Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 38 – Sunday Games

SPAL-FIORENTINA

SPAL: they were thumped early against Verona and failed to generate any semblance of offense, interrupting a mini-streak of consecutive matches where they had managed to score. Their agony will finally end here after a terrible season. Marco D’Alessandro has been their best player in the resumption, while Andrea Petagna and Gabriel Strefezza were the most reliable ones in the first part of the season. Mattia Valoti and Federico Di Francesco came back from their injuries and they could be worth a flier-

Suggested picks: D’Alessandro, Petagna, Valoti. Continue reading

Fiorentina Take Step Back After Confirming Beppe Iachini

Fiorentina confirmed Beppe Iachini would be returning as their coach going into the new season, after replacing Vincenzo Montella on an interim basis in December. La Viola has struggled for consistency all season, hovering just over the relegation zone. While Iachini steadied the ship upon his arrival, this appointment does not exactly fall in line with Fiorentina’s ambition. The Tuscan based outfit has secured a number of promising young talents in recent times and could regularly be challenging for European places.

A mid-table to lower-tier specialist, Iachini isn’t exactly the ideal profile to lead the charge and usher in progressive football. Fiorentina currently possesses an impressive young core, boasting the likes of Nikola Milenkovic, Federico Chiesa, Gaetano Castrovilli, and Christian Kouame among others. Considering the wealth of talent of Iachini’s disposal, much was expected from La Viola this season. Fiorentina, however, disappointed and only recently hit form, propelling themselves into a comfortable mid-table finish.

The main question mark going into the new season for Fiorentina is the futures of their star men. Chiesa has been linked with a big-money move to both Juventus and Inter over the past few weeks and looks intent on leaving Tuscany when the mercato opens. Another player who seems to be on everyone’s radar is la Viola’s towering defender Milenkovic. Capable of playing anywhere across the back four, the Serbian international has since emerged as a hot transfer target both in Italy and abroad. Manchester United was reportedly interested in the Fiorentina man as they look to bolster their defense.

In this sense, much of la Viola’s success next season will depend on them retaining their star players. If they are unable to do so, Iachini’s men may just be gearing up for yet another season filled with relegation scares. Should Fiorentina hold on to their star men, they will be in a great position to take the next step and qualify for the Europa League for the first time in four years.

That being said, Iachini’s confirmation will only hold Fiorentina back moving forward. When Rocco Commisso initially purchased the club, the expectations in Tuscany were high. The American businessman quickly invested in the side and has since built a young and vibrant roster. The play on the field, however, has left a lot to be desired with la Viola struggling for results and battling relegation.

As the side looks to take the next step and return to the upper echelon of Italian football once and for all, Fiorentina will need to bring in a more progressive manager. Managers like Gian Piero Gasperini and Roberto De Zerbi have taken Italy by storm this season and Fiorentina would benefit immensely from having a progressive thinker at the helm.

Eusebio Di Francesco was briefly linked to the Fiorentina job over the last few days, but la Viola decided against hiring the former Sassuolo tactician. In many ways, Di Francesco’s 4-3-3 would have suited Fiorentina’s roster and young core better, but the upper brass opted to confirm Iachini. With the new season kicking off in just under two months’ time, Fiorentina will be hoping they don’t regret their decision to do so – even if all the signs are pointing to it.

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Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 37

Alessio Cragno (7 points): it was revenge of the defences in the penultimate round, as six teams managed to keep the clean sheet. Among their goalies, the Cagliari one stood out the most in the Juventus match, as he produced several great saves, with the best one coming on a late scorcher.

Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): Antonio Conte fielded him as tactical centre-back and the move panned out against Napoli as he was not shy in attacking despite the role and Napoli were outnumbered when it came to covering men, so he found himself wide-open in the box on a deep incursion and finished with aplomb. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 35

ATALANTA-BOLOGNA

Atalanta: they were stymied a bit by their mini clones of Verona, but Duvan Zapata still came through, scoring for the third game in a row, and they had few chances to win it especially with Mario Pasalic, who was coming off a hat-trick. Ruslan Malinovskyi was not as effective in the Josip Ilicic’s role, while he had shined as pure no.10, in lieu of Alejandro Gomez, and that is something to monitor because El Papu does not rest often, while Ilicic is in poor conditions and will be managed cautiously. Luis Muriel might be a better candidate for that spot, while Pasalic is always very involved offensively whenever he is fielded. No doubts on the flanks this round around since Hans Hateboer is suspended and both Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne are strong options.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Gomez, Muriel. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 34

VERONA-ATALANTA

Verona: after a consistent stretch with a pure striker up front, Ivan Juric went back to a false-nine, Valerio Verre in this case, against Roma, but the results were not that great, with the second half push coming on the heels of the subs. The returns from injury of Fabio Borini, Eddie Salcedo and Valentin Eysseric will allow the coach to go that route more often, especially against top teams, although Samuel Di Carmine has been decently effective (three goals in the last six games). Mattia Pessina scored again and he has separated himself from their slew of attacking midfielders, while Mattia Zaccagni picked up the assist. Darko Lazovic has been their most consistent player.

Suggested picks: Pessina, Lazovic, Borini. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 33

Thomas Strakosha (7 points): he was under heavy fire in the second half in Udine, and saved by the post on a late strike by Rodrigo De Paul, but managed to fend for himself, bouncing back after a pair of costly howlers.

Cristiano Biraghi (10 points): he was instrumental in Inter’s little second half push to breeze past SPAL as he found the target with a right-footed strike from just outside the box and perfectly teed up Alexis Sanchez for a tap-in with a sharp cross.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 33

ATALANTA-BRESCIA

Atalanta: their supersonic offense spiked Juventus, with Duvan Zapata returning to the stat-sheet after three games, Ruslan Malinovskyi smashing one home in brilliant fashion and Alejandro Gomez and Luis Muriel setting up their teammates. Josip Ilicic is not all the way back but looked a bit better. It is an embarrassment of riches and, in a pristine match-up, a lot could come down on who rests and who gets to start, but Muriel being out all but assures Zapata will be in the XI. Robin Gosens quickly recovered from a thigh injury but might still be spared, however Timothy Castagne and Hans Hateboer are as big fantasy weapons as the Dutchman. Mario Pasalic would be palatable if starting.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Malinovskyi, Ilicic. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31

LECCE-LAZIO

Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar. Continue reading

Serie A Fantay Preview – Round 29

TORINO-LAZIO

Torino: the Granata had a nice reaction after falling in an early hole versus Cagliari, but an untimely penalty did them in. Andrea Belotti has found the target for two straight matches and has been excellent missed penalty aside. Simone Zaza is unlikely to be present, but Simone Verdi and especially Cristian Ansaldi, two of their most talented players, saw minutes in the past match and could be ready to start, unlocking few options up front, first of all the advancement of Alex Berenguer. Ansaldi had a positive impact after he subbed on, Verdi might need more time and had been struggling prior to the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Injuries and Suspension Report – Round 28

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic returned from an ankle problem in the last game, thus they have nothing else to worry about.

Bologna: Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen will be out for a while due to thigh strains.

Brescia: Jhon Chancellor (thigh) will miss another one. Andrea Cistana is not close after repairing his peroneal tendon during the lockdown. Continue reading