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

AC Milan vs. SPAL: Team news, stats and prediction

Third time’s the charm, right? This evening, Stefano Pioli will look to grab his first win with the Rossoneri, having collected just one point from his first two games in charge. However, given how poor the team has performed as of late, it certainly won’t be an easy task. 

The defeat against Roma last weekend highlighted Milan’s main issue: individual mistakes. Both of the Giallorossi’s goals were created by Pioli’s men, who could have conceded more if the home side had been a bit more composed. For the Rossoneri faithful, it was painful to watch, as the players threw away the game.

TEAM NEWS

As a result of the most recent outing, Pioli is expected to make four significant changes to the line-up, hoping to get a reaction from his squad this evening. In defence, he will experiment with a new solution, putting Duarte at the right-back position. Most likely, this means that they will play with a back-three when in possession.

Calabria and Conti have failed to impress on the right flank and you can understand Pioli’s decision. However, it remains to be seen if it will be an improvement, although it’s certain that Hernandez will get even more freedom to move forward down the left-hand side.

Further up the pitch, Bennacer will finally get the nod ahead of Biglia. The latter has been the preferred starter under both Giampaolo and Pioli. Therefore, it will be an important opportunity for the young Algerian to prove his worth this evening, expected to add a more dynamic touch to the midfield.

Just like the initial report suggested this week, Suso will be on the bench for the first time this season. The Spaniard hasn’t been able to replicate his performances from last season, failing to find the back of the net in the first nine games. Instead, Pioli will opt for Castillejo, who isn’t exactly a fan favourite either. However, it might be enough to motivate Suso to try harder.

In addition to the former Liverpool man, Leao will also start tonight’s clash on the bench. The Portuguese striker has been one of the few highlights for Milan thus far. However, since being moved to the centre-forward role, he has struggled to get his finishing right. Therefore, Piatek will play from the first minute this evening, ready to build on his goal against Lecce.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Duarte, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Paqueta, Bennacer, Kessie; Castillejo, Piatek, Calhanoglu.

STATS

At this point, we can’t rely too much on stats. The Rossoneri have been consistently poor at the start of the season and of course, this matters a lot more than what happened last campaign, when they were actually quite good. Down below is a list of the top five facts and stats about the fixture, so make what you will from it.

  • SPAL have won only one of their 36 Serie A encounters against AC Milan (2.8%): their lowest win percentage against a single opponent in the competition (min. 6 games played).
  • AC Milan have lost only one of their last five Serie A games played on a Thursday (W2 D2), whilst they have been managed by five different managers in this run.
  • AC Milan have lost five games in Serie A this season (W3, D1), only twice in their history have they lost six of their opening 10 league games of a season: in 1938/39 and in 1941/42.
  • Franck Kessié has scored three goals in four Serie A appearances against SPAL, including a brace back in May: against no side has he scored more in the competition.
  • Andrea Petagna made his Serie A debut with Milan in August 2013, against Verona – he scored in his last league game against Milan at San Siro (December 2018).


PREDICTION

Normally, Milan would be the favourites in this fixture, and they still probably are to some extent. However, an upset certainly can’t be ruled out, given how the Rossoneri have performed as of late. That said, though, I think that Pioli will be able to claim his first three points by a narrow margin.

AC Milan 1-0 SPAL

Serie A Round 7 Fantacalcio Player Trends: Stock Down

Match-day six came and went as Antonio Conte’s Inter maintained their perfect record dispatching last-place Sampdoria 3-1 with a man down. Similarly, Juventus overcame SPAL with ease, as Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the score-sheet.

Otherwise, Napoli returned to winning ways against Mario Balotelli’s Brescia after stumbling in mid-week to Cagliari. Top four contenders Atalanta, Roma and Lazio all picked up wins while Milan’s poor form continued in their 3-1 defeat against Fiorentina.

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

 Krzysztof Piątek (ATT, Milan, Value 20.9) – The Polish international and this column have been a match made in heaven this season. Since Marco Giampaolo has assumed the reigns at Milanello, Piątek has looked a shade of his former self and has lost his lethal touch in the box. As the former Genoa man’s woes in front of goal continue, don’t be surprised if Giampaolo opts for the in-form Rafa Leao this week.

