Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 33


Let’s take a look at the top five games of the midweek round.

Inter-Cagliari: the Nerazzurri have failed to win and to score in their last three outings, but had pretty good chances in all three of them, so it is likely just a temporary issue. What is persistent, though, is that they are getting next to nothing offensively from players not named Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi. The Sardinians are coming off a monumental win over Udinese after three straight losses and they are now much more tranquil in the standings. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 29


The most balanced match-up of the next round is Sampdoria-Inter, but trap games are always around the corner in Serie A.

Spal-Juventus: the Bianconeri continue to rack up wins, they are now up to 12th in a row, and clean sheets as they got the job done against both Udinese and Atalanta and have created a four-point cushion over Napoli. However, the Estensi have been feisty lately, collecting seven points in their last three outings and sparking up the relegation race. Despite losing, they put up a great fight against Napoli at home back in Autumn. The return of Paulo Dybala has unlocked a new dimension in the Old Lady’s front-line, with Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa both benefitting from it. Mirco Antenucci has been the most consistent contributor so far for the Biancazzurri, even though it is very tough to score on Juventus these days.

Sampdoria-Inter: the Blucerchiati laid a stinker in Crotone, but this season they have continuously been much better at home. They are now chasing Milan for sixth spot after occupying it for quite some time. The Nerazzurri have held in check Napoli in the last game, at San Siro, but they have not prevailed in the last five away matches. Duvan Zapata is in good form in the last month or so, Fabio Quagliarella has slowed down a little but his numbers remain great. Mauro Icardi has not found the bottom of the net in quite some time, also due to injury, and he is facing his former team. Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva’s play remains paltry, perhaps Luciano Spalletti should give more minutes to the slippery Yann Karamoh.

Crotone-Roma: the Sharks got back on track with a great win over Sampdoria after fumbling the matches with the rivals Benevento and Spal. Roma have won in five or their last six Serie A games, including the plunder of San Paolo, and they advanced in Champions League as well. It looks like Marcello Trotta just needed some job security to start delivering steadily, and the injury to Ante Budimir gives him just that, also Federico Ricci and Andrea Nalini could be dangerous should they have room to counter. The Wolf has an elite road record: Edin Dzeko is in incredible shape, Cengiz Under has carried them for quite some time and also Radja Nainggolan’s form is improving dramatically in the hottest time of the year.

Lazio-Bologna: the Biancocelesti did not perform up to their level in Cagliari, perhaps they were tired after the Europa League clash. The situation is not much diverse this weekend, but this time they play at home against the seesawing Bologna, which are roaming around with no clear objective due to their position in the standings. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a little hurt and Luis Alberto might play in the midfield rather than as no.10: Felipe Anderson and the usual suspect Ciro Immobile are the best picks as far as the Eagles go. The fantasy stud Simone Verdi has not been the same since returning for injury and Mattia Destro has always been up-and-down and he was benched last week. Perhaps Rodrigo Palacio will inject some energy into the Rossoblù.

Napoli-Genoa: the Partenopei will try to get back on track after two unsatisfactory results, which cleared the way for Juventus to go top of the league. The two slipups came in big matches, but they have been a machine against the minnows. Genoa are a solid team, but they are in good enough position to not be too worried about getting points in every game. Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne continue to carry the biggest load offensively for the Azzurri, with José Callejon and Marek Hamsik chipping in from time to time. Their back-line could be worthy of consideration because the Griffon is not an explosive side, but they are getting a lot out of Goran Pandev. Giuseppe Rossi might be a surprise pick.

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Serie A Player Status Updates – Round 27

<> at Appiano Gentile on February 27, 2018 in Como, Italy.

Once again some key players risk missing the next Serie A round due to injuries. Here are the latest news: you can find the updates compared to the original version in italic.

Napoli:  Marek Hamsik was under the weather late in the week, but he will try to shake it off by Saturday night. Elseid Hysaj was subbed off on Monday, but it was only precautionary. Vlad Chiriches is out with a hamstring strain, Faouzi Ghoulam with a fractured fibula. Arek Milik should make the squad list this time.

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Serie A Fantasy Game Predictions – Round 23


No head-to-head clashes in the upcoming Serie A round other than Udinese-Milan, while Napoli and Juventus will continue their duel from afar.

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Serie A Team of the Week – Round 21


There were a few unexpected contributors in the last Serie A round: here are the top fantasy players of the week.

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Genoa president reloads and sticks with Juric


Before the last match, Milan Juric appeared to be on the hottest seat among the coaches whose job is in danger. Genoa lost to Bologna at home, but Juric was not sacked despite the break, which could have helped a newcomer. A decision that has a lot to do with the developments related to the corporate side of the club and with the lack of an extremely convincing alternative. The president Enrico Preziosi talked to the leaders of the locker room, who backed Juric. Replacing him with Andrea Mandorlini did not work last February.

