What to Watch for in Serie A: Round 16

In the wonderfully enthralling world of Serie A calcio, it can be incredibly difficult to keep up with the current news, developing storylines, team performances and individual efforts on a weekly basis. This is where we come in.

As we head into round 16 of play on Italian soil, and rapidly approach the midway point of the 2019/20 season, we will begin to establish what is worth keeping an eye on and what should be less of a priority.

Here are five things to watch for in Serie A this weekend. Continue reading

Serie A Round 14 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Up

Last weekend saw Italian calcio resume for Serie A round 13 on the peninsula. With that, came plenty of noteworthy results and performances to support them.

Argentine duo Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain carried a lackluster Juventus to a 3-1 win over Atalanta in Bergamo, while Giacomo Bonaventura and Hirving Lozano arrived on the scoresheet in a 1-1 stalemate between AC Milan and Napoli at San Siro. Inter’s strike-force Lautaro Martínez and Romelu Lukaku lead the attacking assault as Antonio Conte’s side smooth sailed to a 3-0 win v Torino to keep pace with the Bianconeri at the top of the table.

For round 14, we take a look at who could be poised for a strong weekend and give you five players to consider adding to your fantacalcio roster. Here they are. Continue reading

Josip Iličić, the linchpin at the heart of Atalanta’s UCL dream

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Atalanta’s 2018-19 Serie A campaign has been nothing short of a fairytale thus far, as the club currently occupies the 4th UEFA Champions League spot with just four matches remaining. The Goddess, led by Italian mastermind Gian Piero Gasperini, currently holds her destiny in the palm of her hand and, if the stars align, will play Champions League football for the first time next season.

Beyond the 61-year old’s craftsmanship in molding young talent, which reportedly is of grave interest to the Milan hierarchy, Atalanta’s surge this campaign has been ignited by a bastion of individuals – young, old and everywhere in between. Specifically, captain Papu Gómez and capocannoniere contender Duván Zapata have formed a “little and big” relationship that is compatible with Gasperini’s vision for a high-powered offense, but the creative juices of Josip Iličić have been flowing so much that he has become the linchpin at the heart of Atalanta’s UCL dream. Continue reading

Napoli’s Three Keys To A Victory vs. Juventus


After cruising to victory over Parma in their mid-week test on Wednesday, Napoli now prepare for their biggest clash of the young season on Saturday vs. Juventus at Allianz Stadium.

Here are three keys for manager Carlo Ancelotti and his Partenopei to pick up a victory over  the rivaling Bianconeri:

1. Chase early lead: Juventus have scored first in three of the previous four Serie A contests, with ‘the Old Lady’ winning three in the process. Easier said than done to break down a Max Allegri side that is structured extremely well defensively with plenty of experience and quality, especially inside Allianz Stadium which has been a fortress since opening roughly seven years ago. However, Napoli do have the attacking talent capable of grabbing a goal on the break while Juve push numbers forward, and must make the most of the limited chances they will have before the home side settles in.

2. Win the full-back battle: Barring any late scratches from Ancelotti, Elseid Hysaj and Mario Rui will start in the full-back positions for Napoli, with the opposite two for Juventus likely being Alex Sandro and Joao Cancelo. The Bianconeri duo is widely considered one of the top three full-back tandems in Europe at the moment, contributing plenty on the offensive for an already high-powered scoring side, and you can expect Napoli to feel the pressure from the jump. However, both Hysaj and Rui are more than capable to rival the opposition, as we have seen in previous head-to-head meetings. But with the Portuguese international providing the game-breaking speed and quick countering ability, the Partenopei will have their hands full. Cancelo is averaging two tackles and three successful dribbles per game (via Who Scored), indicating he is emerging as a well-rounded player on both ends of the pitch. Keeping both under control for an entire 90 will not be easy, but if Napoli can somehow neutralize or keep the duo’s impact to a minimum, they will fancy their chance for a win.

3. Allow Insigne to create: Lorenzo Insigne has been utilized as a gadget player of sorts under Ancelotti, in that he is playing just about everywhere in the attack. Whether it has been on the left wing in a 433, as a second striker alongside Milik in the 442 or as a ‘trequartista’ of a 4231, the Azzurri international’s influence in Ancelotti’s system has been crucial. The 27-year old Italian is off and running this season, with 5 goals to his name through six Serie A matches. It remains to be seen which shape Ancelotti will roll out, but Insigne is a lock to start and arguably Napoli’s key man heading into Turin. Averaging 5 shots, 2.5 key passes, and 3.7 long balls per game, Insigne’s prone to floating around in search of the ball and moments where he can make a difference. Even if the Naples-born attacker does not get on the scoresheet, he can still create and be the lynchpin Napoli require to best a star-studded Juventus side at home.

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