Inter go 7 points clear of champions Juventus with 17th win of the season

Inter look on course to win their first league title in 11 years as they beat Genoa 3-0 at the weekend. Romelu Lukaku yet again was on hand to open up the scoring in a pretty much one sided game that they didn’t look like losing.

Inter got off to the best possible start as they were in front against Genoa within 60 seconds. Lautaro Martinez set up Lukaku who still had plenty of work to do but he lashed his shot into the net, and it was a superb goal to get the game going.

Matteo Darmian and Nicolo Barella had chances to double the lead in the first half and Barella’s chance came off the cross bar. But the first half would end 1-0 to the home side. Inter had dominated the first half and had 7 shots on target to Genoa’s two and they look hungry for more goals too.

Goals did follow in the 2nd half and this time Darmian made no mistakes as he was set up by Lukaku and just past the hour mark it was 2-0 to Inter and there was no coming back from that by the away side.

A few minutes later Alexis Sanchez made it 3-0 and it was game over. Although not before a VAR review but thankfully the goal stood. Inter are 4 points clear at the top after Milan also won at the weekend. But the big news was that Juventus had their game in hand in midweek and they could only draw 1-1 at Verona. They followed that up yesterday by beating Spezia 3-0 but the old lady are now seven points behind Inter and have now played the same games. One has to wonder if Juventus’ domination of the league is over?

Inter’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku had this to say after the game: We faced some defeats in these kind of games last season and we want to improve. I am really happy with the victory. Now we must focus on Parma, it’s not going to be an easy game. We want to show our opponents that we are here. We must focus on one game at a time. It was an important match after two back to back victories. We scored three goals and kept a clean sheet, perfect.”

Pirelli waving goodbye

In other news Pirelli the infamous shirt sponsors of Inter will be no more. With talk of Inter being sold in the summer and negotiations taking place it has been confirmed that the club will have different shirt sponsors from next season. Pirelli has had a strong association with Inter and they have been their official shirt sponsor for the past 27 years.

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

Top Three Surprises: Serie A 2020-2021

As is the case any season, Serie A has been chock full of surprises this year, with a number of players breaking onto the scene. Whether it is a budding young talent making a name for himself, or a team punching above their weight, Italian football has not been short on surprising storylines this season.

Without further ado, let’s take a deeper look and break down the most intriguing happenings of what has been a crazy year thus far:

1) Cagliari are…bad? 

When the Sardinian outfit appointed Eusebio Di Francesco this past summer, Cagliari was expected to take the leap in quality. The Italian tactician went into the job with an impressive resume – despite his failures with Roma. His fluid 4-3-3 was supposed to be a perfect fit with Cagliari’s talented roster. Today, the club is on the brink of relegation, sitting five points adrift safety, while Di Francesco has since been sacked.

Cagliari added Diego Godin to its ranks this past summer, adding some much-needed depth at the back. The arrivals of Radja Nainggolan and Daniele Rugani were supposed to steady the ship in January after a rocky start to the campaign, but nothing of the sort has happened.

The club’s only consistent performer remains Joao Pedro, who has led the charge with 11 goals. Giovanni Simeone has struggled for form himself, last finding the back of the net in October. Simply put, a side that boasts their talent – including a midfield three of Nandez, Nainggolan, and Rog – has no business near the relegation zone. If Cagliari cannot turn it around, they might just be the most talented team to go down in recent history.

2) Davide Ballardini might know a thing or two about calcio. 

David Ballardini has regularly been used as a stop-gap option for clubs facing relegation. Naturally, when Genoa had a bumpy start to the new year, the veteran tactician was brought in, kicking off his fourth spell with the club. As was the case in the past, expectations were low.

After all, Genoa’s roster has little quality across the board after notable departures year after year. What has transpired over the last months in Liguria has been nothing short of a total shock. I Grifoni are currently among Italy’s most in-form sides and have since pulled themselves out of the relegation zone.

