Serie A Fantasy Team Of The Season

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Samir Handanovic (95 points): Inter led the League in clean sheets (17) and he took advantage of the fact that Wojciech Szczesny (71 points), the starter of the closest team, Juventus (16), was sometimes rested. The Nerazzurri captain had one of his finest seasons, coronated by terrific performances and superhuman saves. In order to fully understand his worth, you do not need to look much further than what happened in the final match against Empoli.

Armando Izzo (75 points): he made the final leap in the season that just ended, showing an unseen level of charisma on top of his usual grit and physicality. Torino had a tremendous year defensively, but he also showed up on set pieces with four goals, which significantly increased his haul. Continue reading

Serie A Match of the Round – Inter vs Empoli

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Inter-Empoli was set to be the match that decided few teams’ destiny in the final round and it did not disappoint from an entertainment standpoint, with the result hanging in the balance up until the final whistle and great end-to-end stuff throughout the contest.

The Biscione went into the contest looking for a win that would have kept Milan behind in the standings no matter what. The Azzuri needed a win to stay in front of Genoa and therefore in Serie A, but also a tie would have sufficed in case the Rossoblù did not got the three points in Florence. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 30

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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

Serie A Match of the Round – Milan vs Inter

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Goals galore in few matches in a very exciting Serie A weekend, which culminated in a riveting Derby della Madonnina that easily took home the coveted shout-out.

Milan approached the game looking to carry on the momentum that led them to snatching the third position away from the crosstown rivals with five straight wins. Inter prevailed in the last two Serie A matches, but just endured a bitter elimination from Europa League by the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gennaro Gattuso confirmed his go-to XI, with Davide Calabria, Tiemoué Bakayoko and Hakan Calhanoglu returning to the lineup after being rested last week. Continue reading

Ranking the ten best keepers in Serie A this season

 

Here‘s a ranking of the ten best keepers in Serie A this season- the criteria is strictly performances in league play, not reputation nor ability

 

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Gigio Donnarumma

When you consider how long he has been in our lives, it’s hard to believe that Milan’s keeper is just twenty years old. After a very tumultuous season following a very acrimonious negotiation for his contract extension. Donnarumma has fully rebounded and is now the gold standard at the position in Serie A especially when you consider his improvements with ball distribution.

Along with Romagnoli, Donnarumma is the main reason Milan’s defense has been the best in Serie A in 2019. In addition to his performances for the rossoneri, Donnarumma has fully established himself as the heir to Gigi Buffon on the Azzurri- no easy feat.

ACF Fiorentina v Torino FC - Serie A

 

Salvatore Sirigu

The former Paris St Germain keeper broke Torino’s record for longest streak without conceding a goal, a very impressive achievement if you know about Torino’s history. While it’s easier to get excited for younger keepers and Sirigu doesn’t get much attention because Torino isn’t a sexy team like Atalanta or even Sampdoria, he has consistently been in conversation for best keeper in Serie A performance wise even before his impressive recent streak.

 

Alessio Cragno

Cagliari’s keeper has been a staple of the Italian national’s team youth teams in recent years despite facing significant competition at his position and in his second season as a full time starter in Serie A, he has more than lived up to the hype.

What Cragno may lack in height (at least compared to the other top keepers in the league) he more than makes up with his reflexes and positioning- because of his body type and ability, he has been compared to former Juventus keeper Angelo Peruzzi. Cragno is ready to take the next step at a big club and could be a target for both Roma where he could be an immediate starter next season and Inter where he could be more of a long term replacement for Handanovic.

 

Emil Audero 

After making name for himself at Venezia in Serie B last season, the former Juventus youth team product has excelled at Sampdoria after replacing veteran Emiliano Viviano. Audero’s performances for Marco Giampaolo’s side have already caught the eye of Arsenal, who have scouted him multiple times after hitting a homerun with Lucas Torreira who arrived to London from Sampdoria.

While a lot was made about Ferrero’s club spending twenty million euro to acquire him on a permanent basis from Juventus last week, anyone who watched him regularly is much less outraged than say the fees paid for Sturaro and Cerri- considering Audero’s age and ability, he could be sold for a considerably amount in the near future.

 

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Woj Szczesny

It might surprise those who mainly know him from his time at Arsensal, but there’s no doubt the Polish international has been one of the best keepers in Italy the past four years. The main reason he isn’t higher in this ranking is that this specific season his best performances have come in the Champions League, but he has erased any doubt he’s a worthy heir to Buffon at Juventus and he has decisively won his current competition with newly acquired Mattia Perin.

 

Luigi Sepe

 

After appearing in just one Serie A match the past three seasons, the former Napoli keeper has exceled at Parma. Sepe is a bit of a late bloomer since he’ll turn 28 at the beginning of May, but his performances for D’Aversa’s side have been as impactful of Gervinho and as a result he’s ready to be a starter for years to come.

