Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 12 – Top Matches

JUVENTUS-ATALANTA

Juventus: Alvaro Morata was cleared from his suspension, but the coach still went with Paulo Dybala against Genoa and the La Joya finally scored his first goal in Serie A with a lovely play. The Spaniard continues to appear a better partner for Cristiano Ronaldo and will probably start in this one, but the coach used all three together for a bit and that may become a trend moving forward, although probably in easier tilts. Par for the course for Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted two PKs and reached the double-digit threshold. No bonuses this time, but Juan Cuadrado had another game-winning play: he has notched three assists so far, while Federico Chiesa (four helpers) was again pretty good, but he is not atop of their list of assets. After his recent success in the box, they used Weston McKennie in a more offensive role, with mixed returns. One between Aaron Ramsey and Dejan Kulusevki will likely make the XI in this one, but they have not performed consistently enough to be on the fantasy map.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Morata/Dybala, Cuadrado

Atalanta: despite the puzzling situation involving Alejandro Gomez, they exploited Fiorentina’s troubles, with both Robin Gosens and Ruslan Malinovskyi hitting the net after months-long droughts. It is unclear whether El Papu will be back in this one, and also Josip Ilicic that is sick, but they do not lack weapons especially now that two of their biggest ones have re-bust onto the scenes. The coach has stuck with Duvan Zapata through thick and thin and, even though he has been unable to find the target recently, he has some chances in any given match. No end product for Matteo Pessina either, but he is climbing the hierarchies and he is the perfect tactical weapon for this kind of games, while Luis Muriel, despite being their most consistent striker, is mostly used off the bench, but that has not stopped him for producing at a decent clip.

Recommended picks: Zapata/Muriel, Pessina, Malinovskyi/Gomez.

 

FIORENTINA-SASSUOLO

Fiorentina: Cesare Prandelli tried to shake things up by benching Franck Ribery and José Callejon, but using Valentin Eysseric and Pol Lirola in prominent roles did not turn out to be answer. Dusan Vlahovic continued his personal war with opposing goalies and the woodwork, while Patrick Cutrone and Christian Kouame have almost completely faded. Gaetano Castrovilli was limited by a physical problem and as often he was their most active man, while Giacomo Bonaventura took that mantle in the first half so they are their only player really on the radar, while the two veteran wingers have not done anything lately. Vlahovic instead at least has had some chances. Cristiano Biraghi will likely miss some time with a muscular injury. They have scored just once in the past six matches, so buyers should be beware.

Recommended picks: Castrovilli, Bonaventura, Vlahovic.

Sassuolo: despite the subdued outing up front and an early red card, they got the job done versus Benevento, another sign of their collective growth. A PK by Domenico Berardi proved to be enough and he is now up to five goals in the season, plus three assists, and he has been their leading man without Francesco Caputo, who is surprisingly back for this game, although he might be limited at first. Lukas Haraslin was given a spot start but was sent off, so Jeremie Boga will make the XI and will seek some consistency as he has really showed well just once in the past seven matches. Unfortunately, Filip Djuricic is not the same spectacular player he was prior to COVID and will need some time to get back into shape. That could lead to an opportunity for Giacomo Raspadori or Hamed Traore, who have not made much noise but could have a major role. Maxime Lopez has not really taken advantage of his playing time as no.10, while the fullbacks are not as prominent as they used to be.

Recommended picks: Berardi, Raspadori/Caputo, Boga.  


GENOA-MILAN

Genoa: Stefano Sturaro scored out of the blue versus Juventus and do tend to bag goals against the run of play even if when they create very little. Marko Pjaca (three goals) got the start but did not fully taken advantage of it, so the competition with Eldor Shomurodov and Goran Pandev will continue to rage on and everybody will get opportunities. Gianluca Scamacca had a strong start but his stocks are going down a little as his last goals dates back to about a month ago. Nicolò Rovella had a defensive mistake but finally returned to the XI and he is their most appealing midfielder. Luca Pellegrini is coming off an assist, while Paolo Ghiglione has not fully taken the reins despite Zappacosta being out.

