Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round Five

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

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Five

Standings implications: Roma managed to at least slow down Milan in the Monday night thriller. Napoli stayed perfect in the matches they actually played but they had to dig deep to sink a plucky Benenevento. Juventus lost some more ground as they could not get past Verona. Inter and Lazio both bounced back after multiple winless rounds, as the Nerazzurri patiently worked their way around Genoa’s defence, while the Biancocelesti bested Bologna. Sassuolo and Sampdoria are the surprises of the early season: the Neroverdi were again the comeback kids against Torino, but their rally stopped short this time, while the Blucerchiati handed Atalanta their second tough L in a row. Fiorentina held on two dear life this time in order to beat Udinese and return to winning ways. Cagliari defeated Crotone, keeping the opponents on the down low, while this time Spezia were on the wrong end of a two-goal comeback in Parma.

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Is the Scudetto realistic for Inter this season?

Internazionale have spent big again this summer, so far bringing in the likes of Achraf Hakimi (€40m), Nicolo Barella (€25m), Stefano Sensi (€20m) and Arturo Vidal as they look to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title.

Antonio Conte’s side made an exciting start to the 2020-21 campaign on Saturday with a dramatic 4-3 victory at home to Fiorentina, with goals in the 87th and 89th minutes, from Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D’Ambrosio respectively.

Their participation in the Europa League final last month saw them given an additional week’s rest so they are a game behind the majority of the league, though Atalanta and Lazio were also given an extra week to prepare, as well as each of their scheduled opponents.

Three points for I Nerazzurri will have come to much relief given that Fiorentina already had a competitive game under their belt – a 1-0 win over Torino the prior weekend.

In a further boost to Inter’s hopes of winning the Scudetto for the first time since 2010, reigning champions Juventus were held to a 2-2 draw away to AS Roma on Sunday. Andrea Pirlo’s side were reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

Given a rookie manage in charge, many are expecting the 2020-21 Serie A title race to be open this campaign, the first time in several years. Napoli and AC Milan have both made impressive starts themselves, taking six points from six.

Inter’s hopes of sustaining a title challenge this season has all the ingredients they need, especially if they keep hold of star striker Lautaro Martinez, amid strong interest from Barcelona.

The Argentine has formed a great partnership with Romelu Lukaku up front, with the pair scoring 37 league goals between them last campaign.

Behind them, Conte has a wealth of talent to pick from. He went with Ashley Young, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic and Christian Eriksen in his 3-5-2 formation for his season opener, with Achraf Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi, Arturo Vidal and Radja Nainggolan all coming off the bench.

Behind them is a talented defence of Stefan de Vrij, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni, backed up by the reliable Samir handanovic.

The manager himself knows all about success. Antonio Conte started Juventus’ current run of titles during his first season in charge back in 2011-12, winning all three during his time in Turin before taking over the Italian national team. Conte won the English Premier League title in his first attempt at Chelsea too.

Whilst Juventus have dominated the league for the past nine seasons they have taken a huge risk with the appointment of inexperienced manager Pirlo, regardless of how good he was as a player himself.

The Old Lady’s main ambition is also to win the Champions League, which could have a negative impact on their domestic campaign, particularly with how competitive it is getting at the top now.

If ever there was a season for Inter Milan fans to head into confidently, it has to be this one. With the manager and players at their disposal they have the makings of being 2020-21 Serie A champions.

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Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Two

Results: Roma and Juventus shared the spoils in an entertaining fixture to cap off the Sunday slateNapoli demolished Genoa, Milan easily got past Crotone, while Verona nipped Udinese to stay perfect in the season. Inter furiously rallied back late against Fiorentina, while Lazio breezed past Cagliari and Atalanta toyed with Torino, so the three ‘top four’ teams that had their opener delayed were all successful. Among the newly promoted teams, Benevento got off to a brilliant start as they mounted a glorious comeback against Sampdoria, tough sledding instead for Spezia, which run into an in-form Sassuolo. Bologna trounced Parma on Monday night.  Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 38

Juan Musso: he ended his season with one of his finest performances, as he frustrated all Sassuolo attempts with great saves, in particular on a pair of bombs by Domenico Berardi and Hamed Traore, which he pulled out of the top shelf.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: another successful outing for Inter’s jack-of-all-trades, who broke the deadlock right away against Atalanta, in more typical fashion this time, as he bagged a header on a corner kick taking advantage of a defensive mishap. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 38

Standings implications: Inter saved best for last as they sunk Atalanta, securing the second place and closing one point shy of Juventus, which did not bother showing up against Roma. Lazio stayed in fourth as they were bested by Napoli. In the relegation zone, Lecce went down in typical chaotic fashion versus Parma, while Genoa’s win over Verona was never in doubt and so the Salentini are the final team to move back to Serie B.

In the meaningless portion of the schedule, Milan kept it going against Cagliari, Udinese picked up a quality win over Sassuolo, Bologna shared the spoils Torino, Sampdoria with Brescia.

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Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 37

Alessio Cragno (7 points): it was revenge of the defences in the penultimate round, as six teams managed to keep the clean sheet. Among their goalies, the Cagliari one stood out the most in the Juventus match, as he produced several great saves, with the best one coming on a late scorcher.

Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): Antonio Conte fielded him as tactical centre-back and the move panned out against Napoli as he was not shy in attacking despite the role and Napoli were outnumbered when it came to covering men, so he found himself wide-open in the box on a deep incursion and finished with aplomb. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Supension Report – Round 31

Atalanta: José Palomino is suspended.

Bologna: Roberto Soriano was red-carded in the last game and has been suspended for two matches. Gary Medel was a late scratch for the last game due to back spasm, but he is in the squad list. Ibrahima Mbaye and Andreas Skov Olsen (thigh) recovered enough to be called up. Andrea Poli and Federico Santander are nursing thigh strains.

Brescia: Andrea Cistana (lower leg surgery), Jhon Chancellor (thigh) and Dimitri Bisoli (patellar tendon) remain sidelined, Emanuele Ndoj and Enrico Alfonso are questionable.  Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 29

Juan Musso (7 points): only three teams managed to keep a clean sheet in another goal-filled round and the Udinese goalie did against the opponents with the higher profile, accompanying it with few decent saves.

Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): the veteran defender benefitted from some heavy rotation to get in the XI and, as he has often done in the past couple of seasons, managed to shake free in the box and knock one on goal with a header. Continue reading

Serie A Injuries and Suspensions Report – Round 27

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic sprained his right ankle in practice and will have to be assessed before the Lazio game. Mario Pasalic is suspended.

Bologna: Mattia Bani, Jerdy Schouten and Federico Santander are suspended and the striker also picked up a biceps femoris strain and will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks. Similar timetable for Andreas Skov Olsen, who is nursing a lesion of the myotendinous junction of the right flexor. Continue reading