Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Ten – Top Matches

SPEZIA-LAZIO

Spezia: after few convincing performances and a couple of assists, winger Emmanuel Gyasi finally scored against Cagliari, becoming their tenth player to find the target, which is not abnormal given the size of their roster. M’Bala Nzola converted a late PK for his third goal of the season and Andrej Galabinov will have his work cut out for him when he will eventually come back. Since Kevin Agudelo has been a little banged up and Daniele Verde is hurt, Diego Farias has completed the trident and, while he has been very lively, he has had some major misses. The teammate should be in better shape this week. It is instead uncertain whether Tommaso Pobega (two goals) will be able to return, so it could be again Nahuel Estevez and Giulio Maggiore playing as box-to-box and they interpret the role in dynamic fashion. Simone Bastoni continues to surprise and picked up his second assist in the past game, while Salvador Ferrer worked his way back into the XI after an injury and he is their most proactive right-back. Continue reading

Serie A Matchday 9: Preview, what to watch, and more!

The new Serie A season has not disappointed, with Stefano Pioli’s Milan taking the league by storm. The Rossoneri have not been the only team to shock the calcio world, as Sassuolo’s rapid rise to prominence has them within two points of first place, off the back of an unbeaten start. Paulo Fonseca’s Roma is slowly coming together and would be unbeaten, had it not been for an administrative error condemning them to forfeit against Hellas Verona.

In any case, matchday nine is upon us and presents some intriguing matchups. Without further ado, here’s what to watch out for:

1) Are Sassuolo legit? 

The Neroverdi are off to an incredible start to the season, maintaining an unbeaten record after eight matchdays, including an impressive 2-0 over Napoli. Roberto De Zerbi’s men have thrown their names into the conversation in Itay alla Atalanta and continue to emerge as this season’s surprise package. Their recent success comes with one question mark: Can they replicate their success as their schedule gets harder?

Sassuolo has won five of its eight encounters thus far, with four of their wins coming against Spezia, Bologna, Crotone, and Hellas Verona. While you can only beat the sides in front of you, they may be rocked back to earth shortly. This weekend De Zerbi’s men host Inter, a clash that will serve as a good litmus test for their top-four credentials. They will then take on Roma the week after. If they can get two positive results, it is safe to say they’re legit.

2) Can a Zlatan-less Milan get it done? 

Milan’s recent resurgence has been nothing short of remarkable, with the Rossoneri emerging as one of Europe’s hottest teams since the lockdown. Pioli’s men are flying high in first place and have shown no signs of slowing down. Led by the indomitable Ibrahimovic, Milan has picked up from where they left off last season, with six wins and two draws in eight games.

The big Swede has led the line with great aplomb and most recently fired his side to an important victory with a brace against Napoli. Ibrahimovic currently tops the scoring charts with 10 goals in six appearances but has since been sidelined with a thigh injury. The initial prognosis has ruled him out from Milan’s upcoming game against Fiorentina, begging the question: Can a Zlatan-less Milan get it done?

We’ll have our answer Sunday morning when Pioli’s men take the pitch against la Viola.

3) Are Roma title contenders? 

This question is often asked about Roma after their hot starts to the new season, with the Giallorossi eventually disappointing. But this season feels different. Roma is in fine form right now and surging up the table with convincing wins. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rolled back the years, Jordan Veretout is doing his thing from the spot, Pedro has impressed and countless budding talents have stepped up.

In a year unlike any other, Roma might just have what it takes to go all the way and contend. Juve remains a side in transition and the Giallorossi have shown they can compete with them. Milan has emerged as the anti-Juve until now, but their depth in the long run is concerning.

Roma takes on Napoli this weekend and will then shift its attention to Sassuolo: Much like it is the case for the Neroverdi, Roma’s next two games will be highly indicative of where they will finish this season. If they can get two wins, or at the very least four points, you would be foolish to write them off.

Then again, don’t get your hopes too high just yet as the wheels might just fall off. A prospect many Giallorossi fans have come to terms with.

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Inter held at Atalanta as Lukaku comes back from injury

It was another two points dropped for Inter at the weekend as they drew 1-1 at Atalanta. Draws are becoming the norm at Inter who have drawn in their last two games and have almost ended their matches all square on 50% of their occasions so far.

