Serie A Weekly News Recap


The transfer market rages on and few deals were completed this week: none this summer will be bigger than the blockbuster transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. Jorginho and Maurizio Sarri reunites at Chelsea. Lazio acquired Francesco Acerbi from Sassuolo and sent Felipe Anderson to West Ham, while Atalanta signed Duvan Zapata from Sampdoria. The Blucerchiati also sold Lucas Torreira to Arsenal.

A new chapter in the Milan’s ownership saga: Yonghong Li did not re-pay the latest €32M loan by Elliott, the negotiations for a last-minute sale have collapsed and the hedge fund has officially taken over and is assembling the new management. Continue reading

Serie A Game of the Week – Round 28: Inter vs Napoli


A pair of thrillers went down over the weekend, with both Lazio and Milan scoring at the very last second. Although it was not a high scoring game, Inter-Napoli was the match of the week because of its intensity, but more importantly for its significance in the Scudetto and the Champions League races.

The Derby della Madonnina was postponed last week, so Inter were looking to bounce back from a tough defeat in Genoa, where they did not show up, but they had gathered some good results in a row at San Siro. The Partenopei were seeking atonement after last week’s unusual home loss against Roma, where their defence fell apart.

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Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 27


A triple main-event in the upcoming Serie A round: Juventus take on Lazio on the road, Napoli host Roma and Inter and Milan square off in the Derby della Madonnina.

Lazio-Juventus: the Biancocelesti have won two games in a row, as they always do with the minnows, against Verona and Sassuolo. Ciro Immobile continues to punish opponents and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is in stellar form recently. The last Serie A game of the Bianconeri was postponed, then they got the job done in Coppa Italia against the same opponent, Atalanta. With Gonzalo Higuain and Federico Bernardeschi sidelined and Paulo Dybala working his way back from injury, Douglas Costa has been the one to step up upfront and Mario Mandzukic will play a big role as well. The Old Lady has had a ton of success in Rome in recent years. Their defence is stifling, but they will go against the best scoring attack in the League.

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Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 26


The upcoming Serie A round is headlined by Milan-Roma, while Juventus and Napoli will continue their duel by taking on Atalanta and Cagliari respectively.

Inter-Benevento: the Nerazzurri crumbled against Genoa last week and failed to pick up steam after the win over Bologna. Not only their attack remains lackluster, but also their back-line is not as solid as it used to be at the beginning of the season. However, they will have a great opportunity to turn things around this week, because the Sanniti have lost every road game so far and have conceded a whopping 30 goals in the meantime. The guests are showing a lot of grit at home: when they will manage to replicate that in away fixtures, they might concretely re-enter the relegation race. Inter will probably not have Mauro Icardi back, and certainly not at full capacity: Eder has done OK relieving the star striker, while this could be a good match-up for the electric Yann Karamoh and for Ivan Perisic, who has been slumping for so long. Benevento do not really have a go-to-guy and now also Cheick Diabate has joined their attacking committee. Guilherme could be a longshot pick in a game where they could have some room to counter. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 25


The next Serie A round features the Derby della Mole and a clash with valuable Europa League points at stake.

Udinese-Roma: Udinese have won only one in the last six games and their offensive punch seems to have worn off, as they have failed to score multiple goals in each fixture of this most recent stretch. Kevin Lasagna will be out for a while, so Maxi Lopez and Rodrigo De Paul will have to step up, even though they have not found the back of the net often this year: Antonin Barak and Jakub Jankto are much better bets, but the Giallorossi defenders and Alisson are worth a look here. Di Francesco’s side is coming off two straight wins against the lowly Verona and Benevento and will try to keep the good things going against better competition. The early returns of the new-look 4-2-3-1 are positive: Cengiz Under is red-hot, while also Radja Nainggolan and Edin Dzeko could reap the benefits from it, the Belgian star in particular as he prospered in this position last season. Continue reading

Serie A Player Status Updates – Round 17


As always, busy times ahead for Serie A medical staff and clinics as they try to help the injured players recover. Continue reading

How Ventura Risks Eliminating Italy from World Cup 2018

A 1-0 defeat in Sweden has raised even further the possibility of Italy missing its first World Cup tournament in around 60 years. Former Torino coach Gian Piero Ventura has taken Italy on a roller coaster journey and unfortunately for Azzurri fans it has strictly been a downward spiral with no uptick in fortune.

