Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 19 – Remaining Games

BENEVENTO-TORINO

Benevento: they surely had a weird faux pas versus Crotone for a team that had been mostly steady so far. Moreover, their most prolific guy as of late, Marco Sau, got sent off from the bench and the always lively Roberto Insigne hurt his ankle, which makes him very questionable for this match. The only positive note was that Iago Falque managed to return after a long time on the shelf and bagged a lovely goal, the first of his campaign, but he has generally fared well whenever available to play. He remains an option even though the coach stated that he is not ready to start. The injuries could thrust him into a major role this one, while Gianluca Caprari, who was banged up going into the previous contest, will surely return to the XI: he is their leading scorer with four goal. Gianluca Lapadula is their tip of the spear but has not hit the net since early November. With Pasquale Schiattarella and Gaetano Letizia missing, Riccardo Improta and Artur Ionita are set to be their secondary playmakers, but they have not picked up many bonuses so far. Aggressive midfielder Andres Tello could have a big role as well. Continue reading

Cagliari 0-2 AC Milan: Three things we learned as Ibrahimovic brace seals important win

Milan restored their three-point margin at the top of the Serie A standings this evening, beating Cagliari by two goals to nil away from home. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the big hero with a brace and despite a red card in the second half, the Rossoneri managed to hold on and secure another clean sheet. 

It didn’t take long for Ibrahimovic to get back on the scoresheet, winning a penalty after just six minutes. Although Franck Kessie is the penalty taker, the Swede felt confident and decided to take it himself. A good decision, as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and easily slotted in the first goal.  Continue reading

Cagliari vs. AC Milan: Serie A Round 18 – Team news, stats and prediction

After what has been a very impressive first half of the season, Milan will take on Cagliari away from home in the penultimate game of the winter Scudetto race. Currently three points ahead of city rivals Inter, with head-to-head in their favour, a win would be enough to secure that title. 

Of course, being crowned winter champions matters very little in terms of the actual Scudetto. Having said that, in 88 editions, only one team has failed to finish in the top three when leading the league at the half-way mark. This gives the Rossoneri a 98.6% of qualifying for the Champions League, for which they only need top four.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18 – Top Matches

LAZIO-ROMA

Lazio: Ciro Immobile took a little back-seat in the Parma game, where two other fellow attackers shined, Luis Alberto, who broke the deadlock with his third goal in the last five matches, and Felipe Caicedo, who found the target for the second round in a row, moving to six total in the season. The Golden Boot recipient had scored in all the previous five tilts. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic dished his fifth assist to add to his two goals, as his role is slightly different this year, but he has maintained a decent level of production. Manuel Lazzari cashed in on his good moment with his second assist of the season, catching up with fellow wing-back Adam Marusic in that regard. Joaquin Correa (one goal, one assist) could be back at least in limited fashion in this one, but Caicedo has filled in admirably. The Sergeant tends to deliver in big matches.

Recommended picks: Milinkovic-Savic, Immobile, Alberto.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 16 – Remaining Games

CAGLIARI-BENEVENTO

Cagliari: the Sardinians hanged with Napoli for about an hour before the opponents pulled away, condemning them to another poor result. Joao Pedro equalized with his ninth goal of the season, but other than that it was a rather paltry offensive performance as Giovanni Simeone and Riccardo Sottil were stymied. Gaston Pereiro looked fine for somebody that has not played in months and he could gain some traction with Adam Ounas on the mend. Help is on the way as Radja Nainggolan will be available in this one and the coach stated that he is going to play in a dynamic role. Nahitan Nandez will replace Marko Rog and therefore will not have as much as freedom as he has had in most games so far. Nainggolan was a force last season as no.10 but the scheme is different now, so they might have to come up with something new to accommodate all their best players. Gabriele Zappa has not been great in the last three or four matches, while Charalampos Lykogiannis is suspended.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15 – Remaining Games

CAGLIARI-NAPOLI

Cagliari: Joao Pedro bagged a brace against Roma, but they still came away empty-handed and they have not triumphed in a while. Besides the Brazilian, who is at eight goals in the season, they have not gotten much out of their other strikers as Giovanni Simeone has not produced after missing time with COVID and Leonardo Pavoletti had an immediate spark but then faded once his playing time resumed being irregular. Riccardo Sottil has found the target twice so far, but he has also been rather wasteful given the amount of opportunities he has had. Adam Ounas should be at full speed after the break and he is effervescent, but not very clutch in the box. Nahitan Nandez finished the year on a high performance-wise, but he might play in a defensive role in this one. Their fullbacks Charalampos Lykogiannis (two goals) and Gabriele Zappa (three assists) have been among their top contributors.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Sottil, Ounas. Continue reading