Inter took the lead through Lautaro Martinez’s glancing and precise header. Martinez latched onto an Ashley Young cross and it was a superb unstoppable header from the Argentine international. With Inter breaking the deadlock just before the hour mark they instantly became favourites to win the game at that point.

However in truth this was an encounter that was very close and the teams enjoyed equal share of chances and possession, a draw did feel like the right result and the home team eventually obliged. The equaliser was a well worked one although one would have to question Inter’s defending at the time which seemed all over the place, letting Atalanta have time on the ball as Aleksey Miranchuk swerved and shot on the edge of the area. That was the midfielder’s first goal of the campaign and his first fantasy points earning 4 for the weekend.

Though Inter drew again they didn’t lose ground on the league leaders Milan as they also drew 2-2 at Verona and so the gap between them remains at 5 points. Also on a plus point is the fact that Inter have lost just once this season. Inter’s next game will be at home to Torino after the international break.

Still there was a disappointment in the air over the Atalanta game because the club had taken the lead and also because they came into that game with virtually no injuries to the first team squad. A welcome return was given to striker Romelu Lukaku returning after missing a few games. He started from the bench but when he came on he made some good runs even if looking inevitably rusty. Lukaku has now joined up with the Belgian national side for the November internationals and Inter will be keeping a close eye on him and hoping that his previous injury does not flare up.

Focus on Lautaro Martintez

Lautaro Martinez is one of the hottest properties in European football right now. The 23 year old is wanted by the biggest teams in Europe, and of course Inter want to keep him. The question is could Antonio Conte’s team refuse an exceptional offer? He will of course stay for this season but if his goals help Inter win the league for example that only goes to highlight his name once more.

There can be little doubt of his excellence. He is not just scoring goals but helping create them and when he does score they are usually a thing of beauty. He is the real deal and if he can remain injury free he will have quite a career in front of him.

So far this season Martinez has scored 4 goals in the league and five in all competitions and he is valued at 7.5m in the fantasy rankings.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Seven – Top Matches

SASSUOLO-UDINESE

Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were missing their top three players against Napoli, but they won anyway thanks a brand-new scheme by Roberto De Zerbi, who, for once, opted for caution and a three-man back-line and got rewarded with their talented central midfielders stepping up. Filip Djuricic has COVID and will not return here, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo have been called up, but they might be limited, so it is possible Giacomo Raspadori stays initially in a big role and Gregoire Defrel gets the nod. Both the Frenchman and Jeremie Boga have not looked great as they work their way into shape, while Hamed Traore is generally pretty lively. Even if at less than 100 percent, Caputo and Betardi are always good choices, while Lopez would be an outstanding one if used as no.10 to substitute Djuricic. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Player of the Month in October – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

No Serie A player made the EuroFantasyLeague of November, also because some of the likely candidates had to miss games and the others simply could not achieve the required amount of consistency and amass enough bonus points to crack it. However, does not mean that the shout-out for this month should remain vacant in this month and the nod goes to who has easily been the single best contributor to grace the Peninsula at the beginning of the season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.   Continue reading

Roma score 5 goals in 2 games amidst controversial encounter with Serie A leaders Milan

The week started in the Europa League for Roma as they took on Young Boys of Switzerland and won their Group A clash 2-1. It was the first game of the competition for the Giallorossi who found themselves 1-0 down early on courtesy of a Jean-Pierre Nsame penalty.

It wasn’t until the 2nd half that Roma got to grips with the game and the equaliser came from an unlikely hero in Bruno Peres. Five minutes later Marash Kumbulla made it 2-1 for the visitors as the Italians took hold of the game. The win will be welcomed as Roma try and negotiate a way out of the group stages.

It was an emotional winner from Kumbulla who went on to dedicate his goal to the club and all the help they have given his career. Coach Paolo Fonseca said: ”It was not an easy game, as let’s not forget that even Juventus lost here a few years ago and Young Boys won 15 home matches in a row. It was important to get the win and we did well. There’s still a long way to go in the group and the season. We rested a few players and can now focus on Milan in Serie A.”

And the Milan game was something in itself. The match finished 3-3 which was a positive for Roma as Milan lost their 100% start to the league but the game was marred in controversy of two penalties which looked like soft ones and naturally changed the nature of the game.

