Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26 – Late Games

CROTONE-TORINO

Crotone: Simy bagged his eighth goal of the season, in pretty lovely fashion too, in the Atalanta game, but that was about it for their offensive production in a very demanding match-up. Adam Ounas, who was their top guy lately, and Samuel Di Carmine were late scratches and it is unclear whether they will be available for this one. Sans Ounas, they would lean hard on Junior Messias, who is seeking to snap out of a scoring slump. They get some pizzazz back in the midfield as Salvatore Molina and Milos Vulic are good to go, although it is uncertain how much playing time they will be able to handle. If one recovered, he would be among the top three options, instead the spot goes to Arkadiusz Reca (1 goal, 3 assists), who continues to wreak havoc down the left flank. Pedro Pereira is not as flashy, but he too has set up three teammates. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 24 – Late Games

CROTONE-CAGLIARI

Crotone: as expected the Juventus clash proved to be too hard for them to overcome, even though Junior Messias got few shots off and Adam Ounas tried to get something going with his mazing runs. The duo will lead the way again here in a much easier fixture. Messias has bagged seven goals thus far, while Ounas scored on his second appearance with the Squali and will be facing his former team, which did not trust him too much. Samuel Di Carmine has quickly unseated Simy but has not really shined thus far. The coach initially tweaked his system in the past game, but the changes were not that profound. Salvatore Molina returned from a lengthy absence and he was dynamic early in the season (one goal, four assists). Milos Vulic has not made the stat-sheet but he has been very busy over the last couple of matches and could be due. Left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal, three helpers) has been one of their most consistent players. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Late Games

PARMA-UDINESE

Parma: they did manage to score against Verona, thanks to a successful penalty kick by Juraj Kucka, but they lost again and their offense left a lot to be desired. The midfielder has tallied their last three goals. Yann Karamoh looked decently spry in his return to the XI, while Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius are stuck in an endless slump and the former is in pretty lackluster form. Joshua Zirkzee had a pair of chances after subbing in but did not exploit them. Valentin Mihaila was the liveliest out of their youngsters, but so far the coach has been very conservative in giving minutes to them. Jasmin Kurtic has hit the net a couple of times in the season and he is not shy when it comes to bomb away from distance. If they somehow managed to play more proactively, their fullbacks Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella would have some interest. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 22 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-BENEVENTO

Bologna: the time and effort put into turning Musa Barrow into a striker is starting to pay off as the youngster resurfaced after some quiet rounds with a clinical brace versus Parma. He now has five goals in the season. The move is working out also because Nicola Sansone has been very solid out on the left wing after shaking off an injury and he is coming off his best outing of the season as he dished two assist last week. Roberto Soriano (six goals, five helpers) also picked up offensive bonuses after a while as he set up Riccardo Orsolini, who came off the bench but still delivered. He is clearly on the rise as he has hit the net twice in the last four matches, on top of furnishing strong performances. Nicolas Dominguez should have an increased role with Mattias Svanberg suspended and Takehiro Tomiyasu is worth a flier now that it looks like he is going to stay at right-back. Continue reading

AC Milan 4-0 Crotone: Three things we learned as Rossoneri run riot in second half

After Inter managed to beat Fiorentina on Friday evening, Milan were temporarily knocked down to second place in the league standings. The added pressure didn’t seem to bother the Rossoneri, though, as they put four past Crotone after what was a relatively quiet first half. 

Just like against the Nerazzurri, the away side crumbled at San Siro and the three points were never really in danger for Stefano Pioli’s men. Once again, therefore, the pressure is back on their city rivals ahead of their clash with Lazio next weekend. Milan, meanwhile, will take on Spezia in the next round.  Continue reading

AC Milan vs. Crotone: Serie A Round 21 – Team news, stats and prediction

After the win against Bologna, Milan will be looking to add yet another three points to their tally, taking on Crotone at the San Siro tomorrow afternoon. As Inter came away with all three points against Fiorentina, the pressure is now on the Rossoneri to reclaim their spot at the top of the league standings. 

