Solving Sarri’s Attacking Conundrum

Since returning from the first international break, Juventus have looked lethargic in the final third and have struggled to find the back of the net. In a majority of the biaconeri’s wins, one goal has separated them from their opponent and they have rarely played the opposition off the pitch. While much was promised when Maurizio Sarri was hired, we are yet to see Sarriball in full flow. Currently, the former Napoli tactician is faced with a selection headache in the final third and is under immense pressure to make his front-three fire on all cylinders.

Right now, Cristiano Ronaldo is experiencing a rough patch and has arguably played his worst football in recent memory. Sarri has not shied away from tough decisions and has subbed off the Portuguese superstar in Juventus’ last two wins. Despite reports suggesting Ronaldo was carrying a knock, the former Real Madrid man joined up with Portugal for the international break and scored a hat-trick.

Alongside him, Sarri has typically opted for one of Gonzalo Higuain or Paulo Dybala. In Sarri’s ‘Christmas-Tree’ (4-3-1-2) formation, an out-and-out number nine is of the utmost importance and Higuain has thrived since returning. Whether he’s linking up the attack with deft touches around the box or creating space for himself to score, Higuain has epitomized what a modern number nine is and is almost undroppable.

Much like Higuain, Dybala has benefitted greatly from Sarri’s arrival and has put last season’s woes behind him. Most recently, la Joya scored a crucial goal against Milan, gliding past their captain Alessio Romagnoli as if he wasn’t there. Before these match-winning exploits, Dybala notched a brace against Lokomotiv Moscow and has regularly been Juventus’ best player this season. Given his good form along with Higuain’s importance to Sarri’s tactical schemes, it’s difficult to leave one of them on the bench.

Yet, in the name of balance, it needs to be done. Otherwise, with Dybala, Higuain and Ronaldo all on the pitch, Sarri fears Juve would be overrun in the midfield. He briefly used the trio together against Inter but promptly brought on another midfielder into the fold to regain control.

Factor in Douglas Costa’s return to fitness and electric nature on the ball and it’s clear Sarri is faced with quite the selection conundrum in attack. Should he play a 4-3-3 to accommodate the Brazilian? On the other hand, who should he drop between Higuain and Dybala? Finally, and perhaps most crucially, how does he get the most out of an out-of-form Ronaldo? These are all questions Sarri will be pondering deeply over the course of this international break and will largely come to define this season.

Despite the headaches these issues may give him, it’s a positive problem for Sarri. After all, who wouldn’t want an attack as deep and as versatile as Juve’s? The important thing now, however, is piecing it all together all-while maintaining defensive solidity and balance. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

As Sarri has shown, this prospect is much more difficult than it seems and is a delicate situation to approach. Over the course of the next months, Sarri’s handling of the situation will dictate how far Juve will go and will shape the future of Juventus’ attack.

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Where Next for Moise Kean?

Since joining Everton, Moise Kean has struggled to acclimate himself to his new surroundings and has since found himself on the outside looking in due to reported disciplinary issues. With Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun all competing for one spot up top, it’s difficult to envisage a situation that the former Juventus man breaks through in England. Which leads us to a very important question: Where next for Moise Kean?

After breaking onto the scene with Juventus last season, Kean was tipped as Italy’s saviour in the final third. Scoring goals in his Italy debut as well as his second game, it seemed he was ready to live up to the hype. When the Italian champions decided to sell him this past summer, many were left perplexed by their decision as the young forward impressed on every occasion. Let’s now evaluate some options for Kean.

Roma: 

Paulo Fonseca’s men are reportedly interested in Kean and will be among his suitors come January. Given his lack of playing time, he should be available on the cheap or even on loan. This season, Roma have impressed at every turn and have done so with many Italian youth talents in their side. Whether it’s Leonardo Spinazzola, Gianluca Mancini, Nicolo Zaniolo or Bryan Cristante, Roma are committed to developing youth. As a result, Kean would not be out of place one bit in the nation’s capital.

He’s already proven capable of finding the back of the net in Italy and wouldn’t need an adaptation period. Learning from Edin Dzeko, Roma may just be an ideal landing spot for the 19-year-old.

