Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 32

Atalanta: everybody is available and perhaps that is one of the reasons behind their success.

Bologna: Stefano Denswil is suspended, while Roberto Soriano won the appeal and will be available. Federico Santander and Andrea Poli should not be out much longer with their thigh strain, while Andreas Skov Olsen returned in the last round. Jerdy Schouten will miss a couple of weeks due to a biceps femoris strain. 

Brescia: Emanuele Ndoj was available against Torino. Jhon Chancellor (thigh) is progressing and is likely to come back at some point, Andrea Cistana is still 50/50 for the season. Continue reading

Three Reasons Behind Roma’s Slump

After a relatively decent first-half to the season, Roma have hit a rough patch and now find themselves six points adrift Atalanta for the fourth and final Champions League spot. Earlier in the year, it appeared the giallorossi were establishing a clear identity under Paulo Fonseca and were building a solid foundation for years to come. However, in recent times, Roma have struggled for results, losing three of their last four clashes and are in free-fall mode.

But how exactly did we get here? Here are three reasons behind Roma’s slump.

1) No Diawara, no party. 

After a great start to the season, Amadou Diawara went down injured at the end of January and is now out for an undisclosed period of time. Alongside Jordan Veretout, the former Napoli man established himself as one of Fonseca’s key players and typically played in the role of regista dictating play from deep. Without him in the lineup, Roma have struggled to build out of the back and have looked defensively suspect. Diawara was central to Fonseca’s system and essentially acted as the lynchpin that tied it all together in the middle.

His replacement, Bryan Cristante, hasn’t exactly performed when called upon and is currently struggling for form. Whether it’s his imprecision on the ball or his inefficiency in front of goal, the downgrade from Diawara to Cristante is hurting Roma.

While Diawara’s return is unknown for now, Fonseca is going to need to find a solution quickly. If not, Roma risk falling out of contention for a Champions League place and could be eliminated from the Europa League.

2) Centre-backs are making routine errors. 

Following Kostas Manolas’ departure to Napoli, many expected the giallorossi to spend big to replace the Greek international. Rather than splashing the cash on a new defender, Roma opted for a low-cost option and loaned Manchester United defender Chris Smalling. The Englishman started the season in phenomenal form and for the first half of the season looked like the signing of the summer. However, in the new year, his good performances quickly faded and began making routine mistakes at the back.

His partner, Gianluca Mancini, has endured a very similar start to 2020. The former Atalanta defender has looked increasingly shaky at the back and devoid of any confidence. In Roma’s most recent games, Mancini has been regularly beaten by his man and hasn’t exactly exhibited confidence. In fact, in the giallorossi’s last three games, they’ve conceded nine goals, losing to Bologna, Sassuolo and direct Champions League rivals Atalanta.

While Mancini and Smalling had great starts to the season and looked more than ready to assume bigger roles, their respective shortcomings have now caught up to them. Much like it was the case in midfield, Roma will regret not reinforcing further this past January.

3) Roma’s attack is filled with “nearly-men” 

While Roma are having no trouble finding the back of the net in this negative run, their front-line remains an inconsistent bunch. This leads to regular rotation and overall incoherence in the final third. On some nights, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under look like world-beaters while other games, they can barely string two passes together. See: Most recent defeat vs. Atalanta.

Nicolo Zaniolo’s injury significantly hampered Roma in this respect, but it’s time one of their youngsters on the cusp steps up and builds a partnership with club veteran Edin Dzeko. Whether it’s Kluivert, Pellegrini or Under, one of them needs to assume more responsibility in the final third. If they are unable to do so, it may be time for the giallorossi to reconsider and in some cases move on from them completely because right now their “nearly-men” are killing them.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 24

Atalanta: newcomer Tomas Sutalo is the only sidelined player, due to an edema in his right foot.

Bologna: Musa Barrow sprained his ankle and Riccardo Orsolini picked up a cut on the knee last week, but they both practiced fully in the last couple of days and should be a full go. Roberto Soriano instead is out due to a bruised thigh. No returns among their previously injured players: Nicola Sansone, Gary Medel, Federico Santander (thigh), Ladislav Krejci (knee) and Mitchell Dijks (foot). Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Derby della Capitale

Napoli-Juventus was likely a little more intense and significant, but it already got extensive coverage in another column, so the nod for match of the round goes to the Derby between Roma and Lazio, which was not exactly one of the ages but always carries gargantuan magnitude.