Recommended picks: Pjaca/Shomurodov, Scamacca, Pellegrini.

Milan: the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was finally noticeable in the Parma game, where they lacked a reference point up front and had troubles finding Ante Rebic. Theo Hernandez bailed them out with a fantastic brace, while Hakan Calhanoglu turned in a great effort, but the crossbar and Luigi Sepe did not allow him to bust out of his scoring slump. It seems to be just a matter of time given his usually conspicuous number of attempts. Ibrahimovic might return in this one but it is not certain yet: he would obviously be top of the list if he was available. Alexis Saelemaekers is a little sick so Samu Castillejo might get another start and, considering what he has done in Europa League, he is hot right now. Brahim Diaz and Jens Petter Hauge have had some success in the continental competition but not really in domestic play. Rafael Leao did not have a great return but he was pretty good before getting hurt.

Recommended picks: Calhanoglu, Hernandez, Castillejo/Leao. 

 

INTER-NAPOLI

Inter: Nicolò Barella volleyed one home against Cagliari, opening his scoring tally after three assists, and adding one helper later in that game. Romelu Lukaku clocked in once again and he is now up to nine goals, while Lautaro Martinez (five goals) was used off the bench, so he is poised to see a full complement of minutes in this one, also given the fact that Alexis Sanchez is said to be a little banged up. Achraf Hakimi will have to be assessed as well for a sore ankle, but Matteo Darmian, even if not as explosive, has been more than serviceable. Arturo Vidal is questionable as well: since Christian Eriksen fumbled away a rare opportunity to start, it will likely be Roberto Gagliardini replacing him if need be. Both him and Marcelo Brozovic only some secondary value.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Barella

Napoli: they got bottled up for a good chunck of the Sampdoria match, up until Hirving Lozano cracked it wide open with his sixth goal of the season and the second assist to tee up Andrea Petagna, who has made the stat-sheet twice in a row, taking advantage of Victor Osimhen’s absence even though it has technically been Piotr Zielinski who has picked up most of the slack. The Polish man has been precious but he has yet to show up in the box-score. Dries Mertens kept it going with an assist, moving to six in the year, while Lorenzo Insigne (four goals, two assists) did not deliver this time after two great outings. Fabian Ruiz has bagged one recently but his role drags him fire away from the box.

Recommended picks: Lozano, Mertens, Insigne.

 

ROMA-TORINO

Roma: they could not have possibly had a better showing against Bologna, as all their top players, Edin Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jordan Veretout hit the net and Lorenzo Pellegrini finally knocked home through while filling in for the suspended Pedro, who will be back in this one. Dzeko arguably could have notched a couple more there. They approach another feasible match in fantastic shape it is a who’s who of juicy fantasy picks. The Armenian ace is at six goals and five assists, three in each category for the Spaniard, three goals for Dzeko, five for Veretout. Pellegrini is set to return to a less offensive role. Leonardo Spinazzola continues to be en fuego.

Recommended picks: Mkhitaryan, Dzeko, Pedro.

Torino: they are a very puzzling team as they have the potential to put together serious bursts where they outgun the opponents, like the two furious minutes against Udinese where Andrea Belotti and Federico Bonazzoli tied the game, but mostly operate with lackluster rhythm that does their contributors no favor. The ex-Sampdoria man is on the rise thanks to the goal given that Simone Zaza is one of the most boom-or-bust players in the League, while Andrea Belotti is now up to eight goals in ten appearances. They have yet to fully unleash Sasa Lukic after COVID and he was a force (three goals) before the hiccup. Wilfred Singo would take a small hit if they went back to 3-5-2, as it would be logical if Lukic was ready to shoulder more minutes, since they could use some offensive boost. It also hinges of whether Cristian Ansaldi, who has been going strong as left wing-back, is available. Box-to-box Karol Linetty and Soualiho Meite are really up and down. Simone Verdi will probably be shelved again.

Recommended picks: Belotti, Bonazzoli, Lukic/Singo

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