Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 17

Fiorentina-Roma: with Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli at half service due to physical problems, Dusan Vlahovic stepped up and saved the day against Inter. The Serbian prospect had gotten some decent run before but without doing much with it and instead delivered off the bench. Chiesa and Castrovilli are considered day-to-day and they are their two most best contributors, so their level of competitiveness will hinge on their recoveries. Kevin-Prince Boateng got the start after a while and had only minor chances, but they might have to rely him a lot in this one and he is listed as a midfielder, which makes him a bit intriguing depending on their injury situation. The other okay elements like Marco Benassi and Erick Pulgar have been silent for a long while. Dalbert has outplayed Pol Lirola as far as fullbacks are concerned.

The Giallorossi easily came back against SPAL thanks to strong outing by Lorenzo Pellegrini, although the first score was ultimately ruled an own goal by Nenad Tomovic, Diego Perotti and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who both cashed in again of the augmented playing time given to them by the absence of Justin Kluivert. The Dutch youngster might be back this week, but the teammates have done enough to keep him out of the XI if he is not 100 percent. La Lupa is humming offensively and has bagged three goals in three of the last four matches, the odd part is that Edin Dzeko has hit the net just once and Nicolò Zaniolo zero, so there could be soon a correction there. Gianluca Mancini will return from suspension, while Chris Smalling is iffy: in any case it will be a nice battle in the air with two other specialists like Nikola Milenkovic and German Pezzella.

Inter-Genoa: the Beneamata and its great striking duo are slowing down recently, but they have a great bounce-back opportunity on deck as the Griffon have given up 31 goals so far, which ‘trails’ only to Lecce. Problem is that Lautaro Martinez will be suspended, so Romelu Lukaku will have to break out of his short drought if they want to comfortably move past the obstacle. Sebastiano Esposito or Matteo Politano will get a spot start and could be cheap plugs. They will be undermanned in the midfield as well because Marcelo Brozovic will be suspended and Borja Valero is hurt. Matias Vecino is the only fully healthy midfielder, but Antonio Candreva is close to full health direction and might be deployed as box-to-box and also Roberto Gagliardini and even Stefano Sensi are trending in the right direction to make an appearance, but they might be forced to turn to youngster Lucian Agoume or move Milan Skriniar to the midfield in the starting XI. Danilo D’Ambrosio, who will probably get another start on the wing, is useful but not as interesting fantasy-wise, while Cristiano Biraghi is a high-volume crosser but the touch is not always there. Stefan De Vrij has been their best defender this season and they have tightened up a bit lately. They have conceded the least goals out of any Serie A team.

The Rossoblù were in a tough spot in the Derby della Lanterna with two of their main offensive guys, Kevin Agudelo and Goran Pandev, on the stands, Andrea Favilli and Stefano Sturaro were late scratches and Domenico Criscito got hurt during the contest. They were down most of their playmakers and, as a natural result, they did very little offensively and Andrea Pinamonti, who has been a mild disappointment this season, was mostly left stranded. Agudelo will be back, Pandev will not and the others are uncertain. In order to muster up something on that end, Lasse Schone will have to get going and Francesco Cassata will be more inolved. Their flank game is a strong suit thanks to the crosses of Paolo Ghiglione and Marko Pajac.

Atalanta-Milan: the Bergamaschi laid an egg in the Bologna game but they too were depleted sans Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic. Luis Muriel was dispossessed countless times and he and Ruslan Malinovskyi, even if he scored a tap-in, were unable to lead the team. There is optimism the two attackers will both be able to recuperate, which will immensely raise their ceiling and perhaps even keep Muriel, who, aside from a penalty, has struggled in the last few weeks, out of the XI. Often in big matches, their coach has preferred to keep one of their top dogs as a weapon off the bench, with Mario Pasalic starting in a very prominent position. Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens often participate actively to the offense and are always worth of keeping an eye on, while they are not scoring much on set pieces this season.

The Rossoneri did not manage to break through against Sassuolo even though they played pretty well and created a good amount of chances. Krzysztof Piatek is improving and that is visible effort-wise and in the interplays with the teammates, where he usually does not excel, but it remains to be seen whether the scoring opportunities will be there for him to return to last year’s Genoa levels. Rafael Leao had a strong impact off the bench, but they have been reluctant in fielding them both together. The true cog that has powered their recent turnaround has been Giacomo Bonaventura: he has a great nose for the goal for a midfielder and is surely more consistent than Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu, who are perhaps more talented. Theo Hernandez is suspended and that is major absence since he is their leading scorer next to the Polish Gunslinger and Ricardo Rodriguez does not have the same kind of pop, not even close. Lucas Paqueta is disqualified as well but his importance to their overall success had diminished greatly recently. Franck Kessie is trending up after a blah stretch but he is not very palatable if he does not take penalties.

Sassuolo-Napoli: The Neroverdi have switched a very offensive scheme and finding good results with it. It enhances the skills of its trequartista, and both Filip Djuricic and Hamed Traore have reaped its benefits, and in general allowed them to play their brand of football against everybody. Domenico Berardi came back with a goal from his injury, Francesco Caputo has been very dependable scoring-wise in the last two months, while Jeremie Boga, despite his eye-popping skills, is more feast-or-famine. The two midfielders mostly have defensive assignments now, but Manuel Locatelli, Francesco Magnanelli and Pedro Obiang were not particularly appealing fantasy-wise anyway. Alfred Duncan instead has disappeared. Mert Muldur will get a shot with Jeremy Toljan suspended and he is pretty skilled offensively for a fullback.

As expected, Napoli moved to 4-3-3 from the jump after the coaching change, but their problems, that are mostly mental, remained, as evidenced by a hellish start defensively. Their other major issue is that Arkadiusz Milik is the only attacker that is scoring domestically, as Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and José Callejon are stuck in a slump. The Spaniard in particular looked awful against Parma and it would not be very surprising to see Hirving Lozano, who should be very comfortable with the formation, getting the nod here. The scheme does help their box-to-box midfielders and Piotr Zielinski has a knack for scoring, while Fabian Ruiz has been unrecognizable this season. Allan as pivot does not change all that much for him, if anything aids the teammates. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui make for a solid due of attacking fullbacks.

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