Below are some of the main points behind Italy’s struggles:

1) Bad results and even poorer performances: The Azzurri were dismantled by Spain with Isco running the show. Things did not get better when Italy managed a 1-1 draw with Macedonia followed by an unconvincing 1-0 win at Albania.

The results were definitely poor but what is more troubling has been the bad performances. Italy’s struggles have been down to multiple factors but much revolves around Ventura’s inability to get the best out of his players.


2) Players are uncertain of what are supposed to do: Imagine you are playing in a decisive play-off match and your team is down by one goal in Sweden, but you are unsure of your role on the pitch! Well, that is exactly how Lorzeno Insigne felt when subbed on with around 15 minutes left on the clock. Ventura played him out of position (again)! One of Italy’s brightest talents this season yet Insigne continues to be played out of position, or to be used in ways which hinder his skills.

3) Selection Nightmare: Ventura’s selection process has been controversial to say the least as he excluded the likes of Napoli’s Jorginho from the entire campaign before finally selecting him for the playoffs against Sweden! Jorginho and Insigne have built a solid understanding while both have played a critical role in Napoli’s rise to the top of Serie A.

Excluding Jorginho may perhaps be forgiven, yet Ventura’s decision to pick Eder defies all odds. Eder cannot start for Inter with stats showing the striker has not made a single start in Serie A- Eder has so far made 9 substitute appearances in Italy’s top flight in the 2017/18 campaign.

Eder’s curious case is but one example. In previous matches, Ventura opted to select Leonardo Spinazzola who had not featured for his club Atalanta during the first 4 matches in the current Serie A season. Thus, Spinazzola was clearly short on match fitness. One disappointing omission is perhaps that of his teammate Mattia Caldara who has been one of the most consistent centre-backs in Serie A over the last 15 months while also showing a knack for scoring goals.


4) Italy’s Age Question: Ventura took over insisting he wants to rejuvenate the side yet he has taken Italy backwards several steps since taking charge. 

Performances and results aside, Ventura has also failed to blend in younger faces into the squad. Against Sweden, the likes of Andrea Barzagli and Daniele De Rossi were both selected despite being 36 and 34 years old respectively. While selecting Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon makes sense considering the vast experience he possesses as a goalkeeper and his much needed leadership, having Barzagli and De Rossi start is confounding. Both cannot cover much space anymore and both would be expected to struggle against a physical Swedish team. However, Ventura decided to start both.

5) Conte vs Ventura: Current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte guided Italy to some solid displays during Euro 2016 despite having a less talented squad at his disposal. Conte’s attack consisted of Eder and Graziano Pellè. Ventura has had the choice of picking between the Best Player in Italy during the Month of October- based on detailed Fantasy Football stats- in the shape of Ciro Immobile and Torino’s top scorer Andrea Belotti. What does Ventura do? He rightfully selects both in his squad, yet mistakenly, again, forces both to play in the Starting XI despite the clear indications the two cannot perform well together.

Conte’s midfield options were rather limited as well, with injury depriving him of key players such as Marco Verratti and Claudio Marchisio. Ventura can start one or both of the midfielders yet has continued to misuse Verratti, just as he has misused Insigne.


6) Wrong Formation: Ventura used his beloved 4-2-4 formation against Spain and not only did it backfire but it also led to a humiliating defeat in Madrid. Despite lacking the players to produce the result while using a 4-2-4 formation, Ventura continued to press with it. Ventura clearly failed to acknowledge his squad is not suited for 4-2-4.

Against Sweden, he switched to a 3-5-2 yet that backfired as well because of a number of reasons.

