David Ospina (7 points): it was finally revenge of the defenses in this round as, after few goal-filled matchdays, nine teams managed to keep a clean sheet, which is by far the best clip so far this season. There were some strong goalkeeping performances, also among those who conceded, but the clutchest one belongs to the Napoli player, who watched the game for about 60 minutes, as Bologna barely attacked, but came through while under heavy fire late, defending the narrow lead of his team with a couple of monster saves. Continue reading
Cagliari: they were again productive on the offensive end as Giovanni Simeone and Joao Pedro both found the target, registering respectively the fifth and the fourth goal of their campaigns, but some defensive problems did them in versus Bologna. While Riccardo Sottil had scored in the previous game, Adam Ounas came off the bench really well and could get an opportunity to start in this one. Nahitan Nandez has enjoyed a more offensive role but has yet to post goal or an assist, while Marko Rog and Razvan Marin’s contribution in the final third is limited, even though the ex-Ajax could make up for it with his set piece prowess. Their fullbacks have both been very good, as Charalampos Lykogiannis has found the net once and Gabriele Zappa has provided two assists. Continue reading
Inter: Romelu Lukaku suffered a thigh injury that will cost him at least one game and the Nerazzurri will have to make up for the loss of their target man, something that rarely happened last year. Alexis Sanchez is dealing with a small problem as well, therefore Lautaro Martinez, who has slowed down after opening the campaign with three straight goals, will have to shoulder the attack, then they will hope Andrea Pinamonti can be decent right away. They also briefly used Ivan Perisic as second-striker in the last game. Stefano Sensi is back on the shelf with his customary muscular problems: Christian Eriksen had some flashes last week, but so far him and Marcelo Brozovic have produced nothing too exciting. Their best midfielder has been Nicolò Barella (two assists), while Arturo Vidal has mostly taken care of the dirty work. At some point Radja Nainggolan will get in on the action, but it has not happened yet. Fortunately, Achraf Hakimi (one goal, two assists) was a false positive and he will resume plowing the flank from the start here, while Ashley Young has shaken off the virus and will challenge Ivan Perisic, who has been solid (two assists) but has not really taken off. Their back-line has improved with Alessandro Bastoni back in the fold.
Recommended picks: Martinez, Perisic, Hakimi. Continue reading
Samir Handanovic (7 points): just one goalie managed to keep a clean sheet in this round and Inter easily contained Genoa on Saturday, finally blanking their opponents for the first time in the season. The Slovakian veteran was pretty much a spectator in the game.
Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): he has been pretty solid while filling in for Milan Skriniar, who is out with COVID, and, on top of that, he keeps making his presence known on the other end as well. He notched his second goal of the campaign by punching it home on a flick-on by Andrea Ranocchia on a corner kick. Continue reading
Fiorentina has been a talent hub in recent seasons, producing a number of top quality players from its youth academy. La Viola has not shied away from giving young players a platform to shine and have reaped the rewards, selling their stars for significant transfer fees. Most recently, Federico Chiesa made the move to Juventus for a reported fee of 50 million euros, leaving a gaping hole in the final third for Beppe Iachini’s men. Gaetano Castrovilli has since stepped up wonderfully in Chiesa’s absence leading Fiorentina to a narrow win over Udinese.
As a result of his man-of-the-match performance, Castrovilli is our Serie A fantasy player of the week.
Gaetano Castrovilli vs. Udinese:
Fantacalcio points: 15
Castrovilli was deployed on the left-hand side of the midfield three, alongside Sofyan Amrabat and Giacomo Bonaventura. The Italian international excelled from this role and got forward to devastating effect against Udinese. Castrovilli opened up the scoring shortly after the ten-minute mark, connecting wonderfully with Cristiano Biraghi. The Viola midfielder made a late, unmarked run into the box and quickly pounced on Biraghi’s cut-back into the box.
Castrovilli’s impressive passing range was on display for Fiorentina’s second goal when the midfielder found himself in space with the ball at his feet. The 23-year-old scanned his options and delivered an inch-perfect cross to a welcoming Nikola Milenkovic. The towering defender headed home with ease into an empty net, doubling Fiorentina’s lead.
