Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Three – Top Matches

ATALANTA-CAGLIARI

Atalanta: the Bergamaschi took it to Lazio as well, making the second game in a row with four goals scored, as the machine is still working like a charm. Alejandro Gomez not only pulled the strings, but also scored twice and was joined in the stat-sheet by Hans Hateboer and Robin Gosens. Hateboer has already matched his entire production for the 2019/2020 campaign, while Gosens opened his tally. Ruslan Malinovskyi got the start this time and dished an assist, while Luis Muriel almost hit the net off the bench. The only negative aspect of the young season is that Duvan Zapata has not really looked dominant and might need some time to be in peak shape, but they surely have the manpower to work around that. The flank game has been particularly terrific so far. Mario Pasalic might feature in a less offensive position going forward since they are stacked with attackers but short on midfielders and his output could suffer.

Suggested picks: Gomez, Muriel, Gosens. Continue reading

Inter kick off their Serie A season in thrilling style as they win 4-3 classic against Fiorentina

Most clubs had already played twice in Serie A, but this past weekend marked Inter’s first game of the season, and what a game it would be.

To think that at the San Siro against Fiorentina they were losing 3-2 with three minutes to go and won the game is incredible and it was a fantastic comeback by Antonio Conte’s men.

The game had started poorly for the hosts when Fiorentina took the lead after just the 3rd minute through Christian Kouame. A muddle up in defence led to one of the sloppiest goals Inter may concede all season, the back four were looking for an offside decision that never came.

Just after the brilliant Lautaro Martinez looked like he was fouled for a penalty but replays showed he wasn’t touched. Now whilst VAR can cause many problems this was an example of the system getting it right, Martinez clearly looked for the penalty. The referee changed his decision and didn’t give it, however one has to question why Martinez then wasn’t booked for simulation? This is a problem that still riddles the game.

On the stroke of half time though Martinez showed his absolute class and why Barcelona have been trying to sign him. His strike outside of the area was a thing of unstoppable beauty, that’s the side to Martinez’s game that everybody wants to see.

After half time Inter went 2-1 up courtesy of an own goal and from then on in it looked like we would only get one result, the home one. But Fiorentina were not done and equalised for 2-2 just a few minutes later through Gaetano Castrovilli.

One player who was really making his mark for the visitors was Franck Ribery, he was everywhere and played some amazing passes and he assisted to put the away side in the lead through Federico Chiesa, it was a superb pass to let the young man in.

As the game went onto its final stages it seemed that Inter would lose their first game of the season, and it wouldn’t be the first time that Fiorentina would be a thorn in the clubs side. However that man Romelu Lukaku after good build up play and slotted home an easy goal from a few yards out to make the game 3-3, but Inter wouldn’t be done yet.

Terrible defending at the far post would end up giving Inter an unlikely victory right at the end of the game as Danilo D’Ambrosio headed in and whilst Inter players peeled away in excitement the truth is Fiorentina only had themselves to blame.

The game was very open but you could argue that Inter shaded it or that a draw would have been justified. Inter had more of the ball and had 6 shots on target to Fiorentina’s four.

Inter Milan: Man of the Match- Lautaro Martinez

Martinez earned 4 points, alongside Lukaku that was the most of any player from the team. But his fantastic goal earlier on in the game was a thing of beauty and he always remained a threat, he has a bright future ahead of him.

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Is the Scudetto realistic for Inter this season?

Internazionale have spent big again this summer, so far bringing in the likes of Achraf Hakimi (€40m), Nicolo Barella (€25m), Stefano Sensi (€20m) and Arturo Vidal as they look to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title.

Antonio Conte’s side made an exciting start to the 2020-21 campaign on Saturday with a dramatic 4-3 victory at home to Fiorentina, with goals in the 87th and 89th minutes, from Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D’Ambrosio respectively.

Their participation in the Europa League final last month saw them given an additional week’s rest so they are a game behind the majority of the league, though Atalanta and Lazio were also given an extra week to prepare, as well as each of their scheduled opponents.

Three points for I Nerazzurri will have come to much relief given that Fiorentina already had a competitive game under their belt – a 1-0 win over Torino the prior weekend.

