Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31

LECCE-LAZIO

Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 30

JUVENTUS-TORINO

Juventus: the Bianconeri are thriving offensively thanks to the great form of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, who scored in three consecutive matches. Douglas Costa contributed off the bench versus Genoa and he can be a factor even if he rarely plays full matches because of his injury history. Juan Cuadrado picked up an assist in the past match and he has been effective despite the more defensive role. Rodrigo Bentancur is in outstanding form but is not very prone to picking up bonuses. Their run of clean sheets was interrupted by a consolation goal, but they will be facing a sputtering attack in this one. Continue reading

Serie A Fantay Preview – Round 29

TORINO-LAZIO

Torino: the Granata had a nice reaction after falling in an early hole versus Cagliari, but an untimely penalty did them in. Andrea Belotti has found the target for two straight matches and has been excellent missed penalty aside. Simone Zaza is unlikely to be present, but Simone Verdi and especially Cristian Ansaldi, two of their most talented players, saw minutes in the past match and could be ready to start, unlocking few options up front, first of all the advancement of Alex Berenguer. Ansaldi had a positive impact after he subbed on, Verdi might need more time and had been struggling prior to the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Injuries and Suspension Report – Round 28

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic returned from an ankle problem in the last game, thus they have nothing else to worry about.

Bologna: Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen will be out for a while due to thigh strains.

Brescia: Jhon Chancellor (thigh) will miss another one. Andrea Cistana is not close after repairing his peroneal tendon during the lockdown. Continue reading

Lecce 1-4 AC Milan: Tops and flops for the Rossoneri – Calhanoglu pulling the strings

AC Milan managed to claim all three points from the clash against Lecce last night, putting four goals past their former goalkeeper Gabriel. Although there were some struggles, it was important for the Rossoneri to start the resumption with a win, given how important the season finale will be. 

Stefano Pioli will be delighted with the performance as Milan’s main struggle this season has been the scoring and even without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they managed to rise to the occasion. Better yet, there were four different goalscorers and Ante Rebic got his revenge from the Juve clash by scoring the third.  Continue reading

Milan seek revenge on Lecce as important league return nears – team update and more

Following the Coppa Italia exit, Milan are now gearing up to take on Lecce away from home this Monday. It will be the Rossoneri’s first league game since early March – as a result of the Coronavirus crisis – and inevitably, a lot of pressure is on the players to do well and start things off right. 

As things stand, Stefano Pioli’s are in need of just three points for a Europa League spot thanks to Napoli’s win over Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. As the competition guarantees direct qualification to the European second tier, 7th place is now a ticket to the playoffs granted that Napoli finish above.

Milan, however, aren’t interested in facing several low-level teams to secure a spot in the group stage, especially considering how the tight schedule already is. Of course, this also means that the second phase of the season will be very important, to the point where they will need every win they can get – with as few lost points as possible.

The clash against Lecce, therefore, suddenly has a very different meaning although the Rossoneri are clear favourites to grab all three points. This perhaps wasn’t the case last time out, when the Via Del Mare side managed to snatch one point at San Siro, spoiling Pioli’s first game in charge after replacing Marco Giampaolo.

The manager, as well as the team, will surely be out for revenge and taking the performance against Juventus into consideration, there shouldn’t be too many struggles. Furthermore, the return of Theo Hernandez, Samu Castillejo and Ante Rebic is absolutely crucial, with all three being potential game-winners.

By the looks of it, Pioli will continue with the successful 4-2-3-1 formation, though changing the balance of his team. Instead of composing the attacking trio with midfielders, managing to crowd out Juventus last time out, the right flank will be occupied by Castillejo – adding pace and flair to the tactics.

Given that Lecce don’t have as many quality players as the champions, increasing the attacking abilities on the loss of some defensive one seems like the right call by the manager. That being said, the pressure is on Milan to do well and the home side certainly shouldn’t be underestimated, perhaps fueled by the first-leg draw.

Likely Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Castillejo, Bonaventura, Calhanoglu; Rebic.

Likely Lecce XI (4-3-2-1): Gabriel; Rispoli, Rossettini, Lucioni, Calderoni; Majer, Tachtsidis, Mancosu; Falco, Saponara; Lapadula.

Most likely, the game will be dictated by the physical status of the teams. Lecce have had more rest but on the other hand, Milan’s clash against Juventus gave Pioli an opportunity to analyze his team. Furthermore, managing a draw despite being one man down isn’t easy and the Rossoneri’s preparation was put to the test – and passed.

In addition to getting revenge on Lecce, there are also some personal incentives within the Milan squad, above all for Rebic. The Croatian was sent off early on against Juventus, ruining the game for his teammates with a reckless high boot. Predicted to lead the attack on Monday, he will want to get on the scoresheet.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 27

Fiorentina-Brescia: the Viola will welcome back Franck Ribery, at least in limited fashion at first, and the coach is ready to tweak is system to accommodate him either in the hole or on the left wing, joining Dusan Vlahovic/Patrick Cutrone and obviously Federico Chiesa up front. In the meantime, it could be Gaetano Castrovilli taking on a bigger role. Alfred Duncan and Marco Benassi have some decent potential.  It is an extremely appealing match-up considering Brescia’s defensive woes and absences: Vlahovic and Castrovilli in the particular were in great form before the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Lecce vs Bologna

There were limited hard-fought contests in the last round of 2020, which comprised mostly one-sided affairs. Lecce made it interesting late against Bologna and, even if their push come up short, it allowed the game to earn the honours of best of the weekend.

The Salentini eked out few points here and there in the past two months, mostly through draws, but have yet to prevail at home, while the Felsinei had done so in two of the past three fixtures, over Napoli and Atalanta. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Brescia

The most dominant display of the weekend belonged to Brescia, which was the only club to obtain a shut-out win in a seminal clash against Lecce.

In his second game back after being re-hired and coming off a win over SPAL, Eugenio Corini confirmed his go-to XI in toto but for Andrea Cistana, who was suspended, and Jesse Joronen, who is dealing with a head injury. They were replaced by Massimiliano Mangraviti and Enrico Alfonso, while Ernesto Torregrossa got the nod again next to Mario Balotelli up front. However, they lost Emanuele Ndoj to an injury after thirty minutes, when the match was still scoreless, and he was replaced by Nikolas Spalek, who turned out to be the deciding man in the contest. Continue reading

Fiorentina-Lecce Preview: Chiesa left out of the squad

The season has not gone well so far for Fiorentina, last week’s dire loss to Hellas Verona pushing them down to 10th in the table. Injuries have certainly played their part, but at this stage there is no denying the fact that both Vincenzo Montella and his squad have underperformed up to this point of the Serie A campaign.

Continue reading