Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26 – Late Games

CROTONE-TORINO

Crotone: Simy bagged his eighth goal of the season, in pretty lovely fashion too, in the Atalanta game, but that was about it for their offensive production in a very demanding match-up. Adam Ounas, who was their top guy lately, and Samuel Di Carmine were late scratches and it is unclear whether they will be available for this one. Sans Ounas, they would lean hard on Junior Messias, who is seeking to snap out of a scoring slump. They lack punch in the midfield as Salvatore Molina, Ahmad Benali and Milos Vulic are all banged up, as Niccolò Zanellato, Jacopo Petriccione and Eduardo Henrique are not as offensively gifted. If one recovered, he would be among the top three options, instead the spot goes to Arkadiusz Reca (1 goal, 3 assists), who continues to wreak havoc down the left flank. Pedro Pereira is not as flashy, but he too has set up three teammates. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26 – Early Games

SPEZIA-BENEVENTO

Spezia: they produced a solid effort for about an hour in the Juventus match, then the home team took over and left the in the dust. Andrej Galabinov missed a late PK, likely squandering his remaining slim chances to overtaking M’Bala Nzola and Kevin Agudelo for the center-forward spot. Agudelo did not feature midweek so he will probably get the nod here, while the Frenchman has not look explosive after his injury, but it should be just a matter of time given his early stellar production. Emmanuel Gyasi (four goals, four assists) has gotten the most run out of the supporting cast and he has been solid, while Daniele Verde has been exuberant coming off the bench in the past two, but he has fully been handed over the keys on the wing yet. Diego Farias is also in the mix, but he too is trying to re-find his footing after an injury. Since Tommaso Pobega is banged up, Giulio Maggiore has been their most proactive midfielder, while Nahuel Estevez, Matteo Ricci and Leo Sena, who has gotten good minutes in the past two games, are pretty decent but not as dangerous. Ricci, like Simone Bastoni at left-back, has been able to notch some helpers. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 23 – Early Matches

FIORENTINA-SPEZIA

Fiorentina: to nobody’s surprise, Dusan Vlahovic was again Fiorentina’s lone scorer in the past round, notching his seventh goal in the past 11 rounds. Franck Ribery was ruled out late and replaced by Christian Kouame, who had a decent but unfruitful display. With the Freshman still sidelined, that spot is up for grabs between Kouame, Valentin Eysseric and Jose Maria Callejon as neither has really separated himself from the pack. Kouame is the one with the highest break-out potential. Giacomo Bonaventura is coming on as he has posted one goal and one assist in the past four rounds, while Gaetano Castrovilli is continuing his disappearing act even though they rely on him a lot. Cristiano Biraghi (one goal, four helpers) has been a nice weapon throughout the season but he has not picked up bonuses in a long while. Kevin Malcuit and Aleksandar Kokorin would have some value if the coach decided to give him good minutes as they are in dire need of an offensive spark. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 22 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-BENEVENTO

Bologna: the time and effort put into turning Musa Barrow into a striker is starting to pay off as the youngster resurfaced after some quiet rounds with a clinical brace versus Parma. He now has five goals in the season. The move is working out also because Nicola Sansone has been very solid out on the left wing after shaking off an injury and he is coming off his best outing of the season as he dished two assist last week. Roberto Soriano (six goals, five helpers) also picked up offensive bonuses after a while as he set up Riccardo Orsolini, who came off the bench but still delivered. He is clearly on the rise as he has hit the net twice in the last four matches, on top of furnishing strong performances. Nicolas Dominguez should have an increased role with Mattias Svanberg suspended and Takehiro Tomiyasu is worth a flier now that it looks like he is going to stay at right-back. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 21 – Sunday Matches

BENEVENTO-SAMPDORIA

Benevento: they struggled mightily against Inter and their weapons were hurt by the fact that they could not generate any offense. Two linchpins had broken out in the previous game against Torino, Gianluca Lapadula and Nicolas Viola who had not contributed concretely in a long time, for different reasons. They will welcome back Marco Sau from a two-game suspension and he has been their most prolific striker as of late since Gianluca Caprari has not scored in five matches. Roberto Insigne should be in better shape as well, but he too has struck out in few tilts in a row. Their attack sputtering partly explains their poor results in January. Newcomer Adolfo Gaich will likely need some time to be integrated and was not very effective in Russia. The possible return of Pasquale Schiattarella (one goal, one assist) to the XI could move Viola to a role where he has more freedom and he has a ton of upside thanks to his shooting prowess.