Fantasy Serie A’s top performers heading into 2021

The Serie A season is temporarily on hold heading into 2021 for the holiday season but has not disappointed thus far. Milan has picked up from exactly where they left off last year, sitting in first place, while Antonio Conte’s Inter has since emerged as legitimate title contenders. Juventus has struggled in the early goings of the Andrea Pirlo era, drawing six of their 13 games thus far.

As the new year approaches, let us have a look at Serie A’s top performers after 14 matchdays. Here are your top five Fantasy Serie A performers:

1) Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Roma) – 94 points. 

The 31-year-old has been in sensational form this season, helping Roma throw its name in the race for top four. Mkhitaryan has hit the ground running in the early goings of the new season, registering seven goals and six assists in 14 appearances for the Giallorossi. Paulo Fonseca’s men currently sit in third place going into 2021 and will rely on the Armenian international to lead them into an unlikely title race. As of right now, Mkhitaryan is Fantasy Serie A’s top performer with 94 points. At 4.5 million euros, there is no reason why the Roma man isn’t on your team.

2) Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 78 points.

The Belgian international has been the driving force behind Inter’s title race early on, netting eight goals in 11 appearances for the Nerazzurri. Inter has only lost one game this season and is currently riding a ten-game unbeaten streak going into 2021. Antonio Conte’s men have maintained the pace atop the table due to their impressive run of form, sitting just one point behind Milan. If Inter will successfully overtake their fierce rivals, Lukaku will need to be firing from all cylinders. His 78 points are good enough for second place in our top fantacalcio performers thus far and should only add to his impressive tally heading into the new year.

3) Theo Hernandez (Milan) – 75 points.

The former Real Madrid man has taken the next step in his career since making the move to Italy, establishing himself as one of football’s elite fullbacks. Hernandez has picked up some crucial goals along the way, including a brace in Milan’s come-from-behind draw against Parma and a last-gasp winner in the Rossoneri’s most-recent triumph over Lazio. The 23-year-old has proven to be one of Milan’s most creative outlets in the final third, adding three assists to his four goals. Stefano Pioli’s men have since emerged as title contenders due to their recent form but will face stiff competition heading into the new year.

4) Roberto Soriano (Bologna) – 74 points.

The Bologna man is a surprise inclusion on this list but has been in top form this season. Soriano has been extremely productive for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men, netting six goals and four assists. While being the side’s designated penalty-taker helps, Soriano’s numbers make him an intriguing choice for your fantasy Serie A sides. His good form has since prompted Roberto Mancini to call him up to the Italian national team, rewarding his positive performances. Bologna has struggled in recent weeks, failing to win in their last five games, but if they want to turn it around, Soriano will need to be at the heart of their turnaround.

5) Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 74 points.

Joao Pedro burst onto the scene in Italy last season, scoring 18 goals, and has not slowed down under Eusebio Di Francesco. The Brazilian been his typical efficient self in front of goal, registering eight goals in 14 appearances. Joao Pedro has combined to devastating effect with Giovanni Simeone and will be hoping to lead Cagliari into the race for European football. While they may sit closer to the relegation zone, the Sardegna-based outfit possesses enough firepower to turn their fortunes around.

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

Reality check against Atalanta but Roma stay in Serie A title hunt

Football isn’t always plain sailing even if you are experiencing good form and Roma were. Before Paolo Fonseca’s team faced Atalanta they had won back to back games and scored 8 goals as they lay charge to put pressure on both Inter and Milan.

Then of course came Atalanta. The game in which Roma imploded and lost the game 4-1. What was perplexing is that not only did Roma take the lead through Edin Dzeko as early as the 3rd minute but just before the hour mark they were still leading the game.

Atalanta had just 1 shot on target in the first half and it seemed as if Roma were going to have a routine win and add a second. Then the crumble happened in the space of 25 minutes and the home side scored 4 goals. Duvan Zapata scored the equaliser and three different goal scorers followed to stun the Giallrossi.

