Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 14

Atalanta: Luis Muriel and Hans Hateboer subbed off due to knocks on the knee in Champions League, but there is optimism they will be able to play Saturday. Duvan Zapata flew to Spain for further check-ups on his thigh and will remain sidelined. Rafael Toloi is suspended. Simon Kjaer has been ruled out due to fatigue. 

Bologna: Mattia Destro is improving after his knee problem and could be called up, while Mitchell Dijks (toe) and Roberto Soriano (knee) are having troubles absorbing edemas. The midfielder is actually at risk of missing all the December games. Federico Santander is nursing a thigh strain. Continue reading

Serie A Round 8 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The international break came and went and gave us fantacalcio managers some much-need time to step away from our teams and evaluate where it’s all gone wrong…or right! However, don’t get too comfortable as the next game-week is already upon us. Lazio will be hosting Atalanta in what promises to be an exciting clash, while Stefano Sensi returns to Sassuolo with Inter. Otherwise, Juventus take on a fiery Bologna side at the Allianz Stadium.

With match-day eight upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Allan (MID, Napoli, Value 13.9) – The Napoli midfielder has struggled for consistency this season and looks set for a period on the sidelines. Considering Eljif Elmas’ and Fabian Ruiz’ good form, expect the Brazilian to be rotated out of the eleven. While Allan is important for what he does off the ball for the partenopei, it doesn’t benefit you in Fantasy Serie A. The 28-year-old is also a yellow card risk costing you points and has already picked up two cautions on the season.

At 13.9 million euros, look elsewhere for your midfield.

Fabio Quagliarella (ATT, Sampdoria, Value 17.7) – Sampdoria are currently a club in disarray and sit in last place in the standings. Having just fired Eusebio Di Francesco, it will take some time for Claudio Ranieri to get the blucerchiati firing on all cylinders again. After the international break, Sampdoria host Paulo Fonseca’s Roma, in what promises to be yet another difficult clash for them. Fabio Quagliarella has struggled as a result of the chaos in Genoa and has only found the back of the net once this season, albeit in a 4-1 loss against Sassuolo. Much like it was the case last season, it was from the spot.

Given Sampdoria’s recent issues and Quagliarella’s inefficiency in front of goal, it would be wise to temporarily swap the 36-year-old out of your elevens. At least until Ranieri steadies the ship.

Cristian Zapata (DEF, Genoa, Value 17.7) – After a positive start to the season, the defender has struggled for form and has seen his Genoa side slide down the table to 19th. In addition to not getting the results, I Grifoni’s defence has looked porous, conceding goals at will. If that weren’t enough to drop him from your side, Zapata is an aggressive defender and is unafraid to slide into a tackle. Currently, the 33-year-old is on three yellow cards, costing your crucial fantasy points in the process.

At 17.7 million euros, it’s time you bid adieu to Zapata and remove him from your eleven once and for all. It doesn’t look like things are getting any better in Genoa anytime soon.

Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 26.8) - Let’s get something straight. Zapata has been in sensational form this season and would never have made this list if it wasn’t for his recent injury while on international duty. He’s currently among the top fantacalcio point earners alongside Ciro Immobile and has picked up from where he left off last season.

However, his recent injury will reportedly sideline him for a minimum of three weeks. Given Atalanta’s wide array of attacking options, they have no pressure to force him back into action anytime before that. As a result of this in addition to his inflated price-tag, it would be wise to move him out of your roster for the next three game-weeks at least.

Christian Kouamé (ATT, Genoa, Value 24.5) – Yet another player from the Genovese clubs makes this list as Kouamé has struggled for form in recent weeks. After a positive start to the season that saw him notch three goals, the attacker has tailed off and has been inefficient in the eighteen-yard box. Much like Sampdoria, Genoa are currently a club in disarray, who’s manager’s future is in danger. Given the uncertainty surrounding the club, expect Kouamé’s goalscoring woes to continue.

At 24.5 million euros, it’s time to move on from the talented young man.

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Sampdoria appoint Ranieri after the firing of Di Francesco

It took them few days, but Sampdoria finally hired their new coach on Friday, after dismissing Eusebio Di Francesco on Monday following a disastrous start. The veteran manager, coming off a two-month stint at Roma, agreed to a two-year contract.

Ranieri won half his matches with La Lupa last year, posting then four draws and two losses. Over his long career, he has worked in four different countries and also led the Greek national team for a while. In the Peninsula, he spent time at Cagliari, Napoli, Fiorentina, Parma, Juventus, Roma and Inter, while abroad he is best known for his spells at Valencia, Chelsea, Monaco and obviously at Leicester, where he shocked the world by winning Premier League in 2016. Continue reading

International Break Coaching Carousel

The second international break of the season is typically an opportunity for Serie A clubs to (over)react to a poor start to the season and make a coaching change. The extra week of training allows for a new manager to more easily settle into a new reality, so we’ll likely see a change or two, while other managers may receive the dreaded vote of confidence.

