Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31


Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar.

Lazio: no Ciro no party for the Biancocelesti versus Milan, where they were predictably very toothless and also impaired by a subpar display by Luis Alberto. Big absences could be a recurring theme for this game as well because Joaquin Correa and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic asked to sub off on Sunday. Anyway, the return of the capocannoniere and of Felipe Caicedo should be enough against the worst defence in the League. Manuel Lazzari and Jony continue to be prolific crossers and pretty involved but they have yet to make the stat-sheet.

Suggested picks: Immobile, Caicedo, Alberto.


Milan: the Rossoneri had hands-down their best performance of the season against Lazio. Zlatan Ibrahimovic being back helped them out, then Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic kept up their good form. Rebic has scored nine times in the last 12 matches, never going two in a row without a goal. The Turkman suffered a calf injury and he is questionable. Other than the trio, Giacomo Bonaventura provided an assist and he is taking advantage of his increased opportunities, Theo Hernandez was dominant but missed a sitter and Alexis Saelemaekers is very energetic. Their front-line is well-assorted and pretty much everybody is faring well, considering that also Rafael Leao and Lucas Paqueta came back to life recently.

Suggested picks: Rebic, Ibrahimovic, Bonaventura.

Juventus: the Bianconeri’s elite one-two punch came through again versus Torino, with the addition of Juan Cuadrado finding the target to further cement his excellent moment. However, Paulo Dybala is out for this one and therefore Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa will have to step up to make up for the big loss, as Dybala has been a deciding factor in the last few games with his deadlock-breaking goals. Costa is the most likely to do it given how good he has looked recently. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in four straight appearances.

Suggested picks: Ronaldo, Costa, Higuain.


Fiorentina: Giuseppe Iachini initially rested few of his stars in Parma and that oddly had a positive effect, maybe because they were tired or some complacency had set in. In any case, Erik Pulgar resurfaced with a brace on PKs and his seasonal numbers are suddenly pretty interesting for a midfielder. Dusan Vlahovic returns from a suspension and that will be a big help, even though Patrick Cutrone snapped out of his slump recently. Unfortunately, Franck Ribery hurt his surgically-repaired ankle and they will obviously handle him very carefully. Highly touted Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli have not been all that great in the resumption, but they can shine in any given moment, while Rachid Ghezzal and Alfred Duncan have been decent.

Suggested picks: Vlahovic, Chiesa, Cutrone.

Cagliari: the Rossoblù got beat by Atalanta, which happens to the best of them, but they managed to stay in the game despite an early red card, confirming they good form despite the loss. Giovanni Simeone was denied his fifth goal in a row by a slight handball. The teammate’s scoring form has slowed down Joao Pedro a bit, as he has found the target in just one of the past four matches. Radja Nainggolan is banged up and might not be there. Marko Rog and Nahitan Nandez are coming off strong performances from a work-rate standpoint. Artur Ionita has not had great success in the few roles he has been deployed in by Walter Zenga.

Suggested picks: Simeone, Pedro, Nandez


Genoa: the Rossoblù rallied back late against Udinese thanks to Goran Pandev, who resurfaced after some duds, and Andrea Pinamonti, who has been excellent in Serie A’s return (three goals). Antonio Sanabria oddly fared better off the bench than starting, while Iago Falque has been peppy no matter what and it should not be long until Davide Nicola begins consistently fielding three of the four together. They have had diminished returns on their flank game since Domenico Criscito went down with an injury and they stopped using Paolo Ghiglione and there is not much of interest in the midfield either, despite the return of Lasse Schone from suspension, given the mostly gritty style of their players there.

Suggested picks: Pinamonti, Falque, Pandev

Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne finally scored in the summer schedule and aptly did it in stunning fashion after few great displays. José Callejon bagged his second in the past three matches and he has been more prolific under Gennaro Gattuso than in the past, keeping Matteo Politano at a distance in their fight for minutes. Arkadiusz Milik had his chances, but it will probably be Dries Mertens in the XI in this one, as the frustrating alternation goes on. Mario Rui is coming off a great assist. Fabian Ruiz has outplayed Piotr Zielinski in the last few matches, but neither has scored. In case they decided to rotate a lot, Hirving Lozano and Elijf Elmas could be worth a flier.

Suggested picks: Mertens, Insigne, Lozano.


Atalanta: they racked up another win even though the performance in Cagliari was more muted as usual, perhaps due to the fact that few back-ups were in the starting XI. Luis Muriel came through this time. Duvan Zapata and Alejandro Gomez, who recently surpassed Luis Alberto and now leads the League in assists with 15, will be pretty fresh for this one. Josip Ilicic has not been himself after an ankle injury, which has benefitted the tantalizing Ruslan Malinovskyi and the sneaky Mario Pasalic. All of their wing-backs are in form, with Robin Gosens clearly being the crème of the crop, not only in the Bergamaschi roster.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Gomez, Gosens.

Sampdoria: two seminal wins in a row for the Blucerchiati, who surely showed up when they had to. After a long hibernation, Karol Linetty dominated versus SPAL, while Manolo Gabbiadini kept up his modest but fairly consistent scoring with a fantastic free kick. They did not even need to risk Fabio Quagliarella, but he is ready. Gaston Ramirez continues to be their key guy creatively, the others, mostly Jakub Jankto and Fabio Depaoli have some limited value but they are really ancillary players.

Suggested picks: Gabbiadini, Ramirez, Linetty.  


