Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 24 – Early Matches

SPEZIA-PARMA

Spezia: they laid a big and weird egg versus Fiorentina, probably because they were praised too much following the great win against Milan. After a longer wait than expected, this should be indeed the game where M’Bala Nzola returns from his ankle injury. Kevin Agudelo has been a nuisance for opposing defenders as a false-nine, but he has not scored, while the Frenchman has been a star with nine goals in 13 appearances and so he is on the radar even if he is used only off the bench. Emmanuel Gyasi (two goals, four assists) has been serviceable so far, and so have been Diego Farias (three goals) and Riccardo Saponara, although the latter has yet to pick up bonus points. Tommaso Pobega must be dealing with an injury because he has not played in some time: his back-ups Nahuel Estevez and Leo Sena are not on the same level offensively, while Giulio Maggiore is more interesting and recently hit the net. Simone Bastoni (one goal, four assists) is back from suspension and he has been a force down the left flank. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Late Games

PARMA-UDINESE

Parma: they did manage to score against Verona, thanks to a successful penalty kick by Juraj Kucka, but they lost again and their offense left a lot to be desired. The midfielder has tallied their last three goals. Yann Karamoh looked decently spry in his return to the XI, while Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius are stuck in an endless slump and the former is in pretty lackluster form. Joshua Zirkzee had a pair of chances after subbing in but did not exploit them. Valentin Mihaila was the liveliest out of their youngsters, but so far the coach has been very conservative in giving minutes to them. Jasmin Kurtic has hit the net a couple of times in the season and he is not shy when it comes to bomb away from distance. If they somehow managed to play more proactively, their fullbacks Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella would have some interest. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-VERONA

Bologna: they could not find a way around the not-so-vaunted Genoa rearguard in the past match, with their attack failing to deliver for the fourth game in a row, given that their recent goals have come from Takehiro Tomiyasu (two), Nehuen Paz and Matthias Svanberg. Roberto Soriano, one of the early fantasy leaders, has found the target just once in the seven matches and has not been able to dish helpers either in that stretch, however he remains the top players in both categories (six/four). The other attackers have instead been able to take part in the teammate’s goals, Riccardo Orsolini in particular with two recent assists, but also Musa Barrow and Rodrigo Palacio, but they obviously need to start scoring to become real fantasy assets. As always, Barrow is the biggest threat, but they will face a really stifling defense in this one. Emanuel Vignato and Andreas Skov Olsen have not exploited their recent minutes. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15 – Remaining Games

CAGLIARI-NAPOLI

Cagliari: Joao Pedro bagged a brace against Roma, but they still came away empty-handed and they have not triumphed in a while. Besides the Brazilian, who is at eight goals in the season, they have not gotten much out of their other strikers as Giovanni Simeone has not produced after missing time with COVID and Leonardo Pavoletti had an immediate spark but then faded once his playing time resumed being irregular. Riccardo Sottil has found the target twice so far, but he has also been rather wasteful given the amount of opportunities he has had. Adam Ounas should be at full speed after the break and he is effervescent, but not very clutch in the box. Nahitan Nandez finished the year on a high performance-wise, but he might play in a defensive role in this one. Their fullbacks Charalampos Lykogiannis (two goals) and Gabriele Zappa (three assists) have been among their top contributors.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Sottil, Ounas. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13 – Top Matches

PARMA-JUVENTUS

Parma: they were pretty underwhelming in the Cagliari game, where Gervinho (four goals, one assist) confirmed to be in a pretty good run of form, but the prolonged drought of both Andreas Cornelius and Roberto Inglese is starting to hurt. The midfielders have picked up some of the slack, Hernani and Jasmin Kurtic in the particular as they have hit the net respectively three and two times, but it is not a sustainable model. Neither Yann Karamoh nor Juan Brunetta have fully exploited the increased role the coach has given them, maybe they will go with a more conservative option in this one since Juraj Kucka is available and he played in an attacking position in the past. However, he has not been convincing from the fantasy standpoint so far this season. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 12

Atalanta: Aleksey Miranchuk has cleared the COVID protocol and has been called up. Mario Pasalic will undergo sport-hernia surgery and return in January. Matteo Ruggeri (fatigue) and Josip Ilicic (strep throat) are questionable.

Benevento: Nicolas Viola has returned after some physical problems, while Gabriele Moncini (ankle), Christian Maggio (calf) and Luca Caldirola (knee) remain sidelined. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 12 – Remaining Games

UDINESE-CROTONE

Udinese: the Argentinian trio led the charge again for the Bianconeri, as both Ignacio Pussetto and Rodrigo De Paul hit the net against Torino, Roberto Pereyra dished two assists and Ilija Nestorovski chipped in late with his first goal of the season. Some improvements also out of Gerard Deulofeu, who set up a teammate. Nestorovski and Deulofeu will remain relevant until Stefano Okaka and Kevin Lasagna fully return, while Pussetto has played himself into a starter’s role, especially given Lasagna’s struggles thus far. He and De Paul have both scored three times so far. Pereyra moved to five helpers thanks to the recent showing. The two wingbacks Jens Larsen and Marvin Zeegelaar are only midrange options. Continue reading

AC Milan 2-2 Parma: Three things we learned as Hernandez secures draw in stoppage time

Milan managed to come back from a two-goal deficit against Parma this evening, eventually securing a 2-2 draw. Theo Hernandez was the big hero with a brace and thus extended the Rossoneri’s unbeaten run in the league, although they would have wanted the three points. 