Recommended picks: Lapadula, Sau, Viola.

Sampdoria: they too had troubles creating chances against a top team, Juventus in their case, and they were held scoreless for the first time in four matches. Keita is always at risk of running into some duds, but he has been their most consistent forward in the past month, as Fabio Quagliarella has yet to produce in 2021. Antonio Candreva (three goals, four assists) is a close second, while Jakub Jankto is weirdly losing playing time, but that has not directly benefitted Mikkel Damsgaard since Claudio Ranieri is tinkering with the formation to adapt it to the opponents. Gaston Ramirez has recently reappeared with a sweet assist and Ernesto Torregrossa, who delivered on his debut, is likely going to see his playing time gradually increase.

Recommended picks: Keita, Candreva, Quagliarella.

 

MILAN-CROTONE

Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed another PK against Bologna, which is pretty much the only thing holding him back in the fantasy realm, but Ante Rebic cleaned up the rebound, bagging his first goal since late December, as he was forced to miss time, and Frank Kessie made no mistake in the second half, registering his seventh goal. Rebic has proven to be extremely streaky in the past. Hakan Calhanoglu has shaken off the virus, but it remains to be seen whether he will start right away: he is a massive hub for their offense and has notched six assists already. They have had trouble replacing him, especially with Brahim Diaz missing. Rafael Leao (five goals, four helpers) is one of the ultimate feast-or-famine players in the League and he is coming off two quiet outings. Theo Hernandez has not done a ton of damage lately either but he benefits from the robustness of the whole back-line.

Recommended picks: Ibrahimovic, Rebic, Kessie.

Crotone: the Squali will not have their top guy Junior Messias in this one and that is major blow, even though they added two more offensive pieces late in Samuel Di Carmine and Adam Ounas, who however was not healthy in his final days in Cagliari. Di Carmine, who had not scored in his few appearances with Verona, started immediately and that should continue to be the case. Simy (seven goals) has found the target in two of the last three contests, while their other cornerstone Ahmad Benali is looking increasingly spry after a long time on the shelf. Without Messias, they will have to lean more on their creative midfielders, Benali and Milos Vulic. Arkadiusz Reca has been their top assist-man thus far (5).

Recommended picks: Simy, Di Carmine, Benali.

 

UDINESE-VERONA

Udinese: they eked it out in veteran fashion against Spezia, with Rodrigo De Paul nailing a PK, however the Argentinian maestro is suspended for this one and they do not really have an alternative to him in the roster. The solution could be similar to last week, with Walace and Tolgay Arslan featuring together in the midfield and either Fernando Llorente or Ilija Nestorovski starting up front, next to Gerard Deulofeu that played as false nine. Neither of the two strikers has done, or played, much thus far, but the former figures to be a better option than the latter. Deulofeu is instead turning the corner now that he has his legs fully underneath him. They will inevitably rely more on Roberto Pereyra (two goals, four assists), while Arslan has more fantasy potential in the duo of gritty midfielders as he is an okay shooter.

Recommended picks: Pereyra, Deulofeu, Llorente/Nestorovski.

Verona: They surprisingly crumbled against Roma, where an ugly start did them in, leaving them little room to react. The only positive news was Ebrima Colley scoring his first career goal in Serie A and he has been constantly pretty good when his number was called, but he has not been elevated from his bench role. Daniel Bessa has sneaky potential too but is in a similar spot. It looks like they are going to alternate Nikola Kalinic and Kevin Lasagna for the time being, and neither has been particularly good in recent games. Mattia Zaccagni (six goals, five assists) and Antonin Barak (four goals) have instead been much more solid. Their wing-backs Federico Dimarco, Darko Lazovic and Marco Davide Faraoni are always threats to pick up points in multiple ways.

Recommended picks: Zaccagni, Barak, Kalinic/Lasagna.

