Alex Meret (7 points): pretty solid goalkeeping by those who earned a clean sheet, Bartlomiej Dragowski and Marco Silvestri in particular, but the nod goes to the Napoli youngster, who managed to parry away a cannon shot by Cristian Ansaldi and exuded confidence throughout the game.
Standings implications: Juventus prevailed in the Derby d’Italia and now lead the table with a narrow maring over Inter. Atalanta continue to be on a warpath and trounced Lecce. There were few ties in this round as Napoli did not manage to bend Torino, Roma could not get past Cagliari and Lazio threw it away against Bologna. Fiorentina instead kept it rolling against Udinese. Milan returned to winning ways in a battle with Genoa on Saturday night, while Sampdoria hit rock-bottom against Verona. SPAL flattened Parma, garnering their second W of the season and thus leaving the two Genoa-based sides in the last two places of the standings.
Match-day four brought just as much drama and stoppage time heroics as previous weeks and has now set up an intriguing slate of fixtures ahead. Inter look to remain atop the table against Lazio while Juventus will be locking horns with yet another newly-promoted side in Brescia. Otherwise, Roma will be taking on Atalanta in what promises goals and excitement. Napoli, on the other hand, take on the in-form Cagliari and will need to be careful not to slip up against the Sardinians.
With match-day five upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Suso (ATT, Milan, Value 17.9) - The former Liverpool man had a performance to forget against Milan’s fierce rivals Inter and will be kicking himself for not passing the ball on the rossoneri’s most dangerous counter-attack in the first half. While Suso has arguably been Milan’s best performer and ther catalyst in the final third, his selfishness and poor decision-making on the ball will not go down well with Marco Giampaolo.
As Milan continue to struggle for an identity and look laborious in the final third, expect Suso to keep encountering issues. At 17.9M there are frankly better options. For the time being, you should seriously consider swapping him out of your lineup.
Nikola Milenkovic (DEF, Fiorentina, Value 18.2) - The Serbian international is among the most promising defenders in Serie A, yet, still has ways to go before establishing himself as a consistent performer in Italy. Despite an ambitious summer, Fiorentina’s struggles have continued from years past and they appear set for another indifferent season. They may have encountered a difficult schedule, but their defensive issues are worrying nonetheless.
Moreover, Montella’s men have already conceded eight goals this season, two of which came in their most-recent collapse against Atalanta. Up two goals, la viola fell asleep conceding two careless goals against Gian Piero Gasperini’s men. While Milenkovic has all the tools to take the next step in his career, at 18.2M it’s time to move on.
Ricardo Rodriguez (DEF, Milan, Value 17.9) - The Swiss international has maintained his spot in the eleven over Theo Hernandez to begin the season, however, has begun showing signs of slowing down. Against Inter, Rodriguez put in a horrid performance and was regularly beaten by his man. Whether he was being careless at the back or lackluster in the final third, it’s clear the former Wolfsburg man needs a spell on the bench.
Considering Hernandez‘ impressive cameo performance, don’t be surprised to see the Frenchman given the nod over Rodriguez this week. As a result, you should consider dropping the Milan man before his value drops too much.
Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 21.8) - The burgeoning forward has picked up where he left off last season scoring three goals in his first four appearances this season, however, simply put, he looked off the pace against Fiorentina.
Zapata is at his best when he imposes his physique on the opposition and plays off the defender. Against Fiorentina, the former Napoli man displayed signs of fatigue indicating some rest may be on the horizon for him. With Luis Muriel and Josip Ilicic in good form, expect Zapata to be rested in Atalanta’s upcoming game. After all, Gasperini can’t afford to burn him out.
Daniele Baselli (MID, Torino, Value 17.7) - The former Atalanta man has thrived since Walter Mazzarri has taken over and has established himself as a key player for I Granata. Despite his notable improvements over the years, Baselli’s game still lacks end-product in the final third as he proves to be often wasteful.
