Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 22 – Top Matches


Spezia: Vincenzo Italiano shook things up against Sassuolo, going with Kevin Agudelo as false-nine over Andrej Galabinov and, while the bouncy attacker did not score, the solution worked out pretty well as he added an element of unpredictability and a ton more pace. It could be the solution here again as it does not look like M’Bala Nzola will be ready to start. Diego Farias is likely to be sidelined, which will allow Daniele Verde to stay in the XI, but so far he has had success mostly in Coppa Italia. Emmanuel Gyasi’s starting job instead has never really been in question and he returned to the stat-sheet after months in the previous match: he is now up to two goals and four assists. Their second leading scorer Tommaso Pobega (three goals) is back from suspension and their midfield does not have the same punch without him, even though Matteo Ricci has been a nice assist-man and Giulio Maggiore is decently involved in their offense, but not as effective as the Milan loanee.

Recommended picks: Agudelo/Galabinov, Pobega, Gyasi.

Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic quickly got back on track with a brace versus Crotone to further pad his tremendous resume, as he has scored 14 times in just ten appearances. Ante Rebic imitated him and he has found the target twice in a row: he was extremely streaky last year so it would not be surprising so see him go on a run. Hakan Calhanoglu returned with a bang as he dished two assists in the span of few minutes, he is now at eight in the campaign. Rafael Leao risks being the odd man out, unless they go for the super-charged front-line featuring all the four top attackers together, something they have never used from the start as Alexis Saelemaekers and Samu Castillejo provide precious balance. Theo Hernandez snapped out of a little lull with a quality helper, his fourth one. Frank Kessie will stay relevant if he continues to take PKs, but he gets knocked down few spots with their forwards thriving.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Calhanoglu.



Napoli: they have resumed giving minutes to Victor Osimhen, but he has not looked explosive and it could be some time before he is an option, although his role is massive and he is not shy when it comes to firing away. Despite the back-up role, Matteo Politano has been the only one to score in both of the last two matches, joined in the stat-sheet by Elijf Elmas, who is getting more run but might now be affected by Fabian Ruiz coming back, and Hirving Lozano (nine goals, two assists). Lorenzo Insigne (nine goals, three helpers) has slowed down but he remains their driving factor. Andrea Petagna is going to pay the price for the return of the start teammate, while Piotr Zielinski is very boom-or-bust. Neither of the three has picked up points in the last three fixtures, but Insigne is the likeliest to right the ship in a hurry. 

Recommended picks: Lozano, Politano, Insigne.

Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo showed up in the Roma clash, returning to the box score in Serie A play as well after three matches, while they benefitted from an own goal generated by a blitz by Dejan Kulusevski to seal the deal. Alvaro Morata should be in the XI in this one and he will be looking to snap out of a scoring drought that started in mid-December, but he has picked up two assists in the last two outings, thus staying afloat fantasy-wise. Federico Chiesa (six goals, four assists) is also set to start and he found the target two games back versus Sampdoria and could be aided by a recent tactical tweak that sees him play in a more offensive role. Juan Cuadrado (27 points) and Weston McKennie (25) have been the top contributors among the ancillary players, but neither is going through a particularly hot stretch at this stage.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Morata, Chiesa.



Cagliari: Eusebio Di Francesco keeps searching for ways out of the crisis and their latest tactical iteration, a 3-4-2-1, puts Radja Nainggolan closer to the box and gives more emphasis to the flank game, which could help Gabriele Zappa and Charalampos Lykogiannis return to their early-season levels, but the Greek international in questionable. Joao Pedro has been their only scorer for months now: he is up to 11 goals, but certainly he can not do it on his own. Leonardo Pavoletti got the nod last week, but he did not perform a lot better than Giovanni Simeone: they need at least one other player to break out to be dangerous. Razvan Marin is in a very solid run of form in a more dynamic role, while Nahitan Nandez has struggled to re-find his footing after a pair of suspensions. They are also dealing with several injuries, leaving them depleted.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Marin, Nainggolan.

