Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 20 – Top Matches


Bologna: they had a decent push at the beginning of the second half in Juventus clash, but they did not manage to break through, failing to score for the third time in the past five matches. Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic appeared to bury the idea of using Musa Barrow as striker in the post-game, which would not be great news for Emanuel Vignato, while Rodrigo Palacio (one goal, two assists) would resurface, but he is certainly not the most prolific centre-forward. Barrow has been lively but not very clutch and has not hit the net since mid-December. Roberto Soriano has also fallen into a little funk considering his ungodly early production, so their most effective attacker lately has been Riccardo Orsolini, who has notched two assists and one goal in the last six outings. Takehiro Tomiyasu could have some decent value if he heads back to the flank, which is possible now that Adama Soumaoro is starting to be integrated, while central midfielders Mattias Svanberg and Nicolas Dominguez are mid-tier options, depending of who starts, as they are decent playmakers.

Recommended picks: Orsolini, Barrow, Soriano.

Milan: for the first time in the season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not score in a Serie A game he started and the credit goes to Atalanta, which were terrific in that bout. They will be facing an easier opponent in this one, and especially a much laxer defense, so their attackers might be able to flourish. The Swedish star has found the target 12 times in nine games, Rafael Leao instead three in the past six appearances, but Ante Rebic (one goal, three assists) being back could take some playing time away from him. The coach tried Soualiho Meite as tactical no.10 against the Bergamaschi but it turned out to be a poor choice. Brahim Diaz is dinged up so they might be in a pickle if Hakan Calhanoglu is not cleared, but they do not lack options even though they will need some creativity. Alexis Saelemaekers will be back from suspension but he and Samu Castillejo are only complimentary pieces in their offense. Theo Hernandez (four goals, three assists) will be looking to get back on track as he has been pretty quiet in the past three contests. Frank Kessie has feasted on penalty kicks and he is arguably their most consistent contributor.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Kessie, Leao.



Sampdoria: Claudio Ranieri for the first time started their two best forwards together, Balde Keite and Fabio Quagliarella, and while their chemistry is a work in progress, they grabbed another win and the former Inter player found paydirt for the third time in the past five tilts. The veteran striker instead has fired blanks in the past four, where he has not received a full complement of minutes. Gaston Ramirez got the nod after a while as it seemed like he had fallen to the background, and he showed up with an assist, which will keep him involved forward, especially with Valerio Verre losing steam in that role. The competition for minutes up front is fierce since Mikkel Damsgaard (two goals, three assists) is also in the mix, although he is an option also on the flanks, and they recently acquired Ernesto Torregrossa, who hit the net on his debut. Jakub Jankto was given the day off last week but should be back and he is capable of major performances, albeit not being super consistent. Antonio Candreva saw his little scoring streak came to an end after three matches, but he remains on a rampage.

Recommended picks: Keita, Candreva, Jankto/Damsgaard.

Juventus: forwards Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski did not score in the Bologna contest, so the midfielders propelled the team as Arthur found the target from distance with the help of an opponent and Weston McKennie made his presence felt once again. On top of furnishing strong displays, the American starlet is turning into a fantasy asset with his three goals and two assists and he is at his best in the role that is sometimes covered by Aaron Ramsey, who is likely bound to lose relevance if he does not react in a hurry. Kulusevski is suspended for this match and Paulo Dybala is unlikely to be back, so Alvaro Morata is poised to get the start and will look to return to the stat-sheet after a five-week absence, with an injury in between. Ronaldo (15 goals) has slowed down a little as he has hit paydirt just once in the past four contests, but he remains the top scorer in the League and especially the head of the table for the Bianconeri. Juan Cuadrado is coming off his fourth helper in League play and he has been cooking after COVID. Federico Chiesa should be back in the XI as well after a little hiccup: he has notched four goals in his last six starts.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Morata, Chiesa.



Inter: Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have oddly both sputtered in the past four matches in a row and they are not very equipped to make up for the missing production of their strikers, especially if Achraf Hakimi is as wasteful as he was against Udinese. They had managed in previous games thanks to goals coming from the midfield, as Nicolò Barella and Arturo Vidal punished Juventus, or from defenders on set pieces, but those are not reliable sources for a team that leans a lot on the two strikers. Considering they sowed destruction in the first date with the Sanniti, this could be the right match for them to get back on track. While a little lull is nothing new for Martinez, it is more surprising for Lukaku (12 goals, three assists), but they remain solid options, like Hakimi (six goals, three assists), while Barella, Vidal and Marcelo Brozovic (six assists) are way more seesawing in terms of appearances in the box-scores. The Croatian midfielder has set up five teammates in the last six fixtures.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Hakimi.