Led by Ballardini, Genoa has lost just once in their last 10 games and is currently riding a seven-game unbeaten run. After bouncing around calcio’s lower tiers, it appears Ballardini has finally found a place to (temporarily) call home, even if it took him four spells. You can never get too comfortable with Enrico Preziosi at the helm.

3) Is Nicolo Barella Italy’s best midfielder? 

If the past season showed us anything, it is that before this year, Nicolo Barella was severely underappreciated. The Italian international has been the catalyst behind Inter’s title charge, pulling all the right strings in the middle of the park. Operating on the right-hand side of a midfield three, Barella has formed a deadly partnership with Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku.

The former Cagliari captain has taken his game to the next level, which begs the question: Is he currently Italy’s best midfielder? Marco Verratti might have something to say about that, but the PSG man has never been able to translate his impressive exploits to the national team.

Beyond his great play, Barella has demonstrated he is ready to be a leader, constantly barking out orders on the pitch. Led by a former midfield dynamo in Antonio Conte, Barella has the perfect role model on the sidelines, helping him mould his game accordingly. Is Barella the first name on Roberto Mancini’s team-sheet? I’ll let you decide.

Join the most popular Fantasy Serie A game here: fantasyseriea.com

 

 

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 24 – Late Games

CROTONE-CAGLIARI

Crotone: as expected the Juventus clash proved to be too hard for them to overcome, even though Junior Messias got few shots off and Adam Ounas tried to get something going with his mazing runs. The duo will lead the way again here in a much easier fixture. Messias has bagged seven goals thus far, while Ounas scored on his second appearance with the Squali and will be facing his former team, which did not trust him too much. Samuel Di Carmine has quickly unseated Simy but has not really shined thus far. The coach initially tweaked his system in the past game, but the changes were not that profound. Salvatore Molina returned from a lengthy absence and he was dynamic early in the season (one goal, four assists). Milos Vulic has not made the stat-sheet but he has been very busy over the last couple of matches and could be due. Left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal, three helpers) has been one of their most consistent players. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Early Matches

FIORENTINA-SPEZIA

Fiorentina: to nobody’s surprise, Dusan Vlahovic was again Fiorentina’s lone scorer in the past round, notching his seventh goal in the past 11 rounds. Franck Ribery was ruled out late and replaced by Christian Kouame, who had a decent but unfruitful display. With the Freshman still sidelined, that spot is up for grabs between Kouame, Valentin Eysseric and Jose Maria Callejon as neither has really separated himself from the pack. Kouame is the one with the highest break-out potential. Giacomo Bonaventura is coming on as he has posted one goal and one assist in the past four rounds, while Gaetano Castrovilli is continuing his disappearing act even though they rely on him a lot. Cristiano Biraghi (one goal, four helpers) has been a nice weapon throughout the season but he has not picked up bonuses in a long while. Kevin Malcuit and Aleksandar Kokorin would have some value if the coach decided to give him good minutes as they are in dire need of an offensive spark. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 22 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-BENEVENTO

Bologna: the time and effort put into turning Musa Barrow into a striker is starting to pay off as the youngster resurfaced after some quiet rounds with a clinical brace versus Parma. He now has five goals in the season. The move is working out also because Nicola Sansone has been very solid out on the left wing after shaking off an injury and he is coming off his best outing of the season as he dished two assist last week. Roberto Soriano (six goals, five helpers) also picked up offensive bonuses after a while as he set up Riccardo Orsolini, who came off the bench but still delivered. He is clearly on the rise as he has hit the net twice in the last four matches, on top of furnishing strong performances. Nicolas Dominguez should have an increased role with Mattias Svanberg suspended and Takehiro Tomiyasu is worth a flier now that it looks like he is going to stay at right-back. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 21 – Early Games

