Serie A Round 13 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and it’s now time to look ahead at this weekend’s clashes with a particular focus on your fantacalcio sides. In this weekend’s big clashes, Juventus are travelling to Bergamo to take on Atalanta while a struggling Napoli side will be locking horns with Milan. Otherwise, Antonio Conte’s Inter will be looking to keep the pressure on Juve with a win against Torino.

With match-day 13 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Adrien Rabiot (MID, Juventus, Value 4.5) – The French midfielder has struggled for playing time and continuity since joining Juventus and will likely be sidelined for a couple more games through injury. When the former PSG man joined the Italian champions, much was expected from him. With Juventus struggling for technical options in the middle of the park, many thought Rabiot was a perfect fit for Sarri. Since the beginning of the season, however, the former Chelsea tactician has opted for the veteran presences of Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira in his place.

As a result of his lack of playing time, rumours have surfaced that Rabiot is looking at alternatives across Europe. Despite his low price-tag, keep him out of your sides for the foreseeable future.

Dries Mertens (ST, Napoli, Value 13.93) – The Napoli hitman started off the season in sensational form but has since slowed down in recent weeks. With a player revolution on the cards in southern Italy, expect Napoli’s woes to continue. While Milan haven’t exactly epitomized defensive solidity, their most recent performance against Juventus was encouraging and they’ll look to continue that against Napoli.

Given Ancelotti’s wide range of options on the bench, be-it through Fernando Llorente or Arkadiusz Milik, it’s possible Mertens is subbed out early if his indifferent form continues. At 13.93M, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere for now.

Nikola Milenkovic (DEF, Fiorentina, Value 18.69) – After a good run of form, Vincenzo Montella’s viola have been brought back down to earth. Following their 1-1 draw against Parma, Fiorentina took on a high-flying Cagliari side and got dominated from the first minute, losing 5-2. While they are favourites on paper against Hellas Verona, the newly-promoted side have demonstrated that they are no pushovers scoring goals against Inter and Juventus.

Factor in their defensive commitment and this won’t be an easy game for Fiorentina. Given Milenkovic’s elevated price-tag and his side’s recent struggles at the back, you would be wise to temporarily swap him out of your fantacalcio sides.

Luis Muriel (ST, Atalanta, Value 16.49) – The Colombian striker, much like Mertens, started the season in top form and was finding the back of the net with ease. However, in recent times, his goalscoring touch has left him and he hasn’t scored in his last three games. With a game against Juventus on deck, it won’t get much easier for Muriel.

The bianconeri have conceded the least amount of goals in Italy and have looked increasingly solid at the back as the weeks have passed. Despite Atalanta’s free-scoring nature, expect this game to be a tight affair. As a result, it’s difficult to justify Muriel’s 16.49M price-tag.

Mario Balotelli (ST, Brescia, Value 6.96) - Supermario hasn’t enjoyed the best of times since his homecoming and has struggled to find the back of the net this season. In addition to his goalscoring woes, Balotelli was recently racially abused by Hellas Verona’s faithful; abuse that has reportedly weighed on the former Milan man even beyond the pitch. 

This week, Balotelli also had a training dispute with new manager Fabio Grosso and was sent home early. Considering all these factors, it appears Balotelli needs time to regain his focus. At 6.96M, it’s worth looking into other low-cost options.

How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

Time for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to wake up from hibernation and join in the fun at Lazio

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Lazio passed their autumn test with flying colours.

A demanding run of league fixtures between the October and November international breaks, interspersed with Europa League outings, promised to be the make-or-break moment of the season for Simone Inzaghi’s side after a mixed start.

It’s safe to say that taking 13 points from a possible 15 in games against Atalanta, Fiorentina, Torino, Milan and Lecce exceeded expectations.

Not only that, but it left the Biancocelesti in third place, albeit on goal difference, restoring their Champions League dream. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13

Atalanta-Juventus: after producing at an historic pace through the first ten weeks, the Goddess failed to score in their last two matches against Sampdoria and Cagliari. Josip Ilicic and Ruslan Malinovskyi are suspended, but the Slovenian attacker has appealed, but they will get a boost from the return of Duvan Zapata, who is expected to feature at least in limited capacity. He notched six goals in seven appearances before getting hurt. Luis Muriel is no longer red-hot, as he has not found the target in the last three rounds, but he will be again their main scoring option from the jump. Alejandro Gomez is going through something similar, but he always has loads of potential as an assist-man. Mario Pasalic is likely to move to the hole and he can pretty sneaky there. Robin Gosens has been their best wing-back so far, but also Timothy Castagne has hit the net once. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Week – Round 11

Cagliari snatched by far the best win over the weekend, toppling Atalanta away while keeping a clean sheet and therefore they easily take home in this matchday.