Milan: 

Recent reports have also suggested that Kean’s agent, Mino Raiola, is exploring all opportunities for the young striker’s next move and have linked him to Milan. The rossoneri are currently a side in disarray but have a number of interesting young players on deck. Given Krzysztof Piątek’s struggles this season, Milan could use a more mobile number nine; one that could create space for himself. In addition, Kean’s arrival would increase the competition for places, perhaps igniting a fire under Piątek.

The only worry, however, is that after an initial honeymoon period, most Milan strikers tend to struggle due to a lack of service. While returning to Italy with Milan wouldn’t be his worst option, they aren’t the best fit for the 19-year-old as of right now. In this sense, Roma are a much better option.

Staying at Everton:

While we tend to link struggling players with a plethora of teams, a plausible option is that he stays in England with Everton. Despite their early struggles this season, the Toffees have a number of interesting pieces in the final third and could benefit from Kean’s return to the lineup. All it takes for a striker to feel at home is a few goals and an extended run of games; an opportunity Everton boss Marco Silva would be wise to afford Kean before the January transfer window opens.

Kean’s play is suited to the Premier League, and after an initial adaptation period, the young striker could start punishing defences. While this option is the unlikeliest at the time given recent reports, both parties should seriously consider moving forward together. Everton could use Kean and Kean could use regular football to make Roberto Mancini’s Euro 2020 roster. It’s not impossible he stays, however, let’s not forget, it’s Raiola pulling the strings.

Whether Kean returns to Italy or remains at Everton remains to be seen, however, it’s clear there will be an update shortly. Given his incredible talent and ability to find the back of the net, it’s only a matter of time before Kean finds a place to call home again. However, his disciplinary issues remain a slight concern. In any case, Italy could definitely benefit from Kean’s return to form and hope it comes sooner rather than later…

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One to Watch: Riccardo Sottil

With the international break upon us and plenty of U-21 football on deck, it gives us time to reflect on some of Italy’s budding talents. Chief among them is Fiorentina winger Riccardo Sottil. Since Rocco Commisso has taken over, la Viola have been committed to producing Italian players and are keen on giving these players a platform to express themselves. Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli are but two examples of Fiorentina’s success with youth and represent a clear direction in place in Tuscany. Sottil appears to be the next Azzurrini in line to take Fiorentina by storm. 

The 20-year-old is a natural winger by trade and joined Fiorentina’s youth ranks from Torino in 2016. He first featured for Montella’s men as a sub in 2018 against Sampdoria, coming on for Chiesa. This season, Sottil has featured with more regularity and has demonstrated signs that he’s ready to take the next step in his career. Montella, a manager notorious for his handling of youth, has entrusted the young winger this season, as evidenced by his seven appearances this season.

His most impressive outing was undoubtedly against Napoli in the first match-day of the season, where Sottil got deployed from the start. The 20-year-old was a constant menace and terrorized Mario Rui until the Portuguese fullback was inevitably subbed off. Using his incredible turn of pace, Sottil took on his man every opportunity he got and earned six fouls, the most of anyone on the pitch. This performance was a glimpse of what Sottil is capable of.

Beyond his directness, Sottil is a versatile winger. Whether Montella instructs him to increase the depth of the side or stretch the opposition wide, Sottil is eager to listen to his manager’s instructions. However, the Fiorentina man is at his best when hitting the opponent on the counter and thrives when there’s space to run into. Moving forward in his career, Sottil will need to diversify his game and develop the qualities needed to break down low blocks. Currently, the 20-year-old is largely used off the bench but could feature with more regularity with a bit more consistency.

Sottil also represents the Italy U-21 sides and has thrived on the wide right of their front-three. Most recently, the 20-year-old found the back of the net against Ireland in a 3-0 win. Despite his goal, Sottil is yet to regularly contribute in the final third and will need to add end-product to his game. The Fiorentina man is one of the league’s paciest customers and is able to get himself in dangerous areas, but needs to be better at finding the final ball. Once that happens, both Italy and Fiorentina will add yet another mercurial winger to their ranks.

Alongside Chiesa and Castrovilli, Sottil has the opportunity to take Fiorentina forward into a new era. An era that predicates the importance of Italian youth and an era that, hopefully, will bring more silverware than the last. Despite his clear talent, he remains one to watch as there are areas of improvement for the young winger. Regardless, it appears that Sottil is ready to take Serie A by storm.

