Serie A Fantasy Previews – Round Five – Top Matches


Atalanta: the Bergamaschi looked unprepared to match Napoli’s aggressiveness in the last fixture and the much-anticipated bout ended with a shocking beating. They will look to return to form in Serie A as well after pummelling Midtjylland. Alejandro Gomez has been the tip of the spear so far and straight-up one of the best players in the League. Luis Muriel has put his name in the stat-sheet twice, like Sam Lemmers, who has made the most of his limited opportunities. Duvan Zapata has been more up-and-down. Josip Ilicic looked rusty in his first game back, but that is understandable: the good news is that he indeed came back and the coach will likely give him regular minutes to get him into shape. Ruslan Malinovskyi is questionable due to an injury, which may lead to some playing time for the intriguing Aleksey Miranchuk. Their stud wing-backs Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens have scored one goal each, with the German international adding two assists.

Suggested picks: Gomez, Muriel, Zapata.

Sampdoria: the Blucerchiati’s new design is coming to fruition as they had two satisfactory showings in a row, something rarely happened last season. It helps that Fabio Quagliarella has rediscovered his best form and has found the target thrice in a row. Having Antonio Candreva out on the right wing gives them more width than in the past and he has been pretty good himself, especially in a supporting role. Mikkel Damsgaard bagged his first goal in the past game, now they are waiting for Balde Keita, Gaston Ramirez and Jakub Jankto to come along as well. Left-back Tommaso Augello had a glorious performance against Lazio.

Suggested picks: Quagliarella, Candreva, Ramirez.



Genoa: they were rather uninspiring in the Verona match, but it is already a feat that they get up to play in that game. They added two new offensive pieces late: Eldor Shomurodov and Gianluca Scamacca; in their debut the Italian youngster looked better than the Uzbek striker, who may understandably need some time to adjust. They should have Marko Pjaca back from COVID in this one, and he scored in the opener, like Goran Pandev, who has retained a major role in their offense. Luca Pellegrini and Miha Zajc are expected to return as well and they will furnish a big lift, especially Zajc because Lennart Czyborra was fine on the wing against the Scaligeri. Davide Zappacosta and Mattia Destro have yet to shake off the virus, so there will be more room for room for Paolo Ghiglione and the aforementioned forwards.

Suggested picks: Pandev, Scamacca, Zajc

Inter: they botched the second big game in a row as they were outclassed by Milan in the Derby. The good news for them is that they are generally able to take care of business against the minnows. Romelu Lukaku is among the League leaders in scoring with his four goals, Lautaro Martinez is already at three and he has been sizzling. So far, they have preferred having just one inventive midfield on the pitch and no one between Stefano Sensi, Christian Eriksen and Marcelo Brozovic has really done anything to separate himself from the others, but the ex-Spurs may be the fittest of the bunch at this time. Without that element, their other two main contributors in the final third have been Achraf Hakimi (one goal, two assists) and Ivan Perisic (two helpers), but unforunately the Moroccan wing-back is out with COVID. Matteo Darmian is serviceable but clearly not as impactful. Nicolò Barella has been excellent, while Arturo Vidal has yet to have a fully convincing performance since returning in Serie A.

Suggested picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Barella. 



Benevento: tough sledding for them against Roma, but at least their front-line is working better than anticipated, as Gianluca Caprari has found remarkable consistency, given that he has already hit the net three times in a row, while Gianluca Lapadula finally looks healthy and has put one past the goalie in the last two matches. The third spot of the trident is up for grabs between Iago Falque and Roberto Insigne: the Italian fared better than the Spaniard in the past contest, but it is going to be a week-to-week proposition. There could be a fratricide fight here. Bryan Dabo and Artur Ionita could have some limited fantasy potential in the right kind of game, but this is not it and they will have their hands full in the defensive phase, like their fullbacks.

Suggested picks: Caprari, Lapadula, Insigne.