In a further boost to Inter’s hopes of winning the Scudetto for the first time since 2010, reigning champions Juventus were held to a 2-2 draw away to AS Roma on Sunday. Andrea Pirlo’s side were reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

Given a rookie manage in charge, many are expecting the 2020-21 Serie A title race to be open this campaign, the first time in several years. Napoli and AC Milan have both made impressive starts themselves, taking six points from six.

Inter’s hopes of sustaining a title challenge this season has all the ingredients they need, especially if they keep hold of star striker Lautaro Martinez, amid strong interest from Barcelona.

The Argentine has formed a great partnership with Romelu Lukaku up front, with the pair scoring 37 league goals between them last campaign.

Behind them, Conte has a wealth of talent to pick from. He went with Ashley Young, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Perisic and Christian Eriksen in his 3-5-2 formation for his season opener, with Achraf Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi, Arturo Vidal and Radja Nainggolan all coming off the bench.

Behind them is a talented defence of Stefan de Vrij, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni, backed up by the reliable Samir handanovic.

The manager himself knows all about success. Antonio Conte started Juventus’ current run of titles during his first season in charge back in 2011-12, winning all three during his time in Turin before taking over the Italian national team. Conte won the English Premier League title in his first attempt at Chelsea too.

Whilst Juventus have dominated the league for the past nine seasons they have taken a huge risk with the appointment of inexperienced manager Pirlo, regardless of how good he was as a player himself.

The Old Lady’s main ambition is also to win the Champions League, which could have a negative impact on their domestic campaign, particularly with how competitive it is getting at the top now.

If ever there was a season for Inter Milan fans to head into confidently, it has to be this one. With the manager and players at their disposal they have the makings of being 2020-21 Serie A champions.

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Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round Two

Results: Roma and Juventus shared the spoils in an entertaining fixture to cap off the Sunday slateNapoli demolished Genoa, Milan easily got past Crotone, while Verona nipped Udinese to stay perfect in the season. Inter furiously rallied back late against Fiorentina, while Lazio breezed past Cagliari and Atalanta toyed with Torino, so the three ‘top four’ teams that had their opener delayed were all successful. Among the newly promoted teams, Benevento got off to a brilliant start as they mounted a glorious comeback against Sampdoria, tough sledding instead for Spezia, which run into an in-form Sassuolo. Bologna trounced Parma on Monday night.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Two – Top Matches

TORINO-ATALANTA

Torino: the Granata did really not show anything new in the Fiorentina game even though Marco Giampaolo is supposedly going to bring a ton of changes, but that will take time and likely a couple of new players to come to fruition. They created just a pair of changes, with Andrea Belotti fully in the thick of it as per usual, while Simone Zaza rubbished a tasty one. They might be better off signing a new striker. The coach went with Alex Berenguer in the hole and then voiced doubts about Simone Verdi’s playing in that position, however there is not really any other place for him in the formation, so he will have to adapt. Soualiho Meite and Karol Linetty were not very involved offensively, mostly because the match-up was not easy, but this upcoming one is worse.  Continue reading

How Inter could line up with new summer signings

Internazionale have been busy again this summer, with Arturo Vidal’s arrival from Barcelona on Sunday being the sixth new face to arrive at the San Siro this summer.

The Italian giants also have a number of players back from loan spells last season, including Ivan Perisic, Joao Mario, Valentino Lazaro and Radja Nainggolan, though whether they will be moved on permanent before the close of the transfer window remains to be seen.

Mauro Icardi’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain has given Antonio Conte increased transfer budget to build a side capable of challenging for the Serie A title this season.

€40 million has been spent on Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid. The pacey right-back has impressed on loan at Borussia Dortmund over the past two seasons that it was a surprise the Spanish giants moved him on.

Alexis Sanchez spent last season on loan from Manchester United before making his move permanent in August at the start of August.

Midfielders Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi have joined from Cagliari and Sassuolo off the back of good campaigns in 2019-20. Inter then signed experienced left-back Aleksandar Kolarov from AS Roma.

Continue reading

Inter gearing up for yet another Scudetto challenge

When Inter appointed Antonio Conte last summer, it was understood the Nerazzurri would immediately contend for Italy’s top prize. The former Juventus boss has quickly led his sides to glory upon his arrival, guiding the Bianconeri and Chelsea to league titles in his first season with the respective clubs. While last season did not go as planned – with Inter ultimately disappointing when it mattered – the Nerazzurri are gearing up for next season and are already significantly bolstering their ranks.

