Brescia-Milan: the Rondinelle will not have Mario Balotelli for a couple of matches, but Ernesto Torregrossa has actually carried the load scoring-wise recently and he and Alfredo Donnarumma formed a formidable partnership last season in Serie B, so they might be able to survive the blow. They have added two intriguing pieces in January in Birkir Bjarnason, who was very dangerous for a midfielder in his time in Pescara, and Simon Skrabb: they should both have their chances because Nikolas Spalek at no.10 has been pretty inconsistent. Sandro Tonali is coming off a two-assist performance and also Stefano Sabelli and Romulo have been decently proficient in a supporting role. Continue reading
With the New Year on the way, let’s take a look back at the first half of the season and highlight Fantasy Serie A’s top performers. Without further ado, here’s your XI!
Samir Handanovic (Inter): The experienced shot-stopper has been in exceptional form for Inter this season and is Fantasy Serie A’s top goalkeeper, registering 73 fantasy points so far. The 35-year-old is a big reason behind the nerazzurri’s league-leading defence and has shown no signs of slowing down. 19.23M to slot him into your teams today!
Robin Gosens (Atalanta): The 25-year-old has picked up from exactly where he left off last season and has been a driving force behind Atalanta’s success. While he’s categorized as a defender in Fantasy Serie A, Gosens has made a name for himself as a wing-back in Gasperini’s 3-4-3, and already has four goals and three assists on the season, which is good for 68 points. Could be yours for 17.91M.
Stefan de Vrij (Inter): While Handanovic gets much of the praise for Inter’s steady defence, the shot-stopper would not have as many clean sheets if it weren’t for Stefan de Vrij. Since joining the nerazzurri, the Dutchman has taken his game to another level and is arguably the best defender in Italy at the moment. His impressive exploits on the season have earned him 71 fantasy points, the third-most among defenders. 18.7M if you want de Vrij in your teams.
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus): After an indifferent year, Bonucci has returned to his past form and has been exceptional in Giorgio Chiellini’s absence. While Juventus’ defence have been more vulnerable than in recent seasons, Bonucci’s experience and calmness in possession have proven crucial. He’s even chipped in with a few goals, bringing him to 76 points on the season. You can add him into your teams today for 20.02M.
Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma): Kolarov has notched five goals on the season and has undoubtedly established himself as the undisputed best free-kick taker in Italy. In addition, the veteran defender has registered two assists and has lead Roma to five clean sheets with him on the pitch. Given his impressive exploits, it’s no surprise Kolarov has earned the most points among defenders with 79. Along with his output, comes his hefty price-tag of 20.81M.
Joao Pedro (Cagliari): While the Cagliari man is listed as a midfielder in Fantasy Serie A, Rolando Maran has deployed him mainly as a forward; a decision most fantacalcio players will be looking to take advantage of. Currently, the Brazilian is on 11 goals on the season and has earned the second-most fantasy points with 102, behind only Ciro Immobile. In fact, he’s scored six goals in his last six games and is well worth a punt even at 24M.
Luis Alberto (Lazio): Simply put, the Lazio man is an assist machine. Since joining the capital club, Luis Alberto has taken his game to another level, putting past inconsistencies well behind him. With just under half the season played, the Spaniard leads the league with 11 assists and may just be the deadliest final-ball specialist in the world. His three goals and his impressive assist tally bring him to 90 fantasy points on the year. At 23.71M, Luis Alberto is worth a shot.
Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta): What kind of a fantasy team would it be without Papu Gomez? The diminutive play-maker does it all for Atalanta, whether it’s splitting open the defence or finding the back of the net himself. This season, Gomez is already on five goals and six assists and has continued to be Atalanta’s creative hub. His output is good for 86 fantasy points and he’s currently available at 22.65M.
Ciro Immobile (Lazio): Undoubtedly this season’s fantacalcio king so far with an astonishing 113 points. After all, that’s what 17 goals and five assists get you. Beyond being in sensational form in front of goal, Immobile has lead the line wonderfully alongside Joaquin Correa and has Lazio in an unlikely title race. You’d be missing out if you don’t have him in your teams…cough up 24M!
Romelu Lukaku (Inter): After a rough end to life in Manchester, Lukaku joined forces with Antonio Conte and has not looked back since. Alongside Lautaro Martinez, the Belgian international has been in fine form notching an impressive 12 goals. Without him, Inter would not been in the conversation for the Scudetto and Lukaku will look to continue his goalscoring exploits as the season wears on. He’s currently racked up 93 fantasy points and would run you 24M.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus): The Portuguese superstar got off to a poor start to the season, but has since turned it on for Juventus with goals in his last five Serie A games. Given his recent form, expect Ronaldo to hit the ground running in 2020 and build on his 79 fantasy points. While he’s arguably already in your teams based on name alone, he’ll prove to be well worth his 20.81M price-tag.
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Juventus fell again at the hands of their nemesis Lazio in a game they did not seem to get up for, even though there was a trophy on the line.
