Napoli-Parma: there is great curiosity to see what immediate changes Gennaro Gattuso will bring to the table. In his introductory presser, he hinted that he is going to use 4-3-3, which would lead to few duels up front. The first order of business will have to be reviving Lorenzo Insigne, who has not fared well in a long time, while Dries Mertens is in a domestic slump but has done some damage in Europe. Arkadiusz Milik came back midweek and he looked like a million bucks and he was en fuego before getting injured. He should be front and center in the new project. The new tactic would see José Callejon and Hirving Lozano alternate and the Mexican winger has abated after a decent stretch. It would give Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz more freedom and the Polish midfielder finally broke through last week. Giovanni Di Lorenzo is trending back up after a period of lull.
Juventus-Sassuolo: Cristiano Ronaldo came back midweek and now it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be load managed in Serie A player after the knee injury. Nevertheless, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have been excellent in relief and have been able to contribute also when coming off the bench in their standard configuration. Douglas Costa got hurt again, which takes away their most explosive option at no.10, so it will Federico Bernardeschi and Aaron Ramsey running the show there for a while, but they both have not done damage in a while. Ramsey has the most upside in the duo. Khedira is fading and, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi are serviceable contributors, they are not strong fantasy options. It could be instead the right kind of match-up for Miralem Pjanic to have a meaningful offensive role, while Juan Cuadrado has been a pretty good fullback for a while now. Continue reading
Lecce-Juventus: the Salentini have weirdly been better away than at home, but, in any case, they are set to be pesky in most of the contests due to their daring style. While Gianluca Lapadula was out nursing an injury, Khouma Babacar proved to be a better reference point for the offense, even though he is unlikely to be particularly consistent in terms of scoring. With his latest performance, Diego Farias is seriously threating the starting job of Filippo Falco, who has not been able to produce despite starting in the eight matches. Marco Mancosu has instead bagged four goals, three on penalties, and he is always lurking as the trailer. Andrea Tabanelli is the other midfield tasked with meaningful offensive duties, while left back Marco Calderoni has found the target twice from distance so far. Continue reading
Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri have not been very spectacular in the last two matches against minnows, but they got the job done with the contribution of few different players. Cristiano Ronaldo has shaken off his injury and will be back in this one, Paulo Dybala has outperformed Gonzalo Higuain in the last couple of outings, but the latter is usually closer to the goal. Aaron Ramsey has been pretty good and they could carry on with the tactics where he is heavily featured, but it remains to be seen whether he can play thrice in a row, otherwise Adrien Rabiot or Federico Bernardeschi could get the nod there and reap the benefits of a very offensive role. They have gotten goals from Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, even though Sami Khedira is generally the midfielder who is most involved in the offense. Juan Cuadrado loses some steam because he is forced to play as right back for the time being. Continue reading
Bartlomiej Dragowski (7 points): he came through time and time for Empoli against Fiorentina, helping them keep a rare clean sheet with various great saves on attempts and the final one on a Dusan Vlahovic’s point-blank header was simply a thigh of beauty.
Felipe (13 points): he is the second defender to bag two goals in the same game after Merih Demiral managed few rounds back. He took advantage of Chievo’s abysmal defending on set pieces to perforate them first with a header and then with a tap-in after settling the ball in a rather fortuitous way. Continue reading
There were not quite fireworks in the last week on the transfer market, which saw the minnows complete a fully of moves to try to bolster their squads. After selling Krzysztof Piatek, Genoa were one of the most active one, as they added Chievo centre-piece Ivan Radovanovic and Lukas Lerager from Bordeaux to revamp their midfield and Andràs Schafer to have one more alternative on the flanks. The first two could be regular starters, especially because Sandro was sent to Udinese. Boca Juniors long chased Atalanta’s José-Luis Palomino, but they had to settle for Lisandro Lopez. Continue reading
Even though it is just the first match day, teams are already dealing with a number of injuries.
Juventus: Leonardo Spinazzola tore his ACL in Spring and will be out until October at best. Mattia De Sciglio is dealing with a minor muscular problem.
Napoli: Alex Meret fractured a finger a couple of weeks ago and will miss at least the first game. Faouzi Ghoulam is expected to resume practicing in a month after a follow-up procedure on his broken kneecap. Amin Younes tore his Achilles tendon right before the summer and it is unclear how long he will be out for. Continue reading
A clear-cut choice this week for game of the week, as Lazio-Inter was simply one of the most dramatic and flat-out best matches of the season and obviously had a lot of stake. The Nerazzurri had just one result to qualify to the next Champions League and they had to win on the road against a team that has arguably performed better all year long. However, showing great character and determination and seizing the opportunities presented to them, they were successful. Continue reading
Some of the most recognizable players risks being out in the upcoming round, here are the updates on everybody’s conditions.
Juventus: Miralem Pjanic is trying to recover for the big match against Napoli after skipping one due to a hamstring contracture and there are good chances he will be able to. Same for Mario Mandzukic, who was unavailable in Crotone due to gastroenteritis. Stefano Sturaro has a sore Achilles tendon, Mattia De Sciglio is out with a foot injury.
There were a pair of crackers in the midweek round and certainly the clutch comeback by Napoli against Udinese would have been a worthy choice, but the nod has to go to Fiorentina-Lazio, which was simply bonkers.
The Viola approached the game riding an eight-game undefeated streak, while their series of victories was snapped by a nil-nil with Spal in the weekend. The Biancocelesti collected a scoreless draw in the derby and had won the previous two games, against Udinese and Benevento.