Sampdoria: the Blucerchiati tried to stay close in the Juventus clash but, despite a moderate surge at the beginning of the season half, they were not threatening. The coach kept initially Fabio Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez on the bench and that was costly. The Uruguayan had some good plays upon subbing in and he is generally the stick that stirs the pot for them, as they do not have much creativity throughout the roster. Federico Bonazzoli struggled as main reference point, Fabio Depaoli, Mehdi Leris and Jakub Jankto did not much of note. However, in an easier match-up, Jankto and Morten Thorsby could be more proactive.
Suggested picks: Quagliarella, Ramirez, Jankto.
Benevento: a not-so-traumatic debut game for the Sanniti, which literally dominated Serie B last season and will aim for a comfortable campaign. They will be spearheaded by Gianluca Lapadula and Gianluca Caprari, who should be apt for their sit back-and-counter strategy. They were exquisite defensive team in 2020/21, but they will obviously face better offenses this year. The trident will be completed by either Marco Sau or Roberto Insigne, who has finally landed in Serie A. In the midfield, Nicolas Viola is hurt and Oliver Kragl might begin on the bench: Artur Ionita and Bryan Dabo had their moments offensively at Cagliari and SPAL, but it come down to their overall posture.
Suggested picks: Lapadula, Caprari, Sau.
Spezia: the Aquilotti instead play in a much more offensive way and a lot will come down on whether they will withstand defensively and on if they will produce enough to stay in games. They signed just the youngster Roberto Piccoli when it comes to strikers, so for now they will count on him and veteran Andrej Galabinov. Their offense caters a lot to wingers and midfielders: Emmanuel Gyasi was fantastic last season, while they might use Kevin Agudelo on the right one while they wait for new purchase. Paolo Bartolomei was a prolific assist-man in Serie B. Tommaso Pobega and Nahuel Estevez might get a shot right away since Giulio Maggiore is suspended. Matteo Ricci generally takes care of penalty kicks.
Suggested picks: Gyasi, Agudelo, Galabinov.
Sassuolo: the Neroverdi pulled the strings against Cagliari, but did not cash in until late, with a great free kick by Mehdi Bourabia. in their front-line, Domenico Berardi and Lukas Haraslin looked fine, while Filip Djuricic and Francesco Caputo did not appear to be in tip-top shape yet, but that is understandable. Rogerio was pretty bubbly but he subbed off with a calf problem and Jeremy Toljan and Georgios Kyriakopoulos do not offer the same kind of bunch, but Mert Muldur is always looming. Jeremie Boga is set to miss another one. They might erupt against an unconvincing back-line.
Suggested picks: Berardi, Caputo, Haraslin.
Verona: they did not manage to break through versus Roma, but they came very close and should have more weapons this week thanks to the fact that the newcomers and the injured players will have one more week of work under their belt. In particular, Marco Zaccagni, who was limited to one half, should return to the XI and he is currently their biggest offensive playmaker. Lubomir Tupta and Adrien Tameze were rather uninspiring in an offensive role, they could go with Zaccagni and Ivan Ilic supporting Samuel Di Carmine, who had a pair of opportunities but was not super clutch. Ebrima Colley could be a wild factor. Federico Dimarco was splendid down the left flank and the new-look defence did not lost a step despite the changes.
Suggested picks: Zaccagni, Di Carmine, Dimarco.
Udinese: new season but mostly same team for the Zebretti, who somehow still have Rodrigo De Paul on the roster and added only Tolgay Arslan in the midfield and Thomas Ouwejan and Nahuel Molina on the flanks, where they lost Ken Sema and will not have Jens Stryger Larsen for a while due to injury. Despite the rumours, Stefano Okaka stayed and he and Kevin Lasagna form a pretty decent pair for these areas of the standing. Lasagna notched ten goals and seven assist last year. Mato Jajalo and Rolando Mandragora are recovering from injuries, but Walace and Arslan do not provide much oomph either. Hidde ter Avest and Marvin Zeegelaar could get the first crack at filling in on the wings, but they are rather underwhelming, so the newcomers could take over soon.
Suggested picks: Lasagna, De Paul, Okaka.
Crotone: a rough opener for the Squali that could not hang on against a less-than-formidable side like Genoa, which does not bode well heading into the date with the buzzsaw Milan has been in 2020. Giovanni Stroppa was aggressive and fielded attackers Emmanuel Riviere and Junior Messias together to make up for the absence of Ahmad Benali. It worked out because they both played well and the Frenchman scored, but it might have hurt the overall balance of the team. Riviere is out this week, so one of the newcomers (Augustus Kargbo or Denis Dragus) could get a shot, or they will simply move Messias to the attack, with one more midfielder. Simy did not look good and wasted a pair of golden chances and his giant frame does not help him after breaks. Salvatore Molina picked up an assist and Andrea Rispoli outplayed Antonio Mazzotta when he came on. Luca Cigarini and Nicolò Zanellato mostly took care of defensive duties in the midfield.
Suggested picks: Riviere, Messias, Simy.
Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic dominated in the opener, but unfortunately caught COVID-19 and will be out for a while. Ante Rebic did not take a shot but was very energetic and Hakan Calhanoglu grew as the game progressed but also ran out of energies pretty early: they will have to be the ones to step up scoring-wise, as they can not ask too much out of youngster Lorenzo Colombo or Rafael Leao, who missed a month with the virus. Samu Castillejo was not great but Alexis Saelemaekers did not really do much better on the right wing when he subbed in. Theo Hernandez provided an assist with a terrific cross. Ismael Bennacer drew a penalty kick, but it is likely going to be Franck Kessie who will have the biggest offensive contribution among midfielders.
Suggested picks: Calhanoglu, Rebic, Hernandez.
Bologna: the Felsinei did not really show up until late in the Milan game, where they had big troubles getting it going. Musa Barrow and Rodrigo Palacio tried to remedy that, and the youngster in particular was very assertive, Riccardo Orsolini and Roberto Soriano instead were very lackadaisical. Nicola Sansone and Andreas Skov Olsen might get to play more as a result of those woes. Takehiro Tomiyasu indeed played centrally, and was quite good, so Lorenzo De Silvestri will man the right defensive flank for the majority of the season. Mitchell Dijks had a poor game and was sent off: unless they complete the signing of Aaron Hickey in time, the replacements are not very enticing.
Suggested picks: Barrow, Palacio, Sansone.
Parma: pretty disappointing opener for the Ducali as well, which could not generate credible offense and got stung by Napoli in the end. Roberto Inglese and Andreas Cornelius were contained too easily, although they were facing a quality defence, and Juraj Kucka did not really exploit the more offensive role. It does not look like Gervinho will be ready to return, but they will have Jasmin Kurtic back from a suspension and he might be better suited to play as no.10. He surely has more offensive upside than Hernani, Gaston Brugman and Alberto Grassi. Yann Karamoh was not impactful, while Giuseppe Pezzella played well down the left flank but got banged up.
Suggested picks: Cornelius, Inglese, Kurtic.
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