FIORENTINA-INTER

Fiorentina: the news for them is that somebody not named Dusan Vlahovic managed to hit the net, as Franck Ribery bagged his first goal of the season with a pretty play against Torino. The Frenchman had indeed started to show better recently: he also has four assists in the season, but he has had an hiccup in practice, which could allow Jose Callejon or Christian Kouame to get the nod in this one. Giacomo Bonaventura has been their only other scorer in recent games and he showed up versus Torino with an assist, thus picking up bonuses in two matches in a row. His role will be bigger due to the suspension of Gaetano Castrovilli. Erick Pulgar, who is first in line to replace the teammate, has some value due to PK duties, but he has not done much this year, while Sofyan Amrabat could move to a more dynamic position. Cristiano Biraghi is a secondary option as he has tallied one goal and four assists thus far. Their defense has been quite stingy but the match-up is complicated. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 19 – Remaining Games

BENEVENTO-TORINO

Benevento: they surely had a weird faux pas versus Crotone for a team that had been mostly steady so far. Moreover, their most prolific guy as of late, Marco Sau, got sent off from the bench and the always lively Roberto Insigne hurt his ankle, which makes him very questionable for this match. The only positive note was that Iago Falque managed to return after a long time on the shelf and bagged a lovely goal, the first of his campaign, but he has generally fared well whenever available to play. He remains an option even though the coach stated that he is not ready to start. The injuries could thrust him into a major role this one, while Gianluca Caprari, who was banged up going into the previous contest, will surely return to the XI: he is their leading scorer with four goal. Gianluca Lapadula is their tip of the spear but has not hit the net since early November. With Pasquale Schiattarella and Gaetano Letizia missing, Riccardo Improta and Artur Ionita are set to be their secondary playmakers, but they have not picked up many bonuses so far. Aggressive midfielder Andres Tello could have a big role as well. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18 – Top Matches

LAZIO-ROMA

Lazio: Ciro Immobile took a little back-seat in the Parma game, where two other fellow attackers shined, Luis Alberto, who broke the deadlock with his third goal in the last five matches, and Felipe Caicedo, who found the target for the second round in a row, moving to six total in the season. The Golden Boot recipient had scored in all the previous five tilts. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic dished his fifth assist to add to his two goals, as his role is slightly different this year, but he has maintained a decent level of production. Manuel Lazzari cashed in on his good moment with his second assist of the season, catching up with fellow wing-back Adam Marusic in that regard. Joaquin Correa (one goal, one assist) could be back at least in limited fashion in this one, but Caicedo has filled in admirably. The Sergeant tends to deliver in big matches.

Recommended picks: Milinkovic-Savic, Immobile, Alberto.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 16 – Top Matches

CROTONE-ROMA

Crotone: they tried to keep up with Inter on Sunday thanks to the first goals in Serie A of Niccolò Zanellato and Vladimir Golemic, but they ultimately ended up being overwhelmed. Junior Messias showed up with an assist, his first one, while he has found the target five times. Emmanuel Riviere is taking playing time away from Simy, but neither has been very prolific or really dangerous. Given the role, it is unlikely that Zanellato will turn into a fantasy weapon: in the midfield Salvatore Molina (one goal, four assists) and Milos Vulic surely have more value, while left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal and five helpers) has been a valuable reference point on the flank. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15 – Remaining Games

CAGLIARI-NAPOLI

Cagliari: Joao Pedro bagged a brace against Roma, but they still came away empty-handed and they have not triumphed in a while. Besides the Brazilian, who is at eight goals in the season, they have not gotten much out of their other strikers as Giovanni Simeone has not produced after missing time with COVID and Leonardo Pavoletti had an immediate spark but then faded once his playing time resumed being irregular. Riccardo Sottil has found the target twice so far, but he has also been rather wasteful given the amount of opportunities he has had. Adam Ounas should be at full speed after the break and he is effervescent, but not very clutch in the box. Nahitan Nandez finished the year on a high performance-wise, but he might play in a defensive role in this one. Their fullbacks Charalampos Lykogiannis (two goals) and Gabriele Zappa (three assists) have been among their top contributors.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Sottil, Ounas. Continue reading