They came into the match riding an eight-game undefeated streak, but they had equalized three times in the last five fixtures. Rolando Maran gave a day off to Luca Cigarini and Nahitan Nandez in the midfield and started Christian Oliva and Lucas Castro, while Ragnar Klavan and Charalampos Lykogiannis filled in for the absent Luca Ceppitelli and Luca Pellegrini in the back. Fabrizio Cacciatore returned to the XI over Paolo Faragò. Continue reading

What to Watch For in Serie A: Round 8

Round 8 sees a jam-packed schedule of Serie A fixtures coming our way out of the international break, with plenty of fascinating storylines to sort through.

Let’s break down what you should be watching for this weekend around Italy’s top flight. Continue reading

Lazio need Joaquin Correa to sharpen his blunt edges – and fast

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As he watched his penalty cannon off the crossbar, Joaquin Correa’s head sank into his hands.

He wanted this – no, he needed this – to go in.

Correa desperately wanted to dedicate a goal to his grandmother, who passed away recently.

He wanted to be the man to secure a hard-fought win for Lazio against Bologna, after seeing his side come back from behind twice.

But most of all, he needed the goal to help change the narrative that has been building this season: that the Argentine lacks a clinical edge.

Continue reading

Serie A Round 8 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and gave us fantacalcio managers some much-need time to step away from our teams and evaluate where it’s all gone wrong…or right! However, don’t get too comfortable as the next game-week is already upon us. Lazio will be hosting Atalanta in what promises to be an exciting clash, while Stefano Sensi returns to Sassuolo with Inter. Otherwise, Juventus take on a fiery Bologna side at the Allianz Stadium.

With match-day eight upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Allan (MID, Napoli, Value 13.9) – The Napoli midfielder has struggled for consistency this season and looks set for a period on the sidelines. Considering Eljif Elmas’ and Fabian Ruiz’ good form, expect the Brazilian to be rotated out of the eleven. While Allan is important for what he does off the ball for the partenopei, it doesn’t benefit you in Fantasy Serie A. The 28-year-old is also a yellow card risk costing you points and has already picked up two cautions on the season.

At 13.9 million euros, look elsewhere for your midfield.

Fabio Quagliarella (ATT, Sampdoria, Value 17.7) – Sampdoria are currently a club in disarray and sit in last place in the standings. Having just fired Eusebio Di Francesco, it will take some time for Claudio Ranieri to get the blucerchiati firing on all cylinders again. After the international break, Sampdoria host Paulo Fonseca’s Roma, in what promises to be yet another difficult clash for them. Fabio Quagliarella has struggled as a result of the chaos in Genoa and has only found the back of the net once this season, albeit in a 4-1 loss against Sassuolo. Much like it was the case last season, it was from the spot.

Given Sampdoria’s recent issues and Quagliarella’s inefficiency in front of goal, it would be wise to temporarily swap the 36-year-old out of your elevens. At least until Ranieri steadies the ship.

Cristian Zapata (DEF, Genoa, Value 17.7) – After a positive start to the season, the defender has struggled for form and has seen his Genoa side slide down the table to 19th. In addition to not getting the results, I Grifoni’s defence has looked porous, conceding goals at will. If that weren’t enough to drop him from your side, Zapata is an aggressive defender and is unafraid to slide into a tackle. Currently, the 33-year-old is on three yellow cards, costing your crucial fantasy points in the process.

At 17.7 million euros, it’s time you bid adieu to Zapata and remove him from your eleven once and for all. It doesn’t look like things are getting any better in Genoa anytime soon.

Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 26.8) - Let’s get something straight. Zapata has been in sensational form this season and would never have made this list if it wasn’t for his recent injury while on international duty. He’s currently among the top fantacalcio point earners alongside Ciro Immobile and has picked up from where he left off last season.

However, his recent injury will reportedly sideline him for a minimum of three weeks. Given Atalanta’s wide array of attacking options, they have no pressure to force him back into action anytime before that. As a result of this in addition to his inflated price-tag, it would be wise to move him out of your roster for the next three game-weeks at least.