Paolo Fonseca had this to say after the game: “The team was stretched out, not aggressive, and that is fatal against a side like Atalanta. It wasn’t physical, it was psychological, a question of attitude. We played well for 25 minutes, then changed attitude completely. That cannot happen.”

Fonseca continued: “We want to win every game and if the team had kept the attitude of the first half, we may well have won. However, playing like we did in the second half makes it extremely difficult to take points off big opponents. It was just totally different after the break. The team went too deep, showed no aggression, no determination. There was no reason for it. We must make sure the players understand they cannot change their attitude like that. We made it too easy for Atalanta. Without aggression, you cannot win this type of match.”

Win before the Christmas break

The Giallorossi’s next match was a home one against Cagliari and they had the chance to forget about the poor Atalanta result and get back to winning ways, and they done just that with a 3-2 victory.

Jordan Veretout who has come back to form in recent weeks gave the home side the lead on 12 minutes and the half ended 1-0. Joao Pedro equalised for Cagliari early on in the second half . But on the 71st minute the in form Edin Dzeko put Roma in front and just a few minutes later Gianluca Mancini sealed the game, the defender scoring a rare goal. Cagliari pulled one back in injury time for a couple of tense minutes but Roma were fine.

Roma now has 27 points and are seven points behind Milan and six points behind Inter. The Christmas break is here and Roma’s next game will be at home against Sampdoria.

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

 

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13 – Remaining Games

FIORENTINA-VERONA

Fiorentina: finally some signs of life for the Viola attack as Dusan Vlahovic snapped out of his scoring slump thanks to a penalty kick and Franck Ribery looked lively against Sassuolo, producing a pair of his vintage slaloming runs. Cesare Prandelli is trying various configurations to get his guys going: it seems like José Callejon is losing some momentum, but he has mostly been replaced by fullbacks, Giacomo Bonaventura is on the rise, while Gaetano Castrovilli has been in a funk for a while, even though he remains their leading scorer with four early goals. Cristiano Biraghi quickly shook off a physical problem and he has three assists and one goal in the season. Continue reading

Inter close gap on Milan but crash out of the Champions League

Inter will now be fully concentrating on trying to win their first Serie A title since 2010 as they were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages.

It was always going to be a difficult group for Inter and in having to square off against Real Madrid, Borrussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk Inter were certainly in the group of death.

In the final group game they had to beat Shakhtar at home and hope that Real Madrid would beat Monchengladbach. Real obliged with their win which they needed themselves anyway but Inter could only draw 0-0, and they were out. To rub salt into the wounds Antonio Conte’s team finished in 4th place. One wonders though if finishing last could be a blessing in disguise, as 3rd would have put the club into the Europa League. With no European football to contend with Inter can focus 100% on the league now.

The Italian media were inevitably scathing of Conte after their European exit and Conte said: “We have to evaluate everything with cool heads, not after an exit like this. There is a great deal of regret and disappointment, but I absolutely do not feel we were lacking determination, focus or aggression. We lacked a goal and throughout the Champions League campaign, we have not been fortunate with referees and the VAR.”

Cagliari 1-3 Inter

The good news is that the disappointment of being knocked out of Europe did not roll over and infect the team in the domestic league which they still hope to win. Inter beat Cagliari 3-1 and that means Conte’s side have won 4 games in a row.

It was a game that Inter dominated from the first whistle to the last but they found themselves trailing 1-0 at half time. The home side had scored from having just one shot on target to Inter’s five, and it looked like it would be a frustrating game for the away side.

However with 13 minutes left and a surprise result on the cards Inter’s pressure finally paid off. Nicolo Barella made it 1-1 with a fine effort from the edge of the area. Seven minutes later Inter were in the lead and now Barella had turned provider after his cross found the head of Danilo D’Ambrosio who had been on the pitch for just 60 seconds.

Romelu Lukaku wrapped the encounter up with a fine run from his own half as Cagliari were caught out throwing too many men forward in search of an equaliser. Lukaku had no one to challenge and was able to run the length of the half and tap in easy. It was Lukaku’s 9th goal of the season.

Inter are 2nd and because Milan could only draw 2-2 at home to Parma it means that the gap has been shortened to just 3 points. Milan will be away to Genoa in midweek and Inter will be at home to Napoli in a crunch game since Napoli are right behind them and just a point off. Indeed the difference between 2nd to 5th is just two points so a lot can change in midweek and then next weekend as we head into the Christmas break.

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