Marco Giampaolo joined Milan, but Sampdoria made a splash with their new hiring as they have picked former Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco, who has inked a three-year contract, as announced by the club on Saturday. In the last three seasons, the Blucerchiati finished tenth twice and ninth in the most recent one.
Di Francesco was sacked in March after being eliminated in Champions League’s round of 16 by Porto due to a combination of disappointing results, they were outside of the top four spots, and locker room turmoil. He had led the team to the third position and to a deep run in Europe in his first season in the Italian Capital. Continue reading →
Juventus: Sami Khedira underwent a heart ablation with an arrhythmogenic atrial focus and will miss a minimum of one month. Emre Can is suspended. Douglas Costa remains questionable with the quad injury that has forced to skip the last few games.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne is disqualified, while Mario Ruihas slim chances to return from a thigh pull.
Inter: Mauro Icardi took some tests this week, which revealed no structural damage on his achy knee, but he is still poised to be unavailable this week amid the standoff with the managament. Balde Keitais having a hard time shaking off a thigh strain. Continue reading →
Napoli-Sampdoria: the Partenopei had a disappointing two-game meeting with Milan, as they did not manage to beat them in the weekend and then got got in Coppa Italia. They are undefeated at home, where they have won four games in a row, often scoring multiple goals. The Blucerchiati are coming off a thumping against Udinese, their fourth W in the last six fixtures and they lost only to Juventus since the beginning of December. While Lorenzo Insigne is stuck in a prolonged drought, Arek Milik has done most of the damage for the Azzurri up front, with Dries Mertens chipping in from time to time and some contribution from José Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Piotr Zielinski, but not in a consistent way. Continue reading →
Sampdoria-Udinese: the Blucerchiati were pipped at the post in Florence last week, in a game that turned on its head a thousand times. They have won three straight at home. After three positive, or semi-positives, results Udinese took a tumble at home against Parma. They have managed to prevail just once on the road thus far. Fabio Quagliarella has found the target in ten straight appearances and is one shy of tying the record, so he is obviously a must-start, considering that the match-up is not that hard. Gaston Ramirez is suspended, so Riccardo Saponara will draw the start and could be worth a look. Even Jakub Jankto showed some life in the last game, but Karol Linetty might be able to return in the midfield. Continue reading →
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 Mandzukicreturned to the starting XI with an immediate goal, then Cristiano Ronaldo bagged another one. Continue reading →
Most of the top fantasy players underperformed in week 1, let’s hope for a better performance in this round.
Alban Lafont: the youngster has already drawn rave reviews in Florence after his summer move from Toulouse. The Viola will host Chievo, which played well against Juventus, but might have some troubles replicating that on the road.
Alex Sandro: Juventus’ back-line will look for improvements after a subpar showing in Verona against Lazio’s always powerful attack, which however sputtered against Napoli. The Brazilian full-back still excelled versus Chievo and provided the decisive assist. Continue reading →
After some flashes in the first match day, the second one is more intriguing on paper.
Juventus-Lazio: the Old Lady had to toil to defeat Chievo, but the attack confirmed to be deep and hard to contain, even though few players had an off game, while the defence needs some fine-tuning. Cristiano Ronaldo was electric, but teammates had troubles finding him and Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa suffered from the fact that the spaces were all clogged up. Among the forwards, Federico Bernardeschi certainly looked the most in-form. Perhaps things will be a little more open against better competition. The Portuguese was devastating on the wing, which is good news for Mario Mandzukic, his ideal partner in crime, and for Alex Sandro as well because he had much more room to operate. Continue reading →
In the final matchday, it is better to fish from the teams who are still struggling for something as the others could implement some heavy rotations.
Gianluigi Buffon: we can make an exception for the legendary goalie, who will be making the final appearances with Juventus against the lowly Verona.
Dario Dainelli: the veteran centre-back has been a stabilizing force in the Chievo’s back-line down the stretch and will have his hands full going against Cheick Diabate.
Filippo Costa: Sampdoria have failed to score in three of their last four fixtures and have a poor road record. Costa has taken advantages of some injuries to assert himself as a valuable piece. Continue reading →
The last round was a little lacking in terms of scoring: here is who made it to the team of the week.
Alessio Cragno: six teams kept a clean sheet in the last round, but there were not any superhuman performance by a goalie, so Cragno gets the spot because he did it against the toughest opponent. He racked up seven points as usual.
Raul Albiol: he was the top earner this week with nine points, thanks to the potent header that sealed the deal against Sampdoria and the clean sheet. Continue reading →