In addition to having a goal disallowed for a very close offside, Milan struck the woodwork four times (!) and also missed some good chances. For a very long time, and especially when Parma scored their second, it felt like it just wasn’t the Rossoneri’s day. Yet, they managed to fight back from a tough position.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 11 – Top Matches

LAZIO-VERONA

Lazio: they had two sweat it out, but the Biancocelesti got the job done in Champions League, positively following up last weekend’s win over Spezia after a stumble. Ciro Immobile is returning to last year’s level of consistency and he is now up to 11 goals in 12 appearances between the two competitions. Joaquin Correa hit the net in Champions League, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic did it in Serie A (third goal) and the two have outperformed Luis Alberto so far, who continues to be their mastermind but as not been as prolific as in the past. Andreas Pereira was not great last week but had a late goal that was called back, while Felipe Caicedo is reportedly a little banged up, but this game might call for his late-game heroics. No bonuses for their wing-backs lately, even though Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic have been decently bubbly. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Ten – Remaining Games

VERONA-CAGLIARI

Verona: as usual, a date with a top team brought the best out of the Scaligeri, who withstood Atalanta for an hour and then got the W thanks to a PK by Miguel Veloso and an outstanding goal by Mattia Zaccagni, his first of the year after he had dished four assists. Samuel Di Carmine did not exploit his chance to lead the front-line and Andrea Favilli was more dangerous when he subbed in, so he will probably get the nod relieving the injured Nikola Kalinic is this one. Antonin Barak is in great form and he is their leading scorer with three goals. Darko Lazovic is most likely going to be sidelined again, but Marco Faraoni returned and Federico Dimarco has been a weapon on the left flank. Despite some absences, their pecking order has become pretty clear and Ebrima Colley and Eddie Salcedo have not shown well enough to be promoted from their bench role.

Recommended picks: Barak, Favilli, Zaccagni.

Cagliari: after a rough start, they looked like their normal selves versus Spezia, actually throwing away a win they had in hand despite the major voids left by that Diego Godin, Nahitan Nandez, Gaston Pereiro and Giovanni Simeone contracting COVID and Adam Ounas joined the list late. That leaves them with very limited options on the wings behind Riccardo Sottil, who has pretty lively, and it is possible Gabriele Zappa moves up from full-back, as he has done in Serie B but also in some previous games: he has set up three teammates thus far. The good news is that Leonardo Pavoletti bagged a great goal in his first start in forever and is going to be able to hold down the fort while Simeone goes to through the protocol. Joao Pedro delivered again, scoring his sixth goal in nine matches, on top of two assists. On the other flank Alessandro Tripaldelli and Andrea Carboni do not provide the same punch as Charalampos Lykogiannis, who is nursing a calf injury. Marko Rog and Razvan Marin have very limited opportunities to attack in their role as pivots.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Pavoletti, Sottil. 

 

PARMA-BENEVENTO

Parma: coach Fabio Liverani did switch to a more offensive scheme after a suggestion from above, but not to the diamond formation they used to open the season, but to a 4-3-3 with Gervinho and Yann Karamoh together, which worked out pretty well as the former scored his second brace of the season and the latter was pretty exuberant, but that has often been the case this season. Andreas Cornelius returned to the XI but he did not do much and neither him or Roberto Inglese have been effective so far, as both are still looking for the best form after some injuries. In theory, Cornelius should be the more prolific of the two. Juraj Kucka served a great assist and both him and Jasmin Kurtic are secondary weapons as box-to-box. Hernani returned from a rib injury and he has been surprisingly involved in the final third as he has notched two goals and one assist, but his role is TBD. Maxime Busi looked overwhelmed in his first start and they have lost both Riccardo Gagliolo and Giuseppe Pezzella on the left, so Vincent Laurini should be the next man up.

Recommended picks: Gervinho, Karamoh, Cornelius/Inglese.

Benevento: they came away with a great point versus Juventus thanks to a smasher by right-back Gaetano Letizia, who found the target for the second time in the campaign. Gianluca Caprari was held in check in his first game back from a suspension, like Gianluca Lapadula, but that was to be expected in a tough match-up and they will be in a better spot this week. They both have three goals and two assists to their names. Riccardo Improta has been the surprise of the last couple of matches, he decided the Fiorentina one, and it looks like he is here to stay, either as offensive-minded box-to-box or supporting the strikers. Roberto Insigne has notched one goal and one assist but he has been hurt a little by Improta’s rise. They have started to move Artur Ionita around the formation more, but he has remained pretty underwhelming. Marco Sau has registered two assists off the bench.

