Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty. The configuration might be used again because the Bosnian midfielder is not 100 percent and Mario Mandzukic is hurt. Emre Can found his first goal in black-and-white on Monday. It will be Ronaldo’s first game in Rome and he will want to bounce back after a disappointing performance.

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