Two defeats in a row mean that Lazio have blown the Serie A title

For 20 years Lazio have been in search of the Serie A title and they will most likely have to wait until year 21. The Roman outfit emerged this season as the unlikely title contenders, but in the final straight it looks like they have blown their chance.

In truth everyone expected Juventus to win their 9th title in a row, but Inter Milan looking their best since the Jose Mourinho years in 2010 took up the challenge for the majority of the season often trading 1st place with the old lady. And then in the 2nd act came Lazio, who not only overtook Inter with ease but gave Juventus something to think about too.

But life moves quickly in football and Lazio’s latest form has suffered. At this stage of the game you can’t lose 3 games in your last five and that includes losing their last two in a row. AC Milan beat them convincingly a few days ago 3-0 and that was at the Stadio Olimpico just to rub it in. They followed that up by losing to Leece 2-1 who were in the relegation zone at the time, but that win has now taken them out of it. Leece’s seventh win of the campaign could not have been sweeter as they were trailing 1-0.

So as it stood Lazio were now trailing Juventus by 7pts, so later that night when Juventus went 2-0 up against AC Milan, everyone was believing that the league was done and dusted. Not quite for Milan staged one of the best comebacks of the season scoring 4 second half goals to win the game 4-2.

Now on one hand that was good news for Lazio but on the other it was a huge opportunity lost. Had they won against Leece the gap would be just 4 points with everything to play for. Sure there are 21 points on the board to play with, but being over two wins in front Juventus are in the driving seat and it feels unlikely Lazio will have the quality and speed to take them over.

This could be unfortunate for Ciro Immobile who has been outstanding for the club. He is the leading scorer in Serie A this season with 29 goals and could become only the 11th player to break the 30 goal marker which will surely just be a matter of time. He currently has 126 points in the fantasy rankings which not only makes him the best player in Serie A but based on the points, the best in Euro Fantasy League rankings overall.

Can Immobile still fire Lazio to glory? He can but they will need a few more surprise defeats from Juventus before that happens.

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AC Milan 4-2 Juventus: The positives for the Rossoneri – confidence at an all-time high

AC Milan somehow managed to beat Juventus earlier this evening, despite fighting against a two-goal deficit at the start of the second half. Certainly, it will go down as one of the best comebacks in the Rossoneri’s history, as let alone beating the Bianconeri isn’t something you do every day. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Franck Kessie and Rafael Leao scored three goals in the span of five (!) minutes to complete the turnaround for Milan. After Cristiano Ronaldo doubled the lead in the 53rd minute, not many expected this outcome and you can only praise the Rossoneri for their mentality and willingness not to give up.  Continue reading

Juventus Top Perfomers – Round 31 vs Milan

Juventus fumbled away the Milan clash just as they had managed to built a comfortable lead out of the blue in the second half, as a five-minute black-out allowed the opponents to stage a glorious comeback and prevented the Bianconeri from further pulling away in the standings.

Danilo: even though he left a lot of meat on the bone when attacking in the first half, as he had a lot of room at his disposal, at least he was not at fault in any of the four goals in a collapse for the ages by the rearguard. Leonardo Bonucci inadvertently kick-started it with a hand-ball, as an Old Lady defender again drew the short end of the stick on a VAR review. But then he and Daniele Rugani were way too soft, lax and statuesque on the other two quick goals, where they were completely bamboozled by the opponents. Alex Sandro completed the awful night by gift-wrapping the final goal with an easily interceptable horizontal pass in front of the box. Wojciech Szczesny should have done more as the shots that went in did not look particularly powerful or uncatchable. Continue reading

Serie A Predictions – Round 31

Lecce-Lazio: the Giallorossi suffered the sixth consecutive loss versus Sassuolo, again giving up a bunch of goals, which should be enough to allow the reeling Biancocelesti, relatively speaking, to bounce back and take one home: 1-3.

Milan-Juventus: the Rossoneri played great against Lazio and have prevailed three times in the past four games, obviously botching the easiest on the slate. The Bianconeri won their seventh in a row against Torino, but they will have to deal with some key absences and have had some tumbles on the road this season: 1-1. Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 31

Lecce-Lazio

Lecce: 4-3-1-2 Gabriel; Donati, Paz, Lucioni, Calderoni; Barak, Petriccione, Mancosu; Saponara; Falco, Babacar.

Potential lineup changes: Majer for Saponara, Rispoli for Falco, Farias for Babacar.

Likely bench options: Farias, Shakhov, Vera.

Questionable: Majer (thigh), Deiola (knee), Dell’Orco (groin).

Ruled Out: Lapadula (ankle), Rossettini (illness), Meccariello.

Suspended: Tachtsidis.

Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Supension Report – Round 31

Atalanta: José Palomino is suspended.

