Juan Musso (7 points): very strong goalkeeper in this round, in particular by Andrei Radu and Wojciech Szczesny, and there were indeed a number of clean sheets, bucking the trend from previous weeks. No save was more important that Musso’s one on an extremely late penalty by Andrea Petagna that prevented Udinese from losing to SPAL.
Juan Musso: Udinese were very sound against Milan and managed to stymie most of the opponents’ offense. They might be able to replicate that against Parma and the Argentinian goalkeeper is a sure thing by now.
Milan Skriniar: he is the only one standing in Inter’s big three in the back, as Diego Godin and Stefan De Vrij are currently injured. Despite the make-shift rearguard, the Nerazzurri could still be able to stop a Leonardo Pavoletti-less Cagliari that could not hit the net against Brescia last week. Continue reading
Juan Musso: only a late consolation goal denied him a clean sheet against Frosinone, while in this round he and Udinese might be able to take advantage of the fact that SPAL have already clinched the permanence in Serie A.
Nicola Murru: Sampdoria are not a reliable away team, but they will square off against Chievo and their league-worst attack. The fullback, who has put together a strong season, might be able to pick up some bonus points at the other end too. He might miss the game, so his replacement Bartosz Bereszysnki could be a sound choice, even though not as convicing.
Lorenzo De Silvestri: he collected two assists in the last game against Sassuolo and he has a deadly connection with Andrea Belotti, so Il Gallo’s strong form has benefitted him too. Empoli are fighting for their lives, but their defensive numbers are pedestrian at best. Continue reading
With the year winding down to a close, most Serie A sides already have one eye on the summer transfer window. While this past season may not have gone to plan for most of Serie A’s elite, a majority of them are just a couple of additions away from being serious competitors. Here’s one player for each of the league’s top five. For brevity, Atalanta and Lazio among others have been excluded.
1) Juventus: Tanguy NDombele (Lyon)
After yet another European failure, it’s time Juventus address their midfield issues once and for all. Lyon’s Tanguy NDombele is among world football’s hottest prospects in the middle of the park, and has demonstrated he’s ready to play for a bigger club. Just this season, NDombele went head-to-head with both Barcelona and Manchester City’s deep midfield ranks, and did not look one bit out of place.
Just recently, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas came out and said he’d willingly sell NDombele to Juventus ahead of other suitors, provided “his friend” Andrea Agnelli pays up. The Frenchman would slot in seamlessly alongside Ramsey and Pjanic, however, it remains to be seen if NDombele is a concrete target for Juventus.
2) Napoli: Donny van de Beek (Ajax)
The Ajax midfielder may not get as much credit as his fellow compatriots Frenkie de Jong, and Matthijs de Ligt, but he’s proven to be just as important for them between the lines. van de Beek burst onto the scene this season, and emerged as a essential aspect to Erik ten Hag’s tactical schemes, roaming between the opposition’s lines at will, and getting himself into dangerous scoring positions. Outside of his crucial goals against Juventus and Tottenham, van de Beek is good with the ball at his feet like most Ajax graduates, and would slot in wonderfully into Napoli’s midfield.
Since Hamsik’s departure, the partenopei have lacked a driving force in the midfield, and van de Beek could prove to be exactly what’s needed. Alongside Fabian Ruiz, expect the Dutchman to wreck havoc. Napoli could also use a fullback, but that goes without saying.
3) Inter: Timothy Castagne (Atalanta)
Inter are one of the most well-rounded outfits in Serie A outside of Napoli and Juventus, and don’t require much tweaking this summer. With Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez up top, and the trio of de Vrij, Skriniar and Godin at the back, Inter are simply lacking a manager to put it all together. Should Antonio Conte arrive as it’s being reported, he will undoubtedly field a back three, with his traditional wing-backs in a 3-5-2 setup.
With both the back-line and strike partnership more or less sorted as well as the midfield, Inter could use another wingback as they are unlikely to redeem Vrsaljko or Cedric. Here’s where Atalanta’s Timothy Castagne comes in. The Dutchman has been a key element to Gasperini’s side over the years as a wing-back, and is a traditional Conte player. Castagne’s play is eerily reminiscent of a prime Stephan Lichtsteiner, however, blessed with more end-product. As a result, I expect him to become a priority for Marotta, whether or not Conte arrives.
4) Roma: Juan Musso (Udinese)
This past summer Roma tried replacing Alisson with Swedish international Robin Olsen, and Serie A journeyman Antonio Mirante. Neither have proven to be a long-term solution to the departed Brazilian, leaving the giallorossi without a reliable number one going into next season. Luckily, there are a number of up and coming shot-stoppers in Serie A that Roma could turn to.
