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

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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

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 37

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Sassuolo-Roma: the Neroverdi were handed their first loss since April last week by Torino, even though they certainly put up a fight, despite not being in need of points. The Giallorossi defeated Juventus with a late surge, garnering their fourth win in the last six rounds, tying in the other two and staying close to the fourth spot. Sassuolo have found the target in five of the last six rounds and La Lupa have not been great defensively on the road: they have spread the wealth around since Domenico Berardi was the only one to bag one in multiple matches. Jeremie Boga, Stefano Sensi, Manuel Locatelli and all the defenders contributed scoring-wise: Boga and Sensi have been their most lively contributors in the last few fixtures. The Giallorossi are getting a lot from Stephan El Shaarawy and Edin Dzeko, while the latest tactical change, if confirmed, would help the likes of Nicolò Zaniolo, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert, as the last two would see more minutes. Lorenzo Pellegrini is iffy due to a thigh ailment and his absence could allow Bryan Cristante to have a big role.

Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Genoa vs Roma

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Some other games were more high scoring, but Genoa-Roma carried some meaning for both teams, was end-to-end stuff for ninety plus minutes and also featured an insane ending.

The Rossoblù came into the match trying to nab their first W in six rounds, where they had lost four times, and thus avoid sliding too close to the fire, while Roma, who had prevailed in three of their previous four fixtures, were gunning for heavy points in the Champions League race. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 34

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Juventus: Giorgio Chiellini has good chances to be back from a calf contracture and Martin Caceres from a thigh strain, while Douglas Costa (calf). Paulo Dybala (quad) and Mario Mandzukic (knee) will not be back this week. Rodrigo Bentancur has been ruled out with muscle fatigue.

Napoli: Raul Albiol is expected to return after missing time following a knee clean-up surgery. Vlad Chiriches hurt his shoulder in the last game and will undergo surgery, while Nikola Maksimovic and Amadou Diawara are nursing foot issues. Adam Ounas skipped the last two games due to a muscular ailment, but he is back in the squad list. Allan and Lorenzo Insigne are both fatigued and have been ruled out.  Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 22

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Juventus: Giorgio Chiellini suffered a calf pull that should force him to miss a couple of games. Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira returned in Coppa Italia, while Mario Mandzukic (ankle) is expected to be available this week. Emre Can is ill but available.

Napoli: Fabian Ruiz is suspended. Raul Albiol and Elseid Hysaj are fatigued, while Adam Younes is banged up: the first two have called up, the winger has not.

Inter: Matteo Politano was slapped with a two-game ban. Stefan De Vrij is dealing with some muscle fatigue, but he has been called up, while Balde Keita remains out.  Continue reading

Atalanta and Sampdoria: Serie A’s Party Crashers

Every season there’s one team in Serie A that pushes above their weight and vies for European football among the league’s elite. With Lazio, Milan and Roma all fighting for top four this year, they all seem to have forgotten about Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta and Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria. Both sides have been in excellent form playing impressive football and have now entered the Champions League race without making too much of a fuss. Right now, the five teams are separated by a mere three points going into a crucial stage of the season.

Led by the eternal Fabio Quagliarella, who has now scored in 11 consecutive games equalling Gabriel Batistuta’s record in the process, Sampdoria find themselves just two points back behind fourth place Milan. Giampaolo has been able to get the most out of his men in his preferred ‘Christmas Tree’ formation (4-3-1-2) and has since attracted interest from the peninsula’s elite for his good work. Insisting on possession football and building patiently, the blucerchiati have dominated the opposition at times, and have proven to be a match for any team in the league.

While Quagliarella is the one bagging the goals, the impressive work done by midfield dynamos Dennis Praet and Karol Linetty should not go unnoticed. Juventus loanee Emil Audero has also manned the sticks wonderfully in his debut season in Serie A, especially with the veteran presence of Lorenzo Tonelli in front of him.

Atalanta, on the other hand, have played some explosive football this season and lead the league in scoring with 47 goals. In fact, gli Orobici have found the back of the net 16 times in their last four league games, three of which coming most recently in their comeback against Roma on the weekend. With Duvan Zapata flanked by Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic, Gasperini’s side posses arguably one of the world’s most underrated front-lines. Zapata is currently on 15 goals on the season and has now scored in Atalanta’s last nine games in all competitions.

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