Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Seven – Top Matches


Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were missing their top three players against Napoli, but they won anyway thanks a brand-new scheme by Roberto De Zerbi, who, for once, opted for caution and a three-man back-line and got rewarded with their talented central midfielders stepping up. Filip Djuricic has COVID and will not return here, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo have been called up, but they might be limited, so it is possible Giacomo Raspadori stays initially in a big role and Gregoire Defrel gets the nod. Both the Frenchman and Jeremie Boga have not looked great as they work their way into shape, while Hamed Traore is generally pretty lively. Even if at less than 100 percent, Caputo and Betardi are always good choices, while Lopez would be an outstanding one if used as no.10 to substitute Djuricic.

Recommended picks: Lopez, Caputo, Berardi. 

Udinese: Luca Gotti pulled the trigger and switched to 4-3-3 in the last game, dropping Kevin Lasagna for a trident formed by Ignacio Pussetto, Stefano Okaka and Gerard Deulofeu. The move had decent returns as they were in the game up until late against Milan, although the goal came from a penalty kick by Rodrigo De Paul, who finally put one on the board after a series of strong displays. Pussetto is more on-form than the Spaniard, who so far has shown out only in Coppa Italia and has been pedestrian in Serie A, while Okaka had a brace in the previous match: he will likely alternate with Lasagna, who is still scoreless, if the new system sticks. While the role of the always bubbly Roberto Pereyra is basically untouched, their fullbacks lose some shine, especially if Samir is used over Thomas Ouwejan. Jens Larsen was fine in his first start of the season, but he has fewer opportunities to attack in the modified scheme.

Recommended picks: De Paul, Okaka, Pussetto.



Lazio: given the circumstances, they had a fiery effort against Torino, with Andreas Pereira scoring his first goal in Serie A, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic nailing a vicious free kick, Ciro Immobile bagging a PK for his third goal of the season and Felipe Caicedo (second goal) deciding it at the buzzer. Even though some players returned in that game, the uncertainty remains as Immobile, Lucas Leiva and Thomas Strakosha were not cleared to play in Champions League, even though the executives are adamant they will be available. As far as the back-up strikers are concerned, Vedat Muriqi is seemingly the more complete player, but Caicedo is actually taking care of the scoring. Luis Alberto recently shook off COVID and might be limited at first, which gives Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa a larger role, and they have delivered. Fill-in starter Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro has found the target once and he is a dynamic box-to-box. Adam Marusic and Mohamed Fares have been serviceable out on the wings, but the Serbian international has slowed down a bit after a torrid start.

Recommended picks: Correa, Milinkovic-Savic, Immobile/Caicedo.

Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo returned in style against Spezia with a quick brace, immediately reclaiming his throne as their leading scorer (five goals), even though Alvaro Morata has been more than adequate in relief, hitting the net four times between Serie A and Champions League, on top of having several close calls. Besides the rare occasions when Ronaldo will rest, Morata is set to split time with Paulo Dybala, who has really struggled so far and has looked off from the physical standpoint. In the supporting cast, the stocks of Federico Chiesa (one assist last week) are rising, Dejan Kulusevki’s ones are steady after his two early goals, while Aaron Ramsey has lost some minutes, also because of a knock. Weston McKennie was deployed in a pretty offensive role and that could be a good solution for the more challenging match-ups: he cashed in with an assist on a deep cut. The fact that they are now healthier risks giving fantasy owners a headache as they will start rotating their pieces. Adrien Rabiot put his name in the stat-sheet as well in the rout, but they will rarely face a back-line as lousy as Spezia’s one. Juan Cuadrado and Danilo have been pretty consistent.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Chiesa, Kulusevski



Atalanta: the Bergamaschi were predictably able to take advantage of Crotone’s defensive woes, with Luis Muriel leading the dances with a dazzling brace, but they crashed down hard versus Liverpool and they have been rather poor in the more difficult match-ups thus far. After opening the season looking like a human flamethrower, Alejandro Gomez has not scored in the past five titls, while Duvan Zapata has picked it up, but more in Champions League than in Serie A play. Josip Ilicic has been seesawing: he has had a high usage and some good-looking plays, but no end product yet as and he has not been clinical. Ruslan Malinovskyi dished a pair of assists, but Gian Piero Gasperini will likely go with his most trusted players in this one. Robin Gosens could remain on mend because of a calf injury and the drop-off with Johan Mojica is pretty dramatic. His absence also hurts Hans Hateboer on the other flank since he sees less feeds. Mario Pasalic plays in a more defensive role than last year as he is substituting Marten De Roon as pivot, but he interprets it way more aggressively and he can often be found lurking in the final third. He tends to show up in big games. Inter’s defense has been surprisingly vulnerable so far.

