Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 34


Verona: after a consistent stretch with a pure striker up front, Ivan Juric went back to a false-nine, Valerio Verre in this case, against Roma, but the results were not that great, with the second half push coming on the heels of the subs. The returns from injury of Fabio Borini, Eddie Salcedo and Valentin Eysseric will allow the coach to go that route more often, especially against top teams, although Samuel Di Carmine has been decently effective (three goals in the last six games). Mattia Pessina scored again and he has separated himself from their slew of attacking midfielders, while Mattia Zaccagni picked up the assist. Darko Lazovic has been their most consistent player.

Suggested picks: Pessina, Lazovic, Borini.

Atalanta: they showered Brescia with goals even though they rested Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic. Mario Pasalic and Ruslan Malinovskyi took centre-stage, Duvan Zapata did his thing in one half. Ilicic is being managed for imperfect physical conditions and he is probably going to be frustrating the rest of the way, but there is not shortage of options. The best assist-man in the League Gomez, Zapata and Luis Muriel will be pretty fresh for this one, Malinovskyi has been an absolute menace, while Pasalic’s role in unlikely to be that prominent again. Robin Gosens quickly shook of an injury and notched two more assists in Brescia.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Malinovskyi, Gomez.


Cagliari: the Sardinians sputtered again versus Sampdoria, making it four games in a row without scoring, and Giovanni Simeone’s streak and Joao Pedro’s pre-lockdown prolificacy are a long gone now, but the fact that Sassuolo are generally pretty lousy in the back could help them out. Radja Nainggolan is unlikely to be back this season and their supporting cast has not really been able to step up, nobody besides Nahitan Nandez has been constantly good in the past few matches. Artur Ionita is suspended and Valter Birsa struggled in the past game, so it could be time for them to go back to Gaston Pereiro in a big role.

Suggested picks: Simeone, Pedro, Pereiro.

Sassuolo: the Neroverdi took it to Juventus and kept up their scoring even in a daunting match-up, finding the target three times with Filip Djuricic, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo (17 goals in the season). Everybody in their standard front-line, the other being Jeremie Boga, is in a groove, even Lukas Haraslin and Giacomo Raspadori bagged one lately, so that leaves Hamed Traore as the only one who has not been able to take home bonuses. The game-bending fullback Mert Muldur could be due for a rest, but Jeremy Toljan is not too shabby either.

Suggested picks: Caputo, Berardi, Boga.


Milan: another win for the Rossoneri, who were carried by Hakan Calhanoglu (one goal, two assists) in the Parma game, while Franck Kessie has amazingly managed to put his name in the stat-sheet in three consecutive games, with one PK and two lovely goals. Ante Rebic’s streak came to end due limited playing time. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not looked sharp in the past two games, maybe it is time for a maintenance day, while Rafael Leao did not shine in a rare start. Giacomo Bonaventura instead posted another helper, his third in the last four appearances. Alexis Saelemaekers will be back from suspension but he has not been relevant fantasy-wise, despite faring decently.

Suggested picks: Calhanoglu, Rebic, Bonaventura.

Bologna: the Felsinei turned it around in the second half of the Napoli game and could have easily won it. Roberto Soriano, who is coming on strong, and Musa Barrow brilliantly combined for the goal with two very classy plays. The striker has scored in five of the last six matches. The coach is showing some frustration in the rest of the front-line, Riccardo Orsolini and Nicola Sansone have been inconsistent, but Andreas Skov Olsen has not been much either and they do not have a lot of options. Rodrigo Palacio was just denied a goal, then missed a sitter, and continues to be very spry despite his age.

Suggested picks: Barrow, Soriano, Palacio.


Parma: the Ducali got the lead out of the blue versus Milan, with Jasmin Kurtic hitting the net for the second game in a row, but did not do much with it. Dejan Kulusevski rung the bell late, but they were short-handed up front as they lost Andreas Cornelius again, Gervinho has not been clutch lately and Yann Karamoh has done very little of note so far this season. Roberto Inglese is usable only in small doses, so they will be hoping to recover Kucka to have someone who has at least some experience as false-nine.