Castrovilli would not be done there and was once again at the heart of the action after Udinese pulled one back via Stefano Okaka. This time around, Castrovilli picked up possession deep into midfield and drove forward at the Udinese rearguard at will. The 24-year-old spread possession wide to Biraghi and unmarked himself at the top of the box. Castrovilli wasted no time with the ball at his feet and fired a curling effort into the top corner, and put the tie to bed. Once again, the midfielder demonstrated he is capable of adding end product to his repertoire and he can take the game to the opposition.
Last season, Castrovilli showed glimpses of his potential and dazzled with the ball at his feet, but often left a lot to be desired at the final step. This season has been a completely different story for the young midfielder. In fact, Castrovilli has already surpassed last season’s tally of three goals, already registering four on the season. In addition, the 24-year-old has demonstrated he is ready for a new challenge and is ready to emerge as a crucial piece to Iachini’s setup, even in Chiesa’s absence.
The Juventus man played an integral role in Fiorentina’s attack last season, but Castrovilli’s recent emergence is encouraging. While the two players occupy very different positions, Castrovilli has shown he can contribute significantly to the side’s attack and is ready to become a creative force in the final third.
Fiorentina will now shift their attention to Padova in the third round of the Coppa Italia before taking on Roma next weekend. For now, Castrovilli is your Serie A fantasy player of the week for matchday five.
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Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were tested by Bologna, but they reacted vigorously and nabbed another win thanks to goal by their usual difference-makers, Francesco Caputo (fourth in the season), Domenico Berardi (third) and Filip Djuricic. The Serbian attacker started off slowly but found the target in the last two outings. Gregoire Defrel and Lukas Haraslin have hampered by injuries, while Jeremie Boga and Nicolas Schiappacasse had to deal with COVID, so the final spot in their front-line is up for grabs. Hamed Traore has first dibs if the absentees do not return, but Maxime Lopez could be an option as well. At some point they will have to start using Boga, but he missed a lot of practice time because of the virus. Mert Muldur and Georgios Kyriakopoulos have yet to turn it on this season, while Manuel Locatelli and Mehdi Bourabia have both hit the net once despite their role. Continue reading
Mattia Perin (7 points): just three goalies managed to keep a clean sheet in this round, two actually in the Monday match. Perin was by far the busiest of the lot and had to intervene on several attempts by Verona, mostly from outside the box, and had his best save on a header by Marco Davide Faraoni.
Tommaso Augello (11 points): every defender for the Blucerchiati could have a place in the top XI, but the nod for everybody else naturally goes to the hard-working left-back, who assisted Fabio Quagliarella with a gorgeous cross and then hit the net with a precise little volley from outside the box. Continue reading
Standings implications: Milan is atop of the table after convincingly besting Inter in the Derby della Madonnina. They are followed by Sassuolo, who staged an furious comeback against Bologna. Napoli made a statement by trouncing Atalanta, while Juventus could not get past Crotone. Lazio got stunned by Sampdoria on the road. Fiorentina wasted an early two-notching lead versus Spezia, while Cagliari outlasted Torino. Udinese nabbed their first points in dramatic fashion and Roma outgunned a fiery Benevento. Continue reading
Bologna: Gary Medel is suspended and is also recovering from a grade one strain in the semimembranosus muscle on the right thigh, therefore he could miss week two as well.
Cagliari: Luca Ceppitelli, Filip Bradaric and Kiril Despodov are quarantining after catching COVID-19 in late August. Gaston Pereiro suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in the right foot about two weeks ago and he has a 45-day timetable. Alessandro Deiola is recovering from a clean-up surgery on the right knee he had during his time at Lecce. Continue reading
Wojciech Szczesny (7 points): the amount of goalie that blanked the opponents was again numbered and out of the four that managed, the Juventus one had the busiest performance as Sampdoria put up a fight to try to spoil the Bianconeri’s title celebration, but he rejected them with timely saves.
Elseid Hysaj (9 points): an uncharacteristically sparkling performance for the defensive-minded Napoli full-back, who broke the deadlock against Sassuolo with a nifty strike from outside the box for his first ever Serie A goal and sprinted down the left flank to wreak havoc multiple times. Continue reading