Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 29


Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo picked up a thigh strain while playing with Portugal and is unlikely to play in the next three games. Sami Khedira has been cleared to practice after a heart problem, but it will take him a little longer before playing. Douglas Costa (quad, calf), Juan Cuadrado (knee) and Andrea Barzagli (calf) remain sidelined, while Mattia De Sciglio has recovered from a thigh pull.

Napoli: Fabian Ruiz will be available after a tough flu. Lorenzo Insigne was on track to play but suffered a relapse of a thigh contracture.  Continue reading

Cagliari Fixture a “Must Win” For Fiorentina

With their chances of securing European qualification via the league looking increasingly unlikely, Fiorentina travel to Cagliari on Friday night desperately needing a win. The Viola currently sit tenth in Serie A, four places and seven points behind the Europa League berths, but a victory in Sardinia might put pressure on those above them.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 28

Empoli v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

Juventus: none among Mattia De Sciglio (thigh), Andrea Barzagli (calf), Dougls Costa (quad, calf), Sami Khedira (heart) and Juan Cuadrado (knee) is expected back this week. The first one is the closest to recovering. Cristiano Ronaldo will be rested. 

Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne was scratched from the XI in Europa League due to a muscular problem in the warm-up. Vlad Chiriches subbed off for the same issue, while Amadou Diawara has a foot infraction: they have all been given a 20-day prognosis. Fabian Ruiz has the flu.

Milan: Cristian Zapata is back in the squad list after spending time on the mend with a thigh strain. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Fiorentina vs Inter


The most anticipated game in a pretty weak round turned out to be the most dramatic, even excessively so. Fiorentina came into the fixture having won just two of their last six matches, but never losing in that stretch, while Inter were coming off two wins in a row, which allowed them to get out of sticky patch.

Looking ahead at the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday, Stefano Pioli initially rested both Nikola Milenkovic, who was also a little under the weather, and especially Luis Muriel, trotting out both Vincent Laurini and Federico Ceccherini in the back and Giovanni Simeone up front. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 21


Alban Lafont: Chievo can be an annoying opponent, especially lately, but they still have one of the least prolific attacks in the League, while Fiorentina have been able to keep three clean sheets in the past four road games. The young goalkeeper has been as good as advertised thus far.

Nicola Murru: Sampdoria have won three in a row at home, shutting down opponents twice, while Udinese have failed to score in their last three away fixtures. The ex Cagliari full-back has also been able to pick up some bonus points offensively here and there. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Sassuolo vs Fiorentina


Plenty of pathos in the last Serie A round: Cagliari-Roma and Lazio-Sampdoria would have been worthy candidates for match of the week, but then Sassuolo-Fiorentina outdid them on Sunday.

Both teams came into the game pretty desperate for a win: the Neroverdi had prevailed just once in the previous eight fixtures, while La Viola last grabbed the full three points for the last time in late September. With Kevin-Prince Boateng out with an injury, Roberto De Zerbi used his best XI, with Khouma Babacar spearheading the front-line, Federico Di Francesco on the left wing and Stefano Sensi as deep-lying playmaker. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Week – Round 14 – Juventus


Juventus were the only team to defeat the opponent by multiple goals while also keeping a clean sheet, therefore they get to make an appearance in the club of the week column, something than has been less frequent than one would expect considering they have won 13 out of 14 games. The match was also much more challenging than what the final score indicates.

Massimiliano Allegri chose Mattia De Sciglio to replace the injured Federico Chiesa, but he moved Joao Cancelo to the left flank, so he did not have the burden of dealing with Federico Chiesa, and gave Miralem Pjanic a rare rest day, with Juan Cuadrado deployed as box-to-box midfield. Paulo Dybala completed the triden, tracked back a lot to contribute to the build-up. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Fiorentina


Another second appearance for a team in the club of the week award, as Fiorentina smoked SPAL to return to winning ways after losing in Naples and drawing with Sampdoria in a make-up game. It is early, but they are currently in third position in the standings, while other competitors like Inter, Milan and Roma suffered various degrees of struggling so far.

Stefano Pioli arrayed what is expected to be his go-to line-up this season, with Marko Pjaca as left winger and Marco Benassi, Jordan Veretout and Gerson manning the midfield. Continue reading

Can Minnows SPAL Shock Fiorentina?

With just five games in the books, this clash is between two teams sitting surprisingly high up the table as fourth placed Fiorentina welcome SPAL to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday, the visitors sitting second behind Juventus at this early stage.

They are there on merit however, notching wins over Parma and Atalanta as Coach Leonardo Semplici – a former youth team boss at Fiorentina – continues to shine. His players clearly believe in what they are doing, his well-drilled three-man defence working brilliantly to deny opponents time and space.

That they have conceded just one goal so far this term underlines the effort they have consistently displayed, while they have been dangerous on the counter attack and at set pieces where Semplici’s planning and attention to detail once again comes to the fore. The 51-year-old will have to cope without midfield playmaker Federico Viviani however, meaning Pasquale Schiattarella will likely be given a start in his absence.

Fiorentina have been equally good so far this term however, bouncing back from last weekend’s loss at Napoli with an excellent first half display away to Sampdoria in midweek. They eventually held on for a 1-1 draw, but with first choice goalkeeper Alban Lafont set to return to the side after a two-game absence, the Viola backline should be much stronger this time around.

“Those who were substituted are better but I will decide tomorrow,” Stefano Pioli revealed during his pre-match press conference. “Everything is fine, nobody has had any problems. I could make some changes but I’m yet to confirm the team. [Bartolomej] Dragowski has excellent skills, he has been ready and this leaves me satisfied.However, tomorrow Lafont will play because he’s fine.”

There will be some difficult choices for Stefano Pioli to make in midfield where Gerson – on loan from AS Roma – has been particularly disappointing and he is expected to be dropped in favour of Bryan Dabo for this encounter. Further forward, it remains to be seen whether Marko Pjaca will retain his place on the wing as former Everton man Kevin Mirallas awaits his first start and the Fiorentina boss will also need to hand Giovanni Simeone a rest at some stage with Cyril Théréau looking for a run out.

The same is true for Federico Chiesa, but there are plenty of options for Pioli should he choose this game as the one where he can afford to rotate the side somewhat. One player in excellent form to look out for is right-back Nikola Milenkovic, while on the opposite flank Cristiano Biraghi’s crossing has been a constant source of goal scoring opportunities.

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Lafont; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Biraghi; Dabo, Veretout, Benassi; Chiesa, Simeone, Pjaca

SPAL (3-5-2): Gomis; Cionek, Vicari, Felipe; Lazzarri, Kurtic, Schiattarella, Missiroli, Fares; Petagna, Antenucci

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Serie A Injury and Player Status Updates – Round 5


Juventus: Sami Khedira and Mattia De Sciglio both pulled their hamstrings and are unlikely to be available for the upcoming three games. Douglas Costa was handed a four-game suspension in Serie A and got hurt in Valencia as well, but the test results have yet to be announced. Andrea Barzagli remains out with a calf problem.

Napoli: no significant updates on their long-term injured players, since Alex Meret and Faouzi Ghoulam are still working their way back from an arm and a kneecap fracture. Amin Younes could return sooner rather than later from an Achilles tear. Adam Ounas is out with muscle fatigue. Continue reading