Juventus: despite a not-so-great offensive night in Verona, Cristiano Ronaldo came through once again, bagging his 19th goal of the season and scoring in two consecutive games for the first time in a while. Federico Chiesa dished his fifth assist of the season which, on top of his six goals, makes him their second-best offensive weapon. CR7 would likely get the day off in this spot if Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala were fully healthy, but only the Spaniard has some chances to feature and he is not 100 percent. Dejan Kulusevski has gotten some run thanks to the absences and he is coming off his best outing in some time, although he was unable to snap out of his lengthy scoring slump. Aaron Ramsey has looked pretty lively since coming back from yet another injury and they can certainly use his offense, but he probably needs to be handled carefully. Weston McKennie (four goals, two assists) is a better bet to see ample minutes after getting most of the day off over the weekend.
Suggested picks: Ronaldo, Chiesa, Kulusevski.
Spezia: M’Bala Nzola made just a brief appearance in his return from an ankle injury, with mixed results, but it was Emmanuel Gyasi who stole the show on Sunday with a very clinical brace, his first one of the year. He now has four goals and four assists to his name: he has been consistently solid, but generally pretty wasteful in the box. Kevin Agudelo has been a pest as false-nine, but he was not prolific and will probably move to other roles with their star striker (nine goals) nearing full strength. Riccardo Saponara appeared to pick up an injury versus Parma, while Diego Farias is just returning from one, so Daniele Verde could have the opportunity to be the third banana up front in this one and he was bouncy in the past game. Tommaso Pobega is banged up, so Giulio Maggiore has become their most interesting midfielder and he has been able to do some damage offensively, while Nahuel Estevez and Leo Sena have been okay but more workmanlike. Left-back Simone Bastoni has been a steady hand throuought the season.
Suggested picks: Gyasi, Nzola/Agudelo, Maggiore.
Sassuolo: Francesco Caputo hit the net again versus Bologna, making it three in a row, four in the past five matches and ten in the season. Domenico Berardi (eight goals, four assists) instead had returned with a bang the week before versus Crotone and the duo has mostly carried them through the campaign. The other attackers have not been as consistent, but Filip Djuricic (four goals, two helpers) appears to be turning the corner. Hamed Traore has lost some playing time and some steam with his teammates returning, but he is always lively when his number is called. Jeremie Boga is questionable at best. Gregoire Defrel has not scored since early January. Rogerio and Mert Muldur have some secondary value, but they do not rely on their fullbacks as much as in the past.
Recommended picks: Caputo, Berardi, Djuricic.
Napoli: Dries Mertens delivered right away in his first start in a long time, finding his fifth goal of the season in the early going. He is set to spearhead their front-line for some time since Victor Osimhen and Andrea Petagna are hurt. He is also the one with the most chemistry with his teammates. Matteo Politano was awarded the second goal on a rather confusing action and he has now made the stat-sheet four times in the past seven contests, perfectly making up for the absence of Hirving Lozano. Lorenzo Insigne is instead going through a little dry spell, as he has hit the net just once in the last six matches. Piotr Zielinski was stripped of a goal versus Benevento, so he could not make it two in a row, and seems to have turned the corner performance-wise, maybe for good. Elijf Elmas instead has not been as effective as he could be and probably loses some shine with Mertens coming back. Fabian Ruiz has not looked sharp after COVID and has rarely be a weapon while featuring in such a deep position in the midfield. Faouzi Ghoulam had some interesting flashes in the past game and he is their most offensively gifted fullback, but he probably will not start two games in a row.
Suggested picks: Mertens, Politano, Zielinski.
Fiorentina: Frank Ribery did come back in the past game, but he did not have a great impact and they took a clear step back compared to the Spezia romp, which mostly looks like an outlier. The Frenchman (one goal, four assists) was in good run of form before getting hurt. Dusan Vlahovic was held out of the stat-sheet Sunday after making it in the previous two tilts and also Gaetano Castrovilli had a quiet outing after resurfacing in a big way in the previous round. He is their top offensive-minded midfielder now with Giacomo Bonaventura out of commission. Kevin Malcuit finally started, but he did not perform all that well. Aleksandar Kokorin also got more minutes, but without leaving his mark. Valentin Eysseric remains high in their pecking order and he too bagged one versus Spezia. Cristiano Biraghi has not done much in months despite his early success. Erick Pulgar is getting some run and he is dangerous on set pieces.