 

PARMA-BOLOGNA

Parma: no end product again for the Ducali offense, who will be hoping newcomers Graziano Pellè, Joshua Zirkzee and Dennis Man will be able to provide an immediate turnaround despite the fact that they will inevitably need some time to adjust to the new surroundings. Juraj Kucka remains their lone scorer in the past two months, while Andreas Cornelius and Gervinho, who have been constantly leaned upon as Roberto Inglese has missed time and Yann Karamoh has been hurt, have continued to fire blanks. Jasmin Kurtic ended up staying and he is their busiest midfielder in the final third after Kucka, especially because Hernani, who had some success under the previous regime, is being used as deep-lying playmaker now. Alberto Grassi, Andrea Conti and Giuseppe Pezzella could have some minor appeal if the team collectively manages to snap out of their funk.

Recommended picks: Kucka, Kurtic, Gervinho.

Bologna: they produced a pretty convincing late push versus Milan, although they did not manage to equalize. The goal came from two players that generally are not regulars, Andreas Skov Olsen and Andrea Poli, we will see whether it will help their stocks. Sinisa Mihajlovic played some misdirection in the presser and kept Musa Barrow as center-forward, however the experiment is not paying off and he had a terrible game, so there might be a change there that would go in Rodrigo Palacio’s favor. Nicola Sansone has seen some decent minutes after an injury and he has been pretty lively, however it came at the expense of Emmanuel Vignato, who has a higher ceiling. Riccardo Orsolini (three goals, three assists) has been the most convincing out of their linchpins in recent games, however he is fatigued, while Roberto Soriano and Barrow have been pretty quiet in few matches in a row. Takehiro Tomiyasu will likely head back to the middle of the defense in this one, which hurts his value.

Recommended picks: Barrow, Sansone/Orsolini, Soriano. 

 

LAZIO-CAGLIARI

Lazio: another strong performance for the Biancocelesti, who are taking advantage of all the weapons at their disposal as Joaquin Correa is finally finding some continuity and Adam Marusic netted his first goal of the season, while had set up three teammates before. Ciro Immobile was limited to an assist versus Atalanta: he has not hauled in points just once in the last nine matches, scoring in the large majority of the them. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic did not make the stat-sheet but he had a huge performance: he has posted four goals and five assists in the campaign. Luis Alberto looked pretty good for somebody who recently underwent surgery for appendicitis and he should soon recapture his form, as he had been going like gangbusters prior to the hiccup. Manuel Lazzari (one goal, four assists) is always pretty decent.

Recommended picks: Immobile, Correa, Alberto.

Cagliari: Joao Pedro unsurprisingly did it again versus Sassuolo, registering his 11th goal, however he is getting very little help from his teammates and they were pipped at the post. Radja Nainggolan has been a little underwhelming since returning as he is still rounding up into shape, while Giovanni Simone is stuck in a slump and the limited playing time is doing Leonardo Pavoletti no favor. Therefore, their second best guy as of late has been Razvan Marin, who is coming off an assist and has had more chances than usual. They will welcome back the energetic Nahitan Nandez, whose appeal depends on the role as he is very versatile, but they might be without Alfred Duncan and Alessandro Deiola due to injuries, which could give the Gaston Pereiro or Riccardo Sottil an opportunity to win back the trust of the coach.

Recommended picks: Pedro, Marin, Nandez.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 18 – Remaining Games

BOLOGNA-VERONA

Bologna: they could not find a way around the not-so-vaunted Genoa rearguard in the past match, with their attack failing to deliver for the fourth game in a row, given that their recent goals have come from Takehiro Tomiyasu (two), Nehuen Paz and Matthias Svanberg. Roberto Soriano, one of the early fantasy leaders, has found the target just once in the seven matches and has not been able to dish helpers either in that stretch, however he remains the top players in both categories (six/four). The other attackers have instead been able to take part in the teammate’s goals, Riccardo Orsolini in particular with two recent assists, but also Musa Barrow and Rodrigo Palacio, but they obviously need to start scoring to become real fantasy assets. As always, Barrow is the biggest threat, but they will face a really stifling defense in this one. Emanuel Vignato and Andreas Skov Olsen have not exploited their recent minutes. Continue reading

Inter lose pace on rivals Milan as Roma and Juventus come charging for Antonio Conte’s team

After having a fantastic record in the league Inter gained just 1 point this past week as they played two games. First it would be defeat at Sampdoria going down 2-1 to record only their 2nd defeat of the season and then they would draw 2-2 with Roma in a very entertaining game.

The defeat at Sampdoria really hurt the club because Milan finally lost a game, their first of the season and this was the time to catch them up. Milan lost 3-1 at home to Juventus.

