Crotone-Udinese: the Squali have been in every of the last four games until the end, but they ended up losing all of them against Lazio, Bologna, Napoli and Spezia. The Friulani remain in a comfortable spot in the standing but they will surely want to get back on track after being defeated by Lazio, Atalanta and Torino: 1-2.
Sampdoria-Verona: the Blucerchiati got outplayed by Napoli last week as they were dropped for just the second time in the last six games, where they have drawn in four occasions. The Scaligeri were pipped at the post by Lazio last week, suffering the fourth L in the past five tilts: 1-1. Continue reading
Atalanta: Matteo Pessina shook off COVID and will be assessed in practice after missing a week. Hans Hateboer is not far off from coming back from his foot microfracture, but it will not happen this week. Cristian Romero is suspended.
Returning: Pessina; Missing: Romero, Hateboer.
Benevento: Alessandro Tuia is out with yellow-card accumulation. Gabriele Moncini has a bruised ankle. Daam Foulon is out with an unspecified injury.
Missing: Tuia, Moncini, Foulon.
Bologna: Lorenzo De Silvestri and Andreas Skov Olsen picked up minor thigh problems in the past game, but they could be good to go. Takehiro Tomiyasu will be a late call due to calf soreness. Federico Santander (ACL tear), Gary Medel (calf strain) and Aaron Hickey (shoulder surgery) are out with long-term issues.
Missing: Tomiyasu, Santander, Medel, Hickey. Continue reading
Crotone (3-5-2): Cordaz; Djidji, Golemic, Luperto; Pereira, Molina, Petriccione, Messias, Reca; Ounas, Simy.
Potential lineup changes: Cuomo for Luperto, Rispoli for Pereira, Zanellato for Petriccione.
Likely bench options: Zanellato, Di Carmine, Rojas.
Ruled Out: Benali (ankle bruise), Marrone (calf pull).
Atalanta: Luis Muriel took a day off, so Duvan Zapata propelled them past Fiorentina with a brace. He has found the target in three straight games, improving to 13 goals in the season. His teammate (18 goals, 6 assists) instead has hit the net in half of the last six matches. Ruslan Malinovskyi has been on fire lately as a tactical modification made him more prominent: he has dished five helpers and scored once in the last three games. Josip Ilicic (6/7) has instead lost some minutes, but he can still be useful in shorter stints and buried a PK last week. Mario Pasalic (4/1) remains boom-or-bust, while Robin Gosens (9/5) has more ground to cover in their new design, but it looks like he will remain a major player in their offense.
Suggested picks: Zapata, Muriel, Malinovskyi.
Crotone: another productive offensive output, but another loss for the Squali, which got pipped at the post by Spezia last week. Simy delivered for the sixth game in a row for an ungodly total of nine goals. Junior Messias (8 goals, 4 assists) had hit the net in the previous two matches, while Adam Ounas (2/1) has not been super effective since coming back from injury, but he might in better shape following another week of practice. Ahmad Benali recently showed up in the stat-sheet with a helper, but he might be back on the shelf with an ankle injury. Should he be ruled out, Salvatore Molina (1/4) would likely have a more prominent role in the midfield. Arkadiusz Reca (2/3) is also a viable midrange option. Niccolò Zanellato set up a teammate in the last bout but is generally not a big offensive weapon.
Suggested picks: Simy, Messias, Ounas. Continue reading
Andrea Consigli (7 points): few of the top goalies managed to blank the opponents in this one, but they were not particularly challenged. The Sassuolo bulwark was not either, at least until the final minutes of the bout, where he pulled an incredible double save on Kamil Glik, first on a header, then on a deflection, to secure the win.
Matteo Darmian (9 points): Inter unusually did not get goals from their strikers, but the Italian fullback allowed them to notch another W with a perfect finish after a textbook back-door cut on a cross from the opposite flank. Continue reading
Standing’s implications: with different degrees of comfort, it was a chalky week at the top of the table as the first six teams were all successful. Inter and Milan sweated it out against Cagliari and Parma and Juventus tamed Genoa’s reaction, cruising to victory. Atalanta outlasted Fiorentina, Napoli handled Sampdoria away, while Lazio and Roma eked out Ws over Verona and Bologna. The trend continued on Monday as Sassuolo topped Benevento.
Spezia and Torino earned two seminal wins in the relegation struggle, the former staging a glorious late comeback versus Crotone, the latter by besting Udinese on the road. They were the only sides in the lower half of the standings to take home three points. Continue reading
The Bianconeri built a big enough lead in the first half to survive a ten-minute blackout after intermission, pulling away late and securing the second W in a row with a low-wattage performance against Genoa.
Dejan Kulusevki (3 points): it took him just a few minutes into the contest to get the monkey off his back scoring-wise, finding the target with a routine but very sharp lefty strike, which had become his trademark shot in Parma. He immediately rewarded the choice of the coach, who could have easily gone with the lineup that worked out great against Napoli and paved the way for the first commanding 45 minutes. Teammates looked for him more often than usual throughout the match, but he could have had a bigger day if he did not botch a counter-attack in the second half. He was not alone in that element and it is a trend that is becoming a little worrisome. Continue reading
Spezia-Crotone: the Aquilotti are coming off a bitter loss versus Lazio and have won just once in the past seven contests. However, most of their stumbles have come on the road, while at home they have picked up two wins and two draws in the last four matches. Crotone were plucky in the last three outings against Lazio, Bologna and Napoli, but they were still defeated. They have been upended in 10 of the last 11: 3-2.
Parma-Milan: the Ducali have not turned the corner but they have been defeated just twice in the last seven matches, by Inter and Genoa. They picked up one W and shared the spoils four times in such spell, lastly versus Benevento. The Rossoneri keep having troubles at home as they were held to a tie by Sampdoria, but they have been impressive on the road, winning almost every time: 1-2. Continue reading
Atalanta: Matteo Pessina contracted COVID. Luis Muriel is dealing with some minor back issues but should be fine. Hans Hateboer is rehabbing after foot surgery.
Missing: Pessina, Hateboer.
Benevento: Gaetano Letizia and Iago Falque returned last week, so they do not have any absentees.
Bologna: Lukas Skorupski has shaken off Coronavirus. Takehiro Tomiyasu is nursing some muscle fatigue, while Ibrahima Mbaye is past the same problem. Gary Medel will miss a month with another calf strain. Federico Santander (ACL tear) and Aaron Hickey (shoulder surgery) are out for the year.
Returning: Skorupski, Mbaye; Missing: Tomiyasu, Medel, Santander, Hickey.