Cagliari: the Sardinians hanged with Napoli for about an hour before the opponents pulled away, condemning them to another poor result. Joao Pedro equalized with his ninth goal of the season, but other than that it was a rather paltry offensive performance as Giovanni Simeone and Riccardo Sottil were stymied. Gaston Pereiro looked fine for somebody that has not played in months and he could gain some traction with Adam Ounas on the mend. Help is on the way as Radja Nainggolan will be available in this one and the coach stated that he is going to play in a dynamic role. Nahitan Nandez will replace Marko Rog and therefore will not have as much as freedom as he has had in most games so far. Nainggolan was a force last season as no.10 but the scheme is different now, so they might have to come up with something new to accommodate all their best players. Gabriele Zappa has not been great in the last three or four matches, while Charalampos Lykogiannis is suspended.
Recommended picks: Pedro, Nainggolan, Simeone/Pavoletti.
Benevento: even if they were dealing with the team on top of the league, they left something on the table versus Milan as they played for an hour with a one-man advantage and Gianluca Caprari missed a PK, plus they squandered few other juicy opportunities with Gianluca Lapadula and Roberto Insigne in particular. Despite the loss, they confirmed to be in pretty good shape and they should be able to make hay in easier fixtures. The three forwards mentioned above have not put up great numbers, but have all contributed both in terms of goals and assists and are clearly their best options since Gaetano Letizia appeared to pick up a thigh injury and the fizzy Riccardo Improta might have to play at right-back in this one.
Recommended picks: Caprari, Lapadula, Insigne.
Bologna: they had an okay outing in Florence but with no end product as the opposing goalie denied them multiple times. To nobody’s surprise, Musa Barrow and Riccardo Orsolini were their most active guys and the latter is looking better and better after an injury, while Roberto Soriano (six goals, four assists) was a more muted than usual. The return of Orsolini dents Emanuel Vignato’s fantasy stocks. Rodrigo Palacio (one goal, two assists) is more of a tactical tool than a real weapon. Takehiro Tomiyasu should be back on the flank with Lorenzo De Silvestri getting hurt again and he scored from that position versus Atalanta. Matthias Svanberg could be worth a flier since the takes a decent amount of shots in each tilt and his competitor Nicolas Dominguez is disqualified.
Recommended picks: Soriano, Orsolini, Barrow.
Udinese: after a VAR review erased an early goal by Rodrigo De Paul, they did not create much in the Juventus game, even though there was often room to do so, while Marvin Zeegelaar found the target late for a consolation goal. They have not scored in the last two matches and might have lost Ignacio Pussetto, who hurt his knee in Turin. He and De Paul have both hit the net three times so far. Should he be sidelined, they will be hoping Kevin Lasagna finds some consistency and either Fernando Forestieri or Ilija Nestorovski step it up because Stefano Okaka is not expected back before a couple of matches. The three forwards have all scored just once in the year. Roberto Pereyra has provided five assists.
Recommended picks: De Paul, Pereyra, Lasagna.
Atalanta: another offensive explosion for the Goddess, which heaped misery on Sassuolo. Duvan Zapata led the way with his first brace of the season in Serie A play and he has finally turned the corner as he has made the stat-sheet in two of the past three rounds. Matteo Pessina finally opened his tally with a nifty goal: he was very prolific at Verona, but had yet to show up big time with the Bergamaschi even though he has basically been playing in the same role of Alejandro Gomez. Josip Ilicic has now become their main creative hub and he has provided five assists. Robin Gosens has found the target in half of the last six matches. Remo Freuler was a surprisingly effective weapon on Sunday, where he dished two helpers and he is on a par with Ilicic on that category. Luis Muriel (eight goals) once again delivered off the bench.
Recommended picks: Zapata, Ilicic, Gosens.
Parma: the Ducali had a hideous performance against Torino, where they put up very little offense and looked a bit lost without their leader Gervinho on the pitch. He is unlikely to be back here, so Yann Karamoh and Juan Brunetta might have again a major role, but neither has been impressive thus far and the Argentinian attacker is still getting adjusted to his surroundings. With the striker Andreas Cornelius and Roberto Inglese still scoreless, their midfielders carry more value as Hernani, Juraj Kucka and Jasmin Kurtic have all hit the net multiple times, but clearly they can not have the same consistency of a forward, so they desperately need somebody to pop up front. Kucka might be absent due to an injury, but the options to replace him are not as interesting.
Recommended picks: Kurtic, Hernani, Karamoh.
Sassuolo: they looked splendid in the last game of 2020, but they laid an egg versus Atalanta and most of the credit goes to the mighty enemies. They were completely outplayed and their offensive production was limited to a late consolation goal by Vlad Chiriches and some solo actions by Domenico Berardi. They will be in a better spot in the midweek round, even though Genoa are surely improving under the new coach. Berardi (seven goals and four assists) has been their top player, while Francesco Caputo (six/four) recently snapped out of an injury-induced drought. Filip Djuricic was disciplined in the past match but he will be available in this one, but he will have to fight to unseat Hamed Traore, who has bagged two goals in the last four appearances. Jeremie Boga is stuck in a rut, but they will give him ample of opportunities before going to Lukas Haraslin and Nicolas Schiappacasse.
Recommended picks: Berardi, Caputo, Traore/Djuricic.
Genoa: Mattia Destro added another goal to his tally and he has now hit the net four times in the past four matches, surely outperforming Gianluca Scamacca, who is also involved in some transfer market chatter that is affecting his playing time. Eldor Shomurodov provided a great assist in the last round and, while Marko Pjaca has scored more, he has generally been their best second striker when his number was called. Everybody is getting minutes though, especially if Goran Pandev remains sidelined. Davide Ballardini has gone back to using one technical midfielder: Miha Zajc has fared better than Nicolò Rovella. Davide Zappacosta has quickly leapfrogged Paolo Ghiglione as expected, despite the prolificacy of the teammate in terms of assists, while Lennart Czyborra is holding down the fort on the other flank while Luca Pellegrini works his way back from an injury.
Recommended picks: Destro, Shomurodov, Pjaca.
Torino: Andrea Belotti did not score against Parma, but he was still instrumental in the win with two assists, one for Wilfred Singo and the other for Amer Gojak, who both found the target for the first time in the season. The dynamic wingback had previously picked up two helpers before that great goal. Simone Verdi was not all that great, so their search for the ideal partner for Il Gallo continues and Simone Verdi and Federico Bonazzoli remain in the mix. Neither attacker has been impressive so far, but the role is clearly alluring depending on who starts. Sasa Lukic (three goals) has unfortunately not performed at the same level after COVID and he is now back in the midfield rather than in a more offensively role, with Soualiho Meite paying the price for that.
Recommended picks: Belotti, Singo, Verdi/Zaza.
Verona: Nikola Kalinic finally returned against Spezia and, while he did not manage to knock one through, he made a big difference in their offensive phase, which could surely use a more experienced reference point than the slippery Eddie Salcedo and Ebrima Colley, who are more second strikers. Mattia Zaccagni solved the match with a goal for the ages, the fourth one of the season (plus four assists). He is now their leading scorer, while Antonin Barak is at three. Their wing-backs Federico Dimarco and Marco Davide Faraoni have each provided three helpers, while Darko Lazovic is struggling this year.
Recommended picks: Zaccagni, Kalinic, Barak.
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