Stefano Pioli and his men have exceeded all expectations this season and even in difficult situations, they have managed to get good results to preserve their lead. A fantastic achievement, especially if you consider just how young this squad is. Having made it this far, they have no intention of stopping.   Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 21 – Sunday Matches

BENEVENTO-SAMPDORIA

Benevento: they struggled mightily against Inter and their weapons were hurt by the fact that they could not generate any offense. Two linchpins had broken out in the previous game against Torino, Gianluca Lapadula and Nicolas Viola who had not contributed concretely in a long time, for different reasons. They will welcome back Marco Sau from a two-game suspension and he has been their most prolific striker as of late since Gianluca Caprari has not scored in five matches. Roberto Insigne should be in better shape as well, but he too has struck out in few tilts in a row. Their attack sputtering partly explains their poor results in January. Newcomer Adolfo Gaich will likely need some time to be integrated and was not very effective in Russia. The possible return of Pasquale Schiattarella (one goal, one assist) to the XI could move Viola to a role where he has more freedom and he has a ton of upside thanks to his shooting prowess.

Recommended picks: Lapadula, Sau, Viola.

Sampdoria: they too had troubles creating chances against a top team, Juventus in their case, and they were held scoreless for the first time in four matches. Keita is always at risk of running into some duds, but he has been their most consistent forward in the past month, as Fabio Quagliarella has yet to produce in 2021. Antonio Candreva (three goals, four assists) is a close second, while Jakub Jankto is weirdly losing playing time, but that has not directly benefitted Mikkel Damsgaard since Claudio Ranieri is tinkering with the formation to adapt it to the opponents. Gaston Ramirez has recently reappeared with a sweet assist and Ernesto Torregrossa, who delivered on his debut, is likely going to see his playing time gradually increase.

Recommended picks: Keita, Candreva, Quagliarella.

 

MILAN-CROTONE

Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed another PK against Bologna, which is pretty much the only thing holding him back in the fantasy realm, but Ante Rebic cleaned up the rebound, bagging his first goal since late December, as he was forced to miss time, and Frank Kessie made no mistake in the second half, registering his seventh goal. Rebic has proven to be extremely streaky in the past. Hakan Calhanoglu has shaken off the virus, but it remains to be seen whether he will start right away: he is a massive hub for their offense and has notched six assists already. They have had trouble replacing him, especially with Brahim Diaz missing. Rafael Leao (five goals, four helpers) is one of the ultimate feast-or-famine players in the League and he is coming off two quiet outings. Theo Hernandez has not done a ton of damage lately either but he benefits from the robustness of the whole back-line.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Kessie.

Crotone: the Squali will not have their top guy Junior Messias in this one and that is major blow, even though they added two more offensive pieces late in Samuel Di Carmine and Adam Ounas, who however was not healthy in his final days in Cagliari. Di Carmine, who had not scored in his few appearances with Verona, started immediately and that should continue to be the case. Simy (seven goals) has found the target in two of the last three contests, while their other cornerstone Ahmad Benali is looking increasingly spry after a long time on the shelf. Without Messias, they will have to lean more on their creative midfielders, Benali and Milos Vulic. Arkadiusz Reca has been their top assist-man thus far (5).

Recommended picks: Simy, Di Carmine, Benali.

 

UDINESE-VERONA

Udinese: they eked it out in veteran fashion against Spezia, with Rodrigo De Paul nailing a PK, however the Argentinian maestro is suspended for this one and they do not really have an alternative to him in the roster. The solution could be similar to last week, with Walace and Tolgay Arslan featuring together in the midfield and either Fernando Llorente or Ilija Nestorovski starting up front, next to Gerard Deulofeu that played as false nine. Neither of the two strikers has done, or played, much thus far, but the former figures to be a better option than the latter. Deulofeu is instead turning the corner now that he has his legs fully underneath him. They will inevitably rely more on Roberto Pereyra (two goals, four assists), while Arslan has more fantasy potential in the duo of gritty midfielders as he is an okay shooter.