Referrer Pierre Giacomelli and VAR assistant Luigi Nasca are being reported to have been suspended for one month. This news hasn’t been confirmed but if true then Italian football is taking the right approach on the mistakes that were made in the game. Time and again odd decisions around Europe are being made even with the technology of VAR which is sometimes not even being used and when it is a decision that everyone thinks will go one way goes another. This is a welcome call and many more suspensions need to be served out across other leagues.

The first error of judgement came when Ismael Bennacer and Pedro simply collided as they both went for a loose ball and yet Pedro was adjudged to have been fouled but it just seemed like a normal clash between players, Milan were obviously furious and Roma scored from the penalty awarded.

Then after it felt as if the officials needed to level up the mistake and gave Milan a penalty after Hakan Calhanoglu was adjudged to have been fouled, Both seemed like weak decisions which seems to have been confirmed now by the Italian FA.

Roma’s next two games will begin later today on October 29th when they return to play in the Europa League against CSKA Sofia and they will be the favourites to win that one and keep their 100% record in Europe. At the weekend the club will play Fiorentina at home and in fact this is a moment that Fonseca’s side will want to take full advantage of the fact that they remain at home for their next three games in a row.

As for the fantasy points with another goal for Jordan Veretout he continues to have the most points for Roma and heads into another week with 19 so far.

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Giallorossi

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Six – Top Matches

INTER-PARMA

Inter: Romelu Lukaku suffered a thigh injury that will cost him at least one game and the Nerazzurri will have to make up for the loss of their target man, something that rarely happened last year. Alexis Sanchez is dealing with a small problem as well, therefore Lautaro Martinez, who has slowed down after opening the campaign with three straight goals, will have to shoulder the attack, then they will hope Andrea Pinamonti can be decent right away. They also briefly used Ivan Perisic as second-striker in the last game. Stefano Sensi is back on the shelf with his customary muscular problems: Christian Eriksen had some flashes last week, but so far him and Marcelo Brozovic have produced nothing too exciting. Their best midfielder has been Nicolò Barella (two assists), while Arturo Vidal has mostly taken care of the dirty work. At some point Radja Nainggolan will get in on the action, but it has not happened yet. Fortunately, Achraf Hakimi (one goal, two assists) was a false positive and he will resume plowing the flank from the start here, while Ashley Young has shaken off the virus and will challenge Ivan Perisic, who has been solid (two assists) but has not really taken off. Their back-line has improved with Alessandro Bastoni back in the fold.

Recommended picks: Martinez, Perisic, Hakimi.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Previews – Round Five – Top Matches

ATALANTA-SAMPDORIA

Atalanta: the Bergamaschi looked unprepared to match Napoli’s aggressiveness in the last fixture and the much-anticipated bout ended with a shocking beating. They will look to return to form in Serie A as well after pummelling Midtjylland. Alejandro Gomez has been the tip of the spear so far and straight-up one of the best players in the League. Luis Muriel has put his name in the stat-sheet twice, like Sam Lemmers, who has made the most of his limited opportunities. Duvan Zapata has been more up-and-down. Josip Ilicic looked rusty in his first game back, but that is understandable: the good news is that he indeed came back and the coach will likely give him regular minutes to get him into shape. Ruslan Malinovskyi is questionable due to an injury, which may lead to some playing time for the intriguing Aleksey Miranchuk. Their stud wing-backs Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens have scored one goal each, with the German international adding two assists.

Suggested picks: Gomez, Muriel, Zapata. Continue reading

Inter shot down by Ibrahimovic in Milan derby, concentration now on the Champions League

The Derby della Madonnina was won by AC Milan who beat Inter 2-1 in a pulsating game of football. Both sides are being tipped to challenge Juventus this season for the Serie A title so this derby had much more spice about it than it has had in the past few seasons.

But it was a derby that felt like it was over just after it had started. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was slightly touched in the box and seemed to go down far too easy for Milan to be awarded a penalty in the 12th minute which he stuck away with no problem. And then after a superb counter attack Milan were 2-0 up just four minutes later and Zlatan again was there from a couple of yards out to prod home in what was an easy goal for him to score.

But twelve minutes later Ivan Perisic crossed the ball for Romelu Lukaku who actually looked surprise by the poor defending of the Milan back four and seemed to take his time in easily tapping in from close range just as Ibrahimovic had done moments before. With 3 goals scored and not even half an hour played this looked like it could be a rare derby game with lots of goals, and yet there would be no more.