Napoli: the Partenopei looked like a million bucks against Atalanta and they will obviously look to keep it going against a team that has given up five goals twice against top teams. Hirving Lozano has been going like gangbusters to open the season and he is already up to four goals, Dries Mertens is at three, but he is a little banged up. Lorenzo Insigne is likely to return from a thigh injury, which is not great news for Matteo Politano, even though he can be productive also off the bench. Victor Osimhen has been an agent of chaos and he finally knocked one past the goalie against the Goddess: he is poised to do that many more times in the season. The new design does no favor to Fabian Ruiz, who is more far away from the goal in a more complementary role.

Suggested picks: Lozano, Osimhen, Mertens.



Juventus: Alvaro Morata has enjoyed his time as main offensive fulcrum sans Cristiano Ronaldo and found the target three times in the last two appearances and could have done even more damage. They were pretty clunky in Crotone but looked more poised in Kyiv and they will likely improve over time given their several changes in the offseason. It is uncertain whether CR7 will be back here, Federico Chiesa is suspended, but Paulo Dybala finally debuted, however it remains to be seen whether he is ready to start. They can move pieces around the formation and that can impact the outlook of some of their pieces, Dejan Kulusevski, Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi in particular. The Swedish starlet has immediately slotted into a key role. Aaron Ramsey quickly shook off an ailment and did not skip a beat, providing another quality display.

Suggested picks: Morata, Ramsey, Kulusevski.

Verona: they have been the least prolific side in the League so far, but mainly due to lack of clutchness in the box and not because of a very defensive posture. Nikola Kalinic was acquired to solve that, but the coach said he will need some time to be in peak form. Their only goal to date has been scored by Andrea Favilli, who started off well but tailed off in the past two tilts. The slippery Ebrima Colley and Eddie Salcedo have both had their opportunity to start and the former Atalanta got busy but with no end product against Genoa. They moved up Adrien Tameze and played him over Mattia Zaccagni last Monday, but lacked some playmaking between the lines. Still, it could be an option again to have a stouter midfield in a difficult match-up. Ivan Ilic has filled him admirably for Miguel Veloso and he would again take care of set pieces if the veteran teammate did not return. Darko Lazovic has been slowed down by an injury and has yet to return the weapon he was in the past campaign.

Suggested picks: Kalinic, Colley, Zaccagni.



Milan: the Rossoneri triumphed in the Derby but lost Hakan Calhanoglu to an ankle injury in practice, which is terrible news since he is the guy that stirs the pot with his passing, even though he had yet to score. Brahim Diaz will be first in line to replace him, but everybody will have to step up playmaking-wise because the Turk engineers most of their offense. Rade Krunic could instead be deployed there in a more tactical role and they got good returns out of that in Europa League. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned in fittingly impressive fashion with a brace and Rafael Leao is coming along nicely, which helps out since Ante Rebic may miss another one. Alexis Saelemaekers has outplayed Samu Castillejo on the right wing, while the intriguing Jens-Petter Hauge could see some minutes because of the absences. Theo Hernandez figures to be heavily involved in the final third in this one as he will have to deal with a much easier direct opponent.

Suggested picks: Ibrahimovic, Hernandez, Diaz.

Roma: the Giallorossi wreaked havoc against Benevento and feasted on counters, with Edin Dzeko finally snapping out of his funk with two goals. Henrikh Mkhitaryan dished two assists and he has already set up three goals, thus staying very relevant fantasy-wise despite the lack of goals, while Pedro has scored in two consecutive tilts and he is just a nuisance for opposing defenders. Paulo Fonseca reverted back to 4-2-3-1 in the past game, which may be the case again should Chris Smalling remain sidelined: it would be a positive development for Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has a matter of fact teed up Pedro versus the Sanniti thanks to the more offensive position. Leonardo Spinazzola has been effective on the left wing, Carles Perez delivered off the bench, but his playing time is uncertain. Jordan Veretout makes a living out of PKs and added one score on open play.

Suggested picks: Pedro, Dzeko, Mkhitaryan.

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