7) Confusion, Chaos & Tinkering: You would forgive a coach for making changes during the early stages of his reign, yet for Ventura to reinforce his uncertainty before and during the two-match playoffs against Sweden spells disaster for Italy.

Ventura has yet to settle on a formation and moved to a 3-5-2 for the first game in Sweden while he is expected to change again for Monday’s game in Milan!

The constant change leads to confusion among the players due to the lack of familiarity with the formation. In fact, the Italian team lacked cohesion versus Sweden and struggled to impose its style, that is if Ventura’s Italy did have any style to showcase.

The turnover and changes lead to a lack of stability. Imagine if this happens during critical matches in a playoff battle for qualification for the World Cup.

8) Last but not least, where is the Passion? From the beginning of the World Cup qualifying campaign, Ventura’s Italy has lacked the conviction and determination displayed under his predecessor Conte during Euro 2016.

The current squad lacks confidence too. The instability and the lack of a clear vision under Ventura has also been quite detrimental in terms of motivating the players and building their confidence. The players are clearly not confident and do not seem to trust Ventura’s tactics.

The Italian manager has failed to transmit clear ideas and has not been able to get the best out of his squad. To make matters worse, the lack of a coherent plan has resulted in a lack of commitment and dedication from the players.

To blame everything on Ventura would be a mistake because the first party to be held responsible should be the FIGC for hiring an unqualified coach in the shape of Ventura. Even if Italy turn things around and qualify to World Cup 2018, the Azzurri will be knocked out from the group stage unless drastic changes are introduced starting with the sacking of Ventura.

There is talk that Ventura does not even control the locker room with some hinting the veterans and the more experienced players have had a strong influence on Ventura and his actions. To fire him will result in a much needed jolt and perhaps see the hiring of a well respected manager who can bring order back to the locker room.

Azzurri fans deserve better. Legendary goalkeeper Buffon deserves better. Instead of celebrating a remarkable career by playing in a record 6th World Cup tournament, Buffon may end up watching World Cup 2018 as a retired player.

Play the most popular Fantasy Serie A and select your preferred Fantasy Serie A players by clicking here.


Inter still casting for a consistent no.10


Inter have had a pretty satisfying start of the season: propelled by one of the best statistical defences in Europe, they have collected sixteen points in six games. They have convincingly defeated Fiorentina, Roma and Spal, while they escaped with a win thanks to late goals against Crotone and Genoa. They dropped points only in the Bologna match, where they salvaged a tie with the help of a penalty. Continue reading

Goal shy Eder looks to rediscover goal scoring form for Portugal

Euro 2016

Despite having played the entirety of Lille’s three Ligue 1 games this season, Portugal’s Euro 2016 final match winner Eder has not yet scored, as the 28-year-old striker intensely searches to rediscover his goal scoring touch.

Eder retains place in Portugal squad

The former Swansea City player is set to continue his efforts to do that whilst on international duty, as he has been named in Fernando Santos’ 24-man squad for Portugal’s upcoming friendly with Gibraltar and 2018 World Cup qualifier against Switzerland.

As well as Eder, 19 other members of Portugal’s Euro 2016 players are included in Santos’ current squad, the average of which is 26-and-a-half years old.  Whilst the youngest member of Santos’ party is Renato Sanches at 19-year-old, the eldest is the 34-year-old Bruno Alves.

Furthermore the Cagliari centre back is also the third most capped player in Portugal’s current squad as he has played 86 times for his country, with Joao Moutinho and Nani having made four and seventeen more appearances than Alves respectively.

The Selecao’s record appearance holder and top goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is one of three players from Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 squad set to miss the country’s upcoming games, with the other two being the unattached Ricardo Carvalho and Vieirinha.

Relative to Ronaldo’s omission the Real Madrid forward is still trying to recover from the knee injury which he sustained during the first half of Portugal’s 1-0 Euro 2016 final victory over France, with Eder scoring a superb winning goal, whereby he struck a powerful low 25-yard shot beyond the despairing dive of Hugo Lloris.