Atalanta: three of their fulcrums hit the net versus Torino, but they somehow managed to throw away the lead as they have no half measures, looking either great or very sloppy. Considering also what happened in Coppa Italia, Luis Muriel (12 goals) and Duvan Zapata (eight goals, four assists) are balling out, but it is unlikely they will both get the nod. Josip Ilicic is instead basically a lock after being rested midweek and he scored in half of the last six matches. Matteo Pessina had his best game of the season versus Napoli, but some energy management could lead to either Ruslan Malinovskyi or Aleksey Miranchuk getting the call here and they have not been as effective thus far. There is no doubt instead about Robin Gosens, who tallied his sixth goal versus the Granata. Hans Hateboer is likely to stay on the mend and Joakim Maehle is iffy, so Remo Freuler (one goal, three assists) and Marten De Roon, who set up a teammate last week, are the only other pieces that could be worth a flier.

Recommended picks: Ilicic, Zapata/Muriel, Gosens.



Roma: they pulled the strings in the Juventus clash but it did not bear any fruit and they were never super threatening. Borja Mayoral has done okay in relief, but it looks like Edin Dzeko (seven goals) could be back to the starting lineup in this one. Either would be a decent pick, keeping in mind though that they will go against a pretty robust side. Henrikh Mkhitaryan fared well even in the losing effort and he has always been the straw that stirs the drink, tallying nine goals and eight assists, while their other linchpins have not been as consistent. Lorenzo Pellegrini is back from suspension: he has hit the net twice in the past four matches. Jordan Veretout is instead in a slump as he has not found paydirt since late December. Stephan El Shaarawy and Pedro are likely to be available but they will probably be eased into action after some time off. Leonardo Spinazzola and Rick Karsdorp have a very solid floor with their ability to pick up points at both ends and also Gonzalo Villar is a mid-tier option, but he has not fully broken out yet fantasy-wise.

Recommended picks: Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini, Dzeko/Mayoral.

Udinese: Gerard Deulofeu willed them to victory in the last game, confirming his strides from the physical standpoint and he will be the one to soak up the playing time left open by the departure of Kevin Lasagna. Their leader Rodrigo De Paul (five goals, one assist) is back from suspension, but they have lost Roberto Pereyra for some time and their midfield is not as appealing when both Argentinians are not present. Tolgay Arslan has found the target twice but his role is not very dynamic. It is instead a wait-and-see approach for strikers Fernando Llorente and Stefano Okaka, who both have not produced in a long time for different reason. The Spaniard is likely in better shape but he has never really been super prolific throughout his career. Wing-backs Jens Larsen and Marvin Zeegelaar are nice complementary pieces.

Recommended picks: Deulofeu, De Paul, Llorente.



Inter: Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez did not score against Fiorentina, but they still handled the opponent with ease thanks to the third goal of the campaign by Nicolò Barella, plus five assists, and to Ivan Perisic re-emerging after few subpar months, where Ashley Young generally outplayed him. Their star duo of striker has not been particularly consistent in the last few weeks, making the box score in just one of the last six matches, but the team is constructed to cater to them and the goals by other players mostly feel like outliers. Achraf Hakimi is instead in dialed in and, also thanks to the fact that their defense has been spotless lately, he has not picked up points in just one of the past ten rounds. Offensively, he is up to six goals and four helpers. Marcelo Brozovic (six assists) is their other key playmaker.

Recommended picks: Hakimi, Lukaku, Martinez.

Lazio: another Ciro Immobile goal, assisted by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, proved to be enough to top Cagliari. The Golden Boot winner has hit bullseye in eight of the last ten tilts, adding one assist. Milinkovic-Savic has instead found in four occasions in the season, plus he has set up six teammates and he is always a major threat in big games. Luis Alberto (six goals) is seeking to round back into shape after a surgery and has not been superb in the past two outings, but that is natural. Joaquin Correa is instead picking it up now that he has managed to avoid muscular injuries: he scored once and provided a helper in the last three games and more importantly he is looking like his usual slippery self. It should be a great battle on the flanks as both Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic are on a roll. Felipe Caicedo has shaken off an injury and will return to his super-sub role, but Vedat Muriqi has not been too shabby either lately.

Recommended picks: Immobile, Milinkovic-Savic, Correa.

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