Cagliari-Milan: the Rossoblù played their worst game of the season against Juventus and will be eager to bounce back here and snap out of a three-game losing streak. Their last two goals were scored by Joao Pedro and Giovanni Simeone and obviously the Brazilian forward, who has tallied 11 in the season, remains their most appealing player, while the ex-Fiorentina man is more inconsistent, but has his moments in the sun. Radja Nainggolan has not been done a lot in the past four games and that has caused a decline in their offensive efficiency. They lack reliable fantasy option behind those because Nahitan Nandez and Marko Rog are not involved in the offense on a regular basis and their yield there is spotty. Their fullbacks, Luca Pellegrini in particular, have picked up few assists. Continue reading
Standings implications: Inter got the better of Napoli away, while Juventus tore apart Cagliari and so the duo remains attached to the hip atop of the table. Lazio mounted another late comeback, this time at the expense of Brescia, pushing their winning streak to nine matches. They gained ground on Roma, which instead were toppled at home by Torino, who got closer to the Europa League zone. Atalanta are now breathing down the Giallorossi’s neck after the second five-nothing rout in a row, with Parma being their latest victim. Milan and Sampdoria shared the spoils in a nil-nil bout. Verona outplayed SPAL, confirming their superior stature, while Genoa somehow defeated Sassuolo, abandoning the last position to the Estensi. Udinese eked out a very valuable W in Lecce, leaving the red area in the rearview mirrow.
Samir Handanovic: the match-up against Napoli is not that inviting fantasy-wise, but Inter boast the best statistical defence in the League by a decent margin and the Partenopei had not bagged two goal in a game in a long while before the last fluky one versus Sassuolo. It could be a low-scoring affair, giving an edge to defences and goalkeepers.
Chris Smalling: Roma have not conceded more than once in the past five fixtures and they will tangle with Torino this weekend, which are not a very explosive side. Smalling is also always a threat on set pieces. Continue reading
Samir Handanovic (7 points): few good performances out of goalies in this round, but only two teams, Atalanta and Inter, managed to keep a clean sheet. Nothing out of the ordinary, but the Beneamata captain was slightly busier than the colleague in the game versus Genoa, which managed to take a couple of shots, differently from Milan on Sunday.
José Palomino (5 points): the Goddess defenders dominate the role and it is the Argentinian centre-back who gets the nod representing all of them, as he did a masterful job in holding in check both Rafael Leao and Krzysztof Piatek, despite their very diverse skill-set. He had a sloppy start of the season, but he has righted the ship recently. Continue reading
There were limited hard-fought contests in the last round of 2020, which comprised mostly one-sided affairs. Lecce made it interesting late against Bologna and, even if their push come up short, it allowed the game to earn the honours of best of the weekend.
The Salentini eked out few points here and there in the past two months, mostly through draws, but have yet to prevail at home, while the Felsinei had done so in two of the past three fixtures, over Napoli and Atalanta. Continue reading
Standings implications: Inter and Juventus prevailed in their matches against the Genoa-based teams and so continue to go hand-in-hand, while Lazio will have to wait till February to know the results of the Verona game. Roma handled Fiorentina, while Cagliari suffered the second loss in a row at the hands of Udinese and were leapfrogged by Atalanta, which dismantled Lecce. Torino found a way to lose at home against SPAL. Bologna are surging with their third W in the past four rounds, this time over Lecce, while Parma and Brescia shared the spoils. Napoli finally returned to winning ways with a little luck against Sassuolo, as the final goal at the buzzer was probably an own goal. Continue reading
Juventus-Sassuolo: Cristiano Ronaldo came back midweek and now it will be interesting to see whether or not he will be load managed in Serie A player after the knee injury. Nevertheless, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala have been excellent in relief and have been able to contribute also when coming off the bench in their standard configuration. Douglas Costa got hurt again, which takes away their most explosive option at no.10, so it will Federico Bernardeschi and Aaron Ramsey running the show there for a while, but they both have not done damage in a while. Ramsey has the most upside in the duo. Khedira is fading and, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi are serviceable contributors, they are not strong fantasy options. It could be instead the right kind of match-up for Miralem Pjanic to have a meaningful offensive role, while Juan Cuadrado has been a pretty good fullback for a while now. Continue reading
The Emilian Derby was quite riveting in terms of action and was drama-filled until the very end, so it easily takes home the shout-out in this round despite its modest magnitude in the grand schemes of the League.
Bologna were coming off three straight losses, against Cagliari, Inter and Sassuolo and have won just once in the previous ten rounds. Parma instead dropped only one of the last four matches and gathered four points in the two most recent ones versus Fiorentina and Roma. Continue reading
Standings implications: the usual trend up top as Juventus and Inter did not look great but still found a way to sink the opponents, despite fiery efforts by Milan and Verona. Another shake-up in the Champions League zone as Roma’s run came to a stop in Parma, while Lazio and Cagliari kept it rolling, creaming Lecce and Fiorentina respectively, and they both surpassed La Lupa and gained some ground on Atalanta, which were held to a tie by Sampdoria. Napoli could not do much better at home against Genoa and thus remain seventh, one point over the Ducali. Torino returned to winning ways with an away drubbing of Brescia, while Sassuolo convincingly defeated Bologna. Udinese-SPAL ended in a nil-nil draw despite the late drama.
Roma-Napoli: the Giallorossi have reached a pretty strong level of consistency and they are starting to recovering pieces, which will further add to their arsenal. Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov have been terrific all year long, Nicolò Zaniolo has started scoring, Justin Kluivert did damage in Udine and even Javier Pastore is starting to look good playing with continuity. Gianluca Mancini has been a stabilyzing presence, allowing the other contributors to focus more on the offense, primarly Jordan Veretout has begun to be more impactful as a playmaker after a slow start at his new club. Diego Perotti and Cengiz Under will likely need some time before being fit enough to receiving considerable playing time. Continue reading