Two weeks ago, the owner was on the verge of selling the club to the SRI group of the entrepreneur Giulio Gallazzi, but the four-month negotiation fell through at the last second over the finishing details. Preziosi is still looking for new investors and has signed with an advisor, while a third-party is making the due diligence: he is pretty much shopping the team around, but this stuff takes time. In such a situation, it is inevitable that the sporting side could fall into the background.

In the meantime, Preziosi has opted to hire Giorgio Perinetti as general manager. His arrival was halted by the potential sale, but the statements by the parties involved made it clear that this had been in the works for a while. Since February, Genoa operated with long-time head of the youth system Mario Donatelli has sporting director. Perinetti has great experience: before supporting Joe Tacopina in his attempt to bring Venezia back to relevancy, he spent time with Roma, Napoli and Juventus and was the main guy at Siena, Palermo and Bari.

After surviving, Juric now needs to produce. The Griffon has collected only two points so far and has yet to win a game. They have not been able to take full advantage of the easier fixtures against Sassuolo, Chievo Verona and Bologna and paradoxically they have fared better, but still came up short, in the tough games with Juventus, Lazio and Inter. As Perinetti put it, they are in a crisis from the results standpoint, but they are playing decently.

Their defence has not been good and their offense has not been consistent: a combination that does not take you very far. Against Cagliari, they will be able to field Armando Izzo, by far their best centre-back, as his six-month ban is over. Juric has tried every combination between Davide Biraschi, Luca Rossettini, Nicolas Spolli, Ervin Zukanovic and Santiago Gentiletti. The pillars he needs to rely on are Izzo and Zukanovic, who should also be tried in the central spot of the three-man backline, where Rossettini’s play has been uneven. Gentiletti has been abysmal so far, Biraschi has been up and down but has room to grow.

Pietro Pellegri has started off brilliantly but then it became clear that he is still raw and can not sustain the attack on his own. Andrej Galabinov is a little too allergic to scoring to be a regular starter in Serie A, but Gianluca Lapadula is expected to return soon and will help them in that department. The coach is also reportedly ready to move from 3-4-3 to 3-5-1-1 to make the formation stouter. A slimmed down Adel Taarabt has been a spark on the left wing and he can play as no.10 as well, while they have not got much from the third attacker, whether it was the promising Federico Ricci, Goran Pandev, Raffaele Palladino or Ricardo Centurion. A three-man midfield would feature Luca Rigoni, who was inexplicably banished but has the kind of experience that is vital in the relegation race, or one of the interesting youngsters Stephane Omeonga or Petar Brlek, alongside the staples Miguel Veloso and Andrea Bertolacci.

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Lapadula’s unfortunate injury woes hit Genoa hard

Genoa CFC v Juventus - Serie A

It is fair to say that Gianluca Lapadula’s stint at Genoa is not going as planned. He was their marquee signing this summer: the Grifone will pay up to €13M to get him, on a loan with obligation to buy, and locked him in a five-year contract, hoping that he will be able to replace the contribution of Leonardo Pavoletti. However, he has been sidelined for most of the time so far and will be out for the foreseeable future. The striker is coming off a decent season at Milan, where he netted eight goals in 27 appearances, mostly off the bench.

Lapadula had a scoring average of a goal every 170 minutes at Milan, which would be extremely helpful for Rossoblù. The Turin-born centre-forward proved in Serie B and Serie C that he can be very prolific: a late bloomer, he scored 21 times with Teramo in 2014/2015 and 27 times with Pescara in 2016/2017, before Rossoneri won the bidding war for him, but never trusted him as a regular starter.

Genoa has always been a striker-friendly club, but injuries have prevented Lapadula from making his contribution. He was already dealing with the ever-annoying plantar fasciitis when he was signed, but the team pulled the trigger anyway. He missed the whole summer and most of the first two games. In the third one, in his first start against Udinese, he had to be subbed off early after an awkward landing on the left knee and further tests revealed an MCL tear that will keep him out for at least a month in a very busy stretch of the schedule.

Milan Juric will have to turn to the alternatives for the time being, but none of them has the same potential as Lapadula. Andrej Galabinov held his own so far: a Serie B lifer, he is a very physical striker who plays well with the rest of his teammates, but he has never been able to tally more than 15 goals in the second league. 16-year-old wonderkid Pietro Pellegri, who scored in his first start last season, has spent most of the summer on the shelf and now has some catching up to do from the physical standpoint.

They did sign two interesting attackers in the final days of the transfer market window: Ricardo Centurion and Federico Ricci. Juric already coached the former Sassuolo winger at Crotone, with good profit. Alongside the slimmed down Adel Taarabt, the trio can give the coach enough depth to use the experienced Goran Pandev as false-nine. The Macedonian forward has never been too consistent, but he has had his moments over the years. According to some reports, Milan Juric is already on the hot seat after collecting only one point in three matches, so he will have to turn the ship around without his main weapon.

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