Atalanta-Roma: the Goddess continue to add to their offensive arsenal, as Duvan Zapata is returning two his usual pre-injury numbers (two goals and three assists in the last four games) and Ruslan Malinovskyi came through last week. The Ukrainian attacker seems to have surpassed Luis Muriel as first option off the bench. Josip Ilicic did not score against Fiorentina, but still had a great performance and he has been en fuego for a while. The one small negative is that, with their front-line now featuring two quality scorers, Alejandro Gomez is back at looking more to feed them rather than finishing on his own: as a matter of fact he set up two goals last week and has not hit the net since in six weeks. Timothy Castagne came back and he is a bigger offensive weapon than the more diligent Hans Hateboer, but they will likely continue to alternate, while Robin Gosens on the opposite flank is slowing down a bit after a gorgeous January. Mario Pasalic fumbled away a pair of sitters in Florence. Rafael Toloi (one goal and six assists) has been their most intriguing defender. Continue reading
Brescia-Milan: the Rondinelle will not have Mario Balotelli for a couple of matches, but Ernesto Torregrossa has actually carried the load scoring-wise recently and he and Alfredo Donnarumma formed a formidable partnership last season in Serie B, so they might be able to survive the blow. They have added two intriguing pieces in January in Birkir Bjarnason, who was very dangerous for a midfielder in his time in Pescara, and Simon Skrabb: they should both have their chances because Nikolas Spalek at no.10 has been pretty inconsistent. Sandro Tonali is coming off a two-assist performance and also Stefano Sabelli and Romulo have been decently proficient in a supporting role. Continue reading
Brescia-Lazio: it did not take much, but the Rondinelle are playing way better after the return of Eugenio Corini and have rediscovered a pair of weapons that had not produced in the first handful of games, such as Ernesto Torregrossa and Nikolas Spalek. Torregrossa is a more natural fit next to Mario Balotelli and, while not overly prolific, he can hit the net from time to time. The Slovenian no.10 instead had struggled to find his footing in the top league, but he is getting there. His emergence, on top of injuries to other midfielders, pushes Romulo to a less offensive position, where he is not as appealing fantasy-wise. Dimitri Bisoli is also faromg better lately, while Balotelli has corrected his attitude and found the target twice in the past month and is obviously their featured guy up front. Stefano Sabelli is always very frisky for a right-back. Continue reading
Gianluca Pegolo (7 points): the 38-year-old unseated the youngster Stefano Turati throughout the week and frustrated Milan time and time again with great saves on clear-cut attempts.
Jhon Chancellor (8 points): his goal could not have been any easier as he tucked it home with his knee from basically the goal-line and he was pretty good in the back as well against Lecce. Continue reading
The most dominant display of the weekend belonged to Brescia, which was the only club to obtain a shut-out win in a seminal clash against Lecce.
In his second game back after being re-hired and coming off a win over SPAL, Eugenio Corini confirmed his go-to XI in toto but for Andrea Cistana, who was suspended, and Jesse Joronen, who is dealing with a head injury. They were replaced by Massimiliano Mangraviti and Enrico Alfonso, while Ernesto Torregrossa got the nod again next to Mario Balotelli up front. However, they lost Emanuele Ndoj to an injury after thirty minutes, when the match was still scoreless, and he was replaced by Nikolas Spalek, who turned out to be the deciding man in the contest. Continue reading
Luigi Sepe (7 points): just four clean sheets in this round and two of the goalie combined that with a key save on a penalty, Parma’s one and Brescia’s Jesse Joronen. However, the Finnish international was also booked, so the unheralded #1 of the Ducali gets the nod by default. Antonio Mirante had a terrific outing in relief, denying two clear-cut attempts by Lautaro Martinez and Matias Vecino with superb dives and one-handed saves.
Cristian Ansaldi (6 points): Torino conceded late, but Ansaldi still paced all defenders with his contribution on the other end, as he set up Simone Zaza’s goal with a great cross after a delightful action down the left wing and scored in the second half by picking his way to the box centrally and slotting it home from just outside of it. Continue reading