Thomas Strakosha: the Biancocelesti held up against Napoli’s attack, confirming their solidity at home, and the goalie answered the bell when he was required. It is not a particularly great round for defences on paper, so it is better to stick with safe picks.
Matthijs De Ligt: the injury of Merih Demiral will allow him to return to the XI on a consistent basis and he did look good against Roma and in Coppa Italia. Juventus have allowed nine goals at home (second-best in Serie A), so their defenders can be deployed even though Parma are the quintessential sneaky team.
Theo Hernandez: besides the collapse against Atalanta, Milan have shut down opponents in three of the last four games and the Spanish fullback is a true force on the other end of the pitch as well and recorded an assist in Cagliari.
Rafael Toloi: Atalanta will host SPAL, which has the most anaemic road offense in the Peninsula and the Brazilian midfielder has occassionaly been able to provide his contribution in the opposing box as well.
Lorenzo Pellegrini: the loss of Nicolò Zaniolo will enlarge the role of all the other attackers and, while Cengiz Under will have to prove it before he can be trusted, Pellegrini always wheels and deals during games and they will get to face Genoa’s porous back-line this week.
Piotr Zielinski: one goal and one assist for the Polish midfielder since Gennaro Gattuso took over, as his involvement in the offense ticked up. Before stopping SPAL, Fiorentina had given up at least a goal in ten straight rounds.
Roberto Soriano: Riccardo Orsolini would be the most interesting choice out of the Bologna midfield, but he might have picked up an injury in practice. Soriano has not been too shabby himself, supplying two goals and two assists in his last six appearances.
Alejandro Gomez: Atalanta might have another romp versus the lowly SPAL and he dazzled even in the Inter game, where instead Josip Ilicic was underwhelming, as he often is in big game. The Goddess’ dynamic duo remains firmly on the forefront this week.
Alex Berenguer: Sassuolo have been quite poor over the last three rounds and in general vulnerable all season long, while the Spaniard has fully taken advantage of his opportunities to play, bagging two goals in the last four matches. He and Andrea Belotti will try to lead the charge in Emilia.
Mario Balotelli: Cagliari are in ruins with four straight games losses and have surrendered at least two goals in their past eight matches, so Brescia’s ring leader might pop up in the stat-sheet during the weekend.
Lautaro Martinez: Inter will face the other Serie A’s worst defence, Lecce, which have allowed 38 goals already and therefore El Toro and Romelu Lukaku will be in a plum spot on Sunday.
Honorable mentions: there is no need to further suggest picking up Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo, as they are the gifts that keep on giving. Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivered in his first start and could keep it going against Udinese. Rodrigo De Paul hit the net for three straight rounds, but he would have to overcome a difficult match-up to make it four in a row.
Edin Dzeko will have a prime opportunity against Genoa. Lorenzo Insigne seems due for a goal and Arkadiusz Milik has been very reliable, while on the other side of the coin in that game, Patrick Cutrone and Gaetano Castrovilli would be the most likely to cash in on the Azzurri’s eventual but way too frequent defensive howlers. Brescia are far from a juggernaut in the back and so perhaps Cagliari’s studs, Joao Pedro and Radja Nainggolan, will resurface. Bologna are pretty forgiving but Verona do not have a proper go-to-guy scoring-wise: the trio of midfielders Valerio Verre, Matteo Pessina and Mattia Zaccagni are worth a look.
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