Andrea Consigli (7 points): as expected, the final round was filled of goals as it has been the case for most of the season, and just four goalkeepers managed to keep the clean sheet. Wojciech Szczesny technically did not earn one because he did not finish the match, even though he had already subbed off when Juventus conceded, and he picked up an assist thanks to a sweet punt-kick. The nod goes to the Sassuolo mainstay, who parried away every attempt by an undermanned Lazio.
Omar Colley (9 points): Sampdoria easily tamed the low-wattage Parma attack Saturday night without breaking a sweat, and the Gambian powerhouse recorded his second goal of the season by finding himself at the right place at the right time for an easy tap-in on the opposing box. Continue reading
Standing’s implications: the much-awaited end of the Champions League race did not disappoint, and Milan and Juventus emerged victorious, while Napoli frittered away a golden opportunity. The Rossoneri earned it with a big-boy performance against Atalanta, the Bianconeri obliterated Bologna, while the Partenopei were held to disappointing a one-one tie at home by Verona. Roma desperately defended their seventh place with a draw versus Spezia, keeping Sassuolo behind even though the Neroverdi handled Lazio. Continue reading
Juventus took care of business without breaking a sweat in the Bologna game and got unexpected help from Verona, sneaking back into the Champions League zone in the final round.
Alvaro Morata (7 points): the coaching staff took the liberty of resting Cristiano Ronaldo despite what was at stake, but the front-line still thrived anyway thanks to the gaping holes in the Felsinei defense and numerous fancy interplays between the attackers. Morata capitalized on the strong offensive output with two opportunistic goals, nudging it home on a great feed by Paulo Dybala and then beating the offside trap and burning the goalie on the second one. La Joya waltzed his way through defenders and was borderline uncontainable, fueling the regrets for the injury that sidelined him for a good chunk of the campaign. Continue reading
Cagliari (3-5-2): Cragno; Ceppitelli, Godin, Carboni; Nandez, Marin, Nainggolan, Duncan, Lykogiannis; Pedro, Pavoletti.
Potential lineup changes: Zappa for Lykogiannis, Deiola for Duncan, Simone for Pavoletti.
Likely bench options: Zappa, Pavoletti, Cerri.
Ruled out: Rog (ACL tear), Walukiewicz (back pain), Calabresi (thigh muscle fatigue). Continue reading
In most matches, one or both teams have nothing to play for, which makes things tougher.
Cagliari-Genoa: the Sardinians have stayed undefeated for seven bouts, where they have defeated Parma, Udinese, Roma, and Benevento and shared the spoils with Napoli, Fiorentina, and Milan. They are surely in better shape than the Liguri, who picked up just three points (against Bologna) in the last four rounds, losing to Lazio, Sassuolo, and Atalanta: 2-1. Continue reading
Atalanta: Viktor Kovalenko is out with a thigh injury. Robin Gosens picked up an ankle knock in the Coppa Italia final, but he is good to go, while Hans Hateboer is a late scratch.
Missing: Kovalenko, Hateboer.
Benevento: Gianluca Caprari and Iago Falque are out with new muscular injuries. Artur Ionita suffered a severe knee sprain, and Fabio Depaoli fractured his collarbone in the last game. Marco Sau (thigh strain), and Gabriele Moncini (ankle surgery) are also out.
Returning: Foulon; Missing: Caprari, Depaoli, Ionita, Sau, Moncini.
Bologna: Mitchell Dijks and Roberto Soriano are suspended. Mattias Svanberg (shoulder bruise) and Danilo (foot contusion) are iffy. Federico Santander (ACL tear) trained partially with the group during the week. Nicolas Dominguez (MCL sprain) and Aaron Hickey (shoulder surgery) are on the mend. Continue reading
Atalanta: Duvan Zapata (15 goals, 9 assists) returned to the scoreboard in the past game, snapping out of a minimal three-match drought, while Ruslan Malinovskyi (8/12) once again did a ton of damage, and he has been just the hottest midfielder in the League in the last two months. Robin Gosens showed up as well, bagging his 11th goal of the campaign (plus six assists), while Mario Pasalic tallied his second goal in a row, also adding a helper in the past three matches, even though he mostly features as a sub. An injury has slowed down Luis Muriel (22/8), and Josip Ilicic (6/9) has provided just an assist in the last four appearances. Aleksey Miranchuk (4 goals) has been pretty deadly when they have given him minutes; Sam Lammers would also benefit if they decided to field their bench players. Continue reading
Crotone: Simy returned to the stat-sheet after three matches to destroy Benevento’s hopes in the last match, improving to 20 goals in the campaign. Adam Ounas (4 goals, 3 assists) instead had shined in the previous game, but he also picked up an injury, so his status is TBD. They should instead have back Junior Messias (9/4) after a stomach bug, and we would play up front if Ounas did not recover. Their other options Emmanuel Riviere (one goal) and Samuel Di Carmine instead have not done a lot. Ahmad Benali has potential just on paper, but injuries and uninspiring play have limited him to just an assist. Salvatore Molina has tallied one goal and four helpers, but he has been playing on the flank for some time, where he is not as involved in the offense. Luca Cigarini and Niccolò Zanellato (1/1) have just marginal value. Continue reading
Juventus saved their best for last in this rollercoaster of a season, beating and more surprisingly thoroughly outplaying Atalanta in the second half to take home the 14th Coppa Italia in their history, ending a two-year drought.
Dejan Kulusevki: he busted out a dominating display, surely his finest in a white-and-black jersey, and he has benefitted greatly from the freedom and usage given to him in the last two matches, where his role has grown considerably larger. He fully capitalized on it with a gorgeous lefty curled shot, which he took with the most naturalness possible, and came up big also on the second goal, perfectly closing a wide triangle with Federico Chiesa with a superb dish. With that goal, on a more difficult finish, the former Viola winger atoned for an earlier big miss, where he hit the post despite being wide-open and having time to take aim in the box. Continue reading
Gianluigi Donnarumma (7 points): Milan did not get to the three points they were hoping for against versus Cagliari, but the goalkeeper at least avoided the disaster scenario with two magnificent saves on headers, denying point-blank attempts by Leonardo Pavoletti and Diego Godin.
Juan Cuadrado (6 points): he willed Juventus to victory in the crunch match with Inter with two goals in key moments of the contest. He found the target with a deflected strike from distance in the final minutes of the first half and, more importantly, baited Ivan Perisic into a (questionable) foul in the box after the 2-2 tie. He made no mistake from the penalty spot in a clutch situation despite not having great experience with PKs. Continue reading