Serie A Club of the Round: Fiorentina


An easy choice for best team of the round in this case as Fiorentina pummelled Chievo at home in the first game of their season, finishing with the overly large result of 6-1.

Stefano Pioli will be without his staple Jordan Veretout for a couple of games because of a suspension and picked the newcomers Edimilson and Gerson to complete the midfield, alongside Marco Benassi. The Frenchman is rumoured to be tabbed as deep-lying playmaker this year, basically replacing Milan Badelj, and Gerson certainly staked his claim to continue starting in this one. Valentin Eysseric played as left winger over Marko Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas because they have some conditioning issues. Continue reading

Euro Fantasy League Podcast – Episode 12 – Wenger & Arsenal Marriage on the Rocks? Plus, A Tribute to Davide Astori


The lads return with the latest installment of the Euro Fantasy League Podcast where they give props to Juventus star Paulo Dybala, take a look at the history of SPAL and try to look ahead to West Brom’s chances.

Following a discussion on Arsene Wenger’s status and relationship with Arsenal, the lads award their Best XI of the Weekend captaincy to late Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, and pay tribute to the 31-year-old.

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In Memory of Davide Astori


Fiorentina and the entire Serie A received a gut-punch on Sunday morning as Davide Astori was found dead in his hotel room. An indescribable tragedy that serves as a reminder that, in the big scheme of things, football is not that important. He was 31 and left a partner and a daughter. It will take some time to determine precisely what killed him, for now it is only known that it was for natural causes: “there is a chance out of ten thousand,” a former U-21 doctor said.

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A tactical switch a difficult but necessary task for Fiorentina

ACF Fiorentina v FC Torino - Serie A

Fiorentina were expected to struggle at the beginning of the season: they have lost a lot of talent in the summer and the starting XI is basically brand new. During the last transfer market window, they have sold Federico Bernardeschi, Nikola Kalinic, Matias Vecino, Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Josip Ilicic and Ciprian Tatarusanu and replacing them right away is challenging. Yet, it was fair to expect a little more from the Viola after a few games of gelling.

They never had a chance against Inter, when the squad was still incomplete, and the loss to Sampdoria in the second match day already raised some eyebrows. Then they went on to win two games in a row against Hellas Verona and Bologna, but fell back to bad habits in the following three, where they were defeated by Juventus and Chievo Verona and dropped points to Atalanta at home. They let the opponents come back in the last two outings and the result against the Flying Donkeys is worrisome: a team that aims at a European spot is supposed to take care of those matches, especially when they score the opening goal.

As a consequence, they already find themselves in a little hole in the standings: they are in 13th position, five points behind Torino and Milan who are tied in sixth place. Sampdoria, Chievo Verona and Atalanta have all collected more points than them. The season is long and there is plenty of time to recover: the really concerning aspect is that they do not have a clear identity yet and it is ùhard to pinpoint what they are good at. It is not certainly defending, as they have already conceded ten goals and looked very shaky.

German Pezzella has been solid and Davide Astori is okay, but the backline as a whole has looked porous. Out of the four fullbacks, only Vincent Laurini can be labelled as decent in the defensive phase, but he still made few blunders in his prolonged time at Empoli, while the other three all have an offense-first mentality. It also does not help that they play with only two midfielders. Stefano Pioli is reportedly working on some changes.

The first step will likely be to move Marco Benassi back a few meters: he does not work as a no.10 and will be more efficient in his natural position in a three-man midfield. At some point, the coach will have to add a centre-back: Vitor Hugo struggled early on, but he was highly touted before joining and they acquired the youngster Nikola Milenkovic as well. Carlos Sanchez and Vincent Laurini also have experience in that position. A 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 would help Bruno Gaspar and Cristiano Biraghi massively, because they are better when attacking and have decent feet.

The main problem is that moving away from 4-2-3-1 would impact their depth as the roster was assembled for that tactic. Benassi was a placeholder until Riccardo Saponara returned and Cyril Thereau, Valentin Eysseric and Gil Dias would have to share minutes in a formation with one less attacker, where Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone would obviously be heavily featured. The youngsters Simone Lo Faso, Rafik Zechnini and Ianis Hagi, who could maybe find some playing time down the line, would have very limited chances. It would not be a zero-sum game, but they need to do something because the direction they were built for is not working that well.

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Top Five Fantasy Football Defenders – Serie A – Round 16


Serie A will play host to some terrific matches this weekend and in this article we will take a look at the defenders most likely to keep a clean sheet and earn your fantasy football team some points. We will focus on Davide Astori, Gabriel Paletta, Armando Izzo, Alessio Romagnoli and Kalidou Koulibaly. Continue reading