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Serie A Round 12 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

With the international break around the corner, most sides are looking to go into it on a positive note. Inter take on a resolute Hellas Verona while Juventus will host a struggling Milan on Sunday. Napoli, a side in revolt against their upper management, will be taking on a Genoa side who have improved from week-to-week under Thiago Motta. Otherwise, the capital sides are in action as Roma take on Parma and Lazio will look to overcome Lecce.

With match-day 12 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK, Milan, Value 12.44) – The Milan goalkeeper has struggled in recent times and has let in a few goals he’d be hoping to have back. Given the uncertainty in front of him, Donnarumma is often left vulnerable by his defence and will continue conceding goals. Despite this, he knows he’ll have to be better, especially with league leaders Juventus coming up this weekend.

For the time being, swap the Italian international out of your side in favour of a low-cost option. At least until the Milan man hits top form again.

Lorenzo Insigne (ATT, Napoli, Value 17.25) – Being referred to as the leader of the ongoing mutiny at Napoli, Lorenzo Insigne has been far from his best this season. With the side refusing to go into a ritiro against the club’s orders, expect Insigne’s play to suffer as a result. That’s if he plays, of course.

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti may be looking to make a statement and bench his captain given recent events. Given Arkadiusz Milik’s good form, expect Insigne to register limited minutes for the next few weeks as the situation unfolds further.

Fabian Ruiz (MID, Napoli, Value 14.44) – The Napoli midfielder was expected to take the next step in his career this season, but has struggled with consistency. This season, the partenopei have often lacked balance in the midfield and have left their rearguard exposed due to the lack of a real number six. Whether it’s Piotr Zielinski or Allan alongside Ruiz, it seems they’re an awkward fit and could use a more robust presence.

Despite this, Ruiz has impressed in the final third but can’t convert his positive play into end-product. Currently, he has one goal and two assists and let’s face it, Napoli have come to expect way more from the Spaniard international. Given the ongoing revolution at Napoli, it would be wise to swap Fabian out of your sides, at least until they steady the ship.

Cristiano Ronaldo (ATT, Juventus, Value 18.86) – The Juventus superstar has looked a shade of his former self over the course of the last month and is likely playing with a knock. Uninvolved in the build-up play and one step off in the final third, Ronaldo has had a rough start to the season and has struggled to find the back of the net with regularity. The former Real Madrid man was subbed out against Lokomotiv Moscow most recently indicating he may be injured.

With a clash against Milan on the horizon, Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri may opt to rest Ronaldo in favour of the in-form Gonzalo Higuain. Considering Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa have both looked dangerous in possession together recently, it’s very possible they all start.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (MID, Lazio, Value 17.25) – Following his breakout season, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has disappointed and has failed to reach his former heights. The Serbian international arguably needs a change of scenery for newfound motivation, but the fact remains that the Lazio man isn’t dictated proceedings as much as he would have liked. One goal and three assists in his ten starts highlight his relatively indifferent form.

Given his increased price-tag, it’s time you get ride of Milinkovic-Savic for the foreseeable future.

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Paratici Did Sarriball No Favours This Summer

Two months have come and gone with Maurizio Sarri at the helm in Turin and it’s desperately clear that Juventus’ midfielders are simply not adept to Sarriball. Bar Miralem Pjanic, the bianconeri’s midfielders lack technique and struggle to execute their manager’s footballing philosophy week-in, week-out. The former Napoli tactician’s setup is based on quick interplay between the midfield and attack combined with directness. Until now, we’ve seen shades of this in games against SPAL and Bayer Leverkusen, but not much beyond flashes in the pan.

Make no mistake about it, this ultimately falls on Fabio Paratici’s squad-building skills more than anything else. At the end of the day, Sarri could only do so much with the squad he has at his disposal. Aware of the technical requirements of Sarriball, Paratici opted not to add to Juventus’ midfield depth beyond an injury-prone Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot – a midfielder who barely featured in the entirety of last season.

Given their need for an extended adaptation period, Sarri has been forced to turn to the likes of Sami Khedira and Blaise Matuidi in the midfield. The reality is, however, that former is on his last legs to put it mildly while the latter lacks the technique required to progress the ball in the final third. While Matuidi is crucial in the pressing and recovery phases of play, build-up play has regularly been slowed down as a result of a poor touch. Considering he plays on the same side as Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s not doing Sarriball any favours.

