Match-day 21 saw Italy’s top three all drop points with Juventus picking up their second loss of the season against Napoli. Despite this, Lazio and Inter weren’t able to capitalize and drew their games against Roma and Cagliari respectively. This week, Italy’s top sides will all be looking to return to winning ways as Juve will host Fiorentina and Lazio take on SPAL. Inter, by contrast, will look to beat Udinese.
With match-day 22 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your elevens. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Gonzalo Higuain (FWD, Juventus, Value 15.43 ) – After a storming start to the season, the former Real Madrid man has slowed down and has looked fatigued when given a starting role. Against Fiorentina, expect Sarri to use Higuain off the bench rather than from the start. The Juve hitman failed to create anything of note against Napoli on the weekend and looked sluggish in and out of possesion. As a result, a spell on the sidelines could prove to be exactly what the doctor ordered.
At 15.43M, let’s face it, you can do better than Higuain. After all, he’ll feature mostly off the bench as the season draws to a close.
Armando Izzo (DEF, Torino, Value 13.00 ) – The Torino man had an outing to forget against Gian Piero Gasperini’s high-flying Atalanta and got sent off in a 7-0 defeat. Izzo, a defender typically known for his solidity and imposing physique, has looked off the pace recently and could use the weekend off. With the red, he frankly has no choice.
Torino have also had a week to forget conceding a further four goals against Milan in their most recent Coppa Italia defeat. That’s eleven goals in two games. As a result, you would be wise to temporarily swap out the veteran defender out of your sides.
Domenico Criscito (DEF, Genoa, 7.93 Value ) – Much like Izzo, Criscito had a weekend to forget. While Genoa’s scoreless draw against Fiorentina wasn’t the worst result all things considered, it could have been much more for the Grifoni. Criscito was handed a golden opportunity from the spot to gift his side a crucial three points, but much to his dismay spurned the spot-kick. It was his first penalty miss of the season and came at a painfully unfortunate time.
With Genoa stuck in the relegation zone, Criscito will need to rise to the occasion and deliver captain-like performances. For now, however, his stock is low.
Lautaro Martinez (FWD, Inter, Value 18.95 ) – Despite his goal on the weekend, Martinez makes the list. The month of January has been a frustrating one for Conte’s men as they have dropped points against Cagliari, Lecce, and Atalanta. All draws that might come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
The frustration arguably hit a boiling point against the Sardinians as Martinez let his anger get the best of him and was sent off deep into stoppage-time. He was subsequently suspended for Inter’s next two games. The nerazzurri will now have to make do without his services for the foreseeable future at a crucial time in their season. While Martinez features in most fantacalcio sides and rightfully so, keep an eye on the Argentine international’s progression over the next few weeks.
Rodrigo De Paul (MID, Udinese, Value 13.44) – The Udinese man has failed to follow up last season’s impressive exploits and has struggled in Friuli. While Udinese lack creativity and alternative options in the final third, De Paul has shied away from responsibility and was anonymous in his side’s most recent defeats against Parma and Milan.
While Udinese are relatively safe from the drop, De Paul will need to step up if he foresees a big-money move in the summer.
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