At 20.9 million euros, it’s time to move away from the Milan striker and bring in a more prolific figure in your fantacalcio sides. One-season wonder?

Domenico Criscito (DEF, Genoa, Value 22.3) – Since Genoa’s win against Fiorentina at the beginning of September, it’s been a bumpy ride for the Grifoni. Genoa are currently winless in their last three, succumbing to Serie B side Virtus Entella in a club friendly. Moreover, they’ve conceded a staggering seven goals in these clashes, four of which coming in their most recent drubbing against Lazio.

While Criscito hasn’t exactly played poor in these games, Genoa’s porous defence means it’s worth shifting away from the former Juventus defender – especially at 22.4 million.

Andrea Petagna (ATT, SPAL, Value 25.3) – The 24-year-old started the season positively scoring two goals and registering one assist in his first three games, but has since slowed down. In addition to his own profligacy in front of goal, SPAL aren’t in the best form either and have struggled to create chances in the final third. 

In fact, Leonardo Semplici’s men have now picked up three defeats on the bounce, including a 3-1 loss to fellow relegation candidates Lecce. In their most recent defeat against Serie A champions Juventus, Petagna looked out of sorts and isolated on his own up top. As a result, it’s worth using your free transfer and temporarily swapping him out of your eleven for the time being. If his fortunes don’t change soon, consider making the switch permanent.

Arkadiusz Milik (ATT, Napoli, Value 4.5) – Continuing with the theme of out-of-form strikers, Napoli’s Milik is another player you just drop from your fantacalcio sides for the time being. Currently, the Polish international cannot buy a goal, as illustrated in the partenopei’s most recent stalemate in their Champions League clash against Genk.

In his three appearances this season, Milik is yet to find the back of the net and has regularly looked out of sorts spearheading Napoli’s attack. With Dries Mertens, Hirving Lozano and Fernando Llorente as options up front, expect Milik’s playing time to be further reduced moving forward. And we haven’t even mentioned Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne yet. For now, even 4.5 million is too much for the Napoli hitman.

Riccardo Orsolini (MID, Bologna, Value 21.9) – The Bologna winger started the season with a lot of promise, putting in man-of-the-match performances against both SPAL and Brescia. His goal and two early assists indicated that Orsolini introduced end-product to his game and was ready to take the next step in his career. However, in Bologna’s last three games, the 22-year-old has struggled for consistency and is yet to register a goal contribution.

In fact, Bologna have been shut out in their last two games, dropping points against Genoa and Udinese – two sides that will arguably be fighting relegation this season. At 21.9 million, you’d be wise to move Orsolini out of your elevens until he returns to form.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for it play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

So much for ‘Year Zero’: Like a moody teenager, presumptuous Lazio refuse to learn lessons

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Old habits die hard. But what if they refuse to die at all?

That, sadly, appears to be the reality facing Lazio after a week in which a familiar trait reared its ugly head twice in the space of five days.

In mirror-image matches, Lazio took the lead away to technically inferior sides, SPAL in Serie A and Cluj in the Europa League, before whimpering to a pair of 2-1 defeats.

Technically inferior they may be, but those teams taught Simone Inzaghi’s men a lesson in the importance of desire and character.

But what’s the point in even attending lessons if you’re not going to learn? Continue reading

Lazio sign Manuel Lazzari from SPAL

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Lazio have plucked one of the best players out of the minnows: Manuel Lazzari from SPAL. In his first two seasons in Serie A, the 25-year-old Italian wing back has been a force to be reckoned with on the right flank, serving as his team’s main playmaker, notching nine assists and scoring two times in 69 matches. On top of paying around €10 Alessandro Murgia returned to the Estensi as part of the deal.