Moving forward, the former PSG man could be useful off the bench, but lacks the quality to feature as regularly as he is now. In addition to their unbalanced midfield, the way Juventus’ attack was assembled this past summer resembled an accident.

For the entirety of the month of August, Paratici was pushing Paulo Dybala out in favour of Romelu Lukaku while simultaneously failing to sell the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain despite having many offers. In the end, Paratici’s hand was forced and due to Financial Fair Play constraints, he sold the bianconeri’s most promising young forward Moise Kean to Everton for pennies on the dollar with no buy-back clause. Today, Sarri’s left with two want-aways in Dybala and Higuain alongside Ronaldo, Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi.

Despite how talented both players are, neither of them were in Paratici’s plans in the first place, highlighting a bigger issue at play here. Remember, Dybala’s been Juve’s best player this season thus far and should have never been on the chopping block – which leads us to another question. What exactly was Paratici trying to do this summer?

In any case, Sarri’s now left with an unbalanced side and is faced with immense pressure to keep producing results all-while trying to instil his footballing philosophy. Tough spot, indeed. Since the international break, Juve have struggled and have started to show signs that their lacklustre summer transfer window may just come back to haunt them.

While they may be in first place in Serie A and in their Champions League group, eight of their ten wins this season in all competitions have been by one-goal margins. Factor in Kalidou Koulibaly’s freak own goal and a last-gasp penalty against Genoa and the table would look very different by now. It’s also important to note that Juventus’ backline doesn’t compare to years past.

As the season wears on and the pressure intensifies, Juve’s failure to address their recurring midfield issues in addition to their incoherent transfer window will arguably cost them silverware. After all, it may just be the wake-up they need after seven years of domestic domination.

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One to Watch: Christian Kouamé

After an impressive debut season, Christian Kouamé was tipped to take Serie A by storm in 2019-2020. Alongside Andrea Pinamonti, the Ivorian was expected to form one of the league’s most youthful and dangerous duos in attack. The duo lived up to the hype early on, combining to devastating effect in their opener against Roma. Kouamé followed up his goal against the giallorossi with another impressive performance against Fiorentina, putting in a man-of-the-match display and adding another goal to his tally.

The 21-year-old would find the back of the net once more against Cagliari, starting his season in brilliant fashion with three goals in four games. However, following their convincing defeat at the hands of Cagliari, Genoa went winless in their next four games and Kouamé struggled. In his next four starts, the Ivorian played the full ninety minutes in all games and failed to score in any of them.

Genoa’s 5-1 defeat against Parma was the last straw for President Enrico Preziosi and he promptly sacked Aurelio Andreazzoli for former midfielder Thiago Motta. Motta was previously coaching PSG’s U-19 side and has been labelled a progressive tactician in his brief managerial career.

In Motta’s first game in charge, Kouamé started on the bench and came on for Sinan Gumus with over twenty minutes to play. In his cameo appearance, the 21-year-old was electric and helped Genoa overcome a one-nil deficit to claim the three points. Outside of his match-winner, a fantastic scissor-kick, Kouamé was a constant threat in the final third and didn’t give Brescia’s defenders a moment’s rest.

With I Grifoni up a goal, Brescia tried taking the game to them and left open spaces in behind. Kouamé took full advantage of this and registered his first assist on the season on Goran Pandev’s goal. In just 25 minutes of action, Kouamé displayed exactly why he comes so highly-rated around the peninsula. Whether he’s driving in possession or making the most of his incredible turn of pace, Kouamé makes for an increasinly dangerous striker.

This season, the Genoa forward has demonstrated that he could be efficient in front of goal, as illustrated by his four goals on the season already. One knock against Kouamé last season was that he couldn’t create his own chances. Much like his finishing, this is an element of his game that has since improved significantly compared to years past. Currently, Kouamé is averaging just under two shots per game and is also establishing himself as a creative threat with just under 1.5 key passes per game.

Moving forward, Genoa are going to need Kouamé to maintain his positive exploits in front of goal if they want to avoid relegation. Under Thiago Motta it will be interesting to see the young forward develop, especially considering the tactician’s desire to play attacking football. In any case, Kouamé is definitely one to keep an eye on as the season wears on and into the January transfer window. Capable of creating chances or taking them for himself, Kouamé will undoubtedly be atop most club’s wish-lists when the mercato reopens.

