Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 18

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The first ever Serie A boxing day will culminate in a tasty match-up between Inter and Napoli.

Frosinone-Milan: the Ciociari snatched a decent draw in Udinese in Marco Baroni’s first game, but they need some Ws as they have gotten just one so far and it dates back to October 28th. The window to reduce the gap is closing quickly. Milan are sputtering in the last period: they have prevailed just once in the last six fixtures, tying with Lazio, Torino and Bologna and losing to Juventus and Fiorentina. They have been unable to score in the past three games. With so little time to work with, the new coach did not change much, opting for a 3-5-2 and benching Joel Campbell to have one more midfielder, Francesco Cassata. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Round – Sassuolo

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The top teams were successful but unconvincing in this round, as they all nipped their opponents with a 1-0 results. The shout-out goes to the only other side besides Juventus that got a W on the road: Sassuolo, which did it keeping a clean sheet and scoring multiple goals in Frosinone.

They had now brought home the full spoils in a month, tying in three of their last four fixtures, but had a very clinical display here. Roberto De Zerbi, still dealing with the absence of his top guy Kevin-Prince Boateng, stuck to his guns and went with his best available men. The only surprise was Manuel Locatelli playing over Mehdi Benatia in the midfield, while Stefano Sensi got another start as deep-lying playmaker, as position he looks more and more at ease in. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Sassuolo vs Fiorentina

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Plenty of pathos in the last Serie A round: Cagliari-Roma and Lazio-Sampdoria would have been worthy candidates for match of the week, but then Sassuolo-Fiorentina outdid them on Sunday.

Both teams came into the game pretty desperate for a win: the Neroverdi had prevailed just once in the previous eight fixtures, while La Viola last grabbed the full three points for the last time in late September. With Kevin-Prince Boateng out with an injury, Roberto De Zerbi used his best XI, with Khouma Babacar spearheading the front-line, Federico Di Francesco on the left wing and Stefano Sensi as deep-lying playmaker. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 12

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The next slate before another international break is pretty juicy.

Genoa-Napoli: the Griffon have not won in four games and the effects of the coaching change have not been palpable, since they continue to concede a lot. They lost twice in San Siro last week and the schedule does not do them any favor. The Partenopei easily romped Empoli last week and have won three out of their last four games, looking splendid at times. Krzysztof Piatek has not scored for four games in a row, which is unlikely to be a coincidence, and their last goals under Milan Juric have been pretty random, by Cristian Romero on a free kick, by Romulo on a penalty and by Daniel Bessa on a defensive mishap. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 9

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Serie A returns with a pretty decent slate capped off by the mouth-watering Milan derby on Sunday night.

Roma-Spal: the Giallorossi have solved some of their initial problems and have put together a three-game winning streak, defeating Frosinone, Lazio and Empoli. The Estensi are going in opposite direction, since have suffered four straight losses, to Fiorentina, Sassuolo, Sampdoria and Inter, after a hot start. Eusebio Di Francesco seems to have found the right scheme for his men, a 4-2-3-1 with Lorenzo Pellegrini in the hole. The youngster has been remarkable filling in for the injured Javier Pastore, to the point that there is a real competition here. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 8

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It will be inevitably a quieter round compared to the previous ginormous one, but Serie A never lacks reasons to tune in.

Udinese-Juventus: the Zebrette have certainly been more interesting this season, but after losing just once in the first five games, they have been defeated two times in a row, against Lazio and Bologna, so their point total is not that conspicuous. The Bianconeri from Piedmont, on the other hand, are coming off a seminal win over the main title contenders, Napoli, and have prevailed in the first nine games of the season. They will eventually come a cropper, but they have had a lot of success in the past in this stadium. Rodrigo De Paul has been leading the charge for the home team, but very little help scoring-wise from his teammates: Kevin Lasagna notched just one, Lukasz Teodorczyk and Darwin Machis are still scoreless, Ignacio Pussetto found his first last week. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 7

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A seminal Serie A weekend is approaching, featuring the Derby della Capitale and Juventus-Napoli.

Roma-Lazio: the Giallorossi shook off at least part of the negativity surrounding them by routing Frosinone on Wednesday, which is not particularly difficult these days, but they needed it. They had won just in the opening round. The Biancocelesti keep feasting on the minnows and are coming off four wins in a row. La Lupa has been so inconsistent so far, but 4-2-3-1 with Javier Pastore in the hole and Steven Nzonzi and Daniele De Rossi screening the defence might ultimately be the way to go, at least in big matches. Stephan El Shaarawy has been their most trustworthy player so far, but Cengiz Under broke through on Wednesday and he does not need a lot to get hot. Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Week – Round 6

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As usual, some surprising names and some familiar faces are featured in the latest team of the week.

Simone Scuffet (7 points): a dazzling performance by the youngster, who brilliantly denied three point-blank attempts by Chievo, including two headers, keeping a clean sheet that eventually allowed Udinese to come away with a win. He had s shaky start, but after that he has been fully deserving of the starting job.

Nikola Milenkovic (9 points): he scored his second goal of the season, and the second one in Fiorentina-SPAL, with a thunderous header on a corner kick where he outjumped everybody, including Alfred Gomis and his outstretched arms. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 5

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Standings implications: Juventus eked out a win in Frosinone, while Napoli prevailed rather easily in the lunch match in Turin. Lazio put together a three-game winning streak by topping minnows. Milan and Atalanta shared the spoils in a very entertaining game. Inter grabbed their second Serie A win in dramatic fashion, while Roma are officially in a tailspin after the shocking loss to Bologna. Sassuolo and Fiorentina remain in the upper part of the standings thanks to their convincing victories over Empoli and SPAL, Udinese are a little lower, but still in a pretty good spot after defeating Chievo. Parma defeated a direct rival like Cagliari. Continue reading

Douglas Costa hit with four-game suspension

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The sports judge came down fairly hard on Douglas Costa for spitting to Federico Di Francesco in the final minutes of Juventus-Sassuolo. The winger was red carded following a VAR review. The FIGC prosecutor recommended the use of video evidence for the actions that preceded that, since the Brazilian went at the opponent multiple times, but it was not used because the referee noticed most of them and an elbow was not considered worthy of the parameters that define a violent conduct.

The ex-Bayern Munich apologized on social medias and suggested that he was provoked by something the Sassuolo attacker said to him, even though obviously there is no excuse for such behaviour. He will miss the games against Frosinone, Bologna, Napoli and Udinese. The club will not appeal.  Continue reading