Recommended picks: Zapata, Muriel, Gomez

Inter: it is uncertain whether Romelu Lukaku will be back from his thigh injury in this one but, while certainly the way they play is affected by his absence, the offense actually has not labored too much as they were able to notch two goals against Parma and Real Madrid. A lot of the credit goes to Ivan Perisic, who moved to second-striker and found the back of the net in both circumstances, while Lautaro Martinez roared back in the Champions League clash after a short subpar stretch. Alexis Sanchez has recovered and will provide a jolt, either starting or off the bench. Among their midfielders, Nicolò Barella has been exquisite and he has already logged four assists, while Marcelo Brozovic bagged his first goal last week. Arturo Vidal and Roberto Gagliardini are mostly assigned to defensive duties and the Chilean veteran has not exploited his rare chances to score. Christian Eriksen continues to be MIA, Stefano Sensi is hurt. Achraf Hakimi has been okay but has left a lot of points on the table, while Ashley Young continues to be sneakily effective.

Recommended picks: Martinez, Perisic, Barella



Bologna: Musa Barrow snapping out of his initial slump coincided with the Felsinei finally getting a satisfactory result and he was extremely streaky last season. Besides that, Roberto Soriano extended his run and he has been one of the outright best fantasy contributors in the League since he has already accounted for four goals and three assists. Rodrigo Palacio is only technically their centre-forward: his role is more devoted to opening up room for his teammates, and feeding them, than to finishing on his own. Riccardo Orsolini has had some flashes, including an assist last week, and appears to be back on track, but he is unlikely to turn into a very consistent player. Mattias Svanberg has had a decent amount of success in the final third (one goal, one assist) while replacing Gary Medel and partnering the grittier Jerdy Schouten. Lorenzo De Silvestri and Aaron Hickey have been viable but the Rossoblù do not rely all that much on the scampers of their fullbacks in their design.

Recommended picks: Barrow, Soriano, Orsolini

Napoli: the blueprint may be out to stop Napoli’s supposedly potent offense, which was jammed by both Benevento and Sassuolo, but they will be facing a much less disciplined team in this round and therefore their strikers are likely to bounce back, especially Victor Osimhen, who will rest in Europa League due to a suspension. He has been pretty good but a tad more wasteful than one would like. Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano were held in check in the last two outings, where it was Matteo Politano and Andrea Petagna who made it to the box-score. Lorenzo Insigne is slated to be back and that will help things out, same thing for Piotr Zielinski and Elijf Elmas improving their fitness after COVID and both could have a very interesting role in their new system.

Recommended picks: Osimhen, Insigne, Mertens.



Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic did it again in Udinese, scoring his seventh goal of the season in a clutch spot, while Frank Kessie notched his second. Alexis Saelemaekers had knocked one through in the past game. In order not to be too Zlatan-dependent, they could use Hakan Calhanoglu getting going scoring-wise and Ante Rebic quickly rounding into shape after his injury. The Turk has been a major hub but has yet to hit paydirt despite multiple attempts. Rafael Leao has been outstanding while replacing Rebic, especially in a creative role as he provided two assists versus Roma and one against Inter. They have now the opportunity to field an extremely explosive lineup now if they decide to array all their best attackers at the same time. Theo Hernandez has registered one goal and two helpers, Diogo Dalot has been great in Europa League but has played very little domestically.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Leao, Calhanoglu.

Verona: the Scaligeri went back to their last season’s certainties in the Benevento game, with one attacking midfielder doing a great amount of damage, Antonin Barak, who is playing in the Matteo Pessina role, and Darko Lazovic making noise for the first time. Nikola Kalinic has not look great so far, but at least he has proven to be a better distributor than their other options. Mattia Zaccagni has set up a goal in each of the past two contests, while Federico Dimarco had two assists in the most recent one and he will get another start since Marco Davide Faraoni is out with an injury. With Barak and Zaccagni cooking, Ebrima Colley and Eddie Salcedo will become just change-of-pace guys off the bench and Ivan Ilic and Adrien Tameze will remain in a more defensive position, which decreases their upside.

Recommended picks: Barak, Zaccagni, Kalinic.

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