Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23

Roma-Bologna: the Giallorossi are in a funk and have played just one convincing game out of the last five. They will be without Lorenzo Pellegrini due to suspension and it is a massive loss considering that he is the mastermind of their offense. They should get Henrikh Mkhitaryan back from injury and perhaps even starting considering the hole at no.10. The other option is likely Diego Perotti and they seem to always be awarded a penalty when he is out there. Edin Dzeko has scored in three straight games and they will face a pretty suspect back-line. Cengiz Under took a step back versus Sassuolo, but he is always pretty assertive when he decides to play, while Justin Kluivert has not done much since coming back from injury, but should improve over time. Paulo Fonseca has elected to keep Aleksandar Kolarov on the bench in the last two matches for tactical reasons, but the decision has not really moved the needle so the stud left-back should soon be back in the XI.

The Felsinei are instead in a groove after two straight hard-fought wins, but they too have to deal with a big absence, as Nicola Sansone will be sidelined for up to a month. The January window yielded another offensive option in Musa Barrow, who can be adapted to the left flank, perhaps switching back and forth with Rodrigo Palacio: he has already scored once and generally looked pretty good. The alternatives would be Andreas Skov Olsen, who has yet to get it going in Italy, and Mattias Svanberg for a more conservative approach. Riccardo Orsolini busted out of a three-game drought versus Brescia and he is their main go-to-guy scoring wise, while the ever-useful Palacio has had some baffling misses lately. Roberto Soriano is always decently involved and has been able to take home some bonuses here and there. Takehiro Tomiyasu is back from suspension and he is pretty good offensively for a right back.

Fiorentina-Atalanta: La Viola did not do break through versus Juventus besides a little barrage and some long-range shooting in the midst of the first half, but that was to be expected in a daunting match-up. Despite the recent good results, they offense is not surely high-wattage. However, they will most likely recover one of their main driving forces here, Gaetano Castrovilli, who was sidelined by a head injury. Patrick Cutrone has yet to score since coming back to Italy, Federico Chiesa instead has done it only once in the past 13 matches, yet they remain their best bets to do it, next to Dusan Vlahovic, who, despite the bench role, can still be effective. Marco Benassi has a bigger role under Giuseppe Iachini and he will be able to do some damage here and there. Newcomer Kevin Agudelo might get some run while they are short-handed, as Alfred Duncan is currently injured. Pol Lirola and Dalbert are trending up and have set up teammates a couple of times recently. Nikola Milenkovic and German Pezzella are pretty dangerous on set pieces, but they will also be facing the most prolific offense in the League.

Atalanta have alternated complete dominations to home games where they have done the bare minimum, which is for the is one or two goals. Josip Ilicic is on a tear with nine goals in the last seven matches, while Duvan Zapata provided two assists versus Genoa and continues to improve physically. Alejandro Gomez has not hit the net in the past four rounds, but dished two helpers. The second most deadly man recently has been Robin Gosens. Marten De Roon is suspended, so they will keep Mario Pasalic in the XI and he is their midfield who is most prone to scoring. The coach hinted at a bigger role for Ruslan Malinovskyi going forward, likely at the expenses of Luis Muriel, but it remains to be seen if that will hold up true and the minutes are going to be limited anyway, at least until Champions League is back.

Verona-Juventus: the biggest strength of the Scaligeri lies in the back, but their offense by committee is operating at a good enough clip. Their last seven scorers were all different: Marco Davide Faraoni, Valerio Verre, Mattia Zaccagni, Giampaolo Pazzini, Matteo Pessina, Fabio Borini and defender Pawel Dawidowicz and that has been the norm throughout the season. While it works out, it is a less than ideal situation for fantasy owners. Verre has played quite a lot as false-nine in difficult match-up and they will likely do that again here. Zaccagni and Pessina are very sneaky and Miguel Veloso’s set pieces are a big part of their plan. Pazzini has outshined Samuel Di Carmine and Mariusz Stepinski as far as their strikers are concerned in the last few weeks.

Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be a death sentence and is gunning for the all-time Serie A record for consecutive goals: he is two short. The recent news has been Douglas Costa getting a start and faring pretty decently, but it is pretty much a zero-sum game with the other Juventus attackers: if Costa or Gonzalo Higuain tick up, Paulo Dybala ticks down. Among their midfielders, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot have been steady, but the bonuses have not poured in consistently, while the efficacy of Miralem Pjanic, who has been absent from the stat-sheet for a long time, depends on the game. The one midfielder to target could be Rodrigo Bentancur, who has been busy teeing up teammates. The back-line finally got a clean sheet, with Matthijs De Ligt opening his tally with a header, while Leonardo Bonucci has scored four times.

Parma-Lazio: the Ducali risk to be seriously undermanned because their main weapons Andreas Cornelius and Dejan Kulusevski are both dealing with minor muscular problems and their presence is in jeopardy. Gervinho has been frozen out after the deadline day fiasco. That leaves them with Mattia Sprocati, recently reinstated Luca Siligardi and newcomer Gianluca Caprari as the only pure forwards available, but Juraj Kucka and Jasmin Kurtic have done fine in the front-line, the former more than the latter, and that will likely be the way to go again. Hernani has posted three assists so far, while Riccardo Gagliolo has been quite surprisingly more offensive-minded than the other, more renowned fullback Matteo Darmian.

The Biancocelesti could not get crack Verona in the make-up round despite a magnificent effort by Luis Alberto, in a rare day off for their front-line. Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo instead had delivered over the weekend with a brace each and Joaquin Correa is again questionable, so they can both be ridden. Sergej-Milinkovic-Savic is suspended, Marco Parolo will fill in but he is no longer that much of a threat in the box as in past years. Manuel Lazzarri and Senad Lulic are in good form, but, after the midweek bout, there is a chance the coach gives them a day off, with Adam Marusic and Jony getting the nod, so some caution is necessary. Their defence has been better at home but with Parma being so depleted it could be worth a look.

Inter-Milan: the Benemata had to go to work, but prevailed versus Udinese with Romelu Lukaku leading the charge as he was supposed to without Lautaro Martinez. That will be the case again in the Derby and the Belgian remains an elite option, as he has been pretty much the entire season. Sebastiano Esposito got the start but botched a pair of opportunities, while Alexis Sanchez made a big impact of the bench, so a swap between the two is certainly possible. Christian Eriksen did not stand out and will need some time, but he is inevitably going to be a big factor with his class. Marcelo Brozovic will be back in the XI and that is key because he is the one that makes everything goes. Ashley Young supplanted Cristiano Biraghi and might run away with the starting job on the left, while it is a toss-up between Victor Moses and Antonio Candreva on the right wing. Stefano Sensi might be available for a stint off the bench, but he is off the fantasy radar for now, while the gritty Nicolò Barella picked up an assist in Udinese.

The Rossoneri predictably did not look as good sans Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was a late scratch due to the flu and a calf issue. He is on track to return, giving a boost to all the other offensive players, because it is clear that Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic are more complementary pieces than leading actors. Hakan Calhanoglu finally resurfaced in the box-score with deflected free kick and his role as playmaker is more prominent without Suso. Samu Castillejo is not overly impressive but generally pretty consistent and at least he is energetic. Ismael Bennacer has been on the rise for few weeks but the holding position limits his and Frank Kessie’s ceiling. Theo Hernandez has not made his presence felt over the last two matches, but he is a massive outlet.

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