Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26

Lazio-Bologna: the only game between two teams that actually played last week. The Biancocelesti extended their superb run by grinding out a W versus Genoa, thanks to the usual Ciro Immobile goal and two unlikely heroes coming through, Adam Marusic, who has started over Manuel Lazzari in two matches in a row, and Danilo Cataldi. While Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored against Inter, the bonuses for their other two fantasy stars, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa, have not been there in recent rounds, leaving Felipe Caicedo as the only serviceable option besides the capocannoniere. Jony has taken over for the injured Senad Lulic and, while he is a high-volume crosser, he has come up with just one assist so far. It could be another ripe day for their offense considering that the Felsinei have a soft defence. Continue reading

Champions League: Lyon vs Juventus Preview

Champions League resumes on Wednesday, so Juventus will be back in the competition where they had the most success in so far, as they cruised during the group stage. If it was not for a late two-goal comeback by Atletico Madrid back in the first game, they would have prevailed in each of the six matches in the group stage.

Finishing in first position allowed them to land a fairly cosy match-up with Lyon in the round of 16, an opponent they have familiarity with, since they have faced them four times in recent years, winning in three occasions. The French club is also not having a particular great season as they are in 7th position in Ligue 1 and do not boast a particularly good record at home. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 25

Atalanta: Berat Djimsiti was a late scratch for the Champions League game but he is simply dealing with a bruised quad and so he could be available on Sunday. Tomas Sutalo continues nursing a foot edema.

Bologna: Stefano Denswil and Jerdy Schouten were red carded last week. Gary Medel (hamstring) and Roberto Soriano (thigh bruise) are the closest to recovering, but this week is too early for them. Mitchell Dijks (foot) and Ladislav Krejci (knee) will not be back before the end of the month, same for Federico Santander (hip) and Nicola Sansone (hamstring). Mattias Svanberg picked up a thigh strain and will miss three-to-four weeks. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23

Atalanta-Roma: the Goddess continue to add to their offensive arsenal, as Duvan Zapata is returning two his usual pre-injury numbers (two goals and three assists in the last four games) and Ruslan Malinovskyi came through last week. The Ukrainian attacker seems to have surpassed Luis Muriel as first option off the bench. Josip Ilicic did not score against Fiorentina, but still had a great performance and he has been en fuego for a while. The one small negative is that, with their front-line now featuring two quality scorers, Alejandro Gomez is back at looking more to feed them rather than finishing on his own: as a matter of fact he set up two goals last week and has not hit the net since in six weeks. Timothy Castagne came back and he is a bigger offensive weapon than the more diligent Hans Hateboer, but they will likely continue to alternate, while Robin Gosens on the opposite flank is slowing down a bit after a gorgeous January. Mario Pasalic fumbled away a pair of sitters in Florence. Rafael Toloi (one goal and six assists) has been their most intriguing defender. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23

Roma-Bologna: the Giallorossi are in a funk and have played just one convincing game out of the last five. They will be without Lorenzo Pellegrini due to suspension and it is a massive loss considering that he is the mastermind of their offense. They should get Henrikh Mkhitaryan back from injury and perhaps even starting considering the hole at no.10. The other option is likely Diego Perotti and they seem to always be awarded a penalty when he is out there. Edin Dzeko has scored in three straight games and they will face a pretty suspect back-line. Cengiz Under took a step back versus Sassuolo, but he is always pretty assertive when he decides to play, while Justin Kluivert has not done much since coming back from injury, but should improve over time. Paulo Fonseca has elected to keep Aleksandar Kolarov on the bench in the last two matches for tactical reasons, but the decision has not really moved the needle so the stud left-back should soon be back in the XI. Continue reading

PREVIEW: Juventus-Fiorentina – The Old Lady Looks To Bounce Back

Having crashed out of the Coppa Italia in midweek at the hands of Inter, Fiorentina’s difficult run of fixtures continues on Sunday as they travel to Turin to take on Juventus. Fans of La Viola would love nothing more than to add to Maurizio Sarri’s problems, the Bianconeri having lost away at Napoli last weekend.

Continue reading

Serie A Round 22 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

Match-day 21 saw Italy’s top three all drop points with Juventus picking up their second loss of the season against Napoli. Despite this, Lazio and Inter weren’t able to capitalize and drew their games against Roma and Cagliari respectively. This week, Italy’s top sides will all be looking to return to winning ways as Juve will host Fiorentina and Lazio take on SPAL. Inter, by contrast, will look to beat Udinese.