While many assumed Vincenzo Montella would be the first manager replaced, especially since he hadn’t been hired by Fiorentina’s new owners, the former Milan manager has actually strived after a poor start. Ironically the managers most in danger of losing their jobs (and one of them will have likely received a pink slip by the time you read this) were all hired during the summer so in a sane world you would assume they would be getting a bit more time. 

  

 

Available Jobs

 

Milan- despite the chaotic win against Genoa, the rossoneri are seriously considering sacking Marco Giampaolo. The former Sampdoria manager has looked confused in every aspect of his job- his lineups featured some desperate decisions (Andre’ Silva starting two days before being loaned out as the most egregious example), he hasn’t developed the players the club acquired in the summer, Paqueta and especially PIatek have regressed on his watch, he gave up on the formation he used all summer and has made puzzling statements during interviews- an important aspect of the job at a club of Milan’s magnitude.

Beyond improving on results, the most important task for Milan’s next manager will be to develop Bennacer, Leao, Hernandez, Rebic and get Paqueta and Piatek back on track because of the significant expense of acquiring them. Milan also needs a manager who will get them to play as hard as they did under Giampaolo’s predecessor Rino Gattuso. 

 

Genoa- after avoiding relegation in the final match of the season, president Preziosi bolstered the squad significantly in the summer by signing defenders Zapata and Barreca, promising striker Pinamonti and (shockingly) former Ajax starting midfielder Schone. Preziosi entrusted the team to Aurelio Andreazzoli who was known for playing a version of Sarriball at Empoli while using a 3 man defense.

There were strong indications Andreazzoli would be sacked after the 4-0 loss to Lazio and the subsequent defeat against Milan makes his situation even more dire. Genoa will need a manager who can guide them out of the relegation which won’t be easy considering that all three newly promoted teams look well equipped for Serie A- to add insult to injury, former Genoa manager Juric has done very well with Hellas Verona.

Sampdoria- the blucerchiati lost two of their best players in the summer in Praet and Andersen and even the most optimistic person couldn’t have expected Quagliarella to come close to repeating his previous campaign. Eusebio Di Francesco will likely be sacked by the time you read this, his situation (and that of his eventual replacement) will be further complicated by the fact the club has been rumored to be sold for the past few months. Just like Genoa, Sampdoria need a manager who can get them results immediately.

Udinese- just a few weeks ago, sporting director Marino shared some harsh words about manager Igor Tudor and it feels likely that a change will happen in next few weeks. While Udinese were surprisingly able to hold on to De Paul, they have one of the lowest payrolls in Serie A, further proof that a state of the art club owned stadium isn’t a silver bullet to solve all problems. The Friulani will need a manager able to get the most out of Fofana, Mandragora, Lasagna and De Paul to avoid relegation.

 

Managerial Candidates

 

Luciano Spalletti- certainly understandable that Milan fans would love to see him replace Giampaolo since he did get Inter back to the Champions League for two years in arrow, but considering that Spalletti is still earning over 4 million after taxes from Inter (and has a long term contract) it’s almost certain he’ll take a sabbatical year like Conte did with Chelsea, rather than taking over a team in crisis mid season and one that will have to deal with Financial Fair Play restrictions for foreseeable future. This also applies to Max Allegri, who will almost certainly coach abroad next season.

Claudio Ranieri- the architect of the Leicester miracle did quite well at Roma when he replaced Di Francesco. He solidified the defense, made a much needed goalkeeper change and almost got the giallorossi to the Champions League. Ranieri is an ideal stop gap option for a big club, on top of being very tactically sound, he’s used to the pressures of managing a big club- plus he’s a very likeable guy which helps with how a team in crisis is perceived.

Stefano Pioli- Fiorentina got significantly worse last season when Montella replaced him. Pioli also did fairly well when he took over at Inter mid season but did suffer an end of the season classic Pazza Inter collapse, he also received universal praise for how he handled Astori’s tragic death. Pioli can also be more than just a stop gap manager for a club like Sampdoria or Genoa, while for Milan he would be likely a bridge to next season.

Rino Gattuso- his reputation as a manager has certainly improved when you consider he had a Milan, that was no better than current version and likely worse, contending for a Champions League spot going into last match of the season. Gattuso was linked to Genoa after their devastating loss to Lazio and a return to Milan cannot be fully excluded.

Rudi Garcia- the former Marseille manager had an overall successful stint at Roma and could be an option for Milan should they decide to go with a manager who could lead them beyond this season.  

 

Beppe Iachini- while he’s mainly known for being the longest tenured manager of the Zamparini era at Palermo, last season his reputation took a hit when he failed to save Empoli who eventually went back to Andreazzoli and achieved better results. Iachini will likely either be a backup option for the clubs who fail to sign Pioli or could return to Udinese.