La Lupa came into the match looking to build on last week’s easy win over Genoa, which had interrupted a two-game slump, while the Eagles were riding a 11-match winning streak that had commenced back in late October. They were coming off a rout against Sampdoria. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 18

Atalanta: Duvan Zapata has resumed practicing fully after his complicate thigh injury and he is fully expected to be available against Parma, but the capacity remains to be determined. Pierluigi Gollini is dealing with the flu.

Bologna: Blerin Dzemaili is under the weather and is out, Federico Santander has recovered from a tibia bruise, while Ladislav Krejci will likely miss another one with a sore knee.

Brescia: Alfredo Donnarumma and Emanuele Ndoj are on the wrong side of questionable due to muscular problems. Bruno Martella joined the long list of sick players this week.  Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 12

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic was handed a two-game suspension for kicking an opponent from behind. Duvan Zapata is not ready to come back from his thigh strain. Robin Gosens is dealing with sciatica. Ruslan Malinovskyi has a sore glute. Remo Freuler is bang up as well and the trio is legitimately questionable. 

Bologna: Roberto Soriano has been ruled out due to a knee bruise, Federico Santander because of a calf one. Takehiro Tomiyasu (thigh), Mitchell Dijks (toe contusion) and Mattia Destro (knee soreness) stay on the shelf. Continue reading

Serie A Round 9 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

After a hotly-contested match-day eight and mid-week European clashes, Serie A returns to action tomorrow when Verona take on Sassuolo. The following day Juve and Inter will be in action against Lecce and Parma respectively, while Roma will take on Milan in this weekend’s marquee match-up. Otherwise, Lazio will look to overcome Fiorentina in what promises to be an enthralling affair.

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

Sami Khedira (MID, Juventus, Value 21.2) – After being surprisingly reinstated in the starting eleven by Maurizio Sarri at the start of the season, Khedira has slowed down and has shown signs of fatigue. Most recently, the German looked out of sorts in Juventus’ Champions League game against Lokomotiv Moscow and was subbed out for Gonzalo Higuain, much to his dismay. These substitutions at the hour-mark have typified Khedira’s season and will arguably continue moving forward. After all, Sarri is a creature of habit as demonstrated throughout his Chelsea stint.

As his minutes get further reduced and Adrien Rabiot’s influence in the side grows, expect Khedira to be rotated out of the lineup. At 21.2 million, you can do better.

Alessio Romagnoli (DEF, Milan, Value 25.9) -The Milan defender has been the only bright spot in the rossoneri’s defence, however, that doesn’t change the fact that his side have struggled in their own third. Most recently, Milan conceded two goals against a newly-promoted Lecce side and looked vulnerable throughout the ninety minutes. With the pressure increasing in Casa Milan, it doesn’t look likely that they’ll resolve their issues anytime soon.

As they are set to take on Roma, expect Milan’s defensive woes to continue, especially considering Edin Dzeko’s return from injury. Until Pioli figures out his best shape and best eleven, it might be best to swap out Romagnoli temporarily from your elevens for a low-cost option.

Gervinho (ATT, Parma, Value 25.9) – The former Arsenal man is in relatively decent form to start the season but has since slowed down for Parma in recent weeks with his last goal coming at the beginning of September. Currently, his teammate and assist leader, Dejan Kulusevski, is Parma’s main creator in the final third and has assumed much of the ball possession in the final third.

Considering Gervinho’s dwindling influence in the final third in addition to his hefty price tag, it’s time to swap the Ivorian out of your fantacalcio side immediately. With Inter coming up, it doesn’t look likely that the winger will get on the score-sheet regardless.

Bryan Cristante (MID, Roma, Value 25.7) – Since Paulo Fonseca has assumed the reigns at Trigoria, Cristante has established himself as a set starter and a crucial figure in the double pivot. Unfortunately, the Italian international recently suffered an injury and could miss a couple of months of action for the giallorossi. Given the uncertainty surrounding his fitness and injury concerns, Cristante should be the first player on your chopping block this week.

Despite the injuries, there is no shortage of options for Fonseca in the middle of the park. As a result, expect the veteran tactician to take his time re-integrating Cristante back into his side.

Nicola Sansone (MID, Napoli, Value 21.3) – Eight appearances, zero goals, one assist – 21.3 million. The numbers aren’t great for Sansone and suggest it may be time to transfer him out of your eleven once you’re finished reading this. Initially seen as a low-cost midfield option, Sansone has since failed to deliver on his fantacalcio hype and has been usurped by Bologna teammate Riccardo Orsolini.

