Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round One

Bologna: Gary Medel is suspended and is also recovering from a grade one strain in the semimembranosus muscle on the right thigh, therefore he could miss week two as well.

Cagliari: Luca Ceppitelli, Filip Bradaric and Kiril Despodov are quarantining after catching COVID-19 in late August. Gaston Pereiro suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture in the right foot about two weeks ago and he has a 45-day timetable. Alessandro Deiola is recovering from a clean-up surgery on the right knee he had during his time at Lecce. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round One

FIORENTINA-TORINO

Fiorentina: despite not changing all that much, the Viola have brought in some new interesting pieces during the transfer market window, such as Sofyan Amrabat, who is suspended in this one, Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristiano Biraghi, who seems poised to stay after a solid season at Inter. However, their coach and attack are the same, which means we can expect something akin to what happened in the restart, where Franck Ribery and Gaetano Castrovilli served as the main playmakers, Federico Chiesa was the most consistent scorer, while Christian Kouame, Dusan Vlahovic and Patrick Cutrone, all capable but otherworldly strikers, fight for one spot. The ex-Genoa forward seems to have separated himself from the pack a little during the summer. Bonaventura is supremely sneaky.

Suggested picks: Chiesa, Ribery, Kouame. Continue reading

Three fixtures to watch in match-day one

The new Serie A season is just around the corner with kickoff set for September 19. As is the case every season, the new year presents plenty of intriguing storylines and players to watch out for. Rookie boss Andrea Pirlo is making his managerial debut with Juventus while Inter will be hoping to displace their fierce rivals atop Italian football for the first time in ten years.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan head into the new season confident as ever and will be eager to return to the Champions League after a strong finish. Napoli is another side worth monitoring after a strong summer and could emerge as dark horses for the Scudetto. The capital-based clubs, Roma and Lazio, by contrast, will be hoping to push for top four once more but will need a strong start.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at match-day one and break down the interesting matchups:

Fiorentina-Torino (September 19) 

Fiorentina will be eager to turn the page on last season’s disappointment and spring a surprise this year. La Viola has an impressive core of young talents and will be hoping they can take the next step in their careers. Bartłomiej Dragowski is as reliable as they come between the posts while the imposing Nikola Milenkovic should be able to lead the backline in front of him.

Fiorentina boasts a plethora of talent in the middle of the park, including the likes of Gaetano Castrovilli, Alfred Duncan, and Erick Pulgar. With Chiesa, Vlahovic, and Kouame ahead of them, Beppe Iachini’s men can compete toe-to-toe with just about anyone in the peninsula. Consistency was an issue last season for Fiorentina, but they have enough talent to make a push for European football.

Torino, by contrast, is a side in transition under Marco Giampaolo after a disappointing finish to last season. It will be interesting to see the former Milan tactician back in his comfort zone and lead I Granata back into the upper half of the table.

Juventus-Sampdoria (September 20) 

Andrea Pirlo’s first game in charge will be worth a watch for a number of reasons. For one, not much is known about the former midfielder’s preferred setup as well as his coaching philosophy. His managerial debut against Sampdoria will give the Juventus faithful an early glimpse into what’s in store for them this season.

Beyond Pirlo’s debut, this game will be an early opportunity for Juventus to signal their intentions. The Bianconeri are currently a side in transition, but they will be eager to retain their crown regardless.

Milan-Bologna (September 21)

Milan closed off last season in impressive fashion and will be hoping to translate that form into the new year. Stefano Pioli’s men have had an impressive transfer window so far, adding Sandro Tonali and Brahim Diaz, and will be heading into the new year with high hopes. Bologna is a tricky opponent and possesses enough quality to hurt any opposition in Italy, making this clash must-watch calcio.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men will be hoping to break into the top seven this year and could just do that with a bit of luck.

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Milan sign Sandro Tonali

On Wednesday, Milan completed the acquisition of one of the brightest Italian prospects: Sandro Tonali from Brescia. While he was close to joining Juventus in January and then for months looked for poised to move to Inter, Milan swooped in late and acquired him with the formula of a €10M season-long loan with a €15M option to buy plus €10M potential add-ons and the 10% of a future sale upward of €30M, so at least €3M. The player will earn €2M per year.

Tonali made his Serie A debut in the recently concluded season after flourishing over the previous two campaigns in the second league. He was one of the few positive notes for the Rondinelle amidst all the struggles and coaching changes and tallied one goal and seven assists, mostly thanks to his prowess on set pieces, and often managed to pull the strings and produce momentum-changing solo runs within matches. Continue reading

One Transfer Target For Italy’s Top Five

Italy’s top sides have been extremely active this transfer window as they look to significantly bolster their ranks. Inter have already signed Achraf Hakimi, Juve have secured Arthur and Dejan Kulusevski while Napoli brought in Victor Osimhen.

Regardless of their early activity, Italy’s giants are still in the market for unique opportunities. Without further ado, here’s one player each of Italy’s top five should sign before the mercato closes.

1) Juventus: Houssem Aouar. 

The Lyon midfielder showed the world why he’s one of football’s most highly-rated talents last month, propelling the Ligue 1 side into the Champions League semifinals. However, as Juninho, Lyon’s sporting director, highlighted in his post-game press conference, Aouar is available this transfer window and Juventus should do everything it takes to get the French international to Turin.

Lyon has set the asking price at 50 million euros for their star man, which represents fair market value in an inflated window. Given Juve’s midfield woes, Aouar should be their number one target – even after Weston McKennie’s arrival. It may not be feasible financially, but Aouar would finally allow the Turin-based giants to put their midfield problems once and for all.