 

Fiorentina Must Win Versus Sampdoria

Fiorentina welcome Sampdoria to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Wednesday evening, the fixture surprisingly seeing the bottom two teams in the Serie A table go head-to-head. The visitors have three points, while their hosts have one fewer, their current situation making this a must-win encounter for La Viola.

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Serie A Team of the Round – Sassuolo

Sassuolo had the best display in Serie A in the second round and only the late consolation goal by Fabio Quagliarella prevented them from getting a more substantial fantasy haul. The three teams that kept a clean sheet, Milan, Bologna and Verona, took home only narrow wins, while Parma got a great result in Udinese, but the Bianconeri had a lot of chances and they were deadly on their limited ones.

The Neroverdi cruised past Sampdoria, which are on the wrong end of this column for the second week in a row and have a lot of work on during the break. Help is on its way in the transfer market, but the ownership saga has been harmful. Continue reading

Serie A Round 1 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

The first round of Serie A action promised plenty of fireworks and did not disappoint. Whether it was Antonio Conte’s long-awaited return to Italian football, Lorenzo Insigne’s man-of-the-match performance or the countless goal fests, it’s safe to say calcio is officially back. While the likes of Ciro Immobile and Luis Muriel stole the show, there were some players who put in less-than-stellar shifts.

After match-day one, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Paulo Dybala (ATT, Juventus, Value 8.7) - Dybala has been at the heart of countless mercato talks this past summer but appears set to stay in Turin for one more season. Despite this, la Joya is second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuain and likely won’t feature regularly in Juventus’ attack. Against Parma, the former Palermo man was an unused substitute as newly appointed boss Maurizio Sarri opted for the trio of Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Douglas Costa. With games coming up against Napoli and Fiorentina, expect Dybala to begin games from a bench role and feature sporadically. At 8.7M, there are frankly better fantacalcio options.

Fabio Quagliarella (ATT, Sampdoria, Value 18.10) - Last season’s capocannoniere started the new year on the wrong foot, with his side succumbing to Lazio in convincing fashion. Having lost Marco Giampaolo at the helm, and Dennis Praet at the base of midfield, the blucerchiati look a side devoid of identity and struggled immensely in their first game. If it weren’t for Emil Audero’s heroics, Sampdoria could have well lost by five or six. At 18.10M, it’s hard to justify including an ageing Quagliarella in your team, especially after his two-point fantacalcio outing. After all, it will take time for Eusebio Di Francesco to instil his footballing philosophy and with games against Sassuolo, Napoli and Torino on deck, Quagliarella may struggle. 
Federico Fazio (DEF, Roma, Value 11.3) - Going into the first game of the season, question marks were raised about Roma’s rearguard. With Kostas Manolas moving to Napoli, the giallorossi lack a true leader at the heart of defence and it showed in their 3-3 draw against Genoa. Fazio and Juan Jesus regularly lost the mobile partnership of Christian Kouame and Andrea Pinamonti and barely got support from their fullbacks. As Gianluca Mancini is being eased into the side and one of Daniele Rugani or Dejan Lovren on the way, expect a struggling Fazio to feature less. At 11.3M, you’d be wise to drop the Argentine and the one fantasy point he earned in match-day one. 
Krzysztof Piątek (ATT, Milan, Value 14.9) - The Polish international had an outing to forget against Udinese and failed to impose himself in Milan’s season opener. With the rossoneri stuck between Giampaolo’s preferred 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-3, expect Piatek to be a victim of Milan’s ongoing identity crisis. Without the arrival of a true second striker alongside him, the former Genoa man will find chances hard to come by and will continue to struggle in front of goal. While Piatek will undoubtedly come good later in the season, his 14.9M price-tag is far too high right now for a player who isn’t producing. At that price, you can afford to swap him out of your side for the likes of Insigne or even Inter’s Romelu Lukaku. 
Allan (MID, Napoli, Value 11.0) - The Brazilian midfielder is one of the best in his position in the league but is the antithesis of the ideal fantacalcio player. Given his desire to dive into tackles, Allan will cost you fantasy points for yellow cards. Against Fiorentina, the midfielder gave Napoli’s midfield some much-needed steel, however, offered little invention in the final third. With Carlo Ancelotti experimenting with the 4-2-3-1, Allan’s deeper role and increased defensive duties will mean he won’t get too many opportunities in and around the danger area. While any team in Serie A would kill to add the 28-year-old to their ranks, this is one player fantasy manager should stay away from; especially with the Juventus clash on the horizon. 
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Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 1