Eder’s unsensational goal – scoring record

Although Eder’s fourth goal for Portugal, it was his first in a competitive game, since his other three arrived in friendlies against Italy, Norway and Estonia.  Given that he has made 29 appearances for Portugal, Eder’s international goal – scoring record is extremely modest.

As such Eder’s aim is to improve upon that against both Gibraltar and Switzerland, whilst in order to do so it will be necessary for him to rediscover his goal-scoring touch since that has deserted the Guinea Bassau born player during his club Lille’s first three games of the 2016-2017 season.

After joining the French side on loan from Swansea in January, Eder scored six goals in 14 appearances to help Lille finish fifth in Ligue 1 and qualify for this season’s Europa League, in the group stages of which they will play Wolfsburg, Everton and Krasnodar.

Subsequently following his fine form for Lille, Eder signed a permanent four-year contract with Les Dogues, for whom he has performed well so far this season without as yet scoring a goal.

Many attributes to Eder’s game

As a powerful and tenacious centre forward, who is blessed with great aerial strength and touch, Eder possesses an excellent all round game, despite not being a prolific goal scorer at either club or international level.

Nevertheless the quality of his goal against France, along with the manner in which commanded the attention of Les Bleus centre back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Samuel Umtiti after appearing as a second-half substitute, provided a clear indication that Eder has the potential to lead Portugal’s frontline, which he may be tasked with doing in the games with Gibraltar and Switzerland, given Ronaldo’s absence from those.

Ultimately although Eder does not score regularly, he valuably contributes to both Lille and Portugal’s performances, as the 6ft 3in striker is adept at holding the ball up and bringing team mates into play.

Therefore in addition to aspiring to continue that in Portugal’s next two matches, Eder will also strive to score a first competitive goal, since his Euro 2016 final match – winning goal against France.

Inter attacking issues open the door for Eder


Roberto Donadoni was left to wonder what might have been. His team went to Milan unbeaten in five matches and even if that run consisted of three scoreless draws, he knew they would be tough to beat.

Inter managed to claim three points against the Rossoblu. But Donadoni was furious with the source of both goals in the 2-1 result. “We conceded two goals on set plays, clearly we weren’t concentrated or reactive enough in those situations, but other than that Inter barely created any problems for us.”

Maybe the former Milan player had a point. Of 14 shots fired at goal by the Nerazzurri, only four were on target in 90 minutes. The goals came in a four minute spell, starting with Ivan Perisic in the 72nd minute. Inter struggled to break down a rugged Bologna, but when the ball fell to the Croat as the visitors failed to clear a corner he made no mistake. Likewise, Danilo D’Ambrosio netted from another corner, turning in from close range.

Not that it’s a new scenario for Inter. After all, they have only 39 goals to their name this term, a particularly low tally when you consider they have spent 17 weeks inside the top three.

But the issues were made even worse on Saturday. Captain Mauro Icardi lasted only 10 minutes, forced off after a nasty knee sprain. Inter’s concern is there may be ligament damage which keeps the Argentine on the sidelines for an extended period. As they chase third place and a Champions League return, it’s a blow. Icardi is Inter’s leading scorer with 12 Serie A goals. Nobody else has reached double figures. Adding to Mancini’s attacking problem is an upcoming suspension for Rodrigo Palacio after he reached the yellow card limit.

The veteran will miss Inter’s vital trip to Roma this weekend. Currently fifth, they are five points behind the third-placed Giallorossi. In the scheme of Champions League qualification it is a massive clash. Roma have won eight straight in Serie A.

It does, however, offer an opportunity for Eder. While no other Inter player has hit double figures, Eder has. He scored 12 goals for Sampdoria before his January switch to San Siro. In seven Inter appearances the Italian international is yet to celebrate.

With Icardi’s injury he can become the focal point in attack for the trip to the capital. Eder has already scored against Roma this season, for Samp. This is the time to grasp his chance, to break his Inter duck. As they fight for third, it would be timely.