Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 32


SPAL-Juventus: after winning three games in a row, against Roma, Frosinone and Lazio, SPAL were bested by Cagliari, but their recent streak gave them a little breathing room over the last three positions. Juventus toppled Milan last week, winning for the eighth time in the last nine matches and they are one point away from clinching the title. For the Estensi, Andrea Petagna has been a rock all year long, showing to be a much more prolific striker compared to his time at Atalanta. Manuel Lazzari is their main playmaker off the right flank and has picked up eight assists thus far. Jasmin Kurtic is also occasionally able to collect some bonus points, while they have not got much out of the second-striker role, as Mirco Antenucci, Andrea Paloschi and Sergio Floccari have combined for just six goals. Cristiano Ronaldo has recovered, but there are no guarantees he will play in this match since it is sandwiched between two Champions League legs and he is coming off an injury. It could be however a nice spot for Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean, as the former featured in limited capacity and the latter did not play on Wednesday, and Sami Khedira too, who often hovers around the goal when he plays. Douglas Costa had a terrific return from injury and could put some more minutes in his legs here too.

Roma-Udinese: the Giallorossi snapped out of their funk with a massive win over Sampdoria last week that strongly rekindled their Champions League aspirations. They had won just once in the previous five rounds. The Zebrette were able to garner seven points in the first three games with Igor Tudor at the helm, against Genoa, Milan and Empoli, moving four points clear of the relegation zone. Edin Dzeko and Patrik Schick both looked fine in Genoa, but they have not been able to bag one in the last three rounds. They might also go back to using just one centre-forward now that they have recovered some important elements like Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under. Nicolò Zaniolo has put up impressive numbers at home and Justin Kluivert has showed well recently, so they could be fine picks against a team that is not that sturdy. The new coach of the Friuliani has proposed a couple of different looks in the last three games, using either 4-3-3 or 3-5-2. Rodrigo De Paul is heavily featured in both cases and he detonated in the Empoli clash. Kevin Lasagna, Stefano Okaka and Ignacio Pussetto have all performed positively, but they seem to be stuck in a timeshare so it is hard to fully trust any of them. Lasagna again could be the right guy in a fixture where they could have room to counter and La Lupa’s back-line is pretty vulnerable. Rolando Mandragora has buried two piledrivers recently and Seko Fofana has been revitalized by playing with a higher tempo.

Milan-Lazio: the Rossoneri showed well against Juventus, but came out empty handed and have scraped together just one point in the last four contests, squandering all the lead they had over the other Champions League contenders. The Biancocelesti could be in better position too, as they are coming off two disappointing results, a loss against SPAL and a tie at home versus Sassuolo. They often pull the strings, but have not been able to capitalize with the same consistency they had last year. The problem for the Devil has been the same for few weeks now: Krzysztof Piatek is the only reliable contributor up front, while Suso is in a slump and Hakan Calhanoglu, although more involved when deployed in the midfield, is further away from the goal and Samu Castillejo is another feast-or-famine player. A solution would be to integrate Patrick Cutrone, but it does not seem like they have found a way that works fluidly yet. As for the Eagles, Ciro Immobile has picked up his scoring recently despite not looking in tip-top shape and missing some sitters. Their three other tenors Luis Alberto, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa have all been okay recently, but neither has been able to put his name in the scoresheet with great regularity. Senad Lulic has been able to notch more goals than usual this year. It could be a war of attrition considering how much is at stake here.

Chievo-Napoli: the wheels have come off for the Flying Donkeys and it just a matter of time before their relegation is mathematical. They have not been able to put up much of a fight either, as they have been defeated in five of the last six games, conceding a grand total 16 goals. The Partenopei attackers will be popular selections, but there is some uncertainty about who will actually play since they will be all hands on deck for the Europa League clash with Arsenal and could spare some key guys here. They have not been great in the past two matches, which were palatable too versus Empoli and Genoa. Dries Mertens has been their best striker recently, while Arkadiusz Milik, despite two down showings in a row, has usually produced like clockwork. Lorenzo Insigne could play a good chunk of minutes in order to fully recuperate from his recent physical problem and reserves like Amin Younes and Adam Ounas could see extended playing time too. Piotr Zielinski has pitched in with two goals in the last month. Emanuele Giaccherini, Mehdi Leris and Sergio Pellissier have been the most serviceable guys for the Gialloblù, but they have struggled almightily offensively.

Frosinone-Inter: the Ciociari are trying to stage a late comeback as snatched two consecutive wins, against Parma and Fiorentina, but seven points is a steep hill to climb and they need two teams to slip in front of them. The Nerazzurri are coming off a nil-nil tie with Atalanta, which did not seal anything but all in all kept a competitor at a distance. They have dropped just one of the last five tilts. The Gialloblù have counted on Daniel Ciofani’s game-winners in the last two showings, while also Andrea Pinamonti and Luca Valzania have produced lately. Camillo Ciano, their leading scorer, has been a little put to the side. Mauro Icardi returned with a goal, but Lautaro Martinez could be back in this round and that will be an interesting dynamic, because El Toro was delivering before getting hurt. Radja Nainggolan has shaken off his injuries too, but he has rarely been in peak condition this season and his tally has suffered from it. Ivan Perisic is the ultimate trick-or-treat player, while Mattia Politano and Matias Vecino are steadier but also have lower upside. They are also trying to reintroduce Balde Keita, whose good momentum was really halted by a tough injury. Roberto Gagliardini has been oddly prone to scoring lately.

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