Thomas Strakosha: the Biancocelesti held up against Napoli’s attack, confirming their solidity at home, and the goalie answered the bell when he was required. It is not a particularly great round for defences on paper, so it is better to stick with safe picks.
Matthijs De Ligt: the injury of Merih Demiral will allow him to return to the XI on a consistent basis and he did look good against Roma and in Coppa Italia. Juventus have allowed nine goals at home (second-best in Serie A), so their defenders can be deployed even though Parma are the quintessential sneaky team. Continue reading →
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 →
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.
Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading →
Standings implications: Inter and Juventus prevailed in their matches against the Genoa-based teams and so continue to go hand-in-hand, while Lazio will have to wait till February to know the results of the Verona game. Roma handled Fiorentina, while Cagliari suffered the second loss in a row at the hands of Udinese and were leapfrogged by Atalanta, which dismantled Lecce. Torino found a way to lose at home against SPAL. Bologna are surging with their third W in the past four rounds, this time over Lecce, while Parma and Brescia shared the spoils. Napoli finally returned to winning ways with a little luck against Sassuolo, as the final goal at the buzzer was probably an own goal. Continue reading →
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 Ndojto 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 →
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 →
Standings implications: Inter did not manage to find a way around Roma’s defence, but actually gained a point on Juventus since the Bianconeri lost for the first time this season against Lazio. The Biancocelesti moved three points behind second place. Atalanta outlasted Verona and are breathing down La Lupa and also Cagliari’s neck. The Sardinians found a way to surive versus Sassuolo too. Napoli continue wheezing as they were held to a tie by Udinese. Torino downed Fiorentina for their second W in a row, same achievement for Milan, which took home the full spoils in the Bologna game, while Parma knocked down Sampdoria away. Lecce came back from down two-nothing to equalize against Genoa and Brescia toppled SPAL away in Eugenio Corin’s return in the relegation zone.
Atalanta: Duvan Zapata flew back to Sevilla after further checks on his thigh and now it is unlikely that he will return before January. Marten De Roonand Simon Kjaer are questionable because of knee soreness and muscle fatigue respectively.
Bologna: Gary Medel is suspended. Mitchell Dijks underwent further tests on his injured second toe and he will be sidelined for two-for-three months. Roberto Soriano is unlikely to be back from his knee edema. Mattia Bani, Blerin Dzemaili and Ladislav Krejci picked up some dings and bruises in the Coppa Italia game: the left-back did not make the squad list, while the two centre-backs are available. Continue reading →
Two perfect results in this round, by Atalanta and Lazio: as far as the opponents are concerned, Udinese are a slightly better team than Brescia, but the Goddess did the deed on the road and thus earns the shout-out.