Recommended picks: Pereyra, Deulofeu, Llorente/Nestorovski.

Verona: They surprisingly crumbled against Roma, where an ugly start did them in, leaving them little room to react. The only positive news was Ebrima Colley scoring his first career goal in Serie A and he has been constantly pretty good when his number was called, but he has not been elevated from his bench role. Daniel Bessa has sneaky potential too but is in a similar spot. It looks like they are going to alternate Nikola Kalinic and Kevin Lasagna for the time being, and neither has been particularly good in recent games. Mattia Zaccagni (six goals, five assists) and Antonin Barak (four goals) have instead been much more solid. Their wing-backs Federico Dimarco, Darko Lazovic and Marco Davide Faraoni are always threats to pick up points in multiple ways.

Recommended picks: Zaccagni, Barak, Kalinic/Lasagna.

 

PARMA-BOLOGNA

Parma: no end product again for the Ducali offense, who will be hoping newcomers Graziano Pellè, Joshua Zirkzee and Dennis Man will be able to provide an immediate turnaround despite the fact that they will inevitably need some time to adjust to the new surroundings. Juraj Kucka remains their lone scorer in the past two months, while Andreas Cornelius and Gervinho, who have been constantly leaned upon as Roberto Inglese has missed time and Yann Karamoh has been hurt, have continued to fire blanks. Jasmin Kurtic ended up staying and he is their busiest midfielder in the final third after Kucka, especially because Hernani, who had some success under the previous regime, is being used as deep-lying playmaker now. Alberto Grassi, Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella could have some minor appeal if the team collectively manages to snap out of their funk.

Recommended picks: Kucka, Kurtic, Gervinho.

Bologna: they produced a pretty convincing late push versus Milan, although they did not manage to equalize. The goal came from two players that generally are not regulars, Andreas Skov Olsen and Andrea Poli, we will see whether it will help their stocks. Sinisa Mihajlovic played some misdirection in the presser and kept Musa Barrow as center-forward, however the experiment is not paying off and he had a terrible game, so there might be a change there that would go in Rodrigo Palacio’s favor. Nicola Sansone has seen some decent minutes after an injury and he has been pretty lively, however it came at the expense of Emmanuel Vignato, who has a higher ceiling. Riccardo Orsolini (three goals, three assists) has been the most convincing out of their linchpins in recent games, however he is fatigued, while Roberto Soriano and Barrow have been pretty quiet in few matches in a row. Takehiro Tomiyasu will likely head back to the middle of the defense in this one, which hurts his value.

Recommended picks: Barrow, Sansone/Orsolini, Soriano. 

 

LAZIO-CAGLIARI

Lazio: another strong performance for the Biancocelesti, who are taking advantage of all the weapons at their disposal as Joaquin Correa is finally finding some continuity and Adam Marusic netted his first goal of the season, while had set up three teammates before. Ciro Immobile was limited to an assist versus Atalanta: he has not hauled in points just once in the last nine matches, scoring in the large majority of the them. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic did not make the stat-sheet but he had a huge performance: he has posted four goals and five assists in the campaign. Luis Alberto looked pretty good for somebody who recently underwent surgery for appendicitis and he should soon recapture his form, as he had been going like gangbusters prior to the hiccup. Manuel Lazzari (one goal, four assists) is always pretty decent.

Recommended picks: Immobile, Correa, Alberto.

