Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round One

Bologna: Gary Medel is suspended and is also recovering from a grade one strain in the semimembranosus muscle on the right thigh, therefore he could miss week two as well.

Cagliari: Luca Ceppitelli, Filip Bradaric and Kiril Despodov are quarantining after catching COVID-19 in late August. Gaston Pereiro suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in the right foot about two weeks ago and he has a 45-day timetable. Alessandro Deiola is recovering from a clean-up surgery on the right knee he had during his time at Lecce. Continue reading

Three fixtures to watch in match-day one

The new Serie A season is just around the corner with kickoff set for September 19. As is the case every season, the new year presents plenty of intriguing storylines and players to watch out for. Rookie boss Andrea Pirlo is making his managerial debut with Juventus while Inter will be hoping to displace their fierce rivals atop Italian football for the first time in ten years.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan head into the new season confident as ever and will be eager to return to the Champions League after a strong finish. Napoli is another side worth monitoring after a strong summer and could emerge as dark horses for the Scudetto. The capital-based clubs, Roma and Lazio, by contrast, will be hoping to push for top four once more but will need a strong start.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at match-day one and break down the interesting matchups:

Fiorentina-Torino (September 19) 

Fiorentina will be eager to turn the page on last season’s disappointment and spring a surprise this year. La Viola has an impressive core of young talents and will be hoping they can take the next step in their careers. Bartłomiej Dragowski is as reliable as they come between the posts while the imposing Nikola Milenkovic should be able to lead the backline in front of him.

Fiorentina boasts a plethora of talent in the middle of the park, including the likes of Gaetano Castrovilli, Alfred Duncan, and Erick Pulgar. With Chiesa, Vlahovic, and Kouame ahead of them, Beppe Iachini’s men can compete toe-to-toe with just about anyone in the peninsula. Consistency was an issue last season for Fiorentina, but they have enough talent to make a push for European football.

Torino, by contrast, is a side in transition under Marco Giampaolo after a disappointing finish to last season. It will be interesting to see the former Milan tactician back in his comfort zone and lead I Granata back into the upper half of the table.

Juventus-Sampdoria (September 20) 

Andrea Pirlo’s first game in charge will be worth a watch for a number of reasons. For one, not much is known about the former midfielder’s preferred setup as well as his coaching philosophy. His managerial debut against Sampdoria will give the Juventus faithful an early glimpse into what’s in store for them this season.

Beyond Pirlo’s debut, this game will be an early opportunity for Juventus to signal their intentions. The Bianconeri are currently a side in transition, but they will be eager to retain their crown regardless.

Milan-Bologna (September 21)

Milan closed off last season in impressive fashion and will be hoping to translate that form into the new year. Stefano Pioli’s men have had an impressive transfer window so far, adding Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz, and will be heading into the new year with high hopes. Bologna is a tricky opponent and possesses enough quality to hurt any opposition in Italy, making this clash must-watch calcio.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men will be hoping to break into the top seven this year and could just do that with a bit of luck.

How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!  

Three Players to look out for in the new season

With the new season fast approaching in under a month’s time, it’s as good a time as any to look forward and prepare ourselves for another rollercoaster. Last season, the calcio faithful witnessed the rise of many unfamiliar faces, including the likes of Gaetano Castrovilli and Sandro Tonali among others.

As it is the case every season, there’s always a few talents that break through and take the next step in their careers. Without further ado, here are three players – all of whom you may be familiar with – that are primed for a breakout year.

Musa Barrow (Bologna): 

The Bologna striker moved to Emilia-Romagna in the January transfer window and has had an immediate impact for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men, netting nine goals in 14 starts. After using the second half of the season to acclimate himself to his new surroundings, expect Barrow to hit the ground running and could potentially fire a young Bologna side into an unlikely race for European football.

The former Atalanta striker is as dynamic as they come in the final third and has demonstrated a keen eye for goal over the course of his short career. Capable of finishing with both feet, Barrow is definitely one to watch next year. With Orsolini and Rodrigo Palacio playing off him, Mihajlovic’s men possess one of the league’s most intriguing frontlines.

Christian Kouame, Fiorentina:

The Fiorentina forward returned to action at the tail end of last season, after being sidelined for a significant part of the year recovering from an ACL tear. Prior to his injury, Kouame broke onto the scene as a relatively unknown youngster and took the Serie A by storm. Fiorentina is coming off a disappointing season, but with Kouame back to full fitness and with a full preseason in his legs, the Ivorian is ready to lead the line for La Viola.

Kouame is at his best when acting in a tandem with another striker, opening the possibility for a potential partnership with Dusan Vlahovic or Patrick Cutrone. The former Genoa man will be raring to go when the season starts and will be hoping to lead Fiorentina back into the upper echelon of Italian football.

Victor Osimhen, Napoli: 

The Nigerian international has already won over the Napoli faithful, scoring a hat-trick seven minutes and 33 seconds into his debut in a friendly on Friday. In many ways, he has picked up from where exactly he left off before his big-money move which bodes well for Gennaro Gattuso’s men. Osimhen is coming off an incredible season with Lille, where he scored 18 goals in all competitions, and he will be eager to translate that form to Napoli.

At Napoli, Osimhen will have the opportunity to form a truly deadly front three with Lorenzo Insigne and Hirving Lozano and will have the possibility to learn from the experienced Dries Mertens. He may have cost nearly 50 million euros, but Osimhen is the real deal and will undoubtedly show that with the Partenopei next season.

How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

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.

Sign up to eurofantasyleague.com the game where football fans meet to compete.

Federico Bernardeschi’s time at Juve is up

It was a rare sight on a night that has become routine over the last decade. In the 66th minute Cristiano Ronaldo bore down on the Sampdoria goal from his usual left hand position of the field, nearing the periphery of the penalty area, the Portuguese cut inside before lashing a shot that was spilled by Samp stopper Emil Audero.

Audero desperately tried to regain the loose ball before Federico Bernardeschi, with all the anticipatory instincts of a modern-day Pippo Inzaghi, steamed towards the ball ahead of opposition left-back Tommaso Augello and fired home Juve’s second, sealing not just the victory, but their ninth straight title. It was the winger’s first league goal since September 2018, a collector’s item. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 36

BOLOGNA-LECCE

Bologna: they stayed in the game until the end but they could not perforate Atalanta’s defence and, result-wise, they have been on a pretty steep downward trajectory. They could use some offensive help because Musa Barrow and Roberto Soriano have been the only ones producing in the last month, since Riccardo Orsolini’s effectiveness has abated, Nicola Sansone has not been great all season long and Rodrigo Palacio, while being a tactical weapon, is not very prolific. Deploying Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen has not changed things and they also lost one of their most trusted contributors in Takehiro Tomiyasu. However, the match-up could help their attackers get off their schneid.

Suggested picks: Barrow, Soriano, Orsolini. 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 Fantasy Preview – Round 32

LAZIO-SASSUOLO

Lazio: the Biancocelesti had scrapped their way into two wins after the resumption, but they had generally looked off and everything came crashing down in Lecce. Ciro Immobile, other than drilling a penalty kick, has not been the same player he was prior to the stoppage and he has not been in synch with Luis Alberto. The issues were then exacerbated by key injuries, the latest one to Joaquin Correa. Sergej Milikovic-Savic, like Alberto, bagged one recently but has not been as dominating as in the past. Felipe Caicedo returned to the box score after a while in Lecce and he is poised to take on a massive role. The form is lacking, the talent is not, so they can snap out of it in any given moment. Manuel Lazzari has arguably been their most consistent player recently.

Suggested picks: Caicedo, Lazzari, Immobile.  Continue reading