Benevento: they surely had a weird faux pas versus Crotone for a team that had been mostly steady so far. Moreover, their most prolific guy as of late, Marco Sau, got sent off from the bench and the always lively Roberto Insigne hurt his ankle, which makes him very questionable for this match. The only positive note was that Iago Falque managed to return after a long time on the shelf and bagged a lovely goal, the first of his campaign, but he has generally fared well whenever available to play. He remains an option even though the coach stated that he is not ready to start. The injuries could thrust him into a major role this one, while Gianluca Caprari, who was banged up going into the previous contest, will surely return to the XI: he is their leading scorer with four goal. Gianluca Lapadula is their tip of the spear but has not hit the net since early November. With Pasquale Schiattarella and Gaetano Letizia missing, Riccardo Improta and Artur Ionita are set to be their secondary playmakers, but they have not picked up many bonuses so far. Aggressive midfielder Andres Tello could have a big role as well.
Recommended picks: Lapadula, Caprari, Falque.
Torino: after a dismal outing against Spezia, the management pulled the plug on Marco Giampaolo and appointed the gritty Davide Nicola, which is probably not great news for their fantasy cornerstones as they will transition to a less offensive brand of football, but it is not like they were particularly high flying under the previous gaffer. They might re-energized though. Their leader Andrea Belotti has fallen into a slump as he has not found the target in six matches, notching just two assists in such stretch: he is right below the double-digit threshold for the season. While the scheme should stay the same, the coaching change could shake up the hierarchies in other pivotal roles, as neither among Simone Verdi, Simone Zaza and Simone Bonazzoli have been able to grab the brass ring as second-striker. They also will be hoping Sasa Lukic recaptures his early-season form, when he had notched three goals. Cristian Ansaldi should be in better shape and he is always a decent playmaker when given good minutes, while young prodigy Wilfried Singo is poised to maintain his big role on the right flank: if anything, they might lean on him even more.
Recommended pick: Belotti, Lukic, Singo.
Roma: they are coming off few hellish days due to the ugly loss in the Derby and the elimination in Coppa Italia against this same opponent. In League play they have generally taken care of business in easier matches and they are perfectly equipped to take advantage of Spezia’s aggressive defensive style. Nobody shined in the Derby, while Lorenzo Pellegrini found the target for the third time in the season in the previous match versus Inter. Edin Dzeko and Pedro are out, therefore Pellegrini is set to play again as no.10. Borya Majoral has done well in his last start and Spezia have a suspected defense. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (eight goal/eight assists) and that could be an even bigger blow. Sans him, since his replacement Carles Perez has been so-so, they would lean more on Jordan Veretout (seven goals), Leonardo Spinazzola and Rick Karsdorp, who form an energy pair of wing-back and they have both been able to take home some fantasy points through assists.
Recommended picks: Pellegrini, Mayoral, Mkhitaryan/Veretout.
Spezia: their star M’Bala Nzola will be a late call for this game due to a sore ankle, otherwise it will be up to either Roberto Piccoli or Andrej Galabinov to lead the front-line and the veteran looked like a million bucks in Coppa Italia, where also Riccardo Saponara flourished and Daniele Verde scored for the first time in ages. However, their coach carefully manages the minutes and it will probably be their regulars Emmanuel Gyasi and Diego Farias getting the nod in this one, but they have not been exactly lethal fantasy weapons so far, same thing for Kevin Agudelo, who could be hurt by Saponara’s arrival. Tommaso Pobega has been more convincing as he has found paydirt three times, also fellow midfielders Nahuel Estevez and Giulio Maggiore are pretty peppy.
Recommended picks: Galabinov/Piccoli, Pobega, Saponara/Gyasi.
Fiorentina: to their credit, they tried to use a proactive lineup against Napoli, featuring Franck Ribery and José Maria Callejon together, but it obviously terribly, so it remains to be seen whether they will deploy it again in this one, or if they will try to protect the back-line with one more midfielder. Dusan Vlahovic has begun producing (five goals in the last seven outings), but nobody else has joined him and that is obviously an issue. Gaetano Castrovilli remains their second top scorer for what he had done early in the season, but his role is not always very offensive. Giacomo Bonaventura and Christian Kouame are starting to show some good stuff but their playing time is not consistent enough to be options. Both Ribery (three) and Cristiano Biraghi (four) have been solid sources of assists.