Giuseppe Marotta has done an exceptional job as Inter’s sporting director since arriving, revolutionizing their midfield with the signings of Nicolo Barella, Stefano Sensi and most recently Christian Eriksen. Inter’s big-money move for Romelu Lukaku also panned out, with the Belgian international netting 35 goals in all competitions last season and combined wonderfully with Lautaro Martinez. The former Manchester United man may have disappointed in the Europa League final, but definitely emerged as one of Serie A’s most prolific hitmen.

The next step for Marotta is to continue adding players that fit Conte’s image, to ensure the fiery tactician has everything he needs to usurp Juventus atop Italian football. Former Borussia Dortmund wingback Achraf Hakimi has already arrived this summer and is a prototypical Conte player. Capable of playing on either wing, the Moroccan international is ideal for Conte’s 3-5-2 and will offer some much-needed quality and end product in the final third.

Inter also recently secured Roma’s Aleksandr Kolarov for 1.5 million euros, who will likely slot in as a left center-back in their back three. The Serbian has lost his turn of pace in recent seasons but represents solid depth for the emerging Alessandro Bastoni. His best days may be behind him, but Kolarov is a low-cost signing that comes in with plenty of experience and tactical know-how.

Beyond Kolarov, Inter is reportedly interested in Hellas Verona’s Marash Kumbulla. The defender broke onto the scene this season with the newly-promoted outfit and established himself as one of Serie A’s most intriguing young prospects. With Diego Godin on the wrong side of 30 and with Milan Skriniar’s future in doubt, Kumbulla is an ideal option to rejuvenate their backline and offer Conte the possibility to rotate.

Sandro Tonali was reportedly on his way to Inter, as well this summer, but has since dropped down their list of priorities. Milan has inserted themselves in the race for the midfield maestro and has since become favourites for the Brescia midfielder’s signature. Should Inter pull off a move for Tonali, however, they will undoubtedly have the deepest midfield ranks in the league and sufficient quality to overtake Juventus.

The summer window may not have officially opened just yet, but Inter has sent a clear message of intent to the rest of Italy. Fresh off finishing just one point behind Juve and failing at the final hurdle in the Europa League, Conte’s men are eager to retool and mount yet another title challenge. Juventus are currently in a period of transition under rookie manager Andrea Pirlo, something Inter will be hoping to take advantage of next season. As the summer wears on, expect Inter to be active in hopes of winning their first Scudetto in ten years.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 38 – Saturday Games

BRESCIA-SAMPDORIA

Brescia: they actually played better than expected versus Lazio, where they had some opportunities to score, in particular with Ernesto Torregrossa, but were unable to cash in. Several injuries left them with a skeleton crew as Torregrossa, Florian Aye, Nikolas Spalek and Jaromir Zmrhal are the only attackers available. All of them, excluding Aye, have been able to hit the net recently, while Sandro Tonali and Bruno Martella have been pretty good in the less offensive roles.

Suggested picks: Torregrossa, Spalek, Zmrhal. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 37

PARMA-ATALANTA

Parma: Dejan Kulusevski willed them to victory, again, versus the lowly Brescia with an assist and a scorcher and he is finishing his stay in style, while Gervinho has been pretty paltry in recent matches, scoring just once in the last seven. Gianluca Caprari took advantage of his increased minutes and converted a PK, while among the other back-ups Luca Siligardi has been the liveliest. Roberto Inglese is tough to trust since his minutes are still spotty. Juraj Kucka returned from a short absence and he and Jasmin Kurtic are surely capable of doing damage offensively. Matteo Darmian is coming off his first goal of the season and also Riccardo Gagliolo notched one lately but their fullbacks will have their hands full defensively in this one.

Suggested picks: Kulusevski, Kucka, Caprari. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 36

Wojciech Szczesny (7 points): the amount of goalie that blanked the opponents was again numbered and out of the four that managed, the Juventus one had the busiest performance as Sampdoria put up a fight to try to spoil the Bianconeri’s title celebration, but he rejected them with timely saves.

Elseid Hysaj (9 points): an uncharacteristically sparkling performance for the defensive-minded Napoli full-back, who broke the deadlock against Sassuolo with a nifty strike from outside the box for his first ever Serie A goal and sprinted down the left flank to wreak havoc multiple times. Continue reading