Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 36


Atalanta-Genoa: the Bergamaschi keep soaring and bested Lazio in a seminal clash last week, garnering their third win a row and building a little lead over Roma in the race to get the fourth position. They have not been defeated since the beginning of March. The Griffon is coming off two 1-1 ties in a row, versus SPAL and Roma, squandering a massive late opportunity on Sunday. They are four points above the third-to-last position. Suspensions are piling up for Gian Piero Gasperini and he will not be able to count on two defensive centre-pieces, Gianluca Mancini and Andrea Masiello, and more importantly on Alejandro Gomez, which will also not allow him to rotate the squad much ahead of next week’s cup final. Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata will take on an even larger load than usual: the Slovenian genius has been slowed down by some nagging injuries, while the Colombian powerhouse continues to lay hurt on opponents. Mario Pasalic will likely play in the hole and he could be someone to keep an eye on. Papu’s absence will require the other contributors to elevate their offensive presence: Remo Freuler has come close to scoring recently, while Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens are likely to feature together this time and always have some chances. The Rossoblù seems to have solved their drought, Gianluca Lapadula and Cristian Romero were their latest scorers, but they need to find a reliable goal poacher since Christian Kouame and Antonio Sanabria have stopped producing and Goran Pandev is more of a creator. Miguel Veloso has looked good recently.

Fiorentina-Milan: La Viola’s lack of motivation has led to an awful conclusion of the season as they have been defeated in four of the last five games, by Frosinone, Juventus, Sassuolo and Empoli, managing to find the target only against the Old Lady. While navigating through a myriad of problems, the Rossoneri returned to winning ways against Bologna on Monday, thanks to Suso’s reappearance in the scoresheet and a tap-in by Fabio Borini. They are not far away from a Champions League berth and the schedule is in their favour, but between Lucas Paqueta’s three-game suspension and the Tiemoue Bakayoko’s argument with the coach, there does not seem to be the right atmosphere. Federico Chiesa has been the only Gigliato to save face in the last month or so, even though he did not hit the net, while Luis Muriel has fallen into a slump. Jordan Veretout was red carded last week, while Kevin Mirallas is stranded as right wing back and Giovanni Simeone has not scored in a month and is not a regular. Marco Benassi and Gerson could have more prominence sans Veretout. Krzysztof Piatek has not scored in four rounds for just the second time this season: catering to him remains an issue, but he is starting to be due for a goal. Paqueta’s disqualification could lead to Hakan Calhanoglu returning to the midfield and Borini or Samu Castillejo completing the trident and they both carry some fantasy appeal, at least for their activity.

SPAL-Napoli: both teams have already secured their seasonal objectives as the Estensi celebrated the permanence in Serie A with their win over Chievo, their sixth in the last eight rounds, while the Partenopei will finish in second place. After a disappointing stretch, they have been victorious in three of the last four fixtures. The Biancazzurri have been getting few goals from defenders on set pieces, while up front, since Andrea Petagna play’s has abated, Jasmin Kurtic and Sergio Floccari have picked up the slack. Manuel Lazzari remains a terror on the right wing. Carlo Ancelotti has tried few different men, but the one constant in the last two months has been Dries Mertens, who is raining holy hell on opponents. Arkadiusz Milik has been uncharacteristically imprecise when finishing, while Lorenzo Insigne buried a penalty last week, but his first game after a suspension was not great. Simone Verdi and Amin Younes might get another chance from the jump: the latter is more intriguing because he is listed as a midfielder. Piotr Zielinski is constantly lurking near the goal.

Roma-Juventus: the Giallorossi narrowly avoided a disastrous scenario last week in Genoa thanks to Antonio Mirante saving a penalty at the buzzer. They had prevailed in three of the previous four matches, but Atalanta managed to shake them a little. The Madama got two 1-1 ties in a row, versus Inter and Torino, after clinching the title. La Lupa’s two feature guys up front, Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy keep providing strong displays, while Nicolò Zaniolo is not as effective out wide and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s dangerousness as no.10 hinges on the difficulty of the match-up. Justin Kluivert turned to be a good weapon off the bench. The guests will not have Federico Bernardeschi, who has been a big part of their plan in the last week weeks, due to suspension. If they want to confirm the latest scheme, they will have to advance Joao Cancelo’s position, a move that had some hits and some misses. Cristiano Ronaldo found the target two weeks in a row, but his quest to catch Fabio Quagliarella is likely to fall short without a barrage of goals. Moise Kean is likely to start next to him and, while the tandem needs some fine-tuning, he could do some damage against a back-line has had some lapses. Juan Cuadrado is getting a lot of minutes but he has not done much with them. Miralem Pjanic will face his former team, while Leonardo Spinazzola is in fine form and could get the nod again.

Inter-Chievo: the Beneamata needs a win to stay in front of Atalanta, which are just one point behind them, while the lead over Roma and Milan, which is what truly matters for the Champions League implications, is still decently healthy. They have shared the spoils in four of the last five matches, against the Goddess, the Giallorossi, Juventus and Udinese. They did not look great in Friuli, but they never turn up the volume and Juan Musso was forced into some difficult saves. After surprisingly getting four points in the tilts with Lazio and Parma, Chievo were bruised by SPAL last Saturday. Lautaro Martinez and Mauro Icardi have both been held back by their alternance, but whoever gets the start will obviously be in an ideal position to deliver considering the Flying Donkey’s horrid defensive numbers. It could be time for Matteo Politano to break through. Among their midfielders, even though Ivan Perisic has racked up more bonus points lately, Radja Nainggolan tends to be a little more involved. Roberto Gagliardini might fill in for Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino and has done some scoring in his last appearances. The Gialloblù are going really young: Emanuel Vignato is their brightest prospect, Mehdi Leris has been pretty consistent, while Sofian Kiyine has had some his moments. Riccardo Meggiorini appears to be the only veteran striker they have decided to keep in the XI.

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