Benevento: Gianluca Lapadula finally snapped out of his slump after months with a clinical finish versus Torino, moving to four goals in the season, while Nicolas Viola converted a PK on his first appearance after being plagued by physical problems. The midfielder has huge upside given his pivotal role within the team in the past seasons and the fact that he takes care of all set pieces, PKs included, and the return of Pasquale Schiattarella could phase out one of their least interesting midfielders, Perparim Hetemaj or Arturo Ionita, as the two playmakers have featured together in the past. Roberto Insigne should be good to go after an injury: he has logged one goal and two assists in the last five starts, while Gianluca Caprari has been underwhelming in the four more recent games, but he is a major cog in their design, especially with Marco Sau out due to a suspension.

Recommended picks: Lapadula, Viola, Insigne/Caprari.



Atalanta: after two subpar displays, the Bergamaschi roared back in the big match with Milan, leaving no chance to the opponents. Duvan Zapata has found paydirt seven times in the last eight appearances, while Josip Ilicic has been running roughshod on the League in the past two months, where he has logged three goals and five assists. Luis Muriel featured too shortly to do damage, but he remains their leading scorer with 11 goals. Matteo Pessina (two goals, one assist) has been very precious: he is a little below in the pecking order of fantasy options, but his playing time is steadier than Muriel. They will not have Robin Gosens in this one: Joakim Maehle has looked fine in his cameos, but he is unlikely to be as deadly in the box as the star wing-back. Cristian Romero is oddly coming off a goal-plus-assist game despite his defensive role. Remo Freuler and Ruslan Malinovskyi have both recorded one goals and three helpers so far in the season, asserting themselves as secondary options.

Recommended picks: Zapata, Ilicic, Pessina.

Lazio: Ciro Immobile clocked in once again in the Sassuolo game, registering the 13th goal of his campaign. He has failed to score in just two of the last 14 Serie A matches. With Luis Alberto shelved, Sergej Milenkovic-Savic predictably stepped up and bagged his first goal since mid-December, but he had stayed busy with assists in the meantime. He is now to four goals and five helpers. Adam Marusic (third assist) and Joaquin Correa contributed creatively in that match as they spread out the playmaking duties. Felipe Caicedo has been productive but Correa got the start in the past game and he will likely head back to his super-sub role now after a spell as a regular due to the teammates’ injury. Alberto, who was in brilliant form before appendicitis, is attempting a speedy recovery and has an outside shot, however expectations on him should be tempered given the situation. Manuel Lazzari (one goal, four assists) has been a consistent contributor.

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



Roma: the pushed through the emergency against Spezia thanks to a fabulous performance by Borja Mayoral, who moved to five goals with the brace, and Lorenzo Pellegrini, who picked up an assist and also bagged a late goal and was clearly their leader on the pitch with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Edin Dzeko and Pedro all unavailable. The Armenian ace (eight goals, eight assists) is trying to shake off a muscular ailment and the latest developments are on the positive side, while the striker had a falling-out with the coach and will probably be excluded again. Their quality wing-backs where instrumental as well as they combined for a goal, the first of the season for Rick Karsdorp, while Leonardo Spinazzola dished his third assist. Jordan Veretout interrupted his fantasy drought by setting up a teammate but he has not hit the net in five matches. The design will be the same in this one, but they will run into a much stouter defense.

Recommended picks: Mayoral, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan/Spinazzola. 

Verona: they are coming off an impressive display against Napoli, where Mattia Zaccagni did his thing again both scoring and assisting (six/five) and Antonin Barak made his return to the stat-sheet after being absent since early November. Federico Dimarco has been very busy offensively for his role and has found the target in three of the last four matches. Nikola Kalinic has not managed to find continuity after scoring a couple of games back, even though they look for him often. They added Kevin Lasagna to the mix, which was an interesting get, now it remains to be seen how the dynamic between the two will work out: they can be paired together, but the scheme would become a lot more offensive. The other newcomer Stefano Sturaro is instead unlikely to become a fantasy asset, but he adds some experience to the midfield that has been relying a lot on Adrien Tameze and Ivan Ilic. Darko Lazovic notched his first helper of the year in the past game, while Marco Davide Faraoni has been more constant on the other flank.

Recommended picks: Zaccagni, Barak, Dimarco. 

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