2) Inter – Emerson

Inter have done extremely well in recent transfer windows, significantly improving their roster with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Nicolo Barella, and Christian Eriksen among others. Antonio Conte’s men competed on all fronts this season, reaching the Europa League final, but now need to take the next step.

The Nerazzurri’s midfield is arguably the best in Italy while their defense finished with the best record this season. Regardless, Inter could use a new left wingback and have since been linked with Chelsea’s Emerson. The former Roma man is already familiar with Italian football and would come at a relatively low cost. Reuniting with Conte could help Emerson get his career back on track and help Inter address a longstanding need.

3) Milan - Sandro Tonali

Milian could arguably use another center-back to add depth to their existing ranks, but should not pass up the chance to sign Sandro Tonali. Inter are reportedly in pole position for the Brescia midfielder, but Milan has recently emerged in the race, according to recent reports. The Nerazzurri need to sell some of their unwanted players before presenting Brescia with an offer while Milan should take the opportunity to pounce. Brescia, however, would prefer to include an obligation to buy in the deal, which Milan is currently considering.

Despite disagreements over the formula of the deal, Tonali should be Milan’s number one target. The Italian international has proven to be an incredible talent this season with Brescia and will compliment Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie in the midfield. Given his 35 million euros price tag, Tonali could just be the steal of the summer.

4) Napoli – Sergio Reguilon 

Napoli has been proactive this transfer window, already securing Andrea Petagna, Amir Rrahmani, and Victor Osimhen. Gennaro Gattuso’s men have since been linked with a plethora of leftbacks across the globe, including Sevilla’s Sergio Reguilon. The Spanish international has taken football by storm this season, bombing up and down the left flank at will.

If recent reports are to be believed, Napoli could get a deal done for Reguilon at a good price. With Faouzi Ghoulam slowing down, they can use depth out wide and the Sevilla man could offer just that.

5) Roma – Chris Smalling

This one’s a rather obvious one, but Roma must do what it takes to bring back Chris Smalling to the club. The Englishman was arguably the Giallorossi’s best centreback this season and formed an uncompromising partnership with Gianluca Mancini. As the season approaches, Roma should stop haggling over the final price and pay Manchester United’s valuation for the defender.

If they cannot agree to a price, they can then shift their attention to Hellas Verona’s Marash Kumbulla. Inter have been heavily linked with the defender, but given they have other priorities, Roma would be wise to insert themselves in a deal for him.

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Serie A Fantasy Player of the Month in July – Hakan Calhanoglu

As predictable, several Serie A contributors made the EFL Team of the Month in July, as the Italian League finished late and had more rounds than the other ones across the continent. There are some expected names such as Sassuolo’s stars Francesco Caputo (31 points) and Domenico Berardi (24 points), who have been lights out in last 30 days, and some odd ones, like Inter’s Danilo D’Ambrosio (29 points), who benefitted from few clean sheets on top of scoring, and Atalanta’s Mario Pasalic (24 points), who amassed almost his rntire haul thanks to a hat-trick. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 38 – Saturday Games

BRESCIA-SAMPDORIA

Brescia: they actually played better than expected versus Lazio, where they had some opportunities to score, in particular with Ernesto Torregrossa, but were unable to cash in. Several injuries left them with a skeleton crew as Torregrossa, Florian Aye, Nikolas Spalek and Jaromir Zmrhal are the only attackers available. All of them, excluding Aye, have been able to hit the net recently, while Sandro Tonali and Bruno Martella have been pretty good in the less offensive roles.

Suggested picks: Torregrossa, Spalek, Zmrhal. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 35

ATALANTA-BOLOGNA

Atalanta: they were stymied a bit by their mini clones of Verona, but Duvan Zapata still came through, scoring for the third game in a row, and they had few chances to win it especially with Mario Pasalic, who was coming off a hat-trick. Ruslan Malinovskyi was not as effective in the Josip Ilicic’s role, while he had shined as pure no.10, in lieu of Alejandro Gomez, and that is something to monitor because El Papu does not rest often, while Ilicic is in poor conditions and will be managed cautiously. Luis Muriel might be a better candidate for that spot, while Pasalic is always very involved offensively whenever he is fielded. No doubts on the flanks this round around since Hans Hateboer is suspended and both Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne are strong options.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Gomez, Muriel. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 34

VERONA-ATALANTA

Verona: after a consistent stretch with a pure striker up front, Ivan Juric went back to a false-nine, Valerio Verre in this case, against Roma, but the results were not that great, with the second half push coming on the heels of the subs. The returns from injury of Fabio Borini, Eddie Salcedo and Valentin Eysseric will allow the coach to go that route more often, especially against top teams, although Samuel Di Carmine has been decently effective (three goals in the last six games). Mattia Pessina scored again and he has separated himself from their slew of attacking midfielders, while Mattia Zaccagni picked up the assist. Darko Lazovic has been their most consistent player.

Suggested picks: Pessina, Lazovic, Borini. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 32

LAZIO-SASSUOLO

Lazio: the Biancocelesti had scrapped their way into two wins after the resumption, but they had generally looked off and everything came crashing down in Lecce. Ciro Immobile, other than drilling a penalty kick, has not been the same player he was prior to the stoppage and he has not been in synch with Luis Alberto. The issues were then exacerbated by key injuries, the latest one to Joaquin Correa. Sergej Milikovic-Savic, like Alberto, bagged one recently but has not been as dominating as in the past. Felipe Caicedo returned to the box score after a while in Lecce and he is poised to take on a massive role. The form is lacking, the talent is not, so they can snap out of it in any given moment. Manuel Lazzari has arguably been their most consistent player recently.

Suggested picks: Caicedo, Lazzari, Immobile.  Continue reading