Five More Serie A Players Test Positive for Coronavirus

After the league was temporarily suspended last week, it was reported that Juventus defender Daniele Rugani was the first Serie A player to contract the coronavirus. Shortly thereafter, Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini announced he tested positive for the disease himself, indicating the suspension of the season was the correct call. Following these reports, all Champions League games were postponed in addition to the suspension of all major sports leagues, including the NBA, the NHL, and the MLB.

Today, reports came out that a further four Sampdoria players got the Coronavirus in addition to Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic. Morten Thorsby, Albin Ekdal, Omar Colley and Antonino La Gumina were the league’s next round of confirmed cases. Moreover, Sampdoria’s team doctor Amedeo Baldari also contracted the virus, bringing the league’s total to eight for the time being.

Sampdoria midfielder Albin Ekdal took to Twitter to address the latest news:

“Listen to the authorities and do everything in your power to help reduce the spread of this virus. It will help us protect the sick and the elderly. Lastly I would like to say thank you to all healthcare professionals who are doing a heroic job right now.”

Given the recent spike in cases, Italy’s Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora recently spoke out against the league’s indecision. In a recent interview with Rai Uno, Spadafora said: “Football is a world in itself: there was a time when the Lega Serie A didn’t want to take responsibility as it should have done,” said Spadafora. “We did it as a government to protect interests. Now there is no longer any controversy because some of the players have the virus. We would have preferred to have stopped the league sooner, but better late than never.”

With the league suspended until April 3, it has left many wondering if the season will finish at all and if so, what the result will be. Currently, Juventus are one point ahead of Lazio in first, however, the bianconeri still have a game to play against Simone Inzaghi’s men. If the games cannot be played, playoffs are being touted as a real option. However, it is still unclear how that would play out.

Where it might get trickier is in the relegation zone. Judging by the standings, SPAL and Brescia are as good as relegated on 18 and 16 points respectively. While either side could hit miraculous form over the last twelve match-days to save themselves, it was looking increasingly unlikely.

The third and final relegation spot, however, is a different story. Lecce and Genoa are currently tied on points, with the Grifoni holding the tie-breaker for the time being. Beyond Genoa and Lecce, Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria are just one point ahead in the relegation race. Torino aren’t exactly out of the woods either on 28 points and could feature in a relegation playoff if one comes about.

With much uncertainty surrounding the league and more cases being reported by the day within the league, Serie A will need to take action shortly. After all, April 3 is fast approaching.

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Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 24

Standings implications: Lazio emerged victorious in the crunch game with Inter, thus surpassing the Nerazzurri in second position and staying one point behind Juventus, which did their job versus Brescia. Roma put up a fight in Bergamo, but Atalanta still rallied back and took home a monumental victory in the Champions League race as they have built a six-point lead over the direct rival.

Parma re-entered the conversation for the sixth spot by railroading Sassuolo and caught Verona in the standings, then Milan answered on Monday night. The Scaligeri and Udinese did not get in the way of the respective targets with a nil-nil tie, but it will not be long before the Zebrette will have to resume watching underneath them. Genoa and Lecce continue streaking by toppling Bologna and SPAL, putting all the other relegation zone competitors in high alert, especially Sampdoria, which were trounced by Fiorentina and are now in 17th position, so sandwiched between the two.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 20

Lazio-Sampdoria: despite a fairly muted performance, the Biancocelesti came out on top versus Napoli last week, for the second week in a row propelled by a late Ciro Immobile goal. The capocannoniere keeps producing and has already reached the 20-goal threshold. He has scored their last three goals. Joaquin Correa will be limited, so Felipe Caicedo might get another chance to start and he has posted three goals and two assists in limited action in the last five appearances. Luis Alberto will be looking to pad his assist numbers (12), while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has reverted back to his less efficient self after a hot stretch. Senad Lulic will be suspended, so Jony is set to play on the left wing and he is a willing crosser. The Eagles have been airtight at home. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Sampdoria

Sampdoria did not get a shut-out win but still had the most commanding win of the weekend, bagging five goals against Brescia and putting few contributors in the team of the week.

The Blucerchiati needed to right the ship as they had won just once in the past five games, dropping three and tying nil-nil with Milan in the most recent one. Claudio Ranieri could not count on the disqualified Omar Colley and chose Vasco Regini over Jeison Murillo to replace him in the heart of the defence. Morten Thorsby got the nod over Albin Ekdal in the midfield, joining Karol Linetty and Jakub Jankto and the regular Ronaldo Vieira, while Fabio Quagliarella partnered with Manolo Gabbiadini up front. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 19

Emil Audero: Sampdoria have tightened it up in the back since Claudio Ranieri took over, allowing multiple goals just twice in the past nine fixtures, to Cagliari and Juventus, so their goalie is unlikely to do harm against a depleted Brescia squad that has never scored more than twice so far on the road.

Francesco Acerbi: Lazio are quietly tied with Juventus for the second-best statistical defence in the League behind Inter and have surrendered just seven goals at home thus far. Their leader could be a decent selection against the ever-underwhelming Napoli.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 18

Standings implications: Inter got the better of Napoli away, while Juventus tore apart Cagliari and so the duo remains attached to the hip atop of the table. Lazio mounted another late comeback, this time at the expense of Brescia, pushing their winning streak to nine matches. They gained ground on Roma, which instead were toppled at home by Torino, who got closer to the Europa League zone. Atalanta are now breathing down the Giallorossi’s neck after the second five-nothing rout in a row, with Parma being their latest victim. Milan and Sampdoria shared the spoils in a nil-nil bout. Verona outplayed SPAL, confirming their superior stature, while Genoa somehow defeated Sassuolo, abandoning the last position to the Estensi. Udinese eked out a very valuable W in Lecce, leaving the red area in the rearview mirrow.

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Serie A Round 17 Mini Preview

Sampdoria-Juventus: the Blucerchiati are not the most good-looking side in the Peninsula, but they are often capable of getting the job done due to extemporaneous goals, with the Derby della Lanterna serving as the latest example. Fabio Quagliarella is a bit banged and could not follow up his great display in Cagliari, while Manolo Gabbiadini has been their top scorer with four goals so far. The other guy stepping up to the plate has been Gaston Ramirez, who has notched three goals and one assist in the past two months. Besides the trio, it is hard to trust other players fantasy-wise even though Jakub Jankto will likely be back in the XI and Fabio Depaoli has recovered from his injury. Karol Linetty and Morten Thorsby are pretty energetic players, and the Polish midfielder picked up an assist in the last fixture, but they usually do not contribute much in the offensive end. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 16

Gianluca Pegolo (7 points): the 38-year-old unseated the youngster Stefano Turati throughout the week and frustrated Milan time and time again with great saves on clear-cut attempts.

Jhon Chancellor (8 points): his goal could not have been any easier as he tucked it home with his knee from basically the goal-line and he was pretty good in the back as well against Lecce. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 16

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.

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Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 16

Wojciech Szczesny: the Juventus back-line has not been stout in the last two matches, allowing multiple goals for the first time this season, but they might be able to rectify things in the Udinese clash, since the opponents are tied for the least goals scored in the season. The goalie instead has been superb so far.

Aleksandar Kolarov: he has not scored or assisted in five straight rounds, which is odd for him, and he could be due to bounce back in a plum match-up against SPAL. Since Gianluca Mancini is suspended and Chris Smalling is banged up, he is slated to be Roma’s most appealing defender versus a team that has found the target just once in away matches. Continue reading