Inter did remain a threat and late on they thought they should have had a penalty but VAR concluded and was right that in the build up Inter were offside.

All in all and compared to other derby games this was an enjoyable one, in part because in the 2nd half Inter had to come forward and they ended up with 4 shots on target to Milan’s six. Milan are now top of the league with 12 points and Inter are in sixth place and are 5 points behind. It was Inter’s first defeat of the season and they have now gone their last two matches without a win.

Inter coach Antonio Conte had this to say after the game: “I think we played very well and created many situations to score goals, in some cases we are unlucky, and it’s disappointing because the lads certainly put the effort in and believed they could win. We were distracted and made errors on their two goals, still had the chances to equalise, but Milan won and so we congratulate them. Every match we seem to create many, many scoring opportunities, so need to be more cool-headed and clinical in front of goal. At the same time, I cannot complain about their attitude, as we tried everything to at least get the equaliser.”

Inter prepare to meet Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League

The Champions League has returned and Inter will kick off their campaign at home against German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach. Inter will be the favourites to secure all three points when the two teams clash. The big news for Inter is that Christian Eriksen and Alexis Sanchez should be able to return for the club and both are set to start the game.

Romelu Lukaku- the best player of Inter so far in the fantasy rankings

Romelu Lukaku took over Lautaro Martinez as the best player for Inter in the fantasy rankings. Lukaku now has 15 points and collected a further four points at the weekend as he scored what turned out to be Inter’s consolation goal. The Belgian international much like last season is on fire and may be worth adding to your team. You can check out Lukaku’s full stats right here.

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Five low-cost Fantasy Serie A options

The new Fantasy Serie A season is in full swing after three action-packed match-days and will soon return following the international break. As is the case every year, there are a few players that have flown under the radar and are available cheaply. Keep these bargains in mind ahead of the next gameweek!

Without further ado, here are five low-cost options that could take your Fantasy Serie A team to the next level:

1) Achraf Hakimi (Inter) 4.5 million euros.

The Moroccan international has hit the ground running since making the switch to Italy, registering one goal and two assists in his first two games. Hakimi is a match-made in heaven for Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 and should only improve as the season wears on. The former Borussia Dortmund man is available for a mere 4.5 million euros and should feature on any fantacalcio side. Considering he’s listed as a defender, Hakimi will even earn you points for clean sheets.

2) Edin Dzeko (Roma) 5.37 million euros. 

The Roma man looked set to leave the capital-based club this summer but ultimately remained with Paulo Fonseca’s men. Dzeko hasn’t gotten off to the best start to the new season, spurning easy chances against Juventus and failing to find the back of the net in Roma’s last game. Regardless, the towering striker is always good value for money and should find himself back on the scoresheet sooner rather than later. At 5.37M, Dzeko represents great value and could give you the flexibility to bolster your side elsewhere.

3) Jeremie Boga (Sassuolo) 4.5 million euros.

The Ivorian winger has missed Sassuolo’s first two games through injury but should return to action shortly. The international break helps Boga in this respect, affording him a further two weeks to return to full fitness and should allow him to pick up from where he left off last season. Few wingers are as dangerous as Boga in Italy, as the Sassuolo man is regularly looking to take on his man. Factor in the deadly Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo and Boga should find assists easy to come by. It may be worth adding him to your bench temporarily, as his price will skyrocket once he’s back in the lineup.

4) Simon Kjaer (Milan) 4.5 million euros.

The former Palermo man has since established himself as one of Stefano Pioli’s pillars at the back, stepping up admirably in Alessio Romagnoli’s absence. Milan has picked up clean sheets in their first three games with Kjaer emerging as one of their leaders at the back. As Romagnoli nears his return to the pitch, Milan’s rearguard will only get better and allow Kjaer to play a complementary role once more. At 4.5 million euros, you would be foolish not to add the Danish international to your side.

5) Jose Callejon (Fiorentina) 4.5 million euros. 

The veteran winger recently joined Fiorentina as a free agent and should slot in seamlessly from on the right-wing for the departed Federico Chiesa. Callejon will be raring to go after being released by Napoli and has demonstrated a keen eye for goal over his career. It hasn’t quite worked out for Beppe Iachini since assuming the reigns, but a front three of Franck Ribery, Christian Kouame, and Callejon, backed by Castrovilli, Pulgar, and Amrabat should be able to open up any side. Another 4.5 million euros bargain.

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