Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 5

Brescia-Juventus: two questions loom large on the game, one for each side. Mario Balotelli is eligible to return after the suspension, but his conditioning might be a problem after skipping the summer preparation, so he might be initially be kept on the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out due to muscle fatigue and it is new situation under Maurizio Sarri; they also do not have Douglas Costa, so they lack a pure left-wing player. Federico Bernardeschi could certainly be adapted there, but he has struggled so far, so the coach might try new solutions, like for instance fielding Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together. Whoever ends up starting up front will have to shoulder a bigger load sans Ronaldo. Juan Cuadrado has been one of their best performers in the last two matches. Aaron Ramsey scored against Verona but Sami Khedira should return to the XI here and is worth a look, like Blaise Matuidi, who has become an important factor. Miralem Pjanic could get a boost thanks to free kick duties. As for the Rondinelle, Balotelli or not, Alfredo Donnarumma will continue to be an offensive leader, Romulo found the target against Udinese and he they are exploiting all his versatility and Sandro Tonali and Dimitri Bisoli have been as good as advertised. They have scored in all but one game.

Roma-Atalanta: the strong suits of the new-look attack have become apparent in the Giallorossi’s two recent wins. Edin Dzeko has gone back to his 2017-2018 form, Lorenzo Pellegrini is extremely comfortable as no.10, Aleksandar Kolarov is breaking all sorts of record with his free kicks and prolificity for a defender, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Justin Kluivert both scored in the last home game, while Nicolò Zaniolo has yet to get it going in Serie A and got the short end of the stick after Cengiz Under’s injury, but he should be in the XI in this one after partially resting in the last two. The Goddess has been far from reliable defensively, so their attackers could thrive again.

Duvan Zapata missed a big chance against Fiorentina, but his start remains pretty good. Josip Ilicic and Timothy Castagne, two of their main weapons last season, put their name in the scoresheet for the first time on Sunday, now they are waiting for Alejandro Gomez to join the party, but they can rejoice for the performances of Ruslan Malinovskyi, who has the skills to become a major part of their plan. Luis Muriel will not be available in this one, so they should not divert from their standard plan. Mario Pasalic has taken advantage of the lack of form of Remo Freuler and Marten De Roon to see extended minutes and he is more dangerous in the final third that then two regulars in the midfield.

Inter-Lazio: the Nerazzurri continue to be tremendously solid in both phases and are very capable in feeding their centre-pieces: Romelu Lukaku has already found the target three times, Marcelo Brozovic and Stefano Sensi have been superb so far, both hitting the net twice and providing few assists and Nicolò Barella is surging. Lautaro Martinez’s scoring remains a little subpar for how active he is. The usual rotation that goes down in a midweek round should allow Matteo Politano, more than Alexis Sanchez, to get the nod. Cristiano Biraghi could start here and he can be reasonably dangerous.

More of the same from Lazio as well, as Ciro Immobile bagged one more, assisted by Luis Alberto. This has been their best duo so far, Joaquin Correa is in decent shape as well, but he has not solved his finishing woes, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has yet to provide a meaningful contribution. Manuel Lazzari is set to resume starting even though Adam Marusic did damage on Saturday and it will be a nice four-way battle on the flanks between the wing-backs.

Napoli-Cagliari: Carlo Ancelotti has a vast array of weapons at his disposal and he went with a heavy attack in Lecce. While Arkadiusz Milik needs time to get into condition, Fernando Llorente has played the role of the goal poacher with surprisingly great efficacy. Lorenzo Insigne kept it going with a penalty and Fabian Ruiz notched his first. The most maddening thing will be figuring out who will start in each game and Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano have very strong chances in this one and both are recommendable picks. The only downfall of their new tactics is that Piotr Zielinski is not very involved offensively and that is a shame considering how good he can be there.

Cagliari bounced back in the last two weeks and Giovanni Simeone has been able to properly make up for the loss of Leonardo Pavoletti and has gone back to his Genoa or early Fiorentina days. Joao Pedro remains a big factor and one of the best fantasy midfielders, since he plays as second-striker most of the times. Lucas Castro has been their best option in the hole, but he is always an injury risk, so Valter Birsa will get his fair share of playing time. Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog have been tenacious, but they probably will not be big fantasy contributors, while Artur Ionita is likely to be a little more appealing in that regard.

Torino-Milan: the Granata did not manage to get their offense up and running against Sampdoria and might soon intervene there, inserting Simone Verdi, Iago Falque and/or Alex Berenguer in lieu of Simone Zaza to have more playmakers on the pitch. It will be a week-to-week proposition. They have not really gotten much from the rest of the lineup, as their wingbacks, who usually score from time to time, are still at nought, like Soualiho Meite and Tomas Rincon. Daniele Baselli instead has picked up some assists.

The Rossoneri are in a similar spot, as their offense has looked so gummy and devoid of ideas and resorted mostly on solo actions. As a matter of fact, they have scored just twice, and once on a penalty, in four matches. Suso remains a threat even in this scenario, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic have both been okay in limited minutes and the ex-Lille should be in the XI on Thursday, while catering to Krzysztof Piatek in a convincing way remains their big problem and he has to wake up too. Rade Krunic and Giacomo Bonaventura could get a spot start and they used to be reliable fantasy weapons when they were regulars.

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