Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 12

Inter-Verona: while Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku continue to be very reliable, the Beneamata are getting additional pieces back, as Matias Vecino scored in Champions League and Stefano Sensi looked pretty good in his stint off the bench. The two are certainly better fantasy options than Roberto Gagliardini, who filled in while they were sidelined, and the ex Sassuolo player, in particular, was fantastic at the beginning of the season. Valentino Lazaro was okay against Brescia and his skill-set is interesting, especially against the minnows where he would not need to defend a lot. Matteo Politano got hurt in Dortmund, so the first man up off the bench in the attack would be Salvatore Esposito. Verona have scored just nine times so far, so their back-line is certainly in play despite the ongoing clean sheet-less run.

The Scaligeri have been not-so-sneakily productive through their aggressively defensive style, which they are pulling off better than anyone in the League, as they have allowed as many goals as Juventus, but also held them back on the other end. Eddy Salcedo was used as false-nine in the last game and, considering the struggles of Mariusz Stepinski and Samuel Di Carmine, he might be their best option there. Giampaolo Pazzini is back from injury and could be a decent alternative, at least for his experience. They have been getting by with random goals and Matteo Pessina has been the only one able to score twice, while Valerio Verre and Matteo Zaccagni so far have not taken advantage of a very offensive role, despite their talent.  They will be down two of their best players, Miguel Veloso and Marash Kumbulla, who recently suffered muscular problems.

Napoli-Genoa: the good news for the Partenopei, who are in the middle of a very underwhelming and confusing stretch as the players apparently mutinied after the Salzburg game, is that Hirving Lozano is starting to show his worth, since he assisted a teammate against Roma and found the target with a pretty goal in Champions League. Conversely, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens have not produced in a while in Serie A despite their high level of activity and multiple attempts. This is a plum match-up since the Griffon have conceded the most goals in the League. Arkadiusz Milik has been on a tear with four straight goals, while José Callejon is always a threat to pick an assist. Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski, or perhaps Elijf Elmas, will likely have some freedom to attack in this one.

The Rossoblù will be without their top scorer Christian Kouame, as he had to leave early to attend the U-23 African Cup of Nations, which opens up a pretty significant hole in their offense. Sinan Gumus and Goran Pandev will likely see their role expand, while Andrea Pinamonti will have to step up as he has been subpar so far. He has hit the net twice in rather weird spots. Thiago Motta launched Kevin Agudelo and the youngster rewarded him with a pair of good performances and he is an exciting tactical weapon, either as energetic no.10 or in the midfield. Riccardo Saponara started in the hole last week but did not do particularly well. Lasse Schone got to shoot more in the first three games with the new coach at the helm, while Paolo Ghiglione has been a superb assist-man through his crosses so far.

Cagliari-Fiorentina: the Rossoblù continue to prosper thanks to a collective effort, as Christian Oliva was the unlikely hero in a monumental win over Atalanta in the last game. All their top contributors chipped in, with Joao Pedro pacing them in terms of scoring, but also Giovanni Simeone, Radja Nainggolan, Nahitan Castro and Lucas Castro were able to put their names in the stat sheet in this young season. El Cholito will be very motivated against the team that quickly moved on form him and it would not be surprising to the see the Ninja deliver in a decently big game.

La Viola will play their final game sans Franck Ribery and they have had troubles filling in the void, as Kevin-Prince Boateng has been unimpressive and the coach has not fully trusted their young centre-forwards Dusan Vlahovic and Pedro. Perhaps he will here against a physical back-line. Federico Chiesa had a rare off-game on Sunday, but he is quite clearly their go-to guy in this situation, while Gaetano Castrovilli has been moved up the ladder, as he bagged two goals in the last two outings. Erick Pulgar has not been a big factor without penalties, while Dalbert is beginning to show well. They are still waiting on Pol Lirola to do the same.

Parma-Roma: Yann Karamoh exploited the playing time opened up by the injuries to their two strikers, but he got hurt as well this week. Andreas Cornelius should be healthy enough to be in the XI and he has been stunningly prolific. Gervinho is hitting his stride with two goals in the last three matches, while Dejan Kulusevski serves a massive role as their primary playmaker. Juraj Kucka is also finding his groove after being slowed down by injuries to open the season. Hernani’s tantalizing shooting has instead not yielded particularly positive returns.

The Giallorossi are humming in the last month, riding the splendid form of Nicolò Zaniolo, who found the mark for three rounds in a row, and of basically all of their offensive players: Edin Dzeko, Justin Kluivert, Javier Pastore and also Jordan Veretout has been more present in the final third. The recent flurry of injuries has given them a lot of continuity as far as the XI in concerned and that is always beneficial even though they were without some quality players. Cengiz Under has come back, now they are waiting for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but they can not complain with the results they have been getting in the meantime. The only one whose stocks have gone down lately is Aleksandar Kolarov due to missed penalties, but it is only because they were insanely high before.

Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri’s recipe has mostly been the same in the recent busy cycle, as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have taken care of most of the scoring, but they got goals from their starting centre-backs in the last two games. The Portuguese ace has thrived at home so far this season. The reappearance of Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa gives them two more weapons, like it already transpired in Champions League, as Federico Bernardeschi has not been very effective despite playing heavy minutes in that role. Miralem Pjanic has shaken off his physical problem and he was able to net some prior to that, while Juan Cuadrado has been a big reference point on the right flank, but that has yet to translate into fantasy production.

The Rossoneri have been unconvincing offensively over the last three matches: their only goals came on initiatives by Theo Hernandez, one was actually an own one, and on a free kick by Suso. It does not look like the music has changed much under Stefano Pioli, despite the encouraging start versus Lecce. Krzysztof Piatek has been a ghost and Rafael Leao has been borderline irritating. Suso should be back in the XI after an ailment, while Samu Castillejo is hurt. The alternative would be Ante Rebic, who is pretty dynamic but wasted a clear-cut chance or two. Lucas Paqueta is more involved offensively under the new regime, but he is still scoreless and he has tallied just one assist in the season. Rade Krunic performed well in a rare start and might begin to erode Franck Kessie’s playing time.

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