Lazio need Joaquin Correa to sharpen his blunt edges – and fast

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As he watched his penalty cannon off the crossbar, Joaquin Correa’s head sank into his hands.

He wanted this – no, he needed this – to go in.

Correa desperately wanted to dedicate a goal to his grandmother, who passed away recently.

He wanted to be the man to secure a hard-fought win for Lazio against Bologna, after seeing his side come back from behind twice.

But most of all, he needed the goal to help change the narrative that has been building this season: that the Argentine lacks a clinical edge.

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Serie A Round 8 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Up

Another international break has come and gone, with Italy, Poland and Spain among the nations to qualify for next summer’s 2020 UEFA European Championship. But, now, it’s back business for club football on Italian soil as we prepare for round 8 this weekend.

Lazio-Atalanta, on paper, promises to be the round’s marquee matchup. Yet, there are a slew of fixtures that have the potential to provide more upsets early on in the campaign, a ton of goals and standout fantacalcio performances.

Here are five players you will want to consider adding to your roster ahead of the weekend. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round Eight

Robin Olsen: he is putting together a nice bounce-back season after having a rough go with Roma in the previous campaign. He is not as good as Alessio Cragno, but he could take advantage of the fact that SPAL are still scoreless after three road games.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo: the move to a bigger club has not hurt him, on the contrary it has raised his profile and helped him earn an Azzurri call-up. He has scored once and provided one assist so far, entrenching himself as a valuable part of the offense. It does not hurt that Verona usually have trouble scoring. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Eight

Lazio-Atalanta: the formula for the Biancocelesti never really changes, as Ciro Immobile is going like gangbusters this year, while Luis Alberto has been their second-best player, especially thanks to his playmaking, as he has already provided five assists. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa have both broken the ice, but they have yet to turn into consistent scorers. The ancillary contributors like Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic have been stuck in a timeshare, while Senad Lulic’s fantasy appeal is limited.

The Goddess lost Duvan Zapata for some time due to a muscular injury, so it now will have to be Luis Muriel’s time to shine as the primary go-to-guy. He has scored three times in five appearances despite the irregular playing time and, despite the different skillset, they might not take a big hit there. Continue reading

Rare Lazio comeback produces more questions than answers ahead of trip to Celtic

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The contrast was startling.

After a drab, eventless first half in a must-win Europa League fixture against Rennes on Thursday, Simone Inzaghi turned to his bench early in the second.

He made a double substitution, bringing on rested star men Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the hope of injecting some life into his team’s performance.

The strategy didn’t get off to the best of starts when the hosts almost immediately conceded the opening goal, but it soon paid off as Alberto set up Milinkovic-Savic for the opener before the Serbian’s cross found the head of Ciro Immobile to complete the comeback. 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 Team of the Round – Lazio

Few shut-out wins and some dominant performances in this round: the only team that combined the two was Lazio, which therefore earned this week’s nod.

The Biancocelesti had played well last week against Inter, but could not find the equalizer despite creating few juicy chances and had to endure the second loss of the season after the ugly one to SPAL few weeks back. They also lost two points in the Derby. 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 Picks – Round Four

Gianluigi Buffonhe is rumoured to be getting the first start since coming back and Juventus have a good opportunity for a clean sheet against Verona. The previously indicated Alex Meret is in strong form but he might be rested this week ahead of the midweek round.

Diego Godin: Inter’s defense has been as advertised and should continue to grow as it gels after some absences. They could take advantage of the fact that Milan have not figured out the proper combinations up front yet. He is coming off an assist and it would not be surprising to see him solve a big game or two with his headers. Continue reading

The facts behind the figures: What we’ve learned about Lazio from the Serie A salary report

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At the start of the week, La Gazzetta dello Sport published its annual breakdown of each Serie A club’s wage bill for the season ahead.

Much of the reaction to the article has focused on Juventus’ massive financial advantage over the rest of Italy and the impact the summer mercato has had on Inter’s spending.

But there were plenty of intriguing sub-plots to be found behind the figures, not least at Lazio. For example…

On paper, a top-four finish would be an over-achievement…

This is by no means a secret, but the gulf in wage spend between Lazio and the teams they are expected to compete with for a top four place this season is significant.  Continue reading