While Alessio Cragno and Alfred Gomis are interesting options, Roma should look no further than Udinese’s Juan Musso. The Argentine has gone from strength to strength this season, and has made the number one spot his own in Friuli with a string of impressive performances. In the past, Roma have shown a propensity to take a risk on goalkeepers on the cusp, and should do the same with Musso. They won’t regret it.
5) Milan: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax)
Where to begin with Milan? The rossoneri could use a creative midfielder, a left winger and arguably another centre back. Ajax’s Ziyech checks off two of these boxes and should be made a priority in Milanello. With just a 25 million euro release clause, Ziyech is both cost-effective, and has the potential to become a world class player in the near future.
As he’s typically deployed as a ball dominating, out-and-out winger, his signing would take off some of the creative burden from the likes of Suso, Paqueta, and would even allow Calhanoglu to feature centrally more regularly. Not to mention, Ziyech has tormented elite opposition this season, be it in the Champions League or in the Eredivisie. Milan shouldn’t say no to his teammate David Neres either if Ziyech isn’t feasible.
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Juan Musso (7 points): a fairly good amount of clean sheets in this round, as seven teams managed to hold the opponent scoreless. Among the goalkeepers that succeeded, Musso had the finest performance, including a superhuman save on a point-blank header where he snatched the ball just before it crossed the goal line.
Francesco Vicari (9 points): his season has been up-and-down and he has often ridden the pine, but he came up big on Sunday, burying a pretty header by masterfully attacking the near post on a corner kick and gifting a very significant win to his side. Continue reading
Once dubbed Gianluigi Buffon’s heir after breaking onto the scene as an unknown 17-year-old in 2014, Simone Scuffet now finds himself joining Turkish side Kasimpasa on loan until the end of the season. After a relatively rough start to the year as Udinese’s number one, the young goalkeeper was usurped by new arrival Juan Musso for the starting position, and has since been reduced to a bench role. In fact, Scuffet hasn’t featured for the Zebrette since a 3-0 loss to Napoli at the end of October.
With playing time hard to come by, Scuffet decided a change of scenery was needed and is now closing in on a loan move to regain some much needed match fitness and more importantly, confidence. While the keeper has demonstrated glimpses of his promise over the course of the last few seasons, continuity has been hard to come by thus far, and he will need to find consistency in Turkey if he is to deliver on the hype.
The final edition of 2018 is a super-sized one since it comprises two rounds.
Juan Musso (14 points): only two teams managed to keep a clean sheet in both matches and Udinese joined Inter in that company. It does not represent a particularly big surprise, since the Zebrette have tightened their defensive phase after the appointing of Davide Nicola and the opponents, SPAL and Cagliari, were not super dangerous.
Jens Larsen (11 points): most of the Bianconeri defenders amassed ten points since they did not allow a goal in the last four days. The Dane gets the token spot for everybody since he tacked one more because he assisted Ignacio Pussetto’s goal versus Cagliari with a pinpoint long ball. Continue reading
Juan Musso: Udinese have been sturdy since Davide Nicola took over and conceded multiple goals only to Atalanta. This week, they will be facing a Frosinone team that has failed to score in the last three road games. The goalkeeper has been trustworthy so far.
Kalidou Koulibaly: the Napoli back-line is improving and have managed to keep three clean sheets in the last four games. They will host SPAL on Saturday, which have had troubles in away fixtures so far. He has been dominating opponents with his physicality recently. Any Azzurri defender is worth considering. Continue reading
The last round was a top-heavy one, with several of the most selected players picking up bonus points and rewarding their fantasy owners, even though not necessarily all of them made the team of the week.
Juan Musso (7 points): only three clean sheets this week, for a stat that continues to be very seesawing. As a matter of fact, two came in the same match, where the Argentinian goalie outdueled Sassuolo’s Andrea Consigli and held down the fort and helping Udinese bring home a good point. Continue reading
Most of the fixtures were lopsided in the weekend, but Udinese-Milan, albeit decided by a single goal, was intense and certainly a ton of fun. The Bianconeri were coming off a 2-2 tie against Genoa on the road, which gave Julio Velazquez some breathing room after four losses in a row. The Devil prevailed in the midweek make-up game against the Griffon and therefore racked up four wins in the past five games.
The Argentinian coach tinkered with his system, using Ignacio Pussetto as trequartista, giving Hidde Ter Avest his first start on the flank and deploying Rodrigo De Paul in the midfield over a more defensive option. Continue reading