Juventus-Frosinone: the Bianconeri quickly bounced back in Sassuolo after the 3-3 draw with Parma and have won four times in the last five fixtures, fortifying their lead in the standings. The Ciociari have been pesky recently and they are coming off a surprise win over Sampdoria, their second in a row on the road, and they are now within striking distance from the 17th spot. With Champions League just around the corner, Cristiano Ronaldo might be rested for the second time in Serie A, which would mean more scoring opportunities for Mario Mandzukic, Federico Bernardeschi and Paulo Dybala, or whoever will compose the front-line. Continue reading
Salvatore Sirigu (7 points): some outstanding goalkeeping in this round, in particular by Alban Lafont and Gianluigi Donnarumma, but the spot goes to the Torino player, who saved a penalty.
Aleksandar Kolarov (9 points): another terrific display but the veteran fullback, who notched his sixth goal in Serie A with a potent cross-shot at the end of a fast-break.
Ola Aina (9 points): the Chelsea loanee has been impressive thus far and decided the Udinese game with a header on the far post on a cross coming from the other wing back, a staple in Walter Mazzarri’s schemes. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus’ led atop of the table swelled up again as the Bianconeri routed Sassuolo, while Napoli could not break through in Florence and had to settle for a nil-nil tie. Inter returned to winning ways in Parma after three rounds. All the teams involved in the Champions League race won this week: Milan outfaced Cagliari, Roma did the same with Chievo on Friday, Atalanta successfully came back at home versus SPAL and Lazio squeezed past Empoli. Sampdoria lost steam in the Europa League zone with the second loss in a row, an appalling one to Frosinone in this case, while Torino are now eighth after nipping Udinese. Frosinone’s victory drags few more clubs into the mud: there are six teams in six points, with two going down. Bologna was the only other side that brought home a relatively positive result in those neighborhoods as they tied with Genoa. Continue reading
Gianluigi Donnarumma: after few jew-dropping saves in Rome, he will try to keep a clean sheet against Cagliari, which have failed to score in three of their last four games and are in dire straits.
Bartosz Bereszynski: Sampdoria have not allowed a goal in their last three home fixtures and will try to keep it going against Frosinone, even though the foes have at times caught opponents by surprise on the road.
Timothy Castagne: Atalanta have a solid back-line at home, especially when facing the minnows, and the fullbacks have always a big role in the offensive schemes of Gian Piero Gasperini. Continue reading
Lukas Skorupski (7 points): a limited amount of clean sheets in this round and the goalkeepers that who managed did not have particularly remarkable showings, so the nod goes to the one who did it in the most arduous match-up, even though he has to thank the imprecision of the opponents rather than his own ability.
Hans Hateboer (9 points): his header on a long cross solved a tricky game for Atalanta.
Kalidou Koulibaly (5 points): he heard the noise after the loss in Coppa Italia against Milan, where Krzysztof Piatek run circles around the Napoli back-line, but the Senegalese bounced back in a big way against Sampdoria, completely shutting down the opponents. Continue reading
Roma-Torino: the Giallorossi are on the up and up with three wins in the last four games, over Genoa, Sassuolo and Parma and have re-entered the Champions League fray. The Granata continue to be a little uninspiring, they have prevailed just twice in their last seven games, but they are still undefeated on the road and have shared the spoils in the majority of away matches. Patrick Schick has had a resurgence is the last month and the duel with Edin Dzeko is legitimate now. They have also recovered Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was having a great season before getting hurt and makes them very menacing up front, since Cengiz Under, Bryan Cristante, Nicolò Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert have all been productive before the break and even Javier Pastore showed some life in Coppa Italia. Continue reading
Juventus-Sampdoria: after a string of close wins over fierce enemies, the Bianconeri draw against Atalanta, in a game where they came back in ten men. It is just their second tie in Serie A. The Blucerchiati are in a marvelous moment, as they have not lost in the last six games and have won in four of their last five. The offensive production remained the same for Juventus in the last four matches, as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic were the only one to hit the net. Paulo Dybala is stuck in a playmaking role, while Douglas Costa has always been more of an assist man. They are awaiting for some goals out of the midfield and Emre Can and Sami Khedira have some potential there, while Rodrigo Bentancur will be suspended in this one. On the other hand, Sampdoria’s attack is humming as Fabio Quagliarella has scored for eight matches in a row and Gaston Ramirez, Gianluca Caprari and Riccardo Saponara have all found the target recently and even Karol Linetty and Dennis Praet have done some damage. The only one not playing well is Gregoire Defrel, but this could be a decent match-up for his skillset, should he be given the start. Continue reading
Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi is expected to be called up after shaking off an adductor problem, while Alex Sandro subbed off in Champions League because of a thigh issue that has not been disclosed yet, so he is questionable for the Fiorentina game. Sami Khedira (ankle) and Emre Can remain out for this week.
Napoli: Raul Albiol suffered a mild ankle sprain against Red Star Belgrade and he is at risk for the Monday game. After picking up the same injury, Amin Younes should be at the coach’s disposal, while Simone Verdi is set to skip another one, and likely few more, because his was more severe. Continue reading
Juventus: Federico Bernardeschi and Sami Khedira will not play this week because of an adductor issue and an ankle sprain. Miralem Pjanic should be available after a little muscular ailment with Bosnia. Emre Can is recovering from thyroid surgery. The two German players could return within a couple of weeks, the Italian winger sooner.
Napoli: Simone Verdi worked his way back from a thigh problem, but rolled his ankle in practice and could miss some time. Amin Younes has shaken off the Achilles injury, but he had the same problem of his teammate, even though his one is considered milder. Alex Meret is dealing with a sore shoulder on top of going through a bumpy rehab from a forearm fracture. Dries Mertens got a bruise in practice. Continue reading
The last round had a pair of really intriguing and well-balanced match-ups, Lazio-Fiorentina and Atalanta-Sampdoria, but those were decided by a single goal. The most entertaining game was surprisingly the Friday one between Torino and Frosinone.
The Granata were coming off a late win against Chievo, while Frosinone picked up just one point so far. Walter Mazzarri gave Simone Zaza the start after the deciding goal in the previous contest, picking Daniele Baselli over Roberto Soriano as attacking midfielder and Ola Aina and Alex Berenguer as wing backs since Lorenzo De Silvestri was out. Moreno Longo, former coach of Torino’s youth team, stuck with a 3-4-3 featuring Joel Campbell, Daniele Ciofani and Camillo Ciano up front. Continue reading