The 22-year-old is quite clearly Bologna’s catalyst in the final third and has shown no signs of slowing down. As a result, Sansone has seen less of the ball and will arguably benefit from a spell on the bench. Buyers beware!

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Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Three

Standings implications: the table is starting to take shape and it has a new leader compared to the past few seasons as, for now, Inter is the only club with nine points after downing Udinese, since Juventus were halted by Fiorentina. Napoli returned to winning ways in convincing fashion against Sampdoria, who instead stay at zero points. Roma allowed Sassuolo to re-open the game but still won by two goals. Lazio dropped an ugly one versus SPAL, but it was not the only surprise win as Lecce shocked Torino on Monday night. It was harder than expected but Milan did best Verona away. Atalanta outlasted Genoa in a thriller, while Bologna mounted a glorious comeback against Brescia. Cagliari surprised Parma on the road.  Continue reading

Underestimate Roma at your own risk

Over the years, Roma have consistently sold the side’s best performers due to constraints imposed by Financial Fair Play. This past summer has been no different in the nation’s capital. Kostas Manolas is already on his way to Napoli, while Edin Dzeko to Inter seems to be a mere formality. Despite the need to balance the books, the giallorossi have still managed to put together an impressive team, and frankly, are a few additions away from being a bonafide top four side next season.

After hiring Paulo Fonseca, a young and progressive tactician, Roma wasted no time and secured Napoli regista Amadou Diawara in the Manolas deal. For just under 20 million euros, the giallorossi signed one of Italy’s most promising young midfielders, and an ideal talent to play at the base of Fonseca’s 4-3-3. Diawara struggled for consistent playing time at Napoli, but will use this move as an opportunity to recreate his past form.

Alongside Diawara, two of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicolo Zaniolo and Bryan Cristante will likely feature. After an initial rough patch, Pellegrini has demonstrated he has what it takes to play for a top club, and has developed into a real menace between the lines in the final third. It also remains to be seen how Fonseca will fit Zaniolo in his setup, but he would compliment Diawara and Pellegrini nicely in a midfield three.

With newcomer Leonardo Spinazzola and club bandiera Alessandro Florenzi getting forward with regularity, expect free-flowing football at the Stadio Olimpico next season. However, for this to happen, Spinazzola will need to stay fit while Florenzi will need to up his game after a sub-par season.

In addition, young players like Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert will be given a new lease on life under Fonseca and will be encouraged to express themselves to the fullest. Under has displayed his talent in glimpses, but needs to maintain his form over the course of an entire season if he’s to be relied upon. Kluivert, by contrast, had an indifferent first season with Roma and will be looking to redeem himself, especially if Stephan El Shaarawy leaves for China as it’s being reported.

Patrik Schick is another player who could benefit from Fonseca’s appointment. Since arriving at the club, the Czech international has looked devoid of any confidence, and has struggled to impose himself. In his breakout season with Sampdoria, the striker netted 11 goals in just 14 starts; a pattern of form Roma will be eager for the 23-year-old to recreate.

While Roma fans will be feeling hard done by their recent sales, at the very least the club is moving forward with a clear direction in mind. At the moment, their squad is young, vibrant and full of Italian talents on the upswing. Given Fonseca’s past experience with Shakhtar, he seems to be the ideal candidate to lead the giallorossi in the next phase of their rebuild. If recent reports are to be believed and Roma add a quality centre-back, don’t be surprised to see the giallorossi high up the table challenging Italy’s elite. Underestimate them at your own peril.

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Serie A Transfer Market Weekly Recap

dilorenzo

The transfer market has yet to officially open, but the teams are free to announce the transfers if they reach agreement. Napoli made official the purchase of Giovanni Di Lorenzo from Empoli, who was a revelation in his rookie season in Serie A. The 25-year-old right back registered five goals and three assists, proving to have high motor and to be very capable on the offensive end. Carlo Ancelotti likes to rotate his fullbacks and he figures to fit in well tactically. Defensive staple Elseid Hysaj is likely to be on his way out as suggested by some of his recent words.

In the past few days, Fiorentina sold reserve midfielder Christian Norgaard to Brentford, while Sampdoria acquired the defensive prospect Julian Chabot from Groningen, whom is worth keeping an eye considering the centre-backs they launched in recent time. Continue reading