Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri have not been very spectacular in the last two matches against minnows, but they got the job done with the contribution of few different players. Cristiano Ronaldo has shaken off his injury and will be back in this one, Paulo Dybala has outperformed Gonzalo Higuain in the last couple of outings, but the latter is usually closer to the goal. Aaron Ramsey has been pretty good and they could carry on with the tactics where he is heavily featured, but it remains to be seen whether he can play thrice in a row, otherwise Adrien Rabiot or Federico Bernardeschi could get the nod there and reap the benefits of a very offensive role. They have gotten goals from Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, even though Sami Khedira is generally the midfielder who is most involved in the offense. Juan Cuadrado loses some steam because he is forced to play as right back for the time being. Continue reading
Atalanta: Josip Ilicic is a suspended, while Luis Muriel is sick, which will cost him a place in the XI but not the call-up. Timothy Castagne had surgery to remove a torn meniscus and should miss the first two games.
Bologna: Jerdy Schouten picked up a knee sprain in the pre-season but he has recovered enough to be called up.
Brescia: Mario Balotelli is disqualified for the first four fixtures, while Ales Mateju will sit out just the first one for the same reason. Emmanuel Ndoj is dealing with an ankle injury that will cost him some time. Andrea Cistana missed the recent Coppa Italia game for a similar, but smaller, issue, but could be back for the opening match. Daniele Dessena, Daniele Gastaldello have recovered from small injuries, while Giangiacomo Magnani and Ernero Torregrossa have been ruled out. Continue reading
There were barely any deal in the first few sleepy days of August, where Fiorentina and Milan were the main protagonists. La Viola signed Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola from Sassuolo and sold Vitor Hugo to Palmeiras, hinting a switch to their defensive philosophy since they used to deploy Nikola Milenkovic at right back, but will no go with a more normal and aggressive look. The Rossoneri instead cashed in on Patrick Cutrone, who joined Wolverhampton, and substituted him with Rafael Leao from Lille, who projects to be a better fit next to Krzysztof Piatek, and then announced Ismael Bennacer from Empoli on Sunday. Juventus completed the sale of Moise Kean to Everton. Continue reading
After a slow start to their window due to the ownership change, Fiorentina are starting to get a move on and added two players from Sassuolo: Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola. The 31-year-old journeyman was purchased for a minimal €1M fee, while they spent €14M plus add-ons for the right back.
Boateng started last season well while playing as false-nine for the Neroverdi, scoring four times in 13 games. However, he could not turn down Barcelona’s offer in January, but featured just four times with the Blaugrana. Over his career, he has spent time with Eintracht Frankfurt, Las Palmas, Schalke 04 and Genoa and is obviously best known for his two stints at Milan.
The Ghanaian attacker can feature in a number of positions and plugs the hole left by the departure of Luis Muriel. If they bring in a pure centre-forward or decide to continue relying on Giovanni Simeone, Boateng will end up playing more as second-striker or left winger.
Lirola has been a very energetic fullback over the last three seasons in Emilia, appearing 92 times and notching three goals and seven assists. He is coming off his best season to date, where he provided seven helpers and was a constant thorn on the opponents’ side while motoring up and down the flank.
Fiorentina have been adapted Nikola Milenkovic to that role in the last few years, but they will now utilize a more traditional and offensive-minded right back, with the Serbian youngster deployed as centre-back. As a further indication of that, they sold Vitor Hugo to Palmeiras. The latest rumours also suggest that they could keep former Lecce loanee Lorenzo Venuti, another typical fullback, on the roster to back up the new acquisition.
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There is a lot of filler in these last few rounds as some teams have no real objective in sight, but when one of those put up a fight against a foe actually fighting for something, it can turn out to be a thrilling match-up, like it was the case for Torino-Sassuolo.
The Granata are in the hunt for the sixth place and were coming off a draw in the Derby della Mole, while they had taken home the full loot in the previous two contests against Genoa and Milan. The Neroverdi had stayed undefeated for six rounds, prevailing twice, and are right in the middle of the standings. Continue reading
Standings implications: Roma broke through late in the bout with Juventus, grabbing three points that allowed them to keep up with Milan and Atalanta, which upended Fiorentina and Genoa on Saturday. Inter dispatched Chievo and remained in third, while the Bergamaschi maintained their three-point lead over the rivals. Torino stayed close to the pack with a late comeback versus Sassuolo and Lazio returned to winning ways in Cagliari. In the suburbs of the standings, Empoli got the second W in a row, their first of the season on the road, by topping Sampdoria. Udinese did not fumble the Frosinone fixture, therefore the closest team is now Genoa that has just one more point than the Azzurri. Napoli beat SPAL. Bologna stayed in their relatively cozy spot with a win over Parma. Continue reading
David Ospina: he is reportedly drawing the starts in order to trigger the option to buy him from Arsenal, either way, he or Alex Meret are in a good spot this week since Cagliari would have by far the worst clip in terms road goal if they had not scored three to Chievo and they might be without their second banana Joao Pedro on Sunday.
Federico Fazio: Roma have turned it around defensively, conceding just once in the last three matches and this week they will tangle with a Genoa team that has scored in just three of their last ten fixtures. The Argentinian centre-back and Aleksandar Kolarov are also the most likely to contribute on the other end considering their remarkable season tallies. Continue reading
Standings implications: Juventus most likely inflicted the final blow to the title race with a 1-2 win over Napoli in a crazy game. Milan leapfrogged Inter in the third spot as they eked out a win against Sassuolo, while the Nerazzurri were blitzed by Cagliari back on Friday. Roma stayed behind as they got battered by Lazio, which re-entered the fray for the fourth spot, as they have six fewer points than the Beneamata, but have to recover one game. Atalanta and Torino remain in hot pursuit of an Europa League berth with their convincing victories over Fiorentina and Chievo. Massive points for the Sardinians and for Udinese in the relegation zone: the Friulani moved seven points clear of Bologna after besting them on Sunday afternoon. Frosinone and Empoli treaded waters down there with their gritty ties against Genoa and Parma. Continue reading
Salvatore Sirigu: Torino’s defence has had its up-and-downs, but they will face a Fiorentina team that has been lousy on the road and has scored just two away goals so far.
Francesco Vicari: Frosinone have made some progress, but mostly at home and they have been shutout in three of their four road games, so picking the leader of SPAL’s sturdy back-line could be a decent idea.
Pol Lirola: Bologna have yet to find the target away from the Dall’Ara Stadium, while Sassuolo is fresh off a clean sheet versus Sampdoria. The pesky right back could also do some damage on offence. Continue reading
Here are the latest updates on few players’ conditions heading into the next Serie A matchday.
Juventus: Mattia De Sciglio was taken out of the Real Madrid match due to an apparent plantar fascia lesion that will require further testing. Federico Bernardeschi and Andrea Barzagli are working their way back from a knee sprain and an abdominal strain and practiced partially this week, but they will likely not be available this week.
Napoli: Mario Rui is suspended, no other absentees other than the usual one, Faouzi Ghoulam.