Bologna: Roberto Soriano was red-carded in the last game and has been suspended for two matches. Gary Medel was a late scratch for the last game due to back spasm, but he is in the squad list. Ibrahima Mbaye and Andreas Skov Olsen (thigh) recovered enough to be called up. Andrea Poli and Federico Santander are nursing thigh strains.

Brescia: Andrea Cistana (lower leg surgery), Jhon Chancellor (thigh) and Dimitri Bisoli (patellar tendon) remain sidelined, Emanuele Ndoj and Enrico Alfonso are questionable.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 31

LECCE-LAZIO

Lecce: another losing effort caused by the nth defensive collapse, but the Giallorossi looked a tiny bit better offensively versus Sassuolo, as Diego Farias returned to the XI and was livelier than Filippo Falco and Riccardo Saponara and Khouma Babacar did a little bit more than usual. The goals came on corner kick and then through the usual penalty kick by Marco Mancosu and it is pretty crazy how many fouls they manage to draw in the box. Antonin Barak has yet to recapture is best form after an injury, but he remains their most appealing non-Mancosu midfielder.

Suggested picks: Mancosu, Farias, Babacar. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 30

Jesse Joronen (7 points): after a bonanza of goals in the previous rounds, defences managed to have the upper-hand in few cases over the weekend and five teams kept a clean sheet. Brescia’s Finnish goalie had by far the best performance among #1s, as he answered the bell on the multiple big chances created by Verona attackers.

Timothy Castagne (5 points): Atalanta’s key reserve on the flanks got the nod in Cagliari, put in a very solid shift and could have easily provided an assist with the usual cross wingback-to-wingback if Hans Hateboer correctly met his great delivery.   Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 30

Standings implications: Juventus prevailed handedly in the Derby, while Lazio got demolished at home by Milan, so the Bianconeri’s lead atop of the table ballooned to seven points. Atalanta eked one out in Cagliari, while Inter threw the Bologna game away: the two Nerazzurri teams are now separated by just one point. Napoli defeated Roma in the head-to-head clash and caught them in fifth position.

As far as the seventh place is concerned, Milan pulled away from Verona, which surprisingly stumbled in Brescia, while Bologna and Sassuolo were successful but still have some ground to make up The Emilian duo overtook Cagliari and Parma, as the Ducali laid an egg versus Fiorentina. Continue reading

Cristiano Ronaldo breaks more records with Juventus as he stakes his claim as one of the greatest players of all time

What record is there left for Cristiano Ronaldo to break? When he was younger he said his dream was for a football fan to open up the record books of football and that his name would be on the first page. He may have to share column inches with Lionel Messi, but yes Ronaldo’s name will be there.

Ronaldo has added another record to his ever growing tally and it happened this weekend when Juventus beat Torino to go 7 points clear at the top of Serie A.

Ronaldo scored his 25th goal of the season. The remarkable feat is that no player who has played for Juventus since the 1960s has managed to score 25 or more league goals. That’s quite a fact that wouldn’t be out of place in the quiz game Trivial Pursuit but it is a fact. Not even greats such as Michel Platini or Alessandro del Piero were able to get that many goals in a league season.

In 2016 Gonzalo Higuain who was a goal scoring machine in Italy managed 24 goals but couldn’t crack the special 25. It is testament to Ronaldo who at 35 has scored so many goals for the club who are surely on their way to winning an 8th successive scudetto title.

The record for the old lady was achieved in 1961 and what was bizarre was that Ronaldo’s goal came in the 61st minute. If you’re wondering who had held the record for the past 59 years it was Argentine legend Omar Sivori who finished the season with 25. Though the season before that he scored 28 goals, so Ronaldo now has another record to chase.

It was only a few weeks ago that Ronaldo broke another record, which was the most goals scored by a Portuguese player in the colours of Juventus. That record had been held by Rui Costa.

With 8 games left in the league Ronaldo has plenty of time to add to his goal tally, and he will be after getting on the 30 goal marker, only a few players have achieved this in Serie A history. In fact the 30 goal marker has only been reached 10 times in the whole history. The current record holders are Gonzalo Higuain and Gino Rossetti who scored 36 goals each. Rossetti set the record in 1929 and Higuain equalled it in 2016 whilst playing for Napoli.

The 30 goal mark has also been reached just twice this century by Higuain and Luca Toni who scored 31 goals in 2006 for Fiorentina.

Still records could go this season because Ronaldo with his 25 goals is only 2nd in the goalscorers chart. Ciro Immobile has the most goals so far with 29 to his name and looks set to have the most this season. If Immobile continues to score on his average rate for the season he could well reach 36 goals.

So one eye will be on Immobile and one eye on Ronaldo, we know that the Portuguese star has the quality to score 3 or 4 goals in one game and he won’t be giving up the chase just yet. Whilst the league may be winding up, the goalscorers chart and records will, evidently, not.

How well do you know Italian football? Want to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!