Recommended picks: Lapadula, Caprari, Improta.

 

UDINESE-ATALANTA

Udinese: a late COVID outbreak forced them to field an experimental lineup against Lazio and it worked wonders as the light front-line feasted on open spaces, with both Ignacio Pussetto and Fernando Forestieri finding the target. They will be in the same position this week and the only available alternative up front is Gerard Deulofeu as Kevin Lasagna, Stefano Okaka and Ilija Nestorovski and are unlikely to be cleared in time. They will face a side with comparable characteristics as well. Their leader Rodrigo De Paul has notched two goals and one assist in the past four matches, while Roberto Pereyra is finally turning it up with two straight helpers after a so-so start of the season. Wing-backs Jens Larsen and Marvin Zeegelaar are decent parts of the offense but that yet to yield a bonus.

Recommended picks: Pussetto, De Paul, Forestieri.

Atalanta: the Orobici’s offense continued to sputter in the past two matches and so many of their linchpins are not in great form. Duvan Zapata has looked the worst with multiple misses and also Alejandro Gomez’s stocks are plummeting. Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel have been a little better eye test-wise, but neither has been a consistent scorer. The coach has decided for an ample rotation so Gomez and Ilicic will be outright rested and Zapata might get the day off as well. Robin Gosens contracted COVID, while Ruslan Malinovskyi is back from it and could have an immediate role. Among the replacements, Matteo Pessina has the potential to do some damage if he plays in the Papu role given his success at Verona and Sam Lammers has been pretty good in his short cameo as he has already scored twice.

Recommended picks: Muriel, Lammers/Zapata, Pessina. 

 

CROTONE-NAPOLI

Crotone: another futile effort for the Squali’s attack last Sunday in Bologna, a team that had always conceded in the previous 41 fixtures. They have collectively struck out in three matches in a row and they will now run into a buzzsaw. Their target man Simy has three goals in the season, but he has not been fed regularly over the last few matches. Their secondary weapons Junior Messias and Ahmad Benali are banged up, Emmanuel Riviere, who had scored in the opener is hurt, so the lineup is pretty much up in the air. At least Salvatore Molina returned pretty decently from COVID and Milos Vulic continues to progress in his role as playmaker, but the lack of end product makes them a team to avoid. Arkadiusz Reca has provided two assists.

Recommended picks: Simy, Molina, Vulic.

Napoli: they had their best display of the season versus Roma, which was accompanied by the return of a scheme utilizing three central midfielders, although it was not a straight 4-3-3. Piotr Zielinski featuring freed up Fabian Ruiz, who not coincidentally scored his first goal of the season with a superb daisy-cutter, then the Giallorossi’s defensive woes did the rest. Dries Mertens is back after a little lull as he has found the target in two consecutive matches, Lorenzo Insigne made the stat-sheet after a five-game absence, although he had an assist in the previous round, while Matteo Politano continues to be pretty consistent even though he has to split time with Hirving Lozano, who has slowed down significantly. Therefore, all their weapons are humming even though they are likely going to miss the biggest of ‘em all, Victor Osimhen.

Reccomended picks: Mertens, Insigne, Politano.

 

FIORENTINA-GENOA

Fiorentina: the turnaround has yet to arrive despite the coaching change and they have failed to score in the past four matches. They have one of the easiest match-ups on the docket, so it would be very troublesome if their struggles continued this week as well. The situation has brought everybody down, including Gaetano Castrovilli (four goals, one assist), their lone productive player up to this point. Cesare Prandelli is tinkering with the tactics and gave José Callejon the start against Milan but neither him or Franck Ribery appear to be in acceptable shape and Dusan Vlahovic is engulfed by defenses way too easily, but Patrick Cutrone has not done much better in his cameos. Giacomo Bonaventura might get a shot this week to have more zing, either as winger or as box-to-box. Even though he has not look great, most of their offense is engineered by Ribery.

Recommended picks: Castrovilli, Ribery, Bonaventura.

Genoa: Gianluca Scamacca had a big chance versus Parma but did not deliver this time, while Eldor Shomurodov got the start, fared well and found the target on a good-looking play. However, the coach has gone back to 3-5-2, so there is room for just one between the Uzbek, Goran Pandev and Marko Pjaca (two goals). He has also decided to rely on a grittier midfield, sidelining Nicolò Rovella and Miha Zajc for Stefano Sturaro and Lukas Lerager. Hierarchies obviously are not set in stone and he will be scrambling for every possible solution since he is on the hot seat and Rovella has been one of their top performances up to this point, while the ex-Empoli man has been unimpressive this season. The scheme surely boosts wing-backs Luca Pellegrini and Paolo Ghiglione (two assists), who have a high ceiling in the offensive phase.

Recommended picks: Scamacca, Shomurodov, Ghiglione.

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