Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18

Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg  better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 17

Fiorentina-Roma: with Federico Chiesa and Gaetano Castrovilli at half service due to physical problems, Dusan Vlahovic stepped up and saved the day against Inter. The Serbian prospect had gotten some decent run before but without doing much with it and instead delivered off the bench. Chiesa and Castrovilli are considered day-to-day and they are their two most best contributors, so their level of competitiveness will hinge on their recoveries. Kevin-Prince Boateng got the start after a while and had only minor chances, but they might have to rely him a lot in this one and he is listed as a midfielder, which makes him a bit intriguing depending on their injury situation. The other okay elements like Marco Benassi and Erick Pulgar have been silent for a long while. Dalbert has outplayed Pol Lirola as far as fullbacks are concerned. Continue reading

Napoli dismiss Ancelotti and appoint Gattuso

Despite punching their ticket to the next Champions League save with a commanding win over Genk on Wednesday, Napoli have decided to sack Carlo Ancelotti as the team has been in disarray for over two months. They have not won the last seven Serie A rounds and have dropped to seven in the standings, eight points below the top four. The manager had refused to step down immediately following the tilt. Late on Wednesday, they announced the hiring of Gennaro Gattuso on a six-month contract plus an option second season.

Besides some lackadaisical performances of the pitch, which led to disappointing ties with SPAL, Genoa, Milan and Udinese and defeats versus Roma and Bologna, the club has been in turmoil behind the scenes. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15

Inter-Roma: the Nerazzurri keep riding their elite striking duo and Lautaro Martinez has been balling out over the last few matches, as he is coming off two braces in a row. Romelu Lukaku did not score last week, but he has already reached the double-digit threshold in the domestic league. Antonio Candreva and Marcelo Brozovic both dished an assist in the last game and they are the two members of the supporting cast who are more likely to pick up bonus points. Matias Vecino has an history of scoring in big games and he has done some damage recently. Their back-line, instead, has not been airtight in the past couple of months, but Stefan De Vrij showed up big on the other end. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 14

Juventus-Sassuolo: Cristiano Ronaldo came back midweek and now it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be load managed in Serie A player after the knee injury. Nevertheless, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have been excellent in relief and have been able to contribute also when coming off the bench in their standard configuration. Douglas Costa got hurt again, which takes away their most explosive option at no.10, so it will Federico Bernardeschi and Aaron Ramsey running the show there for a while, but they both have not done damage in a while. Ramsey has the most upside in the duo. Khedira is fading and, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi are serviceable contributors, they are not strong fantasy options. It could be instead the right kind of match-up for Miralem Pjanic to have a meaningful offensive role, while Juan Cuadrado has been a pretty good fullback for a while now. Continue reading

Serie A Round 13 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and it’s now time to look ahead at this weekend’s clashes with a particular focus on your fantacalcio sides. In this weekend’s big clashes, Juventus are travelling to Bergamo to take on Atalanta while a struggling Napoli side will be locking horns with Milan. Otherwise, Antonio Conte’s Inter will be looking to keep the pressure on Juve with a win against Torino.

With match-day 13 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Adrien Rabiot (MID, Juventus, Value 4.5) – The French midfielder has struggled for playing time and continuity since joining Juventus and will likely be sidelined for a couple more games through injury. When the former PSG man joined the Italian champions, much was expected from him. With Juventus struggling for technical options in the middle of the park, many thought Rabiot was a perfect fit for Sarri. Since the beginning of the season, however, the former Chelsea tactician has opted for the veteran presences of Blaise Matuidi and Sami Khedira in his place.

As a result of his lack of playing time, rumours have surfaced that Rabiot is looking at alternatives across Europe. Despite his low price-tag, keep him out of your sides for the foreseeable future.

Dries Mertens (ST, Napoli, Value 13.93) – The Napoli hitman started off the season in sensational form but has since slowed down in recent weeks. With a player revolution on the cards in southern Italy, expect Napoli’s woes to continue. While Milan haven’t exactly epitomized defensive solidity, their most recent performance against Juventus was encouraging and they’ll look to continue that against Napoli.

Given Ancelotti’s wide range of options on the bench, be-it through Fernando Llorente or Arkadiusz Milik, it’s possible Mertens is subbed out early if his indifferent form continues. At 13.93M, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere for now.