Cagliari: Joao Pedro unsurprisingly did it again versus Sassuolo, registering his 11th goal, however he is getting very little help from his teammates and they were pipped at the post. Radja Nainggolan has been a little underwhelming since returning as he is still rounding up into shape, while Giovanni Simone is stuck in a slump and the limited playing time is doing Leonardo Pavoletti no favor. Therefore, their second best guy as of late has been Razvan Marin, who is coming off an assist and has had more chances than usual. They will welcome back the energetic Nahitan Nandez, whose appeal depends on the role as he is very versatile, but they might be without Alfred Duncan and Alessandro Deiola due to injuries, which could give the Gaston Pereiro or Riccardo Sottil an opportunity to win back the trust of the coach.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Marin, Nandez.

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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

Roma go 4 games unbeaten as they prepare for the derby against Lazio

Such is the latest standard in Serie A that even though Roma have won 10 points from their last four games they would only be sixth based on form. But the Giallorossi have bigger fish to fry than just statistics as they aim to win the title for the first time in 2 decades.

A Serie A title is on the cards for Paulo Fonseca’s team who enter match day 18 in third place and just six points behind league leaders Milan.

Recent results have been brilliant and their 3 game winning run was only stopped by Inter at the weekend as the two clubs drew 2-2. However it would be Roma leaving the Stadio Olimpico as the happier side given that they were losing the game with just four minutes to go.

Gianluca Manciniian who had been booked earlier in the game for using his elbow went from villain to hero as he scored a lovely headed goal which reminded any football fan of Italian football of how Paolo Rossi used to score. Mancini scored in the 86th minute to save a defeat and it’s now been almost a month since Roma lost a game in the league.

In the midweek game before the Inter match Roma played Crotone away from home and eased to a 3-1 victory. The Giallorossi had taken a 2-0 lead through a brace by Borja Mayoral and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who had lost his touch in goal in the last few weeks scored the third.

Can Roma win the league title for the first time since 2001?

Roma have only won the Scudetto 3 times in their history and whilst they won’t be the favourites to win this season the clubs consistency has got fans talking and getting excited. Presently they just need to get past both Milan teams who are in 1st and 2nd place. But there is the looming threat of the sleeping giant, Juventus who have started the season slow but are now gaining momentum and they are only a point behind Roma. The bookmakers have Roma at odds of 17.00 (16/1) to win the league. The current favourites are Inter at 2.50 (6/4) and they are followed by the 9 time in a row champions Juventus who are 3.00 (2/1).

Lazio v Roma

The Derby della Capitale will take place on Friday evening when Roma meet Lazio and it will be a significant one. If Roma win they will stay in 3rd place but will have the same points as Inter with 37 and will have moved 4 points clear of Juventus. It might not look like giant steps but it will be positive.

Lazio are in 8th place and a win would take them just 3 points shy of Roma and dent their fierce rivals title hopes and European ones. Here is how the last 5 matches when Lazio have been at home have ended in the derby.

September 1st, 2019-    Lazio 1-1 Roma

March 2nd, 2019 -         Lazio 3-0 Roma

April 15th, 2018-            Lazio 0-0 Roma

December 4th, 2016-     Lazio 0-2 Roma

April 3rd, 2016-              Lazio 1-4 Roma

Lazio wins: 1, Roma wins: 2, Draws: 2

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-VERONA

Bologna: they could not find a way around the not-so-vaunted Genoa rearguard in the past match, with their attack failing to deliver for the fourth game in a row, given that their recent goals have come from Takehiro Tomiyasu (two), Nehuen Paz and Matthias Svanberg. Roberto Soriano, one of the early fantasy leaders, has found the target just once in the seven matches and has not been able to dish helpers either in that stretch, however he remains the top players in both categories (six/four). The other attackers have instead been able to take part in the teammate’s goals, Riccardo Orsolini in particular with two recent assists, but also Musa Barrow and Rodrigo Palacio, but they obviously need to start scoring to become real fantasy assets. As always, Barrow is the biggest threat, but they will face a really stifling defense in this one. Emanuel Vignato and Andreas Skov Olsen have not exploited their recent minutes. Continue reading