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 ready after missing time with a thigh strain, while Luis Muriel and Remo Freuler, who picked up some muscular ailments with their national teams, should be okay. Muriel has been called up, while Zapata has not.

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

Big Week Ahead For Sarri and Juventus

With Juventus set to take on Bayer Leverkusen and Inter this week, it’s the bianconeri’s first real tests of the season since the Napoli clash. In recent weeks, the Italian champions have impressed and have begun showing positive signs that Sarriball is well and truly on its way.

However, Hellas Verona, Brescia and SPAL aren’t exactly the fiercest of challengers and will likely all be near the relegation zone come the season’s end. As a result, the following week will act as the all-important litmus test: Are Juventus real Champions League contenders under Maurizio Sarri and can they keep their Serie A crown?

After going with the 4-3-3 for the early goings of the Serie A season, Sarri went back to his roots and has deployed the more narrow 4-3-1-2 over Juventus’ last three games. This is a formation that the former Chelsea boss used throughout his time with Empoli with great success. In the absence of Douglas Costa, the bianconeri lack wide players capable of beating their men in the final third. While Juan Cuadrado has been a pleasant surprise since returning to the fold, Federico Bernardeschi has disappointed.

The former Fiorentina man frankly lacks the pace to be an out-and-out winger and has looked poor in the early stages of this season. Sarri has even claimed in a recent press conference that Bernardeschi’s future is arguably from a deeper, more central role in midfield as a mezz’ala. 

The formation change has also coincided with Paulo Dybala’s return to form. Since switching to the ‘Christmas Tree’ formation, the former Palermo man has played an integral role in the buildup and has looked incredibly dangerous between the lines. Linking up with either Cristiano Ronaldo or Gonzalo Higuain, la Joya is not far off his brilliant best.

Outside of Dybala’s return to form, this formation also suits new arrival Aaron Ramsey. Playing in an advanced role, the Welsh international is able to infiltrate the opposition’s defence with late runs into the box. Since returning from injury, Ramsey has been in sensational form and is establishing himself as a key piece to Sarriball.

Equally capable of running behind the defence as he is playing neat touches in tight spaces, Ramsey is the missing piece in Juventus’ eleven. With Miralem Pjanic, Adrien Rabiot and Sami Khedira behind him, the Turin-based giants are now capable of fielding a blend of skill and tenacity in the middle of the park.

Defensively, Juventus are showing improvements, as Matthijs de Ligt is growing every week alongside Leonardo Bonucci. While their fullback crisis is worrying, Alex Sandro has had a phenomenal start to the season and will look to continue that this week.

With Leverkusen and a top-of-the-table clash against Inter on the horizon, Juventus are going to need to continue familiarizing themselves with their new formation and manager’s playing philosophy. As their performances keep improving, it’s clear Sarriball is well on its way. With Juventus’ new arrivals blending in nicely with Ronaldo and co. it’s only a matter of time before free-flowing football is the norm in Turin.

Pick your stars and compete with other Fantasy Managers at www.fantasy-champions-league.com

Serie A Injury and Suspensions Report – Round Six

Atalanta: Luis Muriel is dealing with tonsillitis and his recovery for the weekend is uncertain.

Bologna: Danilo could be back from his thigh strain in this round, while Mitchell Dijks is very likely to miss another one due to a rib injury.

Brescia: Giangiacomo Magnani, Emanuele Ndoj (ankle) and Ernesto Torregrossa (quad) are expected to stay on the mend. Mario Balotelli has a minor neck problem. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round Four

Gianluigi Buffonhe is rumoured to be getting the first start since coming back and Juventus have a good opportunity for a clean sheet against Verona. The previously indicated Alex Meret is in strong form but he might be rested this week ahead of the midweek round.

Diego Godin: Inter’s defense has been as advertised and should continue to grow as it gels after some absences. They could take advantage of the fact that Milan have not figured out the proper combinations up front yet. He is coming off an assist and it would not be surprising to see him solve a big game or two with his headers. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Week – Round 1

Jesse Joronen (7 points): some imperfections for the newcomer, but also, and more importantly, two massive and decisive saves on menacing attempts by Joao Pedro and Artur Ionita late in the game that secured a surprising Brescia win in Cagliari.

Giorgio Chiellini (9 points): the grizzled veteran decided the Juventus’ season-opener in Parma with a sly deflection in a scrum on a botched shot by a teammate. Then the usual reliable work on the other end.

Rodrigo Becao (9 points): he could not have asked for a better Serie A debut as he often bounced Krzysztof Piatek off his tracks with his physicality and buried the game-winning goal with a tremendous header. Continue reading