Milan sack Giampaolo and hire Pioli

Despite Saturday’s chaotic win over Genoa, the Milan officials have elected to axe Marco Giampaolo and appoint Stefano Pioli after an underwhelming start of the season, which saw them collect three wins and four losses, against Udinese, Inter, Torino and Fiorentina. They are currently 13th in the table. The new boss has agreed to a two-year contract.

Pioli most recently coached Fiorentina for almost two seasons, as he resigned last April and then the team went into a downward spiral under Vincenzo Montella. He had led them to an eight-placed finish the year before. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Seven

Genoa-Milan: both offenses have looked very anaemic in recent matches, as the coaches, who are well-known for their proactive mentality, seem to have struggled to convey their ideas to the players. The Griffon have failed to score in the past two matches. Christian Kouame has led them with three goals so far and has been the only consistent contributor, while Andrea Pinamonti has been struck out since week one and ceded minutes to Antonio Sanabria and Andrea Favilli, who have not fared much better. They have yet to find a midfielder that can do some damage in the final third: Lasse Schone is too far away from the goal, but his aim on free kick is getting better, Ivan Radovanovic is shooting a lot but without precision and, like Lukas Lerager, he is more of a substance player than a quality one. Riccardo Saponara has not cracked the XI with enough continuity to be a fantasy factor. There is some appeal on the flanks, where Paolo Ghiglione and Marko Pajac have been serviceable. Continue reading

Serie A Round 4 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

Match-day three has come and gone and it’s now time to look ahead to the next round of fixtures. Inter look to remain perfect in the Derby della Madonnina against Milan while Juventus will be hoping to return to winning ways against newly-promoted side Hellas Verona. The in-form Napoli will also take on Serie A new-boys and will be travelling to Lecce. Otherwise, free-scoring sides Bologna and Roma lock horns at the Dall’Ara in what promises to be an enthralling affair.

With match-day four upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Gervinho (ATT, Parma, Value 15.9) -The former Arsenal man hasn’t had the best of starts to the Serie A season scoring just one goal in his first three affairs. In Parma’s last game against Cagliari, Gervinho looks devoid of any ideas in the final third and was wasteful in front of goal. This week’s fixtures see Parma go up against a Lazio side looking to redeem themselves from their slip-up against SPAL. As a result, expect Parma to find themselves on the backfoot for much of this game, like it’s been the case for the first three games of the season.

While it’s still early days, Parma’s lack of creativity and invention in the final third may just cost them points and catapult them into a relegation dog-fight. And frankly, it will cost you fantasy points if you persevere with Gervinho. At 15.9 million, there are undoubtedly better options than the Ivorian.

Rodrigo De Paul (MID, Udinese, Value 16.9) - Much like Gervinho, the Argentine midfielder is playing on a side that will surely be among the candidates for relegation. If that weren’t enough to persuade you from dropping De Paul, the Udinese midfielder recently got sent off for slapping Inter winger Antonio Candreva in his side’s most recent defeat. With De Paul suspended for Udinese’s next game, it’s as good a time as any to make use of your free transfer between rounds and swap him out of your team.

While De Paul will come back strong from the sending off, at 16.9 million the midfielder is frankly not worth the trouble. Especially when you consider you can get Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and save 1.4 million, just to name one example.

Douglas Costa (ATT, Juventus, Value 10.6) - The Brazilian was initially my bargain pick for this year’s edition of fantasy Serie A but he has since seen his value rise as he’s established himself as a set starter in Turin. Despite his positive performances and his two assists against Napoli, you would be wise to temporarily shift Douglas Costa out of your sides as he’s recently picked up an injury sidelining him for the better part of two weeks.

With Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi waiting in the wings, the bianconeri have no shortage of options to replace the former Bayern Munich man. As a result, expect Douglas Costa to be eased into action slowly. Until then, there’s good value out there for 10.6 million.

Lucas Paqueta (MID, Milan, Value 8.3) - Initially, the Brazilian international was supposed to be a match-made in heaven for Marco Giampaolo’s 4-3-1-2. Capable of playing behind the strikers or on the left-hand side of the midfield three, Paqueta, in theory, fits like a glove in the Milan manager’s setup. However, reality is a different beast altogether and Paqueta has since fallen out of favour with Giampaolo.

The former Sampdoria tactician recently claimed that Paqueta has to be “less Brazilian” and simplify his game, to which the midfielder responded immediately via Instagram. As a result, expect the former Flamengo man to be in the dog-house for the time being.