Bologna: the Felsinei got an incredible win in San Siro, powered by the usual Musa Barrow (three goals in a row) and by the youngster Musa Juwara coming through off the bench. While Barrow and Riccardo Orsolini have been pretty strong in the resumption, the same can not be said for their other attackers Nicola Sansone, Roberto Soriano and Rodrigo Palacio, but it is something that has been going on throughout the season. Palacio is probably the best bet to bust out of it sooner rather than later. Soriano being suspended could give either Matthias Svanberg or Nicolas Dominguez a chance to play in a more offensive role and the latter dished out an assist in San Siro.

Suggested picks: Barrow, Orsolini, Dominguez.  

Sassuolo: the three-headed monster showed up against Lecce as Francesco Caputo, Jeremie Boga and Domenico Berardi all hit the net in various forms and have been tremendous lately. Filip Djuricic is suspended for this one and Gregoire Defrel, who scored a brace in Florence, should be in the XI in this one. All of their forwards have been productive. The nice surprise has been Mert Muldur, who scored twice, as he has fully exploited Jeremy Toljan’s absence, demonstrating a great nose for the goal for a fullback.

Suggested picks: Boga, Defrel, Caputo


Roma: Paulo Fonseca devised a new scheme in Naples, but their strong suits stayed the same, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagged a daisy-cutter and Lorenzo Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko were the only ones to do something of note. Nicolò Zaniolo returned on the pitch but his autonomy will be limited for a while. Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Under have not taken advantage of their opportunities to play, Carles Perez has a little bit. The rotation for the fullbacks has been scientific so far, so it should be Bruno Perez and Aleksandar Kolarov in this one and the Serbian veteran has been one of their best players throughout the season.

Suggested picks: Dzeko, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini

Parma: a clear step back by the Ducali against Fiorentina, where they were not as sharp as in the previous games, even the ones where they ended up losing. Dejan Kulusevski saved face, Gervinho and Yann Karamoh not so much and Andreas Cornelius was rested. He should be back in the XI here, perhaps also Gianluca Caprari will be given a shot. Juraj Kucka scored twice in the past four matches, while their other midfielders have not been as present in final third. Riccardo Gagliolo has quite oddly been a factor offensively.

Suggested picks: Kulusevski, Cornelius, Kucka.


Torino: the Granata actually had some okay moments in the Derby right after Andrea Belotti converted a penalty kick, notching his fourth goal in a row. Simone Verdi in particular fared better than in the recent outings. The coach hinted at going back to using Simone Zaza and the heavy trident and he should be past his recent injury. Alex Berenguer and Simone Edera have been fine, Cristian Ansaldi too but he is not a full go yet due to physical problems.

Suggested picks: Belotti, Zaza, Verdi.

Brescia: they upset Verona on Sunday thanks to the first career goal of Andrea Papetti and a late one by Alfredo Donnarumma, which has been become a customary thing in the most recent rounds. The contribution of their strikers, the other being Ernesto Torregrossa, has made up for the lack of oomph in the midfield. Diego Lopez trotted out Nikolas Spalek at no.10 in the past game, but the results were not much better compared to the ones of Jaromir Zmhral and Simon Skrabb, so they will have to keep looking to find a definitive solution. Sandro Tonali showed up with an assist, his sixth of the season, while Stefano Sabelli is pretty high on their totem pole of creators.

Suggested picks: Donnarumma, Torregrossa, Tonali.


SPAL: the Estensi had a goose egg against Sampdoria and, despite trying out various configurations, the offense keeps sputtering and their goals remain pretty randomly generated. On top of that, they even rested Andrea Petagna in that game. The injuries to Mohamed Fares and Mattia Valoti do not help, but they will have back Marco D’Alessandro in this one and maybe also Arkadiusz Reca, which should at least improve their flank game. Alberto Cerri has not taken advantage of his increased playing time, Sergio Floccari has and he has had some strong ends of the season in the past.

Suggested picks: Petagna, Floccari, Strefezza.

Udinese: a little calf problem did not halt Kevin Lasagna’s momentum as he bagged his fourth goal in the past three games versus Genoa. Seko Fofana did some real damage after some time, cashing in on a good period, and Rodrigo De Paul logged another assist. Among their main centre-pieces, only Stefano Okaka has been a bit subpar after the resumption. The vigorous Ken Sema is suspended and Marvin Zeegelaar did a mess in the last round. Ilija Nestorovski is seeing consistent minutes and scored against Roma.

Suggested picks: Lasagna, De Paul, Fofana.


Verona: the Scaligeri laid siege but did not find a way to perforate Brescia in an unusually inefficient outing. Fabio Borini picked up another small injury that will force him to miss some time, while it is possible that Matteo Pessina is used in a more defensive position in this one, so it should be Valerio Verre and Matteo Zaccagni supporting the striker, either Samuel Di Carmine (three goals in the last four games) or Mariusz Stepinski. All their midfielder have found the target recently: the most reliable one has been Darko Lazovic, who has been a constant thorn on the opponents’ side with his energy on the left flank.

Suggested picks: Di Carmine, Lazovic, Verre.

Inter: they are coming off a puzzling performance against Bologna where they melted down after Lautaro Martinez missed a PK. Romelu Lukaku notched his 20th goal of the season, which a superb haul for somebody who is in his first season in Serie A, despite his experience and stature. Christian Eriksen continued his slide and the great outing in June in Coppa Italia might have been an outlier at his point, while their flank players keep bringing it, with Ashley Young and Antonio Candreva having hauled in the most points. Marcelo Brozovic shook off an injury and has been a productive assist-man. Alexis Sanchez has been their best non-Lukaku player after Serie A’s return.

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