Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 19

Cagliari-Milan: the Rossoblù played their worst game of the season against Juventus and will be eager to bounce back here and snap out of a three-game losing streak. Their last two goals were scored by Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone and obviously the Brazilian forward, who has tallied 11 in the season, remains their most appealing player, while the ex-Fiorentina man is more inconsistent, but has his moments in the sun. Radja Nainggolan has not been done a lot in the past four games and that has caused a decline in their offensive efficiency. They lack reliable fantasy option behind those because Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog are not involved in the offense on a regular basis and their yield there is spotty. Their fullbacks, Luca Pellegrini in particular, have picked up few assists.

Milan’s attack sputtered again versus Sampdoria despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing a chunk of minutes and they have now been held scoreless in three straight fixtures. The Swedish star will likely get the start this week, phasing out the struggling Krzysztof Piatek. They surely need a jolt and the charismatic striker might be able to provide it; the Sardinians have been quite leaky over the past few weeks. Stefano Pioli continues to rely heavily on Suso and Hakan Calhanoglu, but they have not delivered in a while. Giacomo Bonaventura and Rade Krunic have intriguing potential, especially should Zlatan open up lanes for cutting midfielders, but their playing time is not that secure. Rafael Leao could be a wild card but he is boom-or-bust. With most of their offensive weapons failing to meet expectations, Theo Hernandez remains their leading scorer alongside Piatek.

Lazio-Napoli: it was not pretty but the Biancocelesti came out on top again in Brescia thanks to a Herculean effort by Ciro Immobile, who returned to the stat-sheet after three rounds and quite literally willed them to victory. He resumes being an elite fantasy option and the Partenopei defence has left a lot to be desired in recent matches. Luis Alberto will be back from suspension here and he is always a quality pick as well, while Joaquin Correa is a banged up and he is in doubt, so Felipe Caicedo could be in line for another start and he always does stuff when given minutes. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic did not really step up in the last game but he has put up okay numbers over the last few months. Manuel Lazzari continues to perform well, but the bonuses are not there yet.

Despite the coaching change, the recipe for Napoli has stayed the same and they are having troubles having anybody else other than Arkadiusz Milik going offensively. The Polish striker has posted seven goals in eight appearances, but he could use some help. José Callejon has been faring better in the last couple of matches and he is coming off a sweet assist. Lorenzo Insigne has generally looked better, but he has not been clutch in the box despite multiple attempts. He is more heavily leaned upon now, so the goal will arrive sooner or later. Piotr Zielinski has more liberty now and he is a pretty good finisher for a midfielder, even Allan has taken advantage of that in the Sassuolo game. Mario Rui often delivers double-digit crosses, but that has not necessarily translated into assists, while Giovanni Di Lorenzo will likely be back in his natural flank position after a tough outing at centre-back.

Inter-Atalanta: the Meneghini upended Napoli through their usual methods, staunch defending and stellar performances by their strikers. Romelu Lukaku has been going like gangbusters for few matches now and Lautaro Martinez had an opportunistic goal as well. It looks like Stefano Sensi’s minutes are going to be managed for some time, thus their secondary options, until the ex Sassuolo midfielder is fully back, are going to be Marcelo Brozovic, who has dished two assists in the past four contests, Matias Vecino, who is always a bit active in the final third, and Antonio Candreva down the right flank, but there will be a proper battle on the wings in this one. Nicolò Barella is suspended. Their back-line is back to top levels, but Milan Skriniar is out due to yellow-card accumulation and they will be facing the most prolific offense in the League.

The Bergamaschi continue to hum thanks to the spectacular performances of their two most gifted players, Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic, and it is nearly impossible to contain when they are both playing well. Robin Gosens, more than Luis Muriel, has been the third banana recently. It might understandably be a while before Duvan Zapata is back to being a stud. Considering the magnitude of the game, it would not be surprising to see Gian Piero Gasperini switch to a light attack, as he has done many times this year, deploying Mario Pasalic over Ruslan Malinovskyi over Muriel for work rate-related reasons. Pasalic can be a sneaky scorer, while their two pivots, Remo Freuler and Marten De Roon, will likely have to focus on the defensive side of the ball. Timothy Castagne made way to Hans Hateboer in the last match and the duel to start at right wing-back remains without a true favourite.

Torino-Bologna: the Granata took Roma by surprise in the last round after two poor results in a row, led by the best Andrea Belotti of the season. The Felsinei are a good team, but they are not very stingy and so the Italian forward is surely a strong option this week. Walter Mazzarri has stuck with his most offensive scheme, deploying Alex Berenguer and Simone Verdi together and they have both reaped benefits. The Spanish winger has tallied four goals already, while the Italian one is still looking for his first despite some positive displays. Cristian Ansaldi picked up a calf injury and will be out again: he has been the only convincing wing-back so far since Lorenzo De Silvestri, Ola Aina and Diego Laxalt have all yet to score. The role of the midfielders is not very prominent in this design, even though Tomas Rincon fired one home recently.

Riccardo Orsolini spared the Rossoblù some blushes with a showstopping free kick against Fiorentina and he is back to peak form with three goals in the past two games, making him one of the most intriguing midfielders in the fantasy game. Even when they were not faring that well, their formula has remained consistent, with Rodrigo Palacio (5 goals) picking his spots as false-nine and Nicola Sansone and Roberto Soriano in ancillary but key roles. The two pivots are quite locked into their defensive assignments, but Andrea Poli put one through attacking on a set piece lately and Mattia Bani has been a menace there as well. Takehiro Tomiyasu occasionally sets up teammates with his crosses.

Roma-Juventus: the Giallorossi unexpectedly came a cropper versus Torino. Their attackers did not break through, mostly because of lack of precision in the box, as the opportunities were there as usual. More worrisome news come from the infirmary, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan picked up a thigh ailment that will cost him some time and Nicolò Zaniolo is dealing with a knock and will have to be assessed, so they risk being short-handed, adding the fact that the status of Justin Kluivert remains murky. Everybody is knocked down a notch because of the recent dud and the tough match-up, but Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Lorenzo Pellegrini can do damage in any given tilt. They might have to move Alessandro Florenzi or Leonardo Spinazzola to a more offensive role.

Cristiano Ronaldo keeps dominating and the Bianconeri’s full offensive potential was on display against Cagliari thanks to a very technical lineup, then the Portuguese ace did the rest with a hat-trick. Roma is the only Italian team he has to score against, so make of that what you prefer. Maurizio Sarri went back to Aaron Ramsey as no.10 instead of using Gonzalo Higuain and, while the Welshman was not super impressive, their play was more fluid and the more conservative option could be chosen here again given the circumstances. El Pipa bagged one off the bench and it happened few times earlier in the season as well, so he is not by any stretch off the fantasy radar, but Paulo Dybala is preferable because he usually gets more minutes. Adrien Rabiot is trending positively but he has yet to provide a noteworthy fantasy output, Juan Cuadrado and Miralem Pjanic looked re-energized after the break and this will be a particular match for the ex-Giallorosso. You certainly can do worse as far as midfielders are concerned.

How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play now!

To leave a comment, you must be logged into