Recommended picks: Vlahovic, Ribery, Callejon/Castovilli.
Crotone: differently from the opponents, they successfully pulled off a more aggressive formation in the Benevento match, with Junior Messias supporting Simy and Emmanuel Riviere, and it paid big dividends as Simy returned to the stat-sheet with a brace and the French striker picked up an assist. With such performance, Simy re-established himself as their top dog after some underwhelming months. Milos Vulic opened his tally with a gem, but his role might decrease is short order because Ahmad Benali is finally nearing a return and he could be a strong weapon in the second half of the campaign. Arkadiusz Reca (one goal, five assits) will reprise his starting job after a suspension.
Recommended picks: Simy, Messias, Riviere.
Genoa: they predictably did not get much going in the Atalanta clash, but at least they withstood the assault in the back. The fact that Gianluca Scamacca and Matteo Destro were late scratches surely did not help as Marko Pjaca and Eldor Shomurodov are more second strikers than #9s. Their problems were not severe and they could be back this week, but the youngster is also involved in some transfer market rumours and could be spared anyway, which would give a meaningful role to Goran Pandev. Destro has been scorching hot in the last couple of months and would be the top option if able to start. Kevin Strootman got the nod right away but he should not turn into a particularly appealing fantasy option, but he will bolster the midfield and perhaps give more freedom to Miha Zajc, who recently bagged his first goal. Davide Zappacosta has an okay release valve on the right flank, while Lennart Czyborra has been subdued on the other wing.
Recommended picks: Shomurodov, Pjaca/Destro, Zajc.
Cagliari: a date with Milan certainly is not the best medicine for a crisis and in fact they suffered another loss, even though the late push was mildly encouraging. Joao Pedro (ten goals) brilliantly set up teammates a couple of times, but they did not cash in. The prolonged funk of Giovanni Simeone is starting to hurt, as he has not found paydirt since late October and Leonardo Pavoletti, especially after two ACL tears, is not exactly a plug-and-play striker. Lack of scoring is atop of their list of problems. In light of that, it is very surprising that Riccardo Sottil is not getting full minutes as he is generally their liveliest attacker not named Pedro. Gaston Pereiro did not exploit a rare start, while Radja Nainggolan is working himself into shape and they are protecting him by deploying him in a less dynamic role, which caps his appeal, but it boosts the one of Razvan Marin, who has shown the ability to produce as box-to-box in his previous teams and is quality shooter.
Recommended picks: Pedro, Sottil, Marin.
Parma: Juraj Kucka almost led them to victory in a very gritty performance, but they got literally pipped at the post. He has been their only scorer in the last month, as seemingly every other attacker is in a funk, even though Gervinho breaking out can never be ruled out since he has resumed being their offensive linchpin and he has done it a couple of times already in the season with two braces. Andreas Cornelius has been slightly better since Roberto D’Aversa returned, but the goal keeps eluding him. They will welcome back Hernani (three goals, two assists) from suspension in this one, but it remains to be seen whether his role will be the same as the one under the previous manager, where he was definitely a sneaky factor on offense. Jasmin Kurtic’s name popped up in the rumour mill but they have not shied away from fielding him so far. He is a decent weapon on paper but has been silent for a long while.
Recommended picks: Kucka, Gervinho, Hernani.
Sampdoria: Antonio Candreva made in three matches in a row with a goal and he has overtaken Fabio Quagliarella as their fantasy leader, as the veteran striker has not found the target in four games and has been hurt by the competition coming from Keita Balde, who has been exuberant but is always mercurial. They have begun giving playing time to Mikkel Damsgaard, who has generally delivered, taking it away from Valerio Verre and Gaston Ramirez as the young Dane might be at his best no.10 and in any case they are well covered on the flanks with Candreva and Jakub Jankto (four goals, three assists), who will return from a one-game disqualification in this one. Ernesto Torregrossa debuted with a bang, heading it home on Tommaso Augello’s second assist of the season, but their front-line is now quite deep, so the strikers’ appeal hinge on who is getting the start.
Recommended picks: Candreva, Jankto, Damsgaard.
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