Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26

Lazio-Bologna: the only game between two teams that actually played last week. The Biancocelesti extended their superb run by grinding out a W versus Genoa, thanks to the usual Ciro Immobile goal and two unlikely heroes coming through, Adam Marusic, who has started over Manuel Lazzari in two matches in a row, and Danilo Cataldi. While Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored against Inter, the bonuses for their other two fantasy stars, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa, have not been there in recent rounds, leaving Felipe Caicedo as the only serviceable option besides the capocannoniere. Jony has taken over for the injured Senad Lulic and, while he is a high-volume crosser, he has come up with just one assist so far. It could be another ripe day for their offense considering that the Felsinei have a soft defence.

The Rossoblù salvaged a point in a tough situation versus Udinese, with Rodrigo Palacio snapping out his two-month slump at the right moment. Some of the chivalry could be back in this one as Roberto Soriano, Nicola Sansone and Federico Santander have resumed practicing with some regularity. They have struggled in particular to find an adequate back-up no.10, so the return of Soriano will be very helpful. Andreas Skov Olsen did not take advantage of the increased playing time and continues having troubles finding his footing in Serie A, while Musa Barrow has integrated very quickly and, given how well he has played, he will remain heavily featured despite having more competition. Riccardo Orsolini (seven goals, five assists in the season) is firmly their top option.

Lecce-Atalanta: after a very good stretch, the Salentini did not really showed up in the Roma game and few absences up front took away some of their unpredictability. Having Filippo Falco, Riccardo Saponara and Diego Farias all on the mend at the same time is a massive blow and they struggled to get much going. Saponara has decent chances to be back this week and he has provided two assists in as many games since joining. Fellow newcomer Antonin Barak has been pretty good as well, since he has scored once and has been particularly involved in the offense in his four appearances. Besides that, they have been riding Gianluca Lapadula (seven goals), who is looking increasingly healthy and energetic, and Marco Mancosu (eight goals, five on penalties). Midfielders Alessandro Deiola and Zan Majer recently bagged their first Serie A goals, but they usually take care of the other aspects of the game.

The false-nine worked out nicely in Champions League versus Valencia, but Duvan Zapata will most likely be back in the XI here. Even though he is not in tip-top shape yet, his numbers have been okay and the Giallorossi have a suspect back-line. Mario Pasalic has had a pretty a pretty astonishing surge lately, so the coach could deploy him consistently even if every other attacker is available and he has delivered out of any position. Josip Ilicic has been relatively quiet over the last two Serie A matches, but he had been super productive in previous six and found the target in Europa. The mastermind of their offense Alejandro Gomez has notched three assists in the last four matches. Hans Hateboer assembled a brace in Champions League, while he is at zero goals in domestic play, where instead the other wing-back Robin Gosens has done a lot of damage.

Napoli-Torino: the Partenopei are exactly not lighting the world on fire, but they have found a very encouraging level of consistency, prevailing in four of the past five matches. The offense is less explosive under Gennaro Gattuso, but he has managed to revive some players that had been in a funk for a while, for instance Fabian Ruiz, who netted two wondergoals in a row including Coppa Italia, and Piotr Zielinski, as the scheme, and Diego Demme‘s robustness, weaponizes the two box-to-box midfielders in the final third. Lorenzo Insigne scored twice in the last five matches after a long drought. Dries Mertens has been great lately, but he will be held out by a sore ankle: Arkadiusz Milik is not as flashy, but he often gets the job done. José Callejon has been load managed in favour of Matteo Politano, who however has yet to make his minutes really count. Elijf Elmas has seen some run thanks to the rotation and he is a very interesting midfielder.

Moreno Longo had two weeks to look for new solutions has Torino have scored just twice in the past five matches, with an own goal and with Simone Verdi, who notched his first on the season. Simone Zaza and Daniele Baselli have fully recovered and that gives them the opportunity to make a tactical switch. The solution with Alex Berenguer and Verdi supporting Andrea Belotti looks good on papers but has yielded poor results and made the midfield more vulnerable, so it is possible they go back to using a proper five-man line with Baselli back in the fold. Berenguer (five goals and one assist) has clearly outplayed Verdi, now Zaza (three goals) will look to unseat at least one of the two. Belotti has hit the net in just one of the past ten appearances. Cristian Ansaldi is arguably their most intriguing fantasy option thanks to his playmaking and shooting.

Cagliari-Roma: the long layoff will allow the Sardinians to fully recover Marko Rog after a month on the mend and he is set to replace the suspended Nahitan Nandez, playing opposite to Artur Ionita. However, neither has the same appeal as the Uruguayan midfielder. While Joao Pedro, even if no longer at the early-season peaks, has stayed somewhat consistent, Radja Nainggolan has showed well in just one of the past nine games, but it will certainly be a special one for him and therefore he is set to bring it. Gaston Pereiro is unlikely to start but he could remain a factor given that they do not have many alternatives up front. Giovanni Simeone has tallied one goals and two assists in the last five matches. A lot of their offense runs through their fullbacks: Fabrizio Cacciatore is back to full health, while Luca Pellegrini has been steady.

Roma finally bounced back after three losses with a romp of Lecce, with their main contributors chipping, since Edin Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Cengiz Under and Aleksandar Kolarov all found the target. The first two are in terrific form, Kolarov has recaptured the trust of the coach and there are not many defenders that are as appealing, while Under needs to keep performing in order to fend off the competition coming from Carles Perez and Justin Kluivert. Lorenzo Pellegrini missed a pair of chances there but looked on the comeback trail, however he picked up a muscular injury that will not allow him to play here. Bruno Peres is gaining steam and he is pretty offensive-minded.

Juventus-Inter: the recent tactical switch has put Juan Cuadrado on the map, as he has registered one goal and one assist since he was moved to the trident. Assuming they will trot out their best XI, that gives them another quality fantasy option besides Cristiano Ronaldo, who will have the chance to break an all-time Serie A record here, and Paulo Dybala. Gonzalo Higuain’s stocks instead are trending negatively, also due to a recent back problem. Aaron Ramsey finally scored against SPAL and he too has looked very at ease, but his presence hinges on whether or not Miralem Pjanic is a full go after a thigh problem. Rodrigo Bentancur has posted few assists recently, while Alex Sandro has been more active than usual down the left flank.

The challenging match-up means that Christian Eriksen will probably be used off the bench, but he can still be a factor even in limited minutes. Also, Matias Vecino usually makes his presence felt in crunch matches, besides shoring up the midfield. Due to a two-game suspension, Lautaro Martinez has fallen into a month-long slump, but he was in good shape before that. Romelu Lukaku (17 goals) instead has been as reliable as they come all season long. Ashley Young has been a surprisingly effective weapon since joining and has already outproduced Cristiano Biraghi, also Antonio Cadreva and Nicolò Barella are occasionally able put their name in the stat-sheet. The Bianconeri have struggled a bit on set pieces, while the Nerazzurri have some of the best specialists in the air.

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