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Bentancur adapting to life under Maurizio Sarri

When Maurizio Sarri was first appointed as Juventus boss, many expected Rodrigo Bentancur to benefit greatly. After all, the Uruguayan international is slick in possession and is a classic regista, a position Sarri greatly values. In many ways, he epitomizes everything the veteran manager looks for in a midfielder. However, life under the former Napoli tactician didn’t get off to a great start as Sarri regularly fielded Sami Khedira and Blaise Mautidi alongside Miralem Pjanic, relegating the 22-year-old to the bench. With limited minutes, Bentancur was constrained solely to cameo appearances.

In recent weeks, however, Bentancur has seen his playing time increase and has played the full ninety minutes in consecutive games. Rather than play as the side’s deepest midfielder, Sarri has used the former Boca Junior man as a mezz’ala on the right-hand side of Pjanic. This is a new position for the player as he’s typically used to playing as a number six. In this role, Bentancur often filters in centrally as a regista, giving the Bosnian international the license to roam forward. While on paper he’s fielded as a mezz’ala, Pjanic and Bentancur’s understanding of space means he occupies both positions at times.

Against Lokomotiv Moscow, at first, Bentancur was used as an attacking midfielder behind Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo. When that didn’t work, the Uruguayan international was quickly shifted deeper into midfield, once again, alongside Pjanic.

From a more familiar position, Bentancur regained control and looked way better in possession. Before the season started it seemed it was either Pjanic or Bentancur, however, Sarri has demonstrated he’s willing to use them together given their ability to interchange positions at will.

Tomorrow, Bentancur is expected to start at the heart of midfield against Genoa, after Pjanic picked up a knock in Juventus’ most recent draw against Lecce. As the side’s regista, expect the 22-year-old to dictate play and link the midfield to attack. It will be interesting to see how Bentancur performs in Pjanic’s absence as it will be the first time he plays without the Bosnian this season. Thus far, the duo have formed an unlikely partnership and give Juventus’ midfield some much-needed technique and directness.

With Pjanic on the pitch, Bentancur takes on a more subdued role as opposing defences are focused on the former Roma man. From a wider position in midfield, Bentancur filters in between the lines and is able to carve out space for himself in dangerous areas. Take the Inter game, for example. As Marcelo Brozovic was marking Pjanic for most of the game, Sarri introduced Bentancur to create a numerical advantage in the middle of the park.

Despite playing as a mezz’ala, the Uruguayan midfielder was often in central positions and played a crucial role in Gonzalo Higuain’s winner, providing the assist. With Pjanic in a deeper position, Bentancur played in an advanced role behind the strikers. As Dybala moved freely around the pitch, Inter’s defence struggled to keep track of the bianconeri’s midfielders, leaving Bentancur time and space to find Higuain on the winner.

Against Genoa, however, Bentancur is expected to play the regista role on his own; a challenge he’ll surely welcome. Despite his positive performances in recent weeks, he’s yet to prove he can handle the midfield workload on his own and has struggled in the past when tasked with dictating play.

If Bentancur impresses tomorrow, it will pose Sarri with quite the selection headache moving forward. Either continue using the Uruguayan from a mezz’ala role in tandem with Pjanic, or keep an in-form player on the bench. Remember, there’s also Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot to account for. In any case, Bentancur’s progress this season is something Juventus will welcome, especially considering their midfield woes.

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On the Rise: Sandro Tonali

Initially likened to a certain Andrea Pirlo because of his appearance and position, Brescia’s Sandro Tonali has since taken Serie A by storm. Playing at the base Eugenio Corini’s midfield trio in a traditional regista role, the U-21 international has taken to the top flight like a fish to water and has dictated proceedings.

Alongside the veteran presences of Daniele Dessena and Dimitri Bisoli, the 19-year-old is given the license to drive forward with and without the ball. After watching him play, it’s easy to forget he hasn’t even hit 20 years old yet. His most recent performances have attracted interest from Serie A’s elite as Juventus, Napoli, Inter, and Milan are all said to be keeping tabs on the player.

