Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Eight

Lazio-Atalanta: the formula for the Biancocelesti never really changes, as Ciro Immobile is going like gangbusters this year, while Luis Alberto has been their second-best player, especially thanks to his playmaking, as he has already provided five assists. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa have both broken the ice, but they have yet to turn into consistent scorers. The ancillary contributors like Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic have been stuck in a timeshare, while Senad Lulic’s fantasy appeal is limited.

The Goddess lost Duvan Zapata for some time due to a muscular injury, so it now will have to be Luis Muriel’s time to shine as the primary go-to-guy. He has scored three times in five appearances despite the irregular playing time and, despite the different skillset, they might not take a big hit there. Ruslan Malinovskyi could see an uptick in minutes as well, but the has yet to do much of note in Serie A. Alejandro Gomez has been on a tear recently, while Josip Ilicic has been more up-and-down. Robin Gosens has asserted himself as their most effective wing-back thus far and also Timothy Castagne has done some damage. Remo Freuler has been slightly more involved in the offense than in the past.

Napoli-Verona: Carlo Ancelotti’s rotation and search for an optimal solution has led to a decent dose of confusion, even amid the top contributors. They have been unable to find the target in three of their last three matches, which is quite baffling considering their firepower. Lorenzo Insigne, who had a little squabble with the coach, has garnered fantasy bonus in just two matches, while the most consistent forward has been Dries Mertens, who has notched four goals. Arkadiusz Milik broke the spell with Poland, but the arrival of Fernando Llorente and an early injury decisively hurt him. Hirving Lozano sustained an injury with Mexico, but anyway he has not been a big factor so far, like Piotr Zielinski.

Verona surely rely more on their defensive phase than on their offense and they have been scraping together random goals either on set pieces, where Miguel Veloso has been a terror, or on opponents’ gaffes. Their strikers, Mariusz Stepinski, Samuel Di Carmine and Giampaolo Pazzini are still scoreless and so are their two most offensive-minded midfielders, Mattia Zaccagni and Valerio Verre. Their only legit goal was arguably Matteo Pessina’s one against Lecce in opener. Eddy Salcedo has gotten good minutes in the last couple matches and he has looked pretty promising.

Juventus-Bologna: their main attackers are in excellent shape as Paulo Dybala scored his first goal against Inter, while Gonzalo Higuain hit the net off the bench. The two are set to alternate next to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been showing off but found the target ‘just’ three times so far. El Pipita is more likely to get the nod here. Aaron Ramsey is dealing with a muscular ailment, so Federico Bernardeschi, who fared well with Italy, should get another start. Douglas Costa is poised to come back soon, but it might take him some time to be fully effective. Miralem Pjanic has led the way in terms of fantasy points in the midfield, where Sami Khedira has been pretty lacklustre, with Rodrigo Bentancur, coming off a great assist, and Emre Can pushing him for minutes. Juan Cuadrado has some sneaky value as a fullback.

Bologna have been having some troubles producing and a nine-goal haul is pretty pedestrian so far. Riccardo Orsolini has yet to go on a run like the one he had at the end of last season, so their best scorers have been Nicola Sansone (two penalties) and Rodrigo Palacio. Roberto Soriano had few opportunities, but he is not particularly prolific. The injury suffered by Gary Medel might cause some re-shuffling in the midfield, which could benefit Blerin Dzemaili and Matthias Svanberg, but they would obviously be in a better spot in an easier match-up. Mattia Destro hurt his knee and Federico Santander has not brought much to the table other than his physical presence.

Sassuolo-Inter: the last game of the Neroverdi against Brescia was postponed and so they arrive here riding a two-game losing streak that took away some of their certainties, like their solidity at home, while on the road they have struggled all year long. Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo have been pretty good, although the winger stopped scoring after a torrid start. Gregoire Defrel has been the third banana so far, while their best midfielders have been Alfred Duncan and Hamed Traore, although the playing time of the latter varies. However, some changes could be afoot considering their recent results and some players that have been left behind a little, like Jeremie Boga and Manuel Locatelli, could get a chance to bounce back.

While Lautaro Martinez’s stocks has been rising in the last few fixtures, Romelu Lukaku’s ones have taken a hit, also due to some physical problem. The Belgian has not put his name in the scoresheet in the last three Serie A matches. El Toro have been carrying most of the load and could be a strong pick here. The biggest problem for them is Stefano Sensi likely missing a game or two, as he has been a major part of their offense and the potential replacements Roberto Gagliardini and Matias Vecino, even on their best day, are not as technically gifted. It would not be surprising to see Marcelo Brozovic surge to a more prominent position. Alexis Sanchez sustained an ankle injury and so Matteo Politano will move one spot up in the pecking order and he has been a viable off-the-bench weapon so far.

Sampdoria-Roma: Claudio Ranieri did not show his hand regarding the scheme in his first presser as Blucerchiati coach. Certainly, his plan to get out of the mud will have to go through Fabio Quagliarella’s returning at good levels and a less convoluted game plan. It is more likely than not that he will use a pure second-striker, a role where Gianluca Caprari and Manolo Gabbiadini can both thrive, while it is unsure yet whether he will deploy two wingers, which would favour Jakub Jankto and Emiliano Rigoni. They need to find a way to get it going offensively since they knocked it on goal just four times so far.

Despite the break, the Giallorossi will be very short-handed up front as the status of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Cengiz Under and Diego Perotti remains uncertain. Even if they are cleared from their muscular injuries, they will most certainly be limited at first. The biggest concern revolves around Edin Dzeko, who suffered a facial fracture and the doctors are suggesting him to play it safe and sit this one out. Nikola Kalinic got a goal called off against Cagliari, but the downgrade would still be steep considering how well the Bosnian forward has been playing. The only ones up and running are Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert, who have both performed decently but could use more clutchness in front of the goal. Alessandro Florenzi and Leonardo Spinazzola could take advantage of the absences to be more involved in the final third, while using Jordan Veretout as no.10 did not really pan out before the break.

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