With match-day 22 upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your elevens. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Gonzalo Higuain (FWD, Juventus, Value 15.43 ) – After a storming start to the season, the former Real Madrid man has slowed down and has looked fatigued when given a starting role. Against Fiorentina, expect Sarri to use Higuain off the bench rather than from the start. The Juve hitman failed to create anything of note against Napoli on the weekend and looked sluggish in and out of possesion. As a result, a spell on the sidelines could prove to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

At 15.43M, let’s face it, you can do better than Higuain. After all, he’ll feature mostly off the bench as the season draws to a close.

Armando Izzo (DEF, Torino, Value 13.00 ) – The Torino man had an outing to forget against Gian Piero Gasperini’s high-flying Atalanta and got sent off in a 7-0 defeat. Izzo, a defender typically known for his solidity and imposing physique, has looked off the pace recently and could use the weekend off. With the red, he frankly has no choice.

Torino have also had a week to forget conceding a further four goals against Milan in their most recent Coppa Italia defeat. That’s eleven goals in two games. As a result, you would be wise to temporarily swap out the veteran defender out of your sides.

Domenico Criscito (DEF, Genoa, 7.93 Value ) – Much like Izzo, Criscito had a weekend to forget. While Genoa’s scoreless draw against Fiorentina wasn’t the worst result all things considered, it could have been much more for the Grifoni. Criscito was handed a golden opportunity from the spot to gift his side a crucial three points, but much to his dismay spurned the spot-kick. It was his first penalty miss of the season and came at a painfully unfortunate time.

With Genoa stuck in the relegation zone, Criscito will need to rise to the occasion and deliver captain-like performances. For now, however, his stock is low.

Lautaro Martinez (FWD, Inter, Value 18.95 ) – Despite his goal on the weekend, Martinez makes the list. The month of January has been a frustrating one for Conte’s men as they have dropped points against Cagliari, Lecce, and Atalanta. All draws that might come back to haunt them at the end of the season.

The frustration arguably hit a boiling point against the Sardinians as Martinez let his anger get the best of him and was sent off deep into stoppage-time. He was subsequently suspended for Inter’s next two games. The nerazzurri will now have to make do without his services for the foreseeable future at a crucial time in their season. While Martinez features in most fantacalcio sides and rightfully so, keep an eye on the Argentine international’s progression over the next few weeks.

Rodrigo De Paul (MID, Udinese, Value 13.44) – The Udinese man has failed to follow up last season’s impressive exploits and has struggled in Friuli. While Udinese lack creativity and alternative options in the final third, De Paul has shied away from responsibility and was anonymous in his side’s most recent defeats against Parma and Milan.

While Udinese are relatively safe from the drop, De Paul will need to step up if he foresees a big-money move in the summer.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 22

Sassuolo-Roma: an early red card took the Neroverdi out of the Sampdoria game pretty early, but they still came away with a decent point, even though they were understandably unable to do much on offense. In the previous round, Domenico Berardi and Jeremie Boga propelled them past Torino the previous week and they have an intriguing front-line when everybody is healthy and on his day, since they are quite moody, the concerns are more on the other end and the suspension of Federico Peluso adds to those. Francesco Caputo has not scored since mid-December after a fast start, while their duo of no.10s Hamed Traore and Filip Djuricic, who generally alternate, have been able to do a decent amount of damage. Manuel Locatelli and Pedro Obiang/Francesco Magnanelli rarely attack due to their defensive position, they have combined for just one goal, while Jeremy Toljan and Grigoris Kyriakopoulos are decent fullbacks, but the match-up is pretty hard. Continue reading

Sarri wary of perils of Napoli game

Maurizio Sarri fielded some questions ahead of the much-anticipated Napoli clash: “It is clear that it is a particular game for me, but we must not spend energies for a personal aspect. We have to focus on the collective goal, which is to take home some points. It will be a complicated match for various reasons.”

On a possible return to the Partenopei: “I have not given much thought about that. Maybe I could retire after Juventus, I will have to ponder whether I can still do well after this experience.” Continue reading

Sarri mum on lineup ahead of Coppa Italia clash

Maurizio Sarri kept his cards close to the vest regarding the XI in the presser ahead of the Coppa Italia tilt against Roma: “I expect a very difficult game, you just need to look at Roma’s results on the road to have proof of that. They conceded little and score as much as at home. They are a quality team. We would lose sight of reality if we thought we are not going to have some challenging moments against them.” Continue reading