Fiorentina have also shown interest in the player and have sent scouts to watch him. In addition to having the pick of the litter in Italy, Tonali is being monitored by English giants Manchester United as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite the uncanny resemblance to Pirlo and the fact that they both emerged from Brescia, comparing the two is lazy. They may play the same position, but do so very differently. While Tonali boasts an impressive range of passing, he’s more eager to drive with the ball at his feet than the legendary Milan midfielder. In his seven appearances this season, he’s already averaging 1.6 completed dribbles per game and has emerged as Brescia’s most important ball progressor with the ball at his feet.

Outside of possession, Tonali is like a bulldog. Always eager to win the ball back, the Brescia man is regularly nipping at the heels of the opposition. Due to his aggressive nature, Tonali’s play off the ball has drawn comparisons to a certain Gennaro Gattuso. High praise, indeed.

Beyond his energetic presence in the middle of the park, Tonali has demonstrated he can play the killer pass. Often times, younger players display promise but lack in end-product. This is not the case for Tonali. Having already registered two assists on the season, the Brescia midfield is unlucky not to have more. As his 2.3 key passes per game suggest, Tonali is regularly finding teammates in dangerous positions.

Whether it’s from open play or from a whipped in cross from a set-piece, Tonali’s right boot poses a considerable threat to opposition defences. As he gets more top flight action, expect Tonali’s assist and chances created tallies to keep increasing.

With every big club in Italy practically on his tail, it’s now time Tonali makes the right decision and join a side where he can play regularly. After all, he’s just 19 years of age and can’t afford to have his development stifled. From this perspective, Fiorentina is an ideal landing spot, provided they are capable of giving him regular minutes.

Milan, Inter and Napoli could be interesting options for Tonali, as well, but the 19-year-old should request guarantees before joining. The last thing he needs is cameo appearances off the bench at this stage in his career.

Regardless of his next move, one thing is clear: Tonali is Italy’s best midfield prospect and is the real deal. The Pirlo comparisons will only continue as his career goes on, yet the 19-year-old has shown he’s ready to carve out his own path. The ball’s now in his court.

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Serie A Round 9 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

After a hotly-contested match-day eight and mid-week European clashes, Serie A returns to action tomorrow when Verona take on Sassuolo. The following day Juve and Inter will be in action against Lecce and Parma respectively, while Roma will take on Milan in this weekend’s marquee match-up. Otherwise, Lazio will look to overcome Fiorentina in what promises to be an enthralling affair.

With match-day nine upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Sami Khedira (MID, Juventus, Value 21.2) – After being surprisingly reinstated in the starting eleven by Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season, Khedira has slowed down and has shown signs of fatigue. Most recently, the German looked out of sorts in Juventus’ Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow and was subbed out for Gonzalo Higuain, much to his dismay. These substitutions at the hour-mark have typified Khedira’s season and will arguably continue moving forward. After all, Sarri is a creature of habit as demonstrated throughout his Chelsea stint.

As his minutes get further reduced and Adrien Rabiot’s influence in the side grows, expect Khedira to be rotated out of the lineup. At 21.2 million, you can do better.

Alessio Romagnoli (DEF, Milan, Value 25.9) -The Milan defender has been the only bright spot in the rossoneri’s defence, however, that doesn’t change the fact that his side have struggled in their own third. Most recently, Milan conceded two goals against a newly-promoted Lecce side and looked vulnerable throughout the ninety minutes. With the pressure increasing in Casa Milan, it doesn’t look likely that they’ll resolve their issues anytime soon.

As they are set to take on Roma, expect Milan’s defensive woes to continue, especially considering Edin Dzeko’s return from injury. Until Pioli figures out his best shape and best eleven, it might be best to swap out Romagnoli temporarily from your elevens for a low-cost option.

Gervinho (ATT, Parma, Value 25.9) – The former Arsenal man is in relatively decent form to start the season but has since slowed down for Parma in recent weeks with his last goal coming at the beginning of September. Currently, his teammate and assist leader, Dejan Kulusevski, is Parma’s main creator in the final third and has assumed much of the ball possession in the final third.

Considering Gervinho’s dwindling influence in the final third in addition to his hefty price tag, it’s time to swap the Ivorian out of your fantacalcio side immediately. With Inter coming up, it doesn’t look likely that the winger will get on the score-sheet regardless.