Suggested picks: Kulusevski, Kurtic, Inglese.

Sampdoria: their remarkable late turnaround continues as they put together an extremely satisfying performance versus Cagliari, netting three goals for the third time in the past four tilts. It was Federico Bonazzoli who played hero this time, while Manolo Gabbiadini has reached the double-digit threshold. Jakub Jankto dished two assist and he and Karol Linetty are starting to be factors fantasy-wise. Fabio Quagliarella will likely be back in the XI here and he scored upon returning, while Gaston Ramirez kept them afloat when they were not in this kind of form.

Suggested picks: Quagliarella, Gabbiadini, Ramirez.


Brescia: the miniscule silverling coming from the drubbing courtesy of Atalanta was that Ernesto Torregrossa kept it going with one more goal and Nikolas Spalek bagged his second of the season on a pretty play by Sandro Tonali, who benefitted from getting a little bit of time off. In this way, Spalek stood out in their crowd of ho-hum attacking midfielders, which includes Birkir Bjarnason, Jaromir Zmrhal and Simon Skrabb, who have all their chances but did not deliver. Alfredo Donnarumma has hit the net three times after the resumption.

Suggested picks: Donnarumma, Torregrossa, Spalek.

SPAL: another scoreless day for the Estensi, who understandably mustered very limited offense against Inter. Their liveliest players remain Andrea Petagna and Gabriel Strefezza, but it has been a while since they have hit the net. Their last proper goal was bagged by Sergio Floccari, who is deployed here and there, while Alberto Cerri squandered a pair of chances in recent matches. Marco D’Alessandro has been fairly spry, but their XI is a week-to-week proposition. Federico Di Francesco has returned from an injury but he will need more playing time to be an asset.

Suggested picks: Petagna, Strefezza, D’Alessandro.


Fiorentina: it took a game against the worst defence in the League, but La Viola finally put together a completely convincing offensive performance, as Federico Chiesa snapped out of his scoring slump, and also assisted, Patrick Cutrone found the target for the third game in a row and Rachid Ghezzal bagged a gorgeous free kick. Cutrone is running away with the starting job, while Ghezzal playing well comes in handy since Gaetano Castrovilli is banged up. Franck Ribery is dealing with some age/usage-related up-and-downs, but he is inevitably going to benefit if the teammates elevate their games. Christian Kouame has looked awesome right after returning from an ACL tear and their front-line is suddenly crowded.

Suggested picks: Cutrone, Chiesa, Ribery.

Torino: they came through in an important match-up in the race to avoid relegation, with Bremer breaking the deadlock and Andrea Belotti spearheading the late push with an assist for Sasa Lukic and a great personal goal. He has now scored in seven consecutive outings, the longest ongoing streak in the League. Simone Zaza spends more time picking fights than in the box, but they have been better with him on the pitch. Simone Verdi has been feast-or-famine but generally on the up-and-up: he provided an assist versus Genoa and could have been credited with a goal against Brescia. Cristian Ansaldi does not seem in proper shape yet and Alex Berenguer and Simone Edera have been discarded, so there are not many interesting options.

Suggested picks: Belotti, Verdi, Zaza.


Genoa: they could not get anything going in the feasible match-up with Torino, taking a clear step-back compared to the, much easier, SPAL one. The coach has embraced the scheme with three attackers and, while Andrea Pinamonti and Goran Pandev have taken care of the scoring, Iago Falque has been the best performer. Domenico Criscito is expected back in the XI and he has converted few PKs in the season. Lasse Schone recently bagged a free kick, while Francesco Cassata has been more involved in a different role, but it is not a given he will stay there for long and he is also dinged up. Antonio Sanabria has not been the same after the lockdown.

Suggested picks: Pinamonti, Pandev, Falque.

Lecce: they were quickly overwhelmed by Fiorentina in the past game and could not recover until late, when Yehven Shakhov netted an inconsequential goal. They had done better in the Cagliari bout and obviously against Lazio and they should have no troubles getting up for what is a death match. Diego Farias has been their most active attacker in recent matches, Khouma Babacar delivered once but he is really moody, Riccardo Saponara has been inconsistent as well. Marco Mancosu is their leading scorer thanks to PKs. Gianluca Lapadula and Filippo Falco are recovering from injuries and it is uncertain whether they are ready to see minutes. Surely, they are not nowhere near 100 percent.