Parma-Juventus: the Ducali have done a lot to improve their midfield and their attack over the summer and, while they are currently a little short-handed in the back, they are set to be a more palatable fantasy squad throughout the season. Gervinho is already on form, Roberto Inglese is back to full health and they will have a proper back-up, Yann Karamoh could be intriguing even though he has not won over the coach yet, Hernani and Gaston Brugman are nice complementary pieces and Dejan Kulusevski could be a jack-of-all-trades. Juraj Kucka, who was a stud from January on, might miss the game with a calf injury, but they are more equipped to replace him. Continue reading

Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap

After two sleepy weeks, Serie A teams have resumed dealing and wheeling with some very interesting purchases over the last few days. Inter finally landed Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, while Juventus cashed in on Joao Cancelo in a swap with Manchester City, getting back Danilo in the deal. Cagliari pulled off an unexpected one by adding Radja Nainggolan from Inter, then successfully completed the chase for touted prospect Nahitan Nandez from Boca Juniors and, all of a sudden, they have a very crowded and well-assorted midfield despite losing Nicolò Barella.

Milan continue to work on the roster and acquired young centre-back Leo Duarte from Flamengo. He emerged over the last year and a half in Brazil and will contribute to holding down the fort until Mattia Caldara returns later in the year. He will compete with solid but unspectacular Mateo Musacchio to play next to Alessio Romagnoli to open the season.

The week was pretty much dominated by midfielders: a year after letting him go for free, the new Fiorentina management brought back Milan Badelj on loan with option to buy from Lazio, then they snatched Erick Pulgar away from Bologna by exercising the relatively low release clause. The Chilean international was a standout last season and was deadly on penalty, which will come in handy considering the departure of Jordan Veretout. Despite the age difference, the two are pretty similar, so it will be interesting to see whether Vincenzo Montella will tweak his system to accommodate both and perhaps deploy one more attacker.

Genoa have found their new technical leader in Lasse Schone from Ajax who, despite the rather defensive position as pivot, put up great numbers thanks to his ability on set pieces and therefore will be one to look out for in the fantasy game. The Griffon also signed Riccardo Saponara on loan from Fiorentina, whom coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will try to turn into an offensive box-to-box in the Rade Krunic mold, and Colombian youngster Kevin Agudelo from Atletico Huila.

For one brilliant midfielder joining Serie A, another one left as Sampdoria agreed to sell Dennis Praet to Leicester City, who has been a linchpin of their squad over the last three seasons and grew constantly year after year. They acquired Morten Thorsby from Heerenveen and could gamble on a Jakub Jankto resurgence on top of obviously reinvesting the funds on a newcomer.

For once, Atalanta decided to go with an experienced guy rather than bet on potential and brought in Martin Skrtel from Fenerbahce to fill in the gap after Gianluca Mancini left. Gian Piero Gasperini is now back to having five reliable centre-backs to rotate.

A decent coup for Verona, as they won the race for free agent Darko Lazovic, who was pretty good last year at Genoa, where he notched three goals and four assists. He reunites with coach Milan Juric and will be able to play in a number of positions on both flanks. They also grabbed two of the best Serie B players from last season: Gennaro Tutino, on loan from Napoli, who had a terrific year in Cosenza, and Valerio Verre from Sampdoria, who shined in Perugia. They both reached the double-digit threshold and could be significant parts of the 3-4-2-1 tactic Milan Juric is currently using.

Brescia got busy too and signed two presumptive starters in Jaromir Zmhral from Slavia Prague and Giangiacomo Magnani from Sassuolo. The midfielder could be a sneaky fantasy asset, while the centre-back started last season very well but was eventually overshadowed by more talented teammates. Lecce instead added Cristian Dell’Orco, who was serviceable as left centre-back at Empoli in 2018/2019 and will probably end up playing left back for them, alternating with other buzzed about newcomer Brayan Vera.

A pair of players departed from Serie A: Roma sent Rick Karsdorp back to Feyenoord on loan, while Bologna shipped Adam Nagy to Bristol City. The Dutch right back had some okay stretches and at times challenged Alessandro Florenzi, but ultimately he could not stay healthy, while Nagy had become merely a back-up. The Felsinei will have to address the midfield in a meaningful manner.

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Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap and Ended Loans

maroni

The last week prior to the official start of the transfer market was understandably quiet: Sampdoria pulled off the most interesting move by adding another talented youngster, Gonzalo Maroni from Boca Juniors, who can feature in few positions up front and has the potential to be electric. Genoa made a sizeable investment to have Andrea Pinamonti from Inter, who had a very promising rookie season in Frosinone and is set to be their featured guy up front moving forward. Fiorentina are giving the keys to their goal to Barlomiej Dragowki, who blossomed in Empoli last season, and thus sent Alban Lafont to Nantes on a two-year loan. Sassuolo permanently signed left back Rogerio from Juventus after the 18-month loan, Brescia did the same with Ales Mateju, who belonged to Brighton.

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