Bryan Cristante (MID, Roma, Value 25.7) – Since Paulo Fonseca has assumed the reigns at Trigoria, Cristante has established himself as a set starter and a crucial figure in the double pivot. Unfortunately, the Italian international recently suffered an injury and could miss a couple of months of action for the giallorossi. Given the uncertainty surrounding his fitness and injury concerns, Cristante should be the first player on your chopping block this week.

Despite the injuries, there is no shortage of options for Fonseca in the middle of the park. As a result, expect the veteran tactician to take his time re-integrating Cristante back into his side.

Nicola Sansone (MID, Napoli, Value 21.3) – Eight appearances, zero goals, one assist – 21.3 million. The numbers aren’t great for Sansone and suggest it may be time to transfer him out of your eleven once you’re finished reading this. Initially seen as a low-cost midfield option, Sansone has since failed to deliver on his fantacalcio hype and has been usurped by Bologna teammate Riccardo Orsolini.

The 22-year-old is quite clearly Bologna’s catalyst in the final third and has shown no signs of slowing down. As a result, Sansone has seen less of the ball and will arguably benefit from a spell on the bench. Buyers beware!

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Serie A Round 8 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and gave us fantacalcio managers some much-need time to step away from our teams and evaluate where it’s all gone wrong…or right! However, don’t get too comfortable as the next game-week is already upon us. Lazio will be hosting Atalanta in what promises to be an exciting clash, while Stefano Sensi returns to Sassuolo with Inter. Otherwise, Juventus take on a fiery Bologna side at the Allianz Stadium.

With match-day eight upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Allan (MID, Napoli, Value 13.9) – The Napoli midfielder has struggled for consistency this season and looks set for a period on the sidelines. Considering Eljif Elmas’ and Fabian Ruiz’ good form, expect the Brazilian to be rotated out of the eleven. While Allan is important for what he does off the ball for the partenopei, it doesn’t benefit you in Fantasy Serie A. The 28-year-old is also a yellow card risk costing you points and has already picked up two cautions on the season.

At 13.9 million euros, look elsewhere for your midfield.

Fabio Quagliarella (ATT, Sampdoria, Value 17.7) – Sampdoria are currently a club in disarray and sit in last place in the standings. Having just fired Eusebio Di Francesco, it will take some time for Claudio Ranieri to get the blucerchiati firing on all cylinders again. After the international break, Sampdoria host Paulo Fonseca’s Roma, in what promises to be yet another difficult clash for them. Fabio Quagliarella has struggled as a result of the chaos in Genoa and has only found the back of the net once this season, albeit in a 4-1 loss against Sassuolo. Much like it was the case last season, it was from the spot.

Given Sampdoria’s recent issues and Quagliarella’s inefficiency in front of goal, it would be wise to temporarily swap the 36-year-old out of your elevens. At least until Ranieri steadies the ship.

Cristian Zapata (DEF, Genoa, Value 17.7) – After a positive start to the season, the defender has struggled for form and has seen his Genoa side slide down the table to 19th. In addition to not getting the results, I Grifoni’s defence has looked porous, conceding goals at will. If that weren’t enough to drop him from your side, Zapata is an aggressive defender and is unafraid to slide into a tackle. Currently, the 33-year-old is on three yellow cards, costing your crucial fantasy points in the process.

At 17.7 million euros, it’s time you bid adieu to Zapata and remove him from your eleven once and for all. It doesn’t look like things are getting any better in Genoa anytime soon.

Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 26.8) - Let’s get something straight. Zapata has been in sensational form this season and would never have made this list if it wasn’t for his recent injury while on international duty. He’s currently among the top fantacalcio point earners alongside Ciro Immobile and has picked up from where he left off last season.

However, his recent injury will reportedly sideline him for a minimum of three weeks. Given Atalanta’s wide array of attacking options, they have no pressure to force him back into action anytime before that. As a result of this in addition to his inflated price-tag, it would be wise to move him out of your roster for the next three game-weeks at least.

Christian Kouamé (ATT, Genoa, Value 24.5) – Yet another player from the Genovese clubs makes this list as Kouamé has struggled for form in recent weeks. After a positive start to the season that saw him notch three goals, the attacker has tailed off and has been inefficient in the eighteen-yard box. Much like Sampdoria, Genoa are currently a club in disarray, who’s manager’s future is in danger. Given the uncertainty surrounding the club, expect Kouamé’s goalscoring woes to continue.

At 24.5 million euros, it’s time to move on from the talented young man.

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