Christian Kouamé (ATT, Genoa, Value 24.5) – Yet another player from the Genovese clubs makes this list as Kouamé has struggled for form in recent weeks. After a positive start to the season that saw him notch three goals, the attacker has tailed off and has been inefficient in the eighteen-yard box. Much like Sampdoria, Genoa are currently a club in disarray, who’s manager’s future is in danger. Given the uncertainty surrounding the club, expect Kouamé’s goalscoring woes to continue.

At 24.5 million euros, it’s time to move on from the talented young man.

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On the Rise: Dejan Kulusevski

When Dejan Kulusevski was loaned to Parma from his parent club Atalanta not much was made of the move. Given gli Orobici’s wide array of attacking talents, many thought the young Swede was just another player who would go out on perennial loan spells before being sold. However, since joining Parma, the 19-year-old has established himself as a set starter and is a crucial piece to their front-three. But who exactly is Kulusevski?

Having grown up in Atalanta’s youth ranks after joining from his boyhood club Brommapojkarna, the 19-year-old got a comprehensive footballing education in Bergamo for three years. After all, Atalanta’s youth system is highly regarded and is viewed as one of the best in Italy. Last January, Kulusevski made his debut for Gian Piero Gasperini’s men in a 5-0 drubbing of Frosinone. The 19-year-old would make another two appearances before the season came to a close.

Given his lack of playing time and gli Orobici’s depth in the final third, Atalanta decided it was best to loan him out to Parma. With I Crociati, Kulusevski has been able to play regular minutes and has impressed this season. Typically fielded on the right-wing alongside Roberto Inglese and Gervinho, the 19-year-old is able to combine his pace and keen eye for goal to devastating effect.

In many ways, Roberto D’Aversa’s counter-attacking system suits Kulusevski’s qualities and makes the most of his talents. Given his success in this system, it’s only a matter of time before Gasperini calls him back and adds him to his arsenal of weapons.

In addition to being a goalscoring threat, Kulusevski has been Parma’s main creator this season, averaging 2.1 key passes per game. Given the freedom to roam between the lines and filter in centrally, the Parma man is able to make the most of his vision. After all, when he first started his career, he was initially an attacking midfielder.

In his seven appearances this season, Kulusevski is already up to three assists and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Moreover, he’s currently responsible for over 30 per cent of his side’s key passes and expected assists, highlighting his importance to D’Aversa.

In the most recent international break, the young forward played as a striker in U21 Sweden’s 5-0 win. From a central position, Kulusevski punished the Icelandic defence, continuing his impressive form and notching a brace. In the past, he also represented Macedonia at the youth levels but eventually chose Sweden.

Currently, Parma sit in 12th place on nine points and will be taking on Genoa after the international break comes to a close. I Grifoni have struggled this season and will be a good opportunity for Kulusevski to keep the positive streak going.

Beyond this season, Kulusevski appears primed for a return to his parent club Atalanta and join Gasperini’s free-scoring side. Given his qualities, the young Swedish international seems a match made in heaven with Gasperini.

As it is the case for any young talent, it’s all about maintaining this level of play beyond a few games. If his recent displays are anything to go by, it shouldn’t be a problem for Kulusevski.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for it play www.fantasyseriea.com

 

Serie A Team of the Round – Atalanta

Even though they did not succeed in getting a shut-out victory due to a cheap consolation goal, Atalanta were quite clearly the most dominant Serie A club of the weekend, as they torched Lecce.

They were hosting their first real home game of the season, as they had been playing in Parma in Serie A and at San Siro in Champions League so far. Their new and improved arena, which is now named after the naming sponsor Gewiss, features a Westfalelnsatdion-like Curva. Continue reading

The facts behind the figures: What we’ve learned about Lazio from the Serie A salary report

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At the start of the week, La Gazzetta dello Sport published its annual breakdown of each Serie A club’s wage bill for the season ahead.

Much of the reaction to the article has focused on Juventus’ massive financial advantage over the rest of Italy and the impact the summer mercato has had on Inter’s spending.

But there were plenty of intriguing sub-plots to be found behind the figures, not least at Lazio. For example…

On paper, a top-four finish would be an over-achievement…

This is by no means a secret, but the gulf in wage spend between Lazio and the teams they are expected to compete with for a top four place this season is significant.  Continue reading