He has been in Ferrara since 2012, when the team was called Giacomense and was playing in the fourth league. He was a big part of their rise up to Serie A, amassing 182 appearances in six seasons and posting 23 assists. He has also one cap with Italy. Continue reading

Three Players Lazio Are Set to Target

After yet another indifferent season in the nation’s capital, Lazio are now turning to the transfer window to bolster their roster. Following Simone Inzaghi’s contract extension, Lazio president Claudio Lotito is ready to reward his loyalty with a few signings. Over the past few days, a number of names have been linked with the biancocelesti. This season, their squad lacked depth, and inevitably cost them top four; a prospect Lotito and co. are looking to avoid next season.

1) Wesley Moraes – Club Brugge

Lazio have been linked with the Brazilian for the last couple of transfer windows, and seem to be closing in on him this coming summer. In recent times, Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Lazio have offered Club Brugge 15 million euros plus an additional 5 million in bonuses. Barring any hitches, the deal should be closed shortly.

The target man would provide some much needed depth to Lazio’s front-line, and could act as the perfect foil to Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo. At times this season, the Italian international was tasked with leading the line on his own, and could use the rest. Moraes is capable of holding up play as a target man or take on his defender.

Give his physical stature, Wesley will slot in wonderfully into the Italian game, and he’ll be able to impose himself on his new surroundings.

2) Manuel Lazzari – SPAL

The SPAL wingback had a phenomenal season with the Ferrara-based club, and is now attracting interest from Italy’s bigger clubs. In 33 appearances this season, Lazzari registered eight assists, and was a true force down the right, earning his first call-up to the senior national team.

This season, Lazio desperately needed depth at the wingback position, and generally deployed Adam Marusic down the right. However, after a bright debut season, the 25-year-old slowed down, and much like Immobile, needed rest. In his 40 appearances in all competitions, the Montenegrin scored three goals and added one assist; a far cry from his first season with Lazio.

Signing Lazzari would go a long way as it would not only offer some much needed fresh legs, but would also encourage competition.

3) Daniele Baselli – Torino 

Another player that has recently been linked to a move to Lazio is Torino’s Daniele Baselli. Since joining I Granata, Baselli’s game has stagnated, and he arguably needs a move away to further his development. Before joining Torino, Baselli was one of Italy’s most highly-rated youngsters, due to his impressive technique and wide range of passing.

While Lazio’s midfield ranks are deep enough for the time being, Marco Parolo, Lucas Leiva and Milan Badelj aren’t getting any younger, and could use some refreshing. Moreover, Baselli has a different skill-set to Inzaghi’s current midfielders, and could offer some much needed invention from the middle of the park.

His five goals in all competitions demonstrate that the talent’s there for Baselli, but he may need a change of scenery to continue his progression. Inzaghi might just prove to be the right manager for the 27-year-old, as he has a positive track record with players ready to take the next step.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Fantasy Football Managers? If you want to test your knowledge of Italian football then play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

 

 

https://eurofantasyleague.com/players/view/id/4502

The Top Five Managers From the 2018/19 Serie A Season

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Finally, we end the series with the ‘allenatori,’ the men in charge of the day to day and marathon that is 38 crucial rounds of calcio.

Here are the five best managers from this past season. Continue reading

The Top Five Central/Attacking Midfielders From the 2018/19 Serie A Season

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From the midfield position, plenty of individuals turned up to elevate their respective sides in the 2018/19 Serie A season, thus making this area arguably the hardest to rank.

After careful thought and a hard look at the impact each qualifier had on their club’s midfield, here is the shortened list of the best five from this past season. Continue reading

Handanović relieved to secure Champions League berth

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Samir Handanović spoke to Inter TV in the immediate aftermath of the Nerazzurri’s crucial 2-1 victory over Empoli last night. The Nerazzurri captain once again turned in a superb performance, making several critical saves before Radja Nainggolan scored a typically late winner in front of a packed San Siro. Here is what the Slovenian had to say: Continue reading

Nainggolan thanks Inter fans for their unwavering support

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Radja Nainggolan spoke to the media in the immediate aftermath of Inter’s 2-1 victory over Empoli last night, which secured their passage to the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League. Indeed, the Belgian scored the goal which ultimately allowed the Nerazzurri to achieve their main objective, but reserved special praise for the club’s fans for their support throughout the match. Here is what he had to say: Continue reading