The Sampdoria game looked like it wasn’t going to be Inter’s when Alexis Sanchez missed a 12th minute penalty, the omens were in the air and this just wasn’t going to be Inter’s night. Sampdoria took a 2-0 lead into half time and despite Stefan de Vrij pulling a goal back for Antonio Conte’s team they would go on to lose the game.

Normally Romelu Lukaku would have taken Sanchez’s place but he was back and recovering from a minor injury and had to start the match from the bench as a precaution. Inter had 11 shots on target and were far the better team but they couldn’t find that 2nd goal to get back into the game.

This past week hasn’t been easy for Inter whose 2 recent games have both been away from home and whilst they were expected to beat Sampdoria many thought they could struggle at the Stadio Olimpico against Roma and that so proved to be true.

In the end the final result did seem fair though with Roma starting well but as the game went on Inter creating the better chances. Inter found themselves 1-0 down early on when Lorenzo Pellegrini took a shot from outside the area after great build up play by Roma. The half ended 1-0 to the home side.

Inter though were piling on the pressure in the 2nd half and hit back with two goals in short time. The first was a brilliant powerful header from Milan Skriniar, the defender has been in great form lately.

It would be another defender who would help Inter out and put them in the lead a few minutes later with a brilliant strike by Achraf Hakimi. Inter looked like they would go on to win the game and there was just four minutes remaining when Roma broke their hearts.

Gianluca Mancini scored a great flick on header almost a classic style in the vein of the great Paolo Rossi to secure a point from Roma.

As a result the league is looking exciting however Milan has taken a 3 point lead from Inter and they have 40 points. Roma have 37 and have several teams hot on their trail in the form of Roma, Juventus and even Atalanta aren’t that far behind with 31 points.

Next weekend is the big one for Inter as they will face the champions of the last 9 seasons Juventus at home. Lose that and they could slip six points behind if Milan beat Cagliari.

What this week has proven is that despite the obvious talents of this Inter team where there are goals in all positions, they really miss a 100% Romelu Lukaku, he is the player they rely on and the heart beat of this team.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 16 – Top Matches

CROTONE-ROMA

Crotone: they tried to keep up with Inter on Sunday thanks to the first goals in Serie A of Niccolò Zanellato and Vladimir Golemic, but they ultimately ended up being overwhelmed. Junior Messias showed up with an assist, his first one, while he has found the target five times. Emmanuel Riviere is taking playing time away from Simy, but neither has been very prolific or really dangerous. Given the role, it is unlikely that Zanellato will turn into a fantasy weapon: in the midfield Salvatore Molina (one goal, four assists) and Milos Vulic surely have more value, while left-back Arkadiusz Reca (one goal and five helpers) has been a valuable reference point on the flank. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 15 – Top Matches

INTER-CROTONE

Inter: Lautaro Martinez snapped out of his scoring slump against Verona, bagging a lovely volley and moving to six goals in Serie A in the season. He has been streaky one way or the other. It was a rare game where Romelu Lukaku (11 goals) did not find the target, while Achraf Hakimi dished his fourth assist and he has been en fuego in the recent matches. Marcelo Brozovic picked up a helper as well on the Milan Skriniar goal, while Ivan Perisic did not a whole lot despite playing in a more offensive role than usual. With Arturo Vidal now fully healthy, that tactical solution probably will not be presented again and in any case the Croatian international has not showed well enough to be an option. Nicolò Barella has been pretty quiet recently but he too has four assists in the season, but his activity in the final third depends on how the midfield is composed. Stefano Sensi and Ashley Young are secondary options.

Recommended picks: Lukaku, Martinez, Hakimi. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13 – Remaining Games

FIORENTINA-VERONA

Fiorentina: finally some signs of life for the Viola attack as Dusan Vlahovic snapped out of his scoring slump thanks to a penalty kick and Franck Ribery looked lively against Sassuolo, producing a pair of his vintage slaloming runs. Cesare Prandelli is trying various configurations to get his guys going: it seems like José Callejon is losing some momentum, but he has mostly been replaced by fullbacks, Giacomo Bonaventura is on the rise, while Gaetano Castrovilli has been in a funk for a while, even though he remains their leading scorer with four early goals. Cristiano Biraghi quickly shook off a physical problem and he has three assists and one goal in the season. Continue reading