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

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

Three Serie A players who might be on the move this January

The ongoing pandemic has forced clubs to be creative on the transfer front in recent times, taking advantage of unique opportunities to get deals done. Serie A clubs have nonetheless been active, in hopes of bolstering their sides and dethroning Juventus for the first time in 10 seasons.

When the mercato reopens in January, expect many of Italy’s giants to be proactive, looking to put their respective sides over the edge. Here are three players who might be on the move come-January:

1) Rodrigo De Paul

The Udinese midfielder has regularly been linked with a move away and has since established himself as one of Italy’s elite two-way players. De Paul thrives on the outside of a midfield three but is equally capable of playing as the side’s trequartista and has even featured at the base of midfield. His versatility makes him an interesting fit for many of Serie A’s top sides, prompting interest from Inter and Juventus.

Leeds United was heavily linked with a move this past summer but was unable to agree to terms with Udinese. De Paul has hit the ground running once again this season, demonstrating he is more than ready to take the next step in his career. The Udinese man will undoubtedly be at the heart of many discussions this January, especially for sides looking to boost their midfield ranks.

2) Gianluca Scamacca (Genoa)

The Genoa hitman has taken Serie A by storm this season, bursting onto the scene as one of Italy’s most intriguing attacking talents. Scamacca has proven to be a willing runner up front, combining his athleticism and predatory instinct to be in the right place at the right time. Genoa’s relegation battle may mean they are reluctant to part ways with their striker, but Italy’s elite has come calling.

Milan is reportedly in talks with Sassuolo, his parent club, over a potential transfer, as they look to add some much-needed depth ahead of the final stretch. Scamacca may only have found the back of the net twice this season in seven appearances but could thrive with better service. Genoa currently boasts the worst attack in Serie A, netting a mere 12 goals on the season. Scamacca can benefit from a change of scenery and is a great fit with Milan’s ongoing youth movement.

At just 21 years old, the young striker has plenty of room for improvement and can learn a lot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The big Swede’s continued injury problems is another reason Milan are interested in Scammaca, offering him a unique opportunity to jump from the relegation battle and into the Scudetto race.

3) Christian Eriksen (Inter) 

The Danish maestro has gotten off to a miserable start since joining Inter and has proven to be an awkward fit for Antonio Conte’s rigid 3-5-2 system. Eriksen’s struggles have meant he has largely featured from the bench, failing to make an impact with his limited minutes. Reduced to a mere super-sub, Eriksen has been a shade of his former self and has not been able to replicate his impressive exploits in the final third.

Many of Europe’s elite have reportedly been keeping tabs on Eriksen’s continued woes, in hopes of securing the former Spurs man in a low-cost operation. Arsenal is the most recent side to be linked with him and is in dire need of a creative outlet in the final third. Conte’s inability to integrate him into his side has essentially sealed his future, one that is far away from Inter.

As the mercato opens, expect a number of clubs to inquire about his availability. After all, Eriksen remains an elite player. The Danish international simply was not a good fit for Inter and will surely reach his former heights at a club that suits his skills better.

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Sassuolo 1-2 AC Milan: Three things we learned from an important Rossoneri win

After two consecutive draws, Milan bounced back with a win this afternoon to retain their spot at the top of the standings, beating Sassuolo 1-2. Extremely important for Stefano Pioli’s men as despite the several key injuries, they continue to perform on a high level. 

Rafael Leao, who has been criticised in the last few weeks, opened the scoring after just six (yes, six!) seconds and thus set a new record for the fastest goal in Serie A history. Since Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, the Rossoneri were assured that the Portuguese youngster can play in the centre-forward role in the meantime. Continue reading

Sassuolo vs. AC Milan: Serie A Round 13 – Team news, stats and prediction

As a result of several key injuries and some bad luck, Milan have only collected two points from the last two games, drawing both 2-2. They had to come back from behind on both occasions, more prone to conceding now after what was an impressive defensive start to the season. 

