Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Eight – Top Matches


Juventus: there were not many doubts, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s return restored the usual pecking order that saw the Portuguese ace firmly atop of it both in scoring but especially touches up front, even though Alvaro Morata has been splendid in relief. Since Paulo Dybala is not right health-wise, it could be a while before it becomes a real competition for minutes. That will instead continue to be the case on the flanks and in the midfield, where Dejan Kulusevski and Federico Chiesa have mostly split time lately: the latter, who is expected back from a small injury, picked up an assist versus Spezia. Whoever ends up starting is a safe pick. Among their secondary weapons, Aaron Ramsey will likely remain sidelined, while Juan Cuadrado has set up one goal so far and is always energetic. Weston McKennie and Adrien Rabiot have been mid-range weapons on offense, doing better than Rodrigo Bentancur and Arthur in that regard. Alex Sandro should be back as well, but his role might be less offensive than in the past.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Morata, Kulusevki.

Cagliari: they are humming offensively as they have always netted at least two goals in the last five fixtures, but sometimes their back-line has let the down. Joao Pedro found the target in all of them and he has now caught up with Giovanni Simeone’s numbers there, on top of adding two assists. Nahitan Nandez opened his tally right before the break and he has a lot of freedom in his new role on the wing, but he is not available in this one, which will lead to some new lineup choices. Adam Ounas played over Riccardo Sottil against Sampdoria, but they might feature together with Nandez on the shelf: the Italian youngster has notched one goal and one helper, but the Algerian international is maybe more technically gifted. Right-back Gabriele Zappa has been a factor and he has provided two assists, while Charalampos Lykogiannis is sidelined and Alessandro Tripaldelli has barely played so far.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Simeone, Ounas.



Inter: Lautaro Martinez made his return to domestic stat-sheet with a crafty goal versus Atalanta after a little slump, while Romelu Lukaku came back from a thigh problem and therefore their star-studded duo is recomposed. Alexis Sanchez, who was banged up and not that great filling in, will head back to his regular spark-plug role, and Ivan Perisic, who had indeed stepped up with two goals, will be less featured. Nicolò Barella has yet to knock one on goal but has been on a tear and set up few teammates. Same thing for Ashley Young, while Achraf Hakimi has slowed down after a good start. Marcelo Brozovic had begun to perk up but COVID will halt his momentum and it is not a sure thing that it will be the ever underwhelming Christian Eriksen to pick up the slack in the midfield. Stefano Sensi would be a good candidate but he is just not trust-worthy from the physical standpoint. Arturo Vidal has been energetic but a little wasteful when it comes to finishing.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Barella

Torino: they could not bend Crotone’s back-line two weeks ago and it is news that Andrea Belotti has not scored in two consecutive matches since he is already at six goals. Sasa Lukic has become their clear second banana and now the fight is open for the third offensive spot as Simone Zaza has shaken off COVID: Simone Verdi and Federico Bonazzoli have been fine but neither has run away with the starting job and Zaza has better chemistry with Il Gallo than both. Karol Linetty hit the net once but, all things considered, their midfielders have been unimpressive as a whole and that may not change until they unleash Amer Gojak. Right-back Mergim Vojvoda has posted two helpers.

Recommended picks: Belotti, Lukic, Linetty



Roma: Edin Dzeko’s availability could come down to the wire and, while Borja Mayoral was not great against Genoa while substituting him, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was fabulous and assembled a hat-trick. Considering that he had already provided four assists, he is now right there with the other top-notch fantasy contributors. Pedro (three goals, three assists) has quickly become a major cog, while Jordan Veretout (four goals) has mostly had success on penalty kicks, but they draw a good amount of them. Lorenzo Pellegrini tested negative but will at best be limited. Leonardo Spinazzola scored two games ago and should be good to go after a small injury, while Bruno Peres is coming off his first good display of the season and he figures to be a more appealing fantasy option than his competitors on the right wing Rick Karsdorp and Davide Santon.

