Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 15

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The next round features one of the games of the season, Juventus-Inter, and few other juicy match-ups.

Juventus-Inter: the Bianconeri got the better of Fiorentina, extending their winning streak to five fixtures, but in that occasion they were not as dominant as the final score showed. Against Roma, Inter dropped points for the second time in a row on the road and, despite scoring twice, they never looked in control. The same thing happened in Bergamo, but they are extremely opportunistic, so they can never be counted out. Cristiano Ronaldo added one to his tally with a penalty in Florence, while Rodrigo Bentancur continues to impress. Mario Mandzukic is generally money in big matches, while Douglas Costa has the potential to be a factor off the bench. Despite being useful in other areas, Paulo Dybala’s offensive stats in Serie A have been subpar. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 14

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The next Serie A slate is pretty tasty on paper.

Fiorentina-Juventus: the Viola are having a weird season. They started off decently, showing well especially at home, where they are still undefeated and have a sound defense, but they have struggled to score recently. They have not netted more than one since late September and they have drawn in their last five matches, against Cagliari, Torino, Roma, Frosinone and Bologna. On the other hand, the Old Lady is cruising with 12 wins in the year, four in a row after the tumble against Genoa, but it will be tested before the break. Fiorentina’s offensive problems stem primarily from Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca’s poor form, as they have combined for just three goals so far. Federico Chiesa is always doing stuff, but he has not bagged many as well. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 13

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Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi and Sami Khedira will not play this week because of an adductor issue and an ankle sprain. Miralem Pjanic should be available after a little muscular ailment with Bosnia. Emre Can is recovering from thyroid surgery. The two German players could return within a couple of weeks, the Italian winger sooner.

Napoli: Simone Verdi worked his way back from a thigh problem, but rolled his ankle in practice and could miss some time. Amin Younes has shaken off the Achilles injury, but he had the same problem of his teammate, even though his one is considered milder. Alex Meret is dealing with a sore shoulder on top of going through a bumpy rehab from a forearm fracture. Dries Mertens got a bruise in practice. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 13

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The next round could be a little one-sided for the top clubs, but surprises are always around the corner in Serie A and there still a couple of juicy games on deck.

Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri prevailed in the always tense match-up with Milan, surviving a penalty but appearing pretty dominant overall. They have won in 11 of the first 12 games, setting a new Serie A-point record to start the season. SPAL looked a little better against Cagliari, but squandered a two-zip lead and had to settle for a tie. They had lost in six of the previous seven fixtures. Mario Mandzukic returned to the starting XI with an immediate goal, then Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another one. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Milan vs Juventus

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Milan-Juventus was the most anticipated match coming into the round and it did not disappoint, even though the score ended up being a little lopsided. As if there were not enough storylines already, one arose even before the start as Massimiliano Allegri elected to keep Leonardo Bonucci on the bench, sparing him a date with a very hostile environment. His replacement Medhi Benatia had a mixed performance.

The Bianconeri came into the game trying to maintain their lead over Napoli, which were victorious on Saturday, and looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss against Manchester United in Champions League. Milan had prevailed in five of their last Serie A fixtures, twice thanks to Alessio Romagnoli in the final minutes. Continue reading

Serie A Injury Report – Round 12

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Juventus: Sami Khedira (hamstring) and Mario Mandzukic (ankle) played in Champions League, while Douglas Costa was ruled out for another thigh problem, same for Moise Kean. They are unlikely to be available for the weekend. Federico Bernardeschi is questionable for the muscular ailment that has been bugging him for a while.

Inter:  Radja Nainggolan started against Barcelona, but he is still less than 100 percent because of the recent ankle sprain so he could be rested.

Napoli: Dries Mertens subbed off versus PSG because of a bruised shoulder, but he avoided further complications and should be good to go for the weekend. 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 Injury Report – Round 10

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Juventus: Mario Mandzukic missed the Champions League game with an ankle sprain and will not be available in the weekend. Emre Can is dealing with a thyroid issue and his status is uncertain until further tests. Sami Khedira will skip a couple more games with his hamstring strain.

Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne subbed off against PSG for a knock on the chest but he should be good to go. Simone Verdi could miss up to a month with a grade one thigh (adductor) strain. Alex Meret and Faouzi Ghoulam were called up midweek, while Adam Ounas and Sebatiano Luperto were out because of muscle fatigue, which they will try to solve by Sunday. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 8

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A

Alessio Cragno: the upstart goalie has had a decent season so far and saved a penalty in the stoppage time in the last home game against Sampdoria. More importantly, Cagliari will host Bologna, which have yet to find the target on the road.

Romulo: Genoa have won all three of their home matches, conceding just once. On Sunday, they will square off against Parma, who was shut out in two of their three away fixtures and will be without Gervinho and perhaps Roberto Inglese as well.

Ola Aina: the newcomer was immediately thrusted into a big role because of the injuries of his teammates and he has held his own, bringing a lot of energy on the flanks. Frosinone has scored just once so far, on a penalty. Torino are coming off two straight clean sheets.  Continue reading

Gattuso must win next three league games before Milan derby

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It’s been a disappointing start to the season so far from a Rossoneri point of view. After the hard lessons from the beginning of the last campaign, many would have imagined that Gennaro Gattuso’s side will commence the league in a most impressive way, but it’s been far from that.

The Rossoneri have only mustered just a win from four games and sit in 12th position with five points. Despite playing a game less than their rivals, the Diavolo have lost five points from winning positions against Napoli and Atalanta. It’s not much of a big deal looking at the opponents involved. The Rossoneri have failed to beat Atalanta in their last four games at the San Siro and Sunday’s game seems to be an improvement on the two zero defeat they suffered at the hands of the Bergamo side last season. It’s also demonstrate the current level of the most successful Italian side in Europe.

On 21th of October, Milan play away to Inter at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The Diavolo must win their next three games and put an end to their unsettling start before Derby della Madonnina.

A big reason for their struggles is their defensive deficiencies, a problem, that plague them last season. If they can cut out the errors that blighted them in the first round of the previous campaign, Milan can, and should improve on their performance last year. The Rossoneri are yet to keep a clean sheet after conceding six goals in four games.

Tonight, Gattuso’s men play away to Empoli, who lie in 17th place with a four points tally. Aurelio Andreazzoli side has lost three games from five games, recording just a win and a draw so far this season. The last time the Milan visited the Stadio Carlo Castellani, they triumphed by four goals to one, and they will be looking to repeat such performance this evening to lift the mood around the team and provide hope to fans.

After the match against Empoli is a tricky away fixture to Sassuolo. The Mapei side are currently third in the league rung with 10 points after winning three games and a draw after five matches. The key figure in this encounter will be Kevin Prince Boateng. Boateng spent his best playing years with the San Siro outfit where he won the Scudetto in 2010 with current Milan Boss Gennaro Gattuso. The former Milan midfielder has brought more energy and bite to Sassuolo’s attack, scoring three goals in five appearances for his new club. Sassuolo play seventh placed Spal this evening away from home and hope to continue on their impressive start to their league campaign so far this season.

On the 7th of October, Milan will look to take advantage of Chievo Verona wretched situation in the league when they play them at the San Siro. Recent history suggests that, Milan do struggle against teams in the bottom half of the league table. Last season, newly promoted side Benevento, managed to secure their first point of the season against the Rossoneri after Benevento goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli scored a late equalizer from a corner kick.

Milan must be at their creative best when they play against Inter on the 21st October, as Lucciano Spalletii’s team is beginning to find their stride after an incredible turnaround against Spurs in the Champions League. Inter have won three games in a roll now, and are looking the sum of their parts after their hard earned two one victory over Fiorentina last night. They’ve leapt into fifth position after with 10 points from six games. There is a wave of optimism surging through the Nerazzurri, hence Milan must win their next three games to keep up the pace with their city rivals. .

One player yet to catch light this season for the Rosoneri is Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turkish international is yet to give his best performance after a blistering man of the match display in the 5-1 win over Fiorentina at the end of last season. The Former Leverkusen playmaker has not registered an assist or a goal in the last three games, and the next three matches give him an excellent opportunity to break the duck. He together with Jack Bonaventura is supposed to be the hub of the team’s creative play.

Despite showing the ability to score goals, Milan struggle to put games to bed. Failing to secure three maximum points from these games may put a dent in their champions league hopes. Gattuso is staring at the prospect of a second season without Europe’s top tier football. Milan can make a significant step up if they can chisel some positive results out of the next three games before the Milan Derby.
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