Leonardo Bonucci: the usual solidity out of the captain, which had a pair of defensive highlights, including a sumptuous first-touch backwards pass in a very difficult situation and also the best chance of the second half, sending a great header just wide. Merih Demiral hustled to close up a pair of key holes but did not perform with the same confidence as in the last outings and often appeared to play catch up with the quicker opponents. The decision to leave Matthijs De Ligt on the bench was questionable at best today. The two latest gaffes that directly led to goals came from the flanks, as Mattia De Sciglio was duped by Senad Lulic and Alex Sandro mistimed his jump on that cross, while Juan Cuadrado forgot to guard the Bosnian wing-back on the second goal. Mistakes keep piling up and the defensive numbers worsen. Continue reading
Double presser for Juventus in Riyadh ahead of the Supercoppa Italiana against Lazio. Leonardo Bonucci took the floor first: “The recent loss against them taught us that details and episodes can make all the difference. We could have sealed it and then few things turned against us and allowed them to prevail. We are aware we will be facing a team that is in great form, but we are trending positively too. We are hopeful for tomorrow, our target is always the maximum one.” Continue reading
Standings implications: Inter and Juventus are now tied atop of the table as the Nerazzurri suffered a late equalizer at the hands of Fiorentina, while the Old Lady breezed past Udinese. Lazio stay in the close proximity as they did to Cagliari what the Sardinians had done to other teams and mounted a late comeback. Roma got the job done at home over SPAL despite a poor first half. Napoli’s woes were not immediately solved by the coaching change since Parma toppled them late at home and the Ducali are right below the European zone, especially because an undermanned Atalanta team was torpedoed by Bologna away.
Torino and Verona shared the spoils in a super fun game, while Milan-Sassuolo ended in a nil-nil drew despite few chances for both sides. In the lower districts, second W in a row for Brescia, which creamed Lecce, while Sampdoria came out on top in the Derby della Lanterna.
Finally a wire-to-wire win for Juventus, which came out guns blazing and needed only the first half to outface Udinese, with the late consolation goal as the only blemish.
Leonardo Bonucci (4 points): besides combining for the third goal, the two centre-backs were on point for most of the game, often thwarting the forays of the opponents with timely slides. Merih Demiral got the nod twice in a row and, while he is unlikely to unseat the regulars anytime soon, he made the most of it and his explosiveness and determination are remarkable. A swoon in the middle of the second half allowed Gianluigi Buffon to show off his reflexes and bounce-back from the previous forgettable match. Ordinary displays for the two full-backs, who likely not allowed to scamper too much by design due to the aggressive lineup. Continue reading
Juventus’ first faux pas at home came at the hands of Sassuolo in a great match, which had the proper amount of fun and signifcance, with no disrepect to the fantastic Cagliari-Sampdoria thriller.
The Bianconeri came into the fixture having won four in a row, the most recent out thanks to a late surge against Atalanta, while the Emiliani were pipped at the post by Lazio last week and in general had showed improvements over the last four rounds.
Maurizio Sarri picked Gonzalo Higuain and Federico Bernardeschi over Paulo Dybala and Aaron Ramsey up front, with Cristiano Ronaldo made the XI for the second game in a row after knee injury. Continue reading
Standings implications: changing of the guard atop of the standings as Juventus stumbled against Sassuolo and Inter took full advantage with a two-one victory over SPAL. Lazio keep dominating and trashed Udinese in this round, while Roma prevailed on a difficult pitch like Verona’s one. Atalanta returned to form with by manhandling Brescia away, instead Napoli’s issues continue as they were upended at home by the middling Bologna. Torino and Milan obtained gritty slump-busting Ws against Genoa and Parma, while Lecce again showed off their ability on the road with a one-nil win in Florence. Continue reading
Despite getting an early lead, Juventus again waited to be in a hole before playing with some purpose, but this time could not pull off the comeback and overcome a woeful defensive day and were thus held to a tie by Sassuolo.
Leonardo Bonucci (3 points): the veteran centre-back hit the net with a sneaky and probably deflected strike and was not necessarily at fault into the collapses on the two goals. The first one generated on a corner kick on the other end so most of the team failed to track back, then Jeremie Boga did the rest with a gem. On the second one, Matthijs De Ligt started things off with an errant pass that he should have avoided in the first place, Juan Cuadrado did not settle it and then Gianluigi Buffon had a senior citizen moment on a routine shot. Surely the worst showing by the back-line since the Napoli game at the beginning of the season. Alex Sandro returned from his injury but was very lacklustre and slow in general. Continue reading
Leonardo Bonucci touched on some football-related topics after presenting his bullying-related book ‘Il mio amico Leo’ on Friday: “It is an atypical initiative but it can help a lot of people and this was our goal from the beginning when we started discussing this story. Bullyism is a plague of our times, we want to help out who suffer from it but also who perpetrates it. As a parent, I think we can all be more careful about the behaviour of our kids, this stuffs comes more from lack of attention on our part. Children tend to have behavioural changes when they are going through a tough time.” Continue reading