Recommended picks: Mkhitaryan, Pedro, Veretout

Parma: Gervinho broke out versus Inter but did not follow it up against Fiorentina and, since Andreas Cornelius and Roberto Inglese have not been on the pitch enough to make the difference, they are without a proper leading scorer. The Italian striker should be in better shape now since he has been able to practice more consistently and he has and an assist recently. They would not be wrong in giving more minutes to Yann Karamoh, who has been electrifying whenever fielded. The midfield has made up for their shortcomings up front as Hernani has found the target twice and Jasmin Kurtic and Juraj Kucka once each. They are set to add some more quality with Juan Brunetta, who is the purest no.10 they have on the roster, but they have been pretty slow in integrating newcomers, even the interesting ones like Wylan Cyprien and Simon Sohm.

Recommended picks: Gervinho, Inglese, Hernani.



Verona: they have taken a beating on the injury front during the break and the most meaningful player to go down was Mattia Zaccagni, who was dealing and wheeling as a creator in the past few matches, but luckily the problem does not appear to be so severe. Darko Lazovic has COVID and Marco Faraoni is out, so they will be short-handed on the flanks, but they are hoping to recover at least Miguel Veloso and some other pieces in the back. Antonin Barak has been going like gangbusters once healthy, scoring three times in limited appearances and rising in the old Matteo Pessina role. Nikola Kalinic has not broken through yet but his form appeared to be improving. The absences could boost Ebrima Colley and Eddie Salcedo. Federico Dimarco has taken advantage of the increased opportunities and has been a menace offensively, registering two assists already. Adrien Tameze and Ivan Ilic has seen an uptick of playing time but their role is primarily defensive.

Recommended picks: Barak, Kalinic, Dimarco.

Sassuolo: Francesco Caputo featured in the most recent game but he is not totally out of the woods with his adductor issue and he is not a lock to play, so it will be either Giacomo Raspadori or Gregoire Defrel leading the front-line in this one, but they have not done much so far. Domenico Berardi instead moved past his issue and has showed well with the national team as well: he has posted three goals and two assists. The other good news is that Filip Djuricic and Lukas Haraslin have shaken off COVID, but they have been cautious with their other players that were in the same situation, so it remains to be seen how many minutes they will get right away and in what kind of form they are. For instance, Jeremie Boga is ways away from the player he was last season, but he was severely hindered by the fact that he missed the pre-season preparation. Amidst their injury crisis, Manuel Locatelli and Maxime Lopez have surged, while Hamed Traore has not really exploited the bigger load. Rogerio has been pretty lively, while Jeremy Toljan and Mert Muldur will divvy up the minutes at right-back.

Recommended picks: Berardi, Locatelli, Raspadori/Caputo



Napoli: Victor Osimhen had a pivotal goal against Bologna, but he suffered a shoulder injury with Nigeria and is probably going to miss this clash. It is necessarily a sure thing that he will be replaced by his back-up Andrea Petagna, as they have more pieces to toy with now that Piotr Zielinski and Elijf Elmas are available. Surely Dries Mertens, who has not done damage in a while, will be the main focus of the offense, especially if he advanced his position. After a little lull, but only because he had been so good to open the season, Hirving Lozano resurfaced with an assist, while Lorenzo Insigne bagged one versus Benevento and has been tremendous with Italy, putting behind a stretch where he was slowed down by physical problems. Matteo Politano has been productive no matter how minutes he has seen.

Recommended picks: Mertens, Insigne, Lozano.

Milan: they had a rollercoaster of a game against Verona before the break but, in the end, Zlatan Ibrahimovic clocked in as he has done in every Serie A fixture thus far and he is already up to eight goals. Since Hakan Calhanoglu and Ante Rebic have not been as prolific as in the resumption, nobody is close to him in terms of scoring. Rafael Leao, who will never be particularly consistent and will now have to deal with the fact that Rebic is fitter, and Franck Kessie have scored twice and the midfielder might take over PK duties since Ibra missed a few. Calhanoglu has salvaged some fantasy points through a pair of assists. Alexis Saelemaekers has outplayed Samu Castillejo and has hit the net once, like stud left-back Theo Hernandez. Brahim Diaz and Jens Petter Hauge are peppy but they have not played enough to be considered options.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Calhanoglu.

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