Luis Alberto (MID, Lazio, Value 15.5) - The Spaniard was a difficult inclusion, however, given his high valuation, the former Liverpool man had to make the list. After two impressive performances against Sampdoria and Roma, Luis Alberto struggled to make an impact against SPAL.

With Lazio taking on CFR Cluj in the Europa League this week, expect Simone Inzaghi to rotate his eleven. Considering the biancocelesti’s multitude of options in the midfield and final third, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Luis Alberto given some rest against Parma. For 15.5 million, you can do better.

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Four

Juventus-Verona: the Old Lady had a subpar performance in Florence but obviously will be in a much better spot this week at home against a relegation struggler. Cristiano Ronaldo usually does not go scoreless for long and Gonzalo Higuain is not a bad pick either, as for now the coach has refrained from using Paulo Dybala there. Douglas Costa, who was their go-to-guy so far, will miss time, so Federico Bernardeschi and Juan Cuadrado will return to prominence. Until the coach entrusts one of the newcomers, Aaron Ramsey in particular, Sami Khedira remains the most appealing midfielder for his offensive dexterity. Their defenders are surely worth consideration. Continue reading

Milan hire Giampaolo

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About three weeks after Gennaro Gattuso and the club decided to mutually part ways, Milan have found their new coach: Marco Giampaolo, who managed Sampdoria in the past three seasons. He was handpicked by Paolo Maldini, who was promoted to technical director after the exit of Leonardo, and agreed to a two-year contract with an optional third one.

Giampaolo’s team finished tenth twice and ninth in 2018/2019. In the weeks leading up to the end of the season, he had voiced the desire to leave for a side that had concrete European aspirations and the Blucerchiati officials did not stand in his way. Continue reading

AC Milan move for Simone Inzaghi is a logical step

Simone Inzaghi

The Serie A managerial mery-go-round has started even earlier this summer, with three of the top five sides in Italy parting ways with their managers, just weeks after the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Max Allegri brings to an end his five year term with Italy’s dominant force, Juventus, whilst Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti has been fired, despite securing a top four finish.

However, former AS Roma boss Spalletti will not be the only managerial change at the San Siro this summer, with rivals AC Milan having already dispensed with head coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 37

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Juventus: Leonardo Bonucci has recovered from his ankle sprain, Daniele Rugani from hamstring soreness and even Mario Mandzukic was able to practice fully late in the week after dealing with a patellar tendon problem for a while. Moise Kean has shaken off the flu. Giorgio Chiellini has picked up yet another calf ailment, but he is available. Miralem Pjanic is fine after twisting his ankle last week.

Napoli: Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne have good chances to return after skipping one with muscle fatigue. Nikola Maksimovic and Amadou Diawara are close to healing from their foot infractions. David Ospina is still in Colombia for personal reasons, while Adam Ounas remains questionable after missing one. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 36

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Juventus: Paulo Dybala (calf), Rodrigo Bentancur (thigh), Emre Can (thigh) and Alex Sandro have resumed practicing fully and therefore should be available on Sunday, while Douglas Costa (calf) and Daniele Rugani (thigh) will not come back this week. Federico Bernardeschi is suspended. Moise Kean is out with the flu, Leonardo Bonucci with a bruised ankle.

Napoli: David Ospina is on personal leave to tend to a personal matter in Colombia. Nikola Maksimovic (toe) is slated to remain on the shelf, while Amadou Diawara (foot) got in a full practice after a long time, so he might be called up. Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Adam Ounas have been surprisingly ruled out due to small ailments.
Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 35

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David Ospina: he is reportedly drawing the starts in order to trigger the option to buy him from Arsenal, either way, he or Alex Meret are in a good spot this week since Cagliari would have by far the worst clip in terms road goal if they had not scored three to Chievo and they might be without their second banana Joao Pedro on Sunday.

Federico Fazio: Roma have turned it around defensively, conceding just once in the last three matches and this week they will tangle with a Genoa team that has scored in just three of their last ten fixtures. The Argentinian centre-back and Aleksandar Kolarov are also the most likely to contribute on the other end considering their remarkable season tallies. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 35

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Juventus-Torino: the Bianconeri have no more achievements to pursue in Serie A, but they still showed up at San Siro last week and equalized in the second half after a poor start. They have yet to drop one at home. The Granata continue to be in the hunt not only for a Europa League berth: the fourth spot is four points away. They have defeated Milan and Genoa in their last two contests and have lost just once in the past 14. Cristiano Ronaldo scored last week and Miralem Pjanic has contributed with two assists recently. Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean are alternating next to the Portuguese ace, but neither is in supreme form, while Juan Cuadrado is starting to look sprier and Joao Cancelo is coming back on too. Continue reading