 

Samir Handanovic 

 

After years of being underrated (at least outside of Serie A) mainly because he had never played in the Champions League or the starter on a high profile national team, maybe I’m taking Inter’s new captain for granted with this rating. But Handanovic has continued to be the definition of a feast or famine keeper, he can make saves that maybe no one else on the list can get to but is also the leader of mistakes that are reminiscent of when the battery of the controller on your PS4 runs out of juice mid game.

 

Alex Meret 

Napoli’s keeper would certainly be either third or fourth on this list had he not missed so many games to start the season because of a shoulder injury. Ancelotti has rightfully been cautious since he returned by rotating him with Ospina, but despite not playing in every match, the former Udinese keeper has shown why Italy’s Under 19 goalkeeper coach Ferron once said he considers Meret just as good a prospect as Donnarumma. Meret was  picked to replace Pepe Reina at Napoli also because of his ball distribution skills and so far has shown he’ll be a much better shot stopper than his predecessor in the near future (if he isn’t already).

Stefano Sorrentino

Chievo maybe dead last in the standings but that is certainly not because of the performances of their soon to be 40 year old keeper. Sorrentino was the first keeper to stop one of Ronaldo’s penalties and will certainly be able to find a job in Serie A next season should he decide to keep playing.

 

Alban Lafont

Those who only know the French keeper from FIFA must be surprised to see him ranked this low, but while Lafont has certainly made many numerous spectacular saves since arriving in Tuscany, he has also shown some significant limitations in every aspect of his role outside of shot stopping (he’s essentially the French Mattia Perin). But considering his young age and physical tools we can expect him to improve significantly next season.

 

 

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 24

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Samir Handanovic: Inter remain one of the most trustworthy defences and they have allowed the fewest goals at home. They will tangle with Sampdoria this week, which have been shutout in their last two games.

Faouzi Ghoulam: Mario Rui got hurt against Fiorentina, which paves the way for the Algerian left back, who is always a threat offensively. Napoli have kept three clean sheets in a row.

Jens Larsen: while Udinese are laboring as a team, the Danish is thriving as wing back and is much more involved offensively, even scoring recently. Chievo have given up a lot of goals as of late and have failed to hit the net in three of their last four road fixtures. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 22

ACF Fiorentina v UC Sampdoria - Serie A

Samir Handanovic: Inter are going through a pretty rough stretch offensively, but their defence has for the most part held up and they have not conceded a single goal in their last seven home fixtures. Bologna have been poor offensively thus far, however there is an element of unknown after the coaching change.

Joao Cancelo: he is coming off a phenomenal display in Rome, where he was deployed as right winger. While that he is unlikely to happen again, he has been a weapon also in his usual position and Juventus have the sturdiest back-line in the League, so one of their defenders can still be picked even despite Parma road prowess. He will be eager to redeem himself after a rare dud.  Continue reading

Serie A Team of the Week – Round 20

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Serie A returned in full force with a gorgeous weekend of football. Here are the top performers.

Samir Handanovic (7 points): just five clean sheets in this round, by Inter, Sassuolo, Milan, Juventus and Atalanta. The veteran goalie had the best showing, denying two close range attempts by Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jeremie Boga to preserve the tie. Gianluca Donnarumma was not far behind.

Gianluca Mancini (9 points): he has already scored five goals thus far, which is more than most midfielders. He added a new wrinkle on Sunday, as he did not do damage on a set piece, but simply followed an offensive action by his side, then his teammates fed him with a solid cross. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Picks – Round 20

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Samir Handanovic: Inter have managed to not concede in six straight games, versus Cagliari, Milan, Genoa, Frosinone, Udinese and Napoli. Sassuolo are a decent offensive team, but the Nerazzurri back-line has earned the benefit of the doubt at San Siro.

José Luis-Palomino: Atalanta will travel to Frosinone and therefore take on a side that has failed to hit the net in four of their last fixtures. The Orobici defenders are also always a menace on set pieces, so either the Argentinian, Rafael Toloi or Gianluca Mancini are worth considering in this round. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Inter

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Two of the top three teams got the job done in favorable match-ups: Inter bagged one more goal than Juventus, so the get the nod as club of the week. The Nerazzurri came into the game looking to atone for the brutal showing in Bergamo, where they conceded four goals.

As the seminal Champions League bout with Tottenham is coming up on Wednesday, Luciano Spalletti rotated his squad a lot, trusting Balde Keita and Lautaro Martinez up front and Borja Valero and Roberto Gagliardini in the midfield. Danilo D’Ambrosio filled in for the injured Sime Vrsaljko, while Radja Nainggolan was able to return to the XI after an ankle sprain. Continue reading