Torino: the Granata did really not show anything new in the Fiorentina game even though Marco Giampaolo is supposedly going to bring a ton of changes, but that will take time and likely a couple of new players to come to fruition. They created just a pair of changes, with Andrea Belotti fully in the thick of it as per usual, while Simone Zaza rubbished a tasty one. They might be better off signing a new striker. The coach went with Alex Berenguer in the hole and then voiced doubts about Simone Verdi’s playing in that position, however there is not really any other place for him in the formation, so he will have to adapt. Soualiho Meite and Karol Linetty were not very involved offensively, mostly because the match-up was not easy, but this upcoming one is worse.
Suggested picks: Belotti, Berenguer, Zaza.
Atalanta: seasonal debut for the Bergamaschi, who significantly bolstered their depth in the offseason, but will not have Aleksey Miranchuk and Matteo Pessina for a while, while Sam Lammers will not be relevant until the schedule will get busier. The strongpoints of the most explosive offense of 2020 remain the same, minus Josip Ilicic, who is recovering from mental health issues but has resumed working at the training center. Duvan Zapata will look to build on a solid second half of the season after the injury, Robin Gosens had a spectacular campaign, Alejandro Gomez will continue to pull the strings, while the vacant spot in the offense will be filled by either Mario Pasalic, Ruslan Malinovskyi or Luis Muriel, who are all very capable, both in reality and in the fantasy game.
Suggested picks: Zapata, Gomez, Gosens.
Cagliari: they were mostly outplayed by Sassuolo in the opener, but their defence held up and they got an anticlimactic goal through a great header by Giovanni Simeone, set up by Joao Pedro. So their dynamic duo produced again, despite a diverse placement on the pitch compared to last season. Nahitan Nandez filled out the trident but played better when he moved back to the midfield, while Marko Rog and Razvan Marin had their hands full in the defensive phase. Despite the so-so results, Eusebio Di Francesco could stick with it in an equally, if not more, challenging match-up, which would work against the intriguing wing players Riccardo Sottil and Gabriele Zappa. The team is quite clearly still a work in progress.
Suggested picks: Simeone, Pedro, Nandez.
Lazio: first game for the Biancocelesti, who have not changed much during the summer, where, besides adding some depth pieces in the midfield, the big acquisition was Vedat Muriqi from Fenerbahce. However, he caught COVID-19 and is quarantining in Turkey, so he will not be present for a while. Their four horsemen are still here and ready to roll: last season’s top scorer Ciro Immobile, the wizard Luis Alberto, the powerhouse Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and the slippery Joaquin Correa. The only somewhat regular starter who left is Jony, who is going to be replaced by Mohamed Fares, who has higher upside but probably will not be available for this one. Manuel Lazzari is a second-tier option.
Suggested picks: Immobile, Alberto, Correa.
Inter: the Nerazzurri will be looking to start off on the right foot in a very important season for them, as they have tried to close the gap with Juventus through the mercato, bringing in Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov without selling any of their centre-pieces but Diego Godin. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez formed a formidable couple last year and that is not going to change. Stefano Sensi is supposedly healthy now and he was splendid out of the gate in 2019, while Christian Eriksen will have to improve his level of performance to gain a meaningful role. Nicolò Barella played great in Europa League and with Italy. Hakimi figures to be a force to be reckoned with if his transition to the new league is smooth and their reliance on the flank game made also Ashley Young pick up a decent amount of bonuses.
Suggested picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Barella
Fiorentina: the Viola created few chances in the Torino game and ultimately capitalized with a tap-in by Gaetano Castrovilli. Giuseppe Iachini went with an aggressive lineup that included Federico Chiesa, Franck Ribery, Giacomo Bonaventura and Christian Kouame: the striker was denied only by a pair of superb saves, while the ex-Milan midfielder was the liveliest player. Chiesa dished out the assist for the game-winning goal and his role looks defensive but that is only true on paper. The lineup might change here in a more difficult tilt and with the workhorse Sofyan Amrabat eligible to play after a suspension. Cristiano Biraghi looked pretty good and he is perfectly suited the scheme, while Ribery was a tad off and might need some time to gear into shape.
Suggested picks: Kouame, Chiesa, Castrovilli.
Napoli: Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne solved what was becoming a tricky contest for the Partenopei in Parma, but it was Victor Osimhen who changed the game off the bench, even if he did not pick up a bonus. Gennaro Gattuso has pumped the breaks on using four forwards together as it would hurt the midfield and the overall balance of the team. However he needs to find a way to have at least Mertens and Osimhen together on a consistent basis because the ex-Lille is potentially too devastating to be limited to only chunks of games. Hirving Lozano manned the right flank and he played as well as ever since he joined the Azzurri. Fabian Ruiz is already in mid-season form.
Suggested picks: Mertens, Insigne, Osimhen.
Genoa: a surprisingly blistering start for the Grifone which, even though they were facing a lousy defence, never produced this much last season. Mattia Destro broke a seemingly eternal drought, Goran Pandev lofted one over the goalie and newcomers Davide Zappacosta and Marko Pjaca rounded out the score. Even though they have yet to bring in a new striker to replace Antonio Sanabria and Iago Falque, they already seem to have more weapons than in the past, including Miha Zajc, even though he is forced to work hard in the midfield. Paolo Ghiglione commenced with two assists and he should get some more run while the new left-backs get acclimated, which will then move Zappacosta back to the right flank.
Suggested picks: Pandev, Destro, Pjaca.
Roma: it has been a hellish week for La Lupa between the debacle of the Amadou Diawara case, which cost them a point, and the collapse of the Arkadiusz Milik deal. Edin Dzeko will stay onboard and they will have to re-motivate him. In a weird twist of fate, they will play against the team he was supposed to join right away. The Bosnian tank notched 16 goals and seven assists last season and remains their main weapon. On the pitch, the Giallorossi were pretty lacklustre against the aggressive Verona defence: Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini were for the most part held in check, Pedro looked pretty spry in his Serie A day view and the most effective playmaker was Leonardo Spinazzola down the left flank. They could get Bruno Peres back after COVID-19, which would be a decent boost.
Suggested picks: Dzeko, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini.
Juventus: the Bianconeri had a convincing opener against Sampdoria, creating a host of chances and ultimately pulling away in the second half. Dejan Kulusevki struck gold almost immediately and Cristiano Ronaldo fired one home after few misses and is the unquestioned top option in their offense. Paulo Dybala might be back in limited capacity, so it should be again the Swedish starlet and the re-emerging Aaron Ramsey supporting Ronaldo. The Welshman had rarely played this well last season, picked up an assist and is an excellent fit for the role. Weston McKennie and Adrien Rabiot fared well but the role is fairly limiting offensively-speaking, instead Juan Cuadrado and Danilo were more involved in the final third.
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