In other words, the Rossoneri need to improve and find their rhythm again, starting with Sunday’s clash against Sassuolo. The latter have started the season very well and are currently in 6th place with 23 points, five points behind the league leaders. This game could change the look of the standings, meaning it’s very important.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 13 – Top Matches

PARMA-JUVENTUS

Parma: they were pretty underwhelming in the Cagliari game, where Gervinho (four goals, one assist) confirmed to be in a pretty good run of form, but the prolonged drought of both Andreas Cornelius and Roberto Inglese is starting to hurt. The midfielders have picked up some of the slack, Hernani and Jasmin Kurtic in the particular as they have hit the net respectively three and two times, but it is not a sustainable model. Neither Yann Karamoh nor Juan Brunetta have fully exploited the increased role the coach has given them, maybe they will go with a more conservative option in this one since Juraj Kucka is available and he played in an attacking position in the past. However, he has not been convincing from the fantasy standpoint so far this season. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 12

Atalanta: Aleksey Miranchuk has cleared the COVID protocol and has been called up. Mario Pasalic will undergo sport-hernia surgery and return in January. Matteo Ruggeri (fatigue) and Josip Ilicic (strep throat) are questionable.

Benevento: Nicolas Viola has returned after some physical problems, while Gabriele Moncini (ankle), Christian Maggio (calf) and Luca Caldirola (knee) remain sidelined. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 12 – Top Matches

JUVENTUS-ATALANTA

Juventus: Alvaro Morata was cleared from his suspension, but the coach still went with Paulo Dybala against Genoa and the La Joya finally scored his first goal in Serie A with a lovely play. The Spaniard continues to appear a better partner for Cristiano Ronaldo and will probably start in this one, but the coach used all three together for a bit and that may become a trend moving forward, although probably in easier tilts. Par for the course for Cristiano Ronaldo, who converted two PKs and reached the double-digit threshold. No bonuses this time, but Juan Cuadrado had another game-winning play: he has notched three assists so far, while Federico Chiesa (four helpers) was again pretty good, but he is not atop of their list of assets. After his recent success in the box, they used Weston McKennie in a more offensive role, with mixed returns. One between Aaron Ramsey and Dejan Kulusevki will likely make the XI in this one, but they have not performed consistently enough to be on the fantasy map. Continue reading

Roma draw a blank against Sassuolo as coach Fonseca receives a touchline ban

There were two disallowed goals and a red card as Roma could only draw against a tough opponent in Sassuolo at home, with the game ending 0-0.

First man of the moment for Roma Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw his goal effort ruled out by VAR as there had been a foul in the build up. At least for Roma this would be levelled up later on when Sassuolo thought that they had taken the lead in the 75th minute which could have been the winner through Lukas Haraslin but this was ruled out also.

The focus on the game was not the 1 point earned though but other incidents. The first of which was Pedro Rodriguez’s performance. The midfielder was sent off for two bookable offences. The first involved a head butt and the second a cynical foul and the former Barcelona player was having an early first half shower.

Pedro’s sending off led to another sending off but not for a player but for Roma’s coach Paulo Fonseca who was angered by Pedro’s red card. He seemed to insult an official and was given his marching orders and it has now been confirmed that Fonseca will receive a touchline ban for Roma’s next Serie A game which will take place away to Bologna.

This result has left Roma in sixth place with 18 points and they are now 8 points behind leader leaders Milan. Of course being just 2 points from 4th place a possible Champions League finish is very realistic but it is too early to talk about that.

Fonseca had his thoughts after the match and had this to say, “I am very proud of the lads, as we played very well, had the better scoring opportunities, were organised in defence and stopped a great team like Sassuolo from creating chances. I didn’t like the refereeing, though. I don’t understand why Pedro’s first foul was a yellow card. After that, I saw the situation with Pellegrini, how is that a yellow? I know the referee might not see it well, but VAR ought to see that. There was also potentially a penalty for us with the handball, but again VAR did not intervene.”

As far as the fantasy points are concerned not one player with Giallorossi earned any points. The player who really missed out was inevitably Pedro who finished with -2 points for the weekend.

The Europa League is up next for Roma but it is a dead rubber game against CSKA Sofia and Fonseca will rest much of his regular team. Roma have already qualified as group winners. The draw for the knock out stage of the Europa League will take place on December 14th.

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