Samir Handanovic: the Inter defense has not been super stingy on the road, but this week they will tangle against Genoa that has scored just once in their last five fixtures. The veteran goalkeeper always gives his contribution.
Joao Cancelo: he could have a massive role on offense since Juventus will be down few attackers and they will also need a big performance out of their defense to topple Cagliari. Alex Sandro is in lesser form could be a good selection too.
Rogerio: Sassuolo are not very trustworthy defensively, but the date with Chievo is usually a good medicine for those problems. The young left back has sometimes done damage scurrying down the flank. Continue reading →
There were three intriguing fixtures on paper in this round, but Sampdoria-Milan and Inter-Lazio were decided by a single goal and Roma-Napoli turned out to be one-sided, so rather surprisingly the most compelling match was the Emilian Derby between Bologna and Sassuolo.
The Felsinei came into the game looking to keep it going after the wins over Cagliari and Torino, while Sassuolo had not prevailed since late January, dropping five of the last seven fixtures. Continue reading →
Standings implications: Juventus dropped their first game in Genoa, while Napoli tamed Udinese and so the lead yo-yoes back to 15 points. Inter resurrected at the most opportune time and torpedoed Milan in the Derby della Madonnina, reclaiming the third spot. Roma did not take advantage as they had a poor showing in Ferrara. It was a good week for Lazio, as they demolished Parma, while Atalanta got stymied by Chievo and Torino came up empty-handed against Bologna. In the lower districts, mammoth wins for the Felsinei, SPAL and Empoli, who sunk Frosinone in the head-to-head bout. Udinese fell back in the mud, as they are now just two points above the Felsinei. Cagliari kept the opponents at bay with a precious W against Fiorentina.
Three teams managed to seize a shutout win in this round, two of them did it by scoring multiple, Inter and Bologna, but Felsinei had by far the most influential success over the weekend, which allows them to get the nod over Juventus, who had the best showing overall but ruined the fantasy haul by conceding.
Juventus: Sami Khedira underwent a heart ablation with an arrhythmogenic atrial focus and will miss a minimum of one month. Emre Can is suspended. Douglas Costa remains questionable with the quad injury that has forced to skip the last few games.
Napoli: Lorenzo Insigne is disqualified, while Mario Ruihas slim chances to return from a thigh pull.
Inter: Mauro Icardi took some tests this week, which revealed no structural damage on his achy knee, but he is still poised to be unavailable this week amid the standoff with the managament. Balde Keitais having a hard time shaking off a thigh strain. 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 →
Napoli-Sampdoria: the Partenopei had a disappointing two-game meeting with Milan, as they did not manage to beat them in the weekend and then got got in Coppa Italia. They are undefeated at home, where they have won four games in a row, often scoring multiple goals. The Blucerchiati are coming off a thumping against Udinese, their fourth W in the last six fixtures and they lost only to Juventus since the beginning of December. While Lorenzo Insigne is stuck in a prolonged drought, Arek Milik has done most of the damage for the Azzurri up front, with Dries Mertens chipping in from time to time and some contribution from José Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Piotr Zielinski, but not in a consistent way. 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 Praethave 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 →
The first ever Serie A boxing day will culminate in a tasty match-up between Inter and Napoli.
Frosinone-Milan: the Ciociari snatched a decent draw in Udinese in Marco Baroni’s first game, but they need some Ws as they have gotten just one so far and it dates back to October 28th. The window to reduce the gap is closing quickly. Milan are sputtering in the last period: they have prevailed just once in the last six fixtures, tying with Lazio, Torino and Bologna and losing to Juventus and Fiorentina. They have been unable to score in the past three games. With so little time to work with, the new coach did not change much, opting for a 3-5-2 and benching Joel Campbell to have one more midfielder, Francesco Cassata. Continue reading →
There are plenty of surprise appearances in the latest edition of the team of the week.
Wojciech Szczesny (7 points): just to highlight how painful it is to pick goalies and defenders, there was only a clean sheet this week, which arrived in an unpredictable spot and only because the Pole parried away a penalty by Gonzalo Higuain.
Alex Sandro(7 points): the Brazilian fullback deservedly gets the token spot for the whole Juventus back-line, which could have crowded the XI since Giorgio Chiellini and Joao Cancelo hauled in five points. Sandro topped them because he sent in a pinpoint cross to assist the first goal. Continue reading →