Suggested picks: Farias, Mancosu, Babacar.


Napoli: the back-ups could not keep up the same level of intensity versus Bologna, although they had gotten the lead through a Kostas Manolas header, and they actually had more troubles late when Dries Mertens and company had already subbed in. The Belgian striker has scored in his last two starts, while the situation has gotten to Arkadiusz Milik, who has put his name in the stat-sheet just once after the resumption. One goal and one assist for Lorenzo Insigne in the last three starts, two/one for José Callejon. Three assists in the last few fixtures for Fabian Ruiz, while Piotr Zielinski has not really showed up in June and July. Hirving Lozano has been a weapon off the bench.

Suggested picks: Mertens, Callejon, Insigne.

Udinese: they did not manage to perforate Lazio as perhaps they deserved to since they created few chances and Rodrigo De Paul hit the post at the buzzer. Even though they have not been able to finish matches and lost a good amount of points in such manner, they are in a pretty healthy stretch. Kevin Lasagna had hit the net in five consecutive games before the last one, De Paul put one past the goalie in Ferrara, while Stefano Okaka is suspended. Ilija Nestorovski is not as good, but he is a better finisher. Seko Fofana has had great continuity after the League re-started.

Suggested picks: Lasagna, De Paul, Fofana.


Roma: they were not super impressive but they took care of the tricky Verona bout thanks to a PK by Jordan Veretout and Edin Dzeko returning to the box-score after five matches. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was just denied because of a goal-line clearance and he has been quite clearly their best player in June and July. Lorenzo Pellegrini is doing fine as well but he is not as prone to scoring. Nicolò Zaniolo is getting more and more playing time and he is already on the radar. The new scheme gives more freedom to Veretout, who rifled one home from distance against Parma, Bruno Peres and Leonardo Spinazzola.

Suggested picks: Mkhitaryan, Dzeko, Pellegrini.

Inter: they did not sweat the SPAL contest, where the only little disappointment was Lautaro Martinez failing to follow up the performance he had against Brescia. Alexis Sanchez helped massively in making up for the absence of Romelu Lukaku, who might be back here but is still 50/50 at his point, then the wing players stepped it up as Antonio Candreva, Ashley Young and Cristiano Biraghi have all been able to either score or assist in the two recent tilts. Christian Eriksen instead proved that the great showing in Naples few weeks back was just a blip. Roberto Gagliardini is getting a lot of minutes and scoring a bit.

Suggested picks: Sanchez, Martinez, Candreva.


Juventus: they bagged three goals against Sassuolo and somehow Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala were not involved in neither of them, which is an oddity compared to all the other matches after the resumption. Two were aberration since they came from defenders, then Gonzalo Higuain took advantage of being given an opportunity to start. Federico Bernardeschi is suspended and that will force them to tweak the XI they have been using recently. Douglas Costa would be a shoe-in and he has been strong the bench, but they can go in different direction, like advancing Juan Cuadrado or keeping El Pipita in the lineup. The Colombian winger was coming off three assists and a goal prior to a suspension. Miralem Pjanic resurfaced after a long time with two helpers.

Suggested picks: Ronaldo, Dybala, Cuadrado.

Lazio: the Biancocelesti stopped the bleeding in Udine but that is just a small satisfaction. Their intensity and their offensive production have abated dramatically and Ciro Immobile’s touch in the box is pretty much gone, as he missed some chances that he would have bagged before the stoppage. Surely a bizarre development. Their last goals were scored by Luis Alberto, Felipe Caicedo and Marco Parolo, then Sergej Milinkovic-Savic tends to be noticeable in big games. Manuel Lazzari continues to be one of thew positive contributors. The Juventus back-line has not been good lately and they will be able to rely on their most trusted weapon here, counter-attacking.

Suggested picks: Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic, Caicedo.

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