Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 26 – Second Half

A surreal Serie A round still had a good dose of action and some massive results. Here are the top performers from the weekend.

Juan Musso (7 points): five teams managed to earn a clean sheet and, out of all the goalies involved, Udinese’s one had the most meaningful save, on a Federico Chiesa potent cross-shot that could have swung the Fiorentina match late.

Nikola Milenkovic (5 points): Fiorentina’s defence held up well versus Udinese, allowing limited chances, and the Serbian defender also had one of the biggest chances for his side with a strikingly quick volley that went just wide. Continue reading

Juventus Top Performers – Round 26 vs Inter

Juventus broke through with a fairly flucky goal in the second half after a balanced first 45 minutes and actually for once gained steam after getting the lead and managed to control the remaining portion of the contest, gaining a monumental W and returning on top of the standings.

Matthijs De Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci (5 points): no separation between the two centre-backs, who perfectly tag-teamed to stymie one of the most vaunted striking duo in the League. They matched Romelu Lukaku’s physicality and contained Lautaro Martinez’s movements, and, as a matter of fact, even in the Nerazzurri’s best moments, the chances came from the ancillary players. Wojciech Szczesny answered the bell on the lone dangerous daisy-cutter from distance, while Alex Sandro put in the usual decent but not superb shift. Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 26 – Second Half

Parma-SPAL

Parma: 4-3-3 Colombi; Darmian, Iacoponi, Alves, Gagliolo; Kucka, Brugman, Kurtic; Kulusevski, Cornelius, Gervinho.

Potential lineup changes: Dermaku for Darmian, Grassi for Kucka.

Probable: Kucka (thigh).

Ruled Out: Inglese (thigh), Sepe (thigh), Barillà (thigh), Laurini (calf), Adorante (knee).

 

SPAL: 4-3-3 Berisha; Cionek, Bonifazi, Zukanovic, Reca; Missiroli, Valdifiori, Castro; Valoti; Floccari, Petagna. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 26 – Second Half

Brescia: Ales Mateju will miss this round due to yellow-card accumulation, as, by letter of the law, all suspensions in Serie A are served in the next match. Ernesto Torregrossa, Romulo have recovered from the small injuries that had sidelined them recently and will play against Sassuolo. Andrea Cistana hurt his ankle in practice, Sandro Tonali has a sore quad and they will both be sidelined. 

Fiorentina: Dalbert is disqualified, while Franck Ribery returned to full training following his massive ankle sprain, but he will need some time to get his conditioning up.

Genoa: Stefano Sturaro is trying to shake off some muscle fatigue and he is questionable, like Marko Pajac, who has spent time on the shelf with a sore tibia. Paolo Ghiglione (thigh) is progressing but this week is likely too early. Continue reading

Calcio Predictions – Round 26 – Second Half

Parma-SPAL: the Ducali have become fairly regular and are generally able to pick up Ws when they are supposed to. The Estensi have shown some improvements in the last two outings, but they have been knocked down five consecutive times: home win.

Milan-Genoa: the Rossoneri with their less-than-enthralling play have prevailed once in the past four matches, tying twice and losing in the Derby. The Griffon were dropped for the first time in a month by Lazio, which had to dig deep to do it. The Devil has not been very impressive at home: draw, like in four of the past six games at San Siro.

Sampdoria-Hellas Verona: three bad losses in the past five tilts for the Blucerchiati, which have triumphed just once at home in the last two months. The Scaligeri have not been topped in nine rounds, but they equalized a lot, mostly against good teams though: road win.

Udinese-Fiorentina: the Zebrette are coming off three draws and three losses, while La Viola salvaged a gritty point versus Milan and had routed Sampdoria before that. A draw would not be surprising at all, but the guests are in a more convincing form: road win.

Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri have not looked particularly good in a while, but they can rely on their excellent home record, as they tied just once at the Stadium. The Beneamata is coming off a loss in the clash with Lazio and another negative result in a key match-up would be a devastating blow: draw.

Sassuolo-Brescia: the Neroverdi slipped up against Parma before the last match was postponed, while Rondinelle put up a decent fight against Napoli, but were upended once again and are sinking more and more in the standings: home win.

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Cagliari fire Maran and appoint Zenga

After 11 winless round, Cagliari’s management took for the usual route to try to stop the bleeding, a coaching change, as they axed coach Rolando Maran, despite the incredible start that had put them in contention for a Europa League in the first half of the season, and hired Walter Zenga. The Sardinians have now slipped to the 11th position, seven points away the 6-th placed Napoli, ten above the relegation zone.

After staying undefeated for 13 consecutive rounds from mid-September to early-December, racking up eight wins, the Rossoblù lost to Lazio, Udinese, Juventus, Milan, Genoa, Napoli and Roma and collected few ties. Even if they clawed back multiple times versus the Giallorossi, that was the final straw for Maran’s tenure, who finished 15th last season. Continue reading

Calcio Fantasy Player of the Month – February – Ciro Immobile

With a one-day delay due to the ongoing round, it is time to unveil the best fantasy player in February and with little surprise it is Serie A’s leading scorer Ciro Immobile, who is one of the two Italian representatives that made it to the EuroFantasyLeague Team of the Month, which had a nice mix of contributors across all nations rather than the usual Premier League dominance.

Immobile amassed 20 points in the last 30 days despite going scoreless in three of the five matches on the schedule. He opened his month putting together half of his haul in the romp of SPAL, where he had a brace and set up a teammate. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 26

Thomas Strakosha (seven points): the Lazio goalie was the only one that managed to keep a clean sheet out of the eight teams that played over the weekend and he helped out with some strong saves, especially in the first half.

Luiz Felipe (four points): he had big shoes to fill as the Biancocelesti’s defensive leader, Francesco Acerbi, was unavailable against Bologna, but he stepped up and quarterbacked the back-line with command and tidiness. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Cagliari vs Roma

Fewer matches but still plenty of action in Serie A and Cagliari-Roma was clearly the most balanced match-up of the slate, as the home teams kept clawing back but still came up short.

The Sardinian approached the match having failed to win in the past 11 rounds, lastly versus Napoli and Genoa. The guests instead were coming off a slump-busting win over Lecce, which allowed them to bounce back from a three-game losing streak. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Round – Atalanta

Atalanta gave up two goals, but still had by far the most dominant performance of the weekend, thus taking home the shout-out.

They did not play last week and, before that, they had triumphed in two of the past three tilt, against Torino and Fiorentina, and tied with Genoa

Gian Piero Gasperini had to come up with a makeshift back-line with Rafael Toloi and Berat Djimsiti both on the shelf and opted to deploy Marten De Roon there, with Mario Pasalic taking his spot in the midfield and the standard configuration on offense. Continue reading