Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri are coming off a convincing outing in Cagliari, where they notched their second shutout win in a row and in general their seventh victory in the last eight fixtures. On the other hand, the Rossoneri failed to take home the full loot for three matches in a row as they lost to Inter and Sampdoria and then tied with Udinese. The Old Lady is likely to have back both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala for this game, while Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to sit one more out. Some players could be spared in the Ajax game, in any case Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are in terrific form and have lead them scoring-wise. Emre Can and Rodrigo Bentancur have been able to pick up bonus points recently too, while they could use better production from their prestige fullbacks. Krzysztof Piatek returned to the scoresheet last week and the chemistry with Patrick Cutrone looked just fine. However, they lost Lucas Paquetà for a while and so the coach will have to make a different decision about how to move forward with the two-striker lineup. Suso should be back after an ailment and could have a key role, while Hakan Calhanoglu might de facto replace the Brazilian starlet in the midfield, which lowers his fantasy value a bit. Samu Castillejo has been useful pretty bouncy lately, but his playing time is fluctuating.
Sampdoria-Roma: the Blucerchiati dropped a costly one to Torino on Wednesday, immediately losing momentum after the big win over Milan. They remain in the hunt for a Europa League spot, but they have some work to do and few teams to overtake. The plummeting Giallorossi are one of them and their struggles carried on in the midweek round as they drew with Fiorentina. They have prevailed just once in the last four games. Fabio Quagliarella was blanketed by Torino, but he will have a bounce-back opportunity here as La Lupa has conceded in seven straight matches. Gregoire Defrel and Manolo Gabbiadini are in fine shape too, while Gaston Ramirez and Riccardo Saponara have not been great in the last couple of matches, but they were just returning from injuries. Edin Dzeko has scored a lot on the road, but he is also coming off some brutal showings and is not right physically. Nicolò Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert and Diego Perotti all did some damage on Wednesday and could have some success again here, even though Sampdoria have been pretty solid at home. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under could see some meaningful minutes here and Stephan El Shaarawy is about to come back too, so at least they are recovering some pieces. Patrik Schick remains rather enigmatic.
Inter-Atalanta: the Beneamata had one of their best performances of the year in Genoa, where they trashed the Griffon led by Roberto Gagliardini and Mauro Icardi, immediately washing away the bitter taste coming from the Lazio loss and garnering their third W in the last four bouts. The Orobici are red hot as they have not lost in the last five matches, in which they shared the spoils just once. They are the most in-form team in the Champions League race. Icardi will continue to be the undisputed starter as long as Lautaro Martinez will be sidelined, which should be the case again here, and he and Ivan Perisic have some appeal because the Bergamaschi, despite their great results, have given up at least a goal in the past eight rounds. They are also getting some goals out of the midfield as Roberto Gagliardini and Matias Vecino put their names in the stats sheet recently. Radja Nainggolan is improving physically and Mattia Politano has been consistent, even though he has never had transcendent stretches. The guests lost Duvan Zapata to suspension, so Josip Ilicic, who has gone berserk lately, and Alejandro Gomez will have even more responsibilities than usual. Mario Pasalic or Musa Barrow could sneak in the XI in this one, but it would not be surprising to see Gian Piero Gasperini find a way to insert one more wing player since all three between Hans Hateboer, Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne are faring more than adequately.
Lazio-Sassuolo: the Biancocelesti did not manage to completely turn the corner as they got beat by SPAL on Wednesday, flopping after collecting three wins and one draw in the previous four fixtures. The Neroverdi were finally successful on Thursday after picking upfive losses and three ties in the past eight games, but at this point the Chievo game should be considered an outlier. Ciro Immobile is slumping, but Sassuolo have been very leaky and sometimes struggles against that type of striker. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto were underwhelming in Ferrara, but overall they are in a good moment, like Felipe Caicedo. On the other hand, Joaquin Correa has been slowed down by a back problem. The Emilians used a more traditional approach in the last two matches and deployed Khouma Babacar rather a false-nine. It seems to work better for the rest of the team, while the Senegalese’s numbers remain pedestrian. Filip Djuricic could have some relevance if they went back to the previous formula. Domenico Berardi was able to join the party versus the Flying Donkeys, while recently their best man has been Jeremie Boga, who has at times looked uncatchable on the left flank. Federico Di Francesco is starting to get back some playing time after few injury-filled months. Alfred Duncan has not been heard in a while and Stefano Sensi and Manuel Locatelli have outperformed him.
Napoli-Genoa: the Partenopei suddenly took a tumble in Empoli, perhaps taken aback by the boldness of the opponents. They had waltzed in the previous two matches, versus Udinese and Roma. Genoa were dismantled by Inter on Thursday, defeated without scoring for the third time in the last four rounds and have hit the mark just once in the past six rounds, weirdly enough versus the top defence, Juventus. Despite the midweek dud, the Azzurri’s offensive players should be a in a good spot here and Arkadiusz Milk, Dries Mertens, José Callejon, Simone Verdi and Piotr Zielinski all bagged one or more recently, while Amin Younes and Adam Ounas fumbled the ball when they had the opportunity to start. Mertens has showed very well recently and Milik is obviously their linchpin. On the other side of the fence, the recent woes does not make any Genoa player particularly desirable, especially in a tough match-up. Antonio Sanabria has not netted one in a while, while Christian Kouamé is always very involved and could perhaps been energized by the date with the team he has often been linked too.
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