Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15

Inter-Roma: the Nerazzurri keep riding their elite striking duo and Lautaro Martinez has been balling out over the last few matches, as he is coming off two braces in a row. Romelu Lukaku did not score last week, but he has already reached the double-digit threshold in the domestic league. Antonio Candreva and Marcelo Brozovic both dished an assist in the last game and they are the two members of the supporting cast who are more likely to pick up bonus points. Matias Vecino has an history of scoring in big games and he has done some damage recently. Their back-line, instead, has not been airtight in the past couple of months, but Stefan De Vrij showed up big on the other end.

The Giallorossi will have Nicolò Zaniolo back from suspension, but they might be without Justin Kluivert, who sustained a small injury in the last game. Zaniolo is set to be the starting right winger, especially because Cengiz Under has faded, while Lorenzo Pellegrini will play in the hole and he has been a terrific playmaker out of that position. Diego Perotti and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both found the target against Verona and would be viable options for the left wing if Kluivert did not recover. The Argentinian is likely more fit than then ex Red Devil, who just came back from a physical problem. He is their top penalty takers, with Jordan Veretout and Aleksandar Kolarov behind him in the hierarchy. The former Viola is in good form but his position does not help him. They too have conceded too easily, but Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini are always threats on set pieces.

Atalanta-Verona: the Goddess are still waiting for Duvan Zapata to come back from a very tricky injury, but in the meantime they can enjoy the performances of Josip Ilicic and Alejandro Gomez, who have taken turns in delivering. Luis Muriel scored in Champions League but has been in a funk domestically, even though he has been the one spearheading the attack more often the not and he can not be counted out. In any case, Gomez and Ilicic are more appealing since they are listed as midfield and have been more consistent. Mario Pasalic netted a brace versus Brescia and the coach might find a way to keep him in the XI even though they are close to full health. Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne have often rewarded fantasy owners, but the playing time of the latter is uncertain. Marten De Roon and Remo Freuler have showed up on offense more than in the past, especially setting up teammates.

The Scaligeri continue to play well, even though they were defeated by Roma and Inter in two of the last three matches, but they were in the game until late. Samuel Di Carmine should get a decent leash after finding the target two games ago, especially because Mariusz Stepinski has been pretty brutal. Eddy Salcedo has been fine but he might be held out by a knee sprain. The solution with him as no.10 behind a pure goal poacher had solved some problems. As for the other players featuring in that spot, Valerio Verre broke the ice with a penalty, while Mattia Zaccagni is stuck at zero goals: they are more tactical and work-rate cogs than threats to score. It will be a nice battle on the wings because also Darko Lazovic and Marco Davide Faraoni also tend to make their presence felt. They will have Miguel Veloso fully back in this one and he was half of their offense before getting hurt.

Udinese-Napoli: the Friuliani felt into their old ways in the trip to Rome to face Lazio and did very little to combat the streaking opponent, suffering the second loss in a row. After scoring three times in Luca Gotti’s debut, they have not really shown progress on offense as the feeds for the strikers remain numbered. Ilija Nestorovski notched his first goal two weeks ago and he is playing over Kevin Lasagna and next to Stefano Okaka, forming a pretty muscular striking duo that probably is not that well-assorted. Okaka has been pretty good with his three goals but they need to either play faster or advance their center of gravity in order to help Rodrigo De Paul, who often has to start his actions 50 meters away from the goal. The current state of the Azzurri could help them out.

The Partenopei continue to be maddening both for their fans and for fantasy owners. Fernando Llorente resurfaced last week and Carlo Ancelotti might decide to go back to using a pure centre-forward as Dries Mertens is in a slump. There is a chance they get Arkadiusz Milik back for this one and that would be a nice medicine. Lorenzo Insigne has not scored since late September in the domestic league, while José Callejon was kept on the bench in the last game. Carlo Ancelotti is using 4-3-3 more and Hirving Lozano is very more out wide, so the Spaniard risks to be phased out if they continue on this path. The three-man midfield improves the stocks of Pior Zielinski, Fabian Ruiz and Eljif Elmas, as Allan is nursing a knee injury, but it has been a week-to-week proposition and they surely not a very reliable side.

Lazio-Juventus: Ciro Immobile has hit the net in nine straight rounds, assembling a brace on five occasions, and could exploit the fact that the opposing back-line has showed some cracks from time to time. Luis Alberto returned to the stat-sheet thanks to a penalty for his second goal in the year, while he has already registered double-digit assists. Joaquin Correa has upped his finishing and made up for not scoring in two consecutive matches by drawing two penalties against Udinese. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic picked up a helper, but certainly he is the one player that still has a lot of room for improvement in their fab four. Manuel Lazzari is a release valve but their offense does not run through him like in his SPAL days, while Senad Lulic is more of a utility player than a fantasy weapon.

Cristiano Ronaldo resumed scoring in the last game from the penalty spot and, despite the not-so-great display, he put up his standard high-volume, which means that he is rounding back into form after the knee injury. Paulo Dybala has been more more eye-popping than Gonzalo Higuain, even though El Pipa has had his moments, it will be hard to keep him out of the lineup. Like at the beginning of the season, they could use some production out of the ancillary players: Federico Bernardeschi has been unable to furnish that despite playing a lot as no.10 but they are stuck with him because both Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa will not be able to play in this one. Rodrigo Bentancur provided an assist the last time out and also Juan Cuadrado has participated to the offense that regard lately.

Sassuolo-Cagliari: Domenico Berardi is slated to come back and will join a squad that has been humming offensively while he was out, as Francesco Caputo and Jeremie Boga have been nothing short of amazing over the last few weeks. Hamed Traore showed well as no.10 and has outplayed Filip Djuricic when he has been out there, but it remains to be seen whether last week’s aggressive scheme was a one-time thing or not. Djuric could be very good as no.10 as well and the return of Berardi will allow him to move away from the flank. In such design, Manuel Locatelli and Alfred Duncan would be in more defensive positions that at the beginning of the season.

The Sardinians continue to amaze and displayed all their character in the Monday night game as well, mounting a glorious three-goal comeback. Alberto Cerri capped it off and perhaps he will get some run over Giovanni Simeone, who has put up modest numbers and has done very little on the road. Beyond that, their recipe is clear as Radja Nainggolan and Joao Pedro are going like gangbusters and Nahitan Nandez, Marko Rog and Luca Cigarini support them pretty well. Luca Pellegrini notched two assists in the last game and Paolo Faragò is very energetic every time he is called upon, but Fabrizio Cacciatore has been the starter at right back so far.

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