Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18

Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg  better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 17 vs Sampdoria

A low-wattage, at times too complacent performance for Juventus against Sampdoria, but it was enough to come away with W in a tricky spot without breaking too much of a sweat.

Alex Sandro (4 points): he was the goat on the conceded goal with not one but two botched clearances, but he literally made up for it on the other end by dishing out two assists on pretty sweet crosses. The back-line as a whole looked out of sorts when forced to defend in the box, which was strange because the four defenders each had okay outings and the opponents were pretty toothless. Something was off in its choral mechanisms, perhaps because the foursome had never appeared together before. Merih Demiral stood out again for his overwhelming physicality, which sometimes works against him in some situations where he should be more careful and not run over adversaries. Leonardo Bonucci brought the usual command and leadership, while Danilo put in a decent shift. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 16

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.

Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 14

Atalanta: Luis Muriel and Hans Hateboer subbed off due to knocks on the knee in Champions League, but there is optimism they will be able to play Saturday. Duvan Zapata flew to Spain for further check-ups on his thigh and will remain sidelined. Rafael Toloi is suspended. Simon Kjaer has been ruled out due to fatigue. 

Bologna: Mattia Destro is improving after his knee problem and could be called up, while Mitchell Dijks (toe) and Roberto Soriano (knee) are having troubles absorbing edemas. The midfielder is actually at risk of missing all the December games. Federico Santander is nursing a thigh strain. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic lost the appeal so he will serve the second game of his suspension. Ruslan Malinovskyi is disqualified as well. Duvan Zapata is not ready after missing time with a thigh strain despite the early optimism, while Luis Muriel and Remo Freuler, who picked up some muscular ailments with their national teams, should be fine. 

Bologna: Mattia Bani and Danilo are banned. Takehiro Tomiyasu is poised to come back from a thigh strain, while Federico Santander suffered the same injury few days ago and will miss three weeks. Roberto Soriano and Mitchell Dijks will miss another one due to a knee and toe edema respectively, also Mattia Destro remains on the shelf due to knee soreness. Continue reading

Ronaldo closes case and Juventus injury updates

After the win over Luxembourg, which allowed Portugal to punch their ticket to Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo put a bow to the controversy surrounding him recently in an interview with A Bola: “I have been limited by an injury in the past three weeks. There was not any polemic on my part, but it is true that I do not like to sub off. I have tried to help Juventus playing through it and was taken out in the last two matches. Nobody likes that, but I understand because I was not 100 percent.” Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round Nine vs Lecce

Juventus could not cash in on a slew of scoring opportunities and were hence held to a tie by a tenacious Lecce side after the two teams traded soft penalties at the beginning of the second half.

Alex Sandro: since the lineup that did not initially feature Juan Cuadrado, he had the green light to attack more and he exploited it, even though the results were not too spectacular. He gets the nod in particular for the brilliant long-ball to spring Federico Bernardeschi loose on the best action of the second half. Danilo was ordinary on the other flank. The back-line was barely challenged this one and Matthijs De Ligt was unfortunate on the penalty call, differently from the one against Inter. If nothing else, both him and Leonardo Bonucci had good chances on the end but joined the goal-wasting party. Continue reading

Juventus Top Perfomers – UCL Round Three vs Lokomotiv Moscow

Almost one of those nights for Juventus against an extremely diligent Lokomotiv Moscow, but two flashes in the dark by Paulo Dybala allowed them to down the adversary, paving the way for a serene continuation in the Champions League group stage.

Alex Sandro: conceding in this one was inexcusable considering that the Russian side barely attacked. The Brazilian fullback was the only one not to take part on the collective mistake that led to the goal, where Matthijs De Ligt was beaten in the air and especially Leonardo Bonucci was too soft. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round Eight vs Bologna

Juventus appeared in cruise control for most of the Bologna game, even when they were not actually winning and the contest demanded a bit more focus on intensity. The dagger did not arrive despite plenty of possession and few juicy chances in the second half, but the three points did, maintaining the perfect record at home and the lead in the standings.

Alex Sandro: other than that improbable volley by Danilo, the back-line was pretty stifling tonight and conceded something only late, when the Felsinei were attacking furiously. Sandro had the most demanding task, but managed to hold in check Riccardo Orsolini and often took it to him phisically. He also produced the early run that led to the initial goal. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round Eight

Robin Olsen: he is putting together a nice bounce-back season after having a rough go with Roma in the previous campaign. He is not as good as Alessio Cragno, but he could take advantage of the fact that SPAL are still scoreless after three road games.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo: the move to a bigger club has not hurt him, on the contrary it has raised his profile and helped him earn an Azzurri call-up. He has scored once and provided one assist so far, entrenching himself as a valuable part of the offense. It does not hurt that Verona usually have trouble scoring. Continue reading