Nikola Milenkovic (DEF, Fiorentina, Value 18.69) – After a good run of form, Vincenzo Montella’s viola have been brought back down to earth. Following their 1-1 draw against Parma, Fiorentina took on a high-flying Cagliari side and got dominated from the first minute, losing 5-2. While they are favourites on paper against Hellas Verona, the newly-promoted side have demonstrated that they are no pushovers scoring goals against Inter and Juventus.

Factor in their defensive commitment and this won’t be an easy game for Fiorentina. Given Milenkovic’s elevated price-tag and his side’s recent struggles at the back, you would be wise to temporarily swap him out of your fantacalcio sides.

Luis Muriel (ST, Atalanta, Value 16.49) – The Colombian striker, much like Mertens, started the season in top form and was finding the back of the net with ease. However, in recent times, his goalscoring touch has left him and he hasn’t scored in his last three games. With a game against Juventus on deck, it won’t get much easier for Muriel.

The bianconeri have conceded the least amount of goals in Italy and have looked increasingly solid at the back as the weeks have passed. Despite Atalanta’s free-scoring nature, expect this game to be a tight affair. As a result, it’s difficult to justify Muriel’s 16.49M price-tag.

Mario Balotelli (ST, Brescia, Value 6.96) - Supermario hasn’t enjoyed the best of times since his homecoming and has struggled to find the back of the net this season. In addition to his goalscoring woes, Balotelli was recently racially abused by Hellas Verona’s faithful; abuse that has reportedly weighed on the former Milan man even beyond the pitch. 

This week, Balotelli also had a training dispute with new manager Fabio Grosso and was sent home early. Considering all these factors, it appears Balotelli needs time to regain his focus. At 6.96M, it’s worth looking into other low-cost options.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic lost the appeal so he will serve the second game of his suspension. Ruslan Malinovskyi is disqualified as well. Duvan Zapata is not ready after missing time with a thigh strain despite the early optimism, while Luis Muriel and Remo Freuler, who picked up some muscular ailments with their national teams, should be fine. 

Bologna: Mattia Bani and Danilo are banned. Takehiro Tomiyasu is poised to come back from a thigh strain, while Federico Santander suffered the same injury few days ago and will miss three weeks. Roberto Soriano and Mitchell Dijks will miss another one due to a knee and toe edema respectively, also Mattia Destro remains on the shelf due to knee soreness. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 13

Juan Musso: it is not a particularly appealing round for the top defenses, so it might be time to think outside of the box. Udinese have rediscovered some stinginess with Luca Gotti at the helm and will tangle with Sampdoria, which are tied with SPAL as least productive attack in the League and have never scored more than one goal. The Argentinian goalkeeper is a certainty at this point.

Chris Smalling: the Roma back-line has not been particularly airtight, but they have one of the better match-ups on hand against the cratering Brescia, which have not found the target more than once since late September. The English defender has been quite the surprise with his imposing physicality and he is a menace on set pieces too. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13

Atalanta-Juventus: after producing at an historic pace through the first ten weeks, the Goddess failed to score in their last two matches against Sampdoria and Cagliari. Josip Ilicic and Ruslan Malinovskyi are suspended, but the Slovenian attacker has appealed, but they will get a boost from the return of Duvan Zapata, who is expected to feature at least in limited capacity. He notched six goals in seven appearances before getting hurt. Luis Muriel is no longer red-hot, as he has not found the target in the last three rounds, but he will be again their main scoring option from the jump. Alejandro Gomez is going through something similar, but he always has loads of potential as an assist-man. Mario Pasalic is likely to move to the hole and he can pretty sneaky there. Robin Gosens has been their best wing-back so far, but also Timothy Castagne has hit the net once. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 12

Inter-Verona: while Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku continue to be very reliable, the Beneamata are getting additional pieces back, as Matias Vecino scored in Champions League and Stefano Sensi looked pretty good in his stint off the bench. The two are certainly better fantasy options than Roberto Gagliardini, who filled in while they were sidelined, and the ex Sassuolo player, in particular, was fantastic at the beginning of the season. Valentino Lazaro was okay against Brescia and his skill-set is interesting, especially against the minnows where he would not need to defend a lot. Matteo Politano got hurt in Dortmund, so the first man up off the bench in the attack would be Salvatore Esposito. Verona have scored just nine times so far, so their back-line is certainly in play despite the ongoing clean sheet-less run. Continue reading