Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Late Games


Parma: they did manage to score against Verona, thanks to a successful penalty kick by Juraj Kucka, but they lost again and their offense left a lot to be desired. The midfielder has tallied their last three goals. Yann Karamoh looked decently spry in his return to the XI, while Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius are stuck in an endless slump and the former is in pretty lackluster form. Joshua Zirkzee had a pair of chances after subbing in but did not exploit them. Valentin Mihaila was the liveliest out of their youngsters, but so far the coach has been very conservative in giving minutes to them. Jasmin Kurtic has hit the net a couple of times in the season and he is not shy when it comes to bomb away from distance. If they somehow managed to play more proactively, their fullbacks Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella would have some interest.

Recommended picks: Kucka, Karamoh, Kurtic.

Udinese: they could not keep up their good momentum in the difficult match versus Roma, where their attack was completely stymied. Gerard Deulofeu had been their best player recently, but he got hurt. On the othet hand, they will get back Rodrigo Pereyra and he could slide right into the XI in a very offensive role. Rodrigo De Paul (five goals, one assist) has been their rock throughout the season. They will count on them even more with Roberto Pereyra hurt, as Tolgay Arslan and Walace, who are technically taking his place, are more workmanlike contributors. Newcomer Fernando Llorente has not really impressed during his short time with the Bianconeri, so it is possible Stefano Okaka (two goals, one assist) manages to recapture the starting job he had ceded due to injury. Their back-line was in decent shape before the previous match and wing-backs Jens Stryger Larsen and Marvin Zeegelaar have the potential to pick up some points on the other hand as well.

Recommended picks: Pereyra, De Paul, Llorente/Okaka.



Milan: they laid a giant egg in Spezia, where they could not get anything going due to the vitality of the opponents. It is the second time their front-line short-circuits in the past month, even though pretty much all the pieces are available now. They will be hoping to bounce back in this one. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 14 times in 11 starts, Franck Kessie is their second leading scorer with seven, mostly thanks to PKs, plus two assists. Ante Rebic missed the past game but his problem is believed to be minor: he had found the target twice in a row before getting hurt and he can be extremely streaky. He will be in contention with Rafael Leao, who is losing some steam now that their other top contributors have come back. Hakan Calhanoglu languished last week but had returned from COVID with two assists in few minutes: he is probably going to be a little up-and-down for some time until he gets his legs fully underneath him as the illness took a toll. Theo Hernandez (four goal, four helpers) is gearing up for a duel for the ages with Achraf Hakimi.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic/Leao, Kessie.

Inter: Romelu Lukaku is coming off what was arguably his best performance since moving to Serie A, as he put together a brace and assisted Lautaro Martinez in the Lazio clash. He now leads the League in scoring next to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentinian striker has instead hit paydirt twice in the last three matches, so he has gotten out of a slump. Hakimi (six goals, four assists) did not put points on the board versus the Biancocelesti for just the second time in the last 11 games. While it is no surprise for Nicolò Barella or Marcelo Brozovic to occasionally contribute to their offense, the recent development is that Christian Eriksen seems to have found his niche in the formation while replacing Arturo Vidal, something that might stick even though the teammate, should not miss too much time with his knee injury. Also Ivan Perisic has rounded into shape and he has higher offensive ceiling than his competitor Ashley Young.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Hakimi.



Atalanta: Luis Muriel bailed them out late in Cagliari in a day where both Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata were held in check, hitting the net for the second round in a row and the 13th in the season. His compatriot has slowed down considerably after a strong stretch, finding the target just once in the last six outings and also the Slovenian fantasista (four goals, five assists in 13 games) is no longer in helluva form. While Matteo Pessina has had some success in Coppa Italia, Robin Gosens has been their most trusted weapon outside of the strikers in Serie A play, tallying six goals and four assists. Hans Hateboer is out on the other flank, but Joakim Maehle has been equally energetic. The upcoming Champions League clash could lead to some rotation, but Aleksey Miranchuk and Ruslan Malinovskyi have not really taken advantage of their recent opportunities. Mario Pasalic might pop up here or there with his sneakiness.