With Torino taking on Milan, expect Mazzarri’s men to sit deep and absorb the pressure. This type of game doesn’t exactly suit Baselli’s strengths. As a result, you’d be wise to temporarily drop the midfielder from your side.
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Alex Meret: he got the day off during the weekend, so he will be back between sticks in his one as Napoli will host Cagliari, which might be satisfied with the two wins they got recently and therefore not push the opponents too much.Giovanni Di Lorenzo is in the same situation.
Stefan De Vrij: it is not great round for the top defences, so it could be a wise move to pick out the best one, as Inter have conceded just once, even though they have a difficult match-up against Lazio on the docket. He is an ex-Biancoceleste, so you never know. Continue reading
Straight up fireworks on Friday night as Napoli paid a visit to Fiorentina. Vincenzo Montella unleashed the youth movement, fielding Gaetano Castrovilli, Riccardo Sottil and Dusan Vlahovic together from the get-go, while Carlo Ancelotti, who could not use Arkadiuz Milik and Hirving Lozano, deployed Dries Mertens as false-nine, supported by Fabian Ruiz, José Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, while Mario Rui was picked over Faouzi Ghoulam on the left flank. Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kostas Manolas, Pol Lirola and Erick Pulgar debuted with their respective teams. Continue reading
Ionut Radu (7 points): the best goalkeepers of the round all ended up conceding at least a goal, so the nod goes to the Genoa one for his ordinary but diligent work in the Fiorentina game, where the Griffon came away with the point they needed.
Franck Kessie (9 points): he was a beast in the SPAL match, as he set up Hakan Calhanoglu’s goal with a pinpoint square ball, found the target with a scorcher and ultimately buried a penalty. He concluded an up-and-down season with his finest performance. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus garnered the final points they needed for the title against Fiorentina. Torino were the only team to succeed in the European races, since Roma shared the spoils with Inter, Milan were pipped at post in Parma and Lazio were stunned by Chievo. Atalanta will play on Monday in Naples. Empoli find themselves in a hole after being torpedoed by SPAL at home and the Estensi have now comfortable lead over the last three places. Udinese tied with Sassuolo, taking a little step forward since they are four points above the Azzurri, but were leapfrogged by Bologna, whic thumped Sampdoria. Cagliari arrived at the 40-point mark with their W over Frosinone, whose relegation is pretty much a done deal. Genoa keep spiraling, but they still have a little cushion before being in serious troubles. Continue reading
Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi will be good to go after leaving the last game with a chest injury. On the other hand, Douglas Costa is iffy due to a bruised quad and Leonardo Spinazzola has a sore ankle. Giorgio Chiellini (calf) will be out again, while Leonardo Bonucci (ankle) is making a late push to be in the squad list.
Napoli: Amin Younes is having troubles with the surgically repaired Achilles tendon. Raul Albiol is reportedly dealing with a patellar tendon issue that could turn out to be a very serious one.
Inter: Matteo Politano will serve the final game of his suspension. Balde Keita has been called up despite the coach saying that he is not ready. Borja Valero is out with knee soreness.
Juventus: Blaise Matuidi and Medhi Benatia missed the last game, but they will be available to play. Federico Bernardeschi has been called up after missing time with a thigh pull. Rodrigo Bentancur is suspended. Juan Cuadrado underwent knee surgery and could be on the shelf for three months.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly were handed two-game bans. Marek Hamsik subbed off against Inter due to a thigh injury and will try to recover for the first game of 2019. Continue reading
Alex Meret (7 points): five clean sheets this week, with some fine goalkeeping too. Napoli had to sweat against SPAL, but the youngster answered the bell with two solid saves to protect the result late.
Raul Albiol (9 points): the Azzurri attack came up shot on Saturday, but the Spanish defender steered the game in their direction with a wicked header that turned out to be the game-winner.
Mattia De Sciglio (7 points): Juventus’ back-line did not crack under pressure versus Roma and the fullback played a major role in the deciding goal with a sharp cross to set up Mario Mandzukic. Continue reading