Suggested picks: Vlahovic, Castrovilli, Ribery/Eysseric.
Roma: Jordan Veretout struck again in the Milan clash, recording his third goal in the past three matches, but they were defeated by a top team once again and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in particular left something on the table in terms of chances. The Armenian ace has not scored in four matches, something that had never happened before. Borja Mayoral has ample minutes at his disposal since Edin Dzeko is hurt, but he too has not been able to knock one on goal over the last four tilts, where Veretout and Pedro, who however has not resumed starting, have been their only contributors to have success. Also Lorenzo Pellegrini have been silent. Mayoral has had good showings only against teams that leaves some room in the back. The midweek round could bring a shake-up of the formation that could benefit Pedro or Stephan El Shaarawy. Lorenzo Spinazzola has set up a teammate in the last two tilts.
Suggested picks: Veretout, Mkhitaryan, Spinazzola.
Milan: they have a very strong performance versus Roma, powered by yet another PK by Franck Kessie and by a splendid goal by Ante Rebic, but they risk being very depleted for this one as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu picked up muscular problems. Rebic escpaed with a minor one and should be good to go and he has been sizzling lately. Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz are prime candidates to see a major uptick of playing time, but they have been quite lackluster lately, although they do not lack potential. Alexis Saelemaekers is coming off a pretty assist. It is not their first injury crisis of the year and in these situations in the past they have generally leaned more on Kessie and Theo Hernandez (four goals, four assists). Rade Krunic, Samu Castillejo and Jens Petter Hauge could also have a role, differently from what happens usually, but they are risky plays.
Suggested picks: Rebic, Kessie, Hernandez.
Udinese: Rodrigo De Paul added another assist to his name, the second in a row, this time finding Ilija Nestorovski at the end of his rainbow, with the striker netting the second goal of his campaign, while it was Stefano Okaka who prospered the week before. Fernando Llorente has featured more than the two other forwards, but he has been unable to find the target. Whoever starts is set to have okay value. They will have Roberto Pereyra (two goals, four assists) back from suspension in this one and he should look better than his previous post-injury showing. Jean-Victor Makengo did okay in his first start, which gives them flexibility as it pertains to Pereyra’s role. Gerard Deulofeu was getting into a groove before being sidelined by knee soreness. Marvin Zeegelaar and Jens Stryger Larsen have been mid-sized options up to this point.
Suggested picks: De Paul, Pereyra, Okaka/Nestorovski.
Parma: despite being undermanned, their attack produced two goals in two consecutive games, a true rarity given their previous woes, but, unfortunately, they could not finish the job again. Andreas Cornelius picked up a last-minute problem and will probably stay out in this one and the same goes for Gervinho, while Yann Karamoh, who is coming off a great performance, is questionable. Joshua Zirkzee is iffy too, so they might have to get creative up front in this one. Gaston Brunetta picked up an assist as false-nine, while Valentin Mihaila is starting to look like revelation over the last three rounds, although he has yet to hit big. Hernani is back to relevance as he struck for the fourth time in the year in Spezia, while Juraj Kucka (five goals) has consistently been their best player over the last two months. Dennis Man and Maxime Busi could have a prominent role if the absences were confirmed.
Suggested picks: Kucka, Hernani, Mihaila.
Inter: their star strikers are taking turns in punishing the opponents and it was Romelu Lukaku who took center-stage versus Genoa, while Lautaro Martinez had done it in the previous clash. They are both humming and elite choices any given week. The most interesting question is who is their third best guy, as on paper Achraf Hakimi is an easy choice, but he has been limited to just one an assist over the last six matches, while Ivan Perisic has been more productive lately and Christian Eriksen is looking better and better, even though he is still searching for his first goal or assist of the season. Nicolò Barella and Marcelo Brozovic are also in the mix, but they have to do a lot of them. Alexis Sanchez joined the goal-fest versus Genoa and it is not out of the question that he could draw the start here given the packed schedule.
Suggested picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Eriksen.
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