Recommended picks: Muriel, Ilicic, Gosens.

Napoli: they are dropping like flies due to injuries, but they took home a massive win over Juventus thanks to a PK by Lorenzo Insigne, who exorcised his demons and reached the double-digit threshold. The loss of Hirving Lozano is massive given the busy schedule, they will be hoping Matteo Politano manages to provide a credible impersonation, even though he has generally fared better off the bench. He has been rather productive with six goals and two assists thus far. Andrea Petagna and Dries Mertens are both on the shelf, so they have no alternatives to force-feeding minutes to Victor Osimhen, hoping he gets his conditioning back at an acceptable level in a hurry. Piotr Zielinski and Elijf Elmas should have a bigger role with their other weapons missing: they are appealing options, but rather inconsistent.

Recommended picks: Insigne, Politano, Osimhen.



Benevento: while their strikers were mostly contained by Bologna, although Gianluca Caprari rattled the woodwork, Nicolas Viola bagged an opportunistic goal and he is quickly achieving his fantasy potential after a long wait. They are not the most explosive side, which significantly holds back their weapons, plus they will face a might adversary in this one, so they are not really a fantasy destination. Iago Falque got the start last week but fumbled it, so he might not be confirmed in the Xi, as Riccardo Improta will be back from suspension and Roberto Insigne has had a nice season. Gianluca Lapadula (four goals, two assists) has fallen back into his underwhelming habits as he has not found the target in three matches in a row, but he remains the tip of the spear. Artur Ionita is also back but he has not done anything of note thus far in the season despite ample playing time and some interesting campaign under his belt.

Recommended picks: Caprari, Viola, Lapadula.

Roma: the dualism between Edin Dzeko and Borja Mayoral is quite frustrating for fantasy owner and it remains to be seen how it will shake out now that European football is back. Neither has scored in the last two matches where they split time, but the Bosnian picked up an assist. On the other hand, Jordan Veretout roared back after some silent months with a majestic brace and also Pedro returned to the stat-sheet, so they certainly do not lack juicy offensive options. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (nine goals and eight assists), a bonafide start, and Lorenzo Pellegrini (four/assist) have been their most reliable ones. It will be a week-to-week proposition but the latter might lose some shine if they give some run to Pedro, as he would move back to the midfield rather than play as no.10, so it is something to monitor. Leonardo Spinazzola and Rick Karsdorp have been solid release valves for months now.

Recommended picks: Mkhitaryan, Veretout, Pellegrini.



Juventus: they did not take advantage of their chances in the Napoli clash, failing to hit the net for the second time in the past month, and they did not look great in Champions League either. Cristiano Ronaldo has slowed down considerably with just one goal over the past five rounds, but he remains Serie A’s leading scorer and they will face a very suspect defense. He could perhaps use a breather, but they might not have not luxury since Alvaro Morata is in precarious shape and Paulo Dybala will at most be ready for a cameo. Dejan Kulusevski has gotten some run as second-striker but has not made the most of it. Federico Chiesa (six goals, four assists) has surely been more convincing lately, while they will be without one of their top contributors in Juan Cuadrado and their other fullbacks Danilo and Alex Sandro are not as appealing. Weston McKennie will probably not have a very dynamic position in this one due to other absences in the midfield, which could instead favor Aaron Ramsey and Federico Bernardeschi.

Recommended picks: Ronaldo, Chiesa, Morata/Kulusevski.

Crotone: Adam Ounas showed up last week with a pretty goal, his first one of the season since he had struck out during his spell at Cagliari. He and Junior Messias will form a very exuberant pair of attackers moving forward, while they could use more prolificacy out of the no.9 spot since Samuel Di Carmine has not really done much better than Simy (seven goals) despite quickly unseating him. Arkadiusz Reca picked up his third assist of the campaign in the past match, while Pedro Pereira is not offensive-minded on the other flank. Two of their top guys Ahmad Benali and Salvatore Molina are likely out again in this one, leaving their midfield short-handed and potentially giving a meaningful role to Luca Cigarini and Milos Vulic, who have higher fantasy upside than Jacopo Petriccione and Nicolò Zanellato.

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