Atalanta-Juventus: after producing at an historic pace through the first ten weeks, the Goddess failed to score in their last two matches against Sampdoria and Cagliari. Josip Ilicic and Ruslan Malinovskyi are suspended, but the Slovenian attacker has appealed, but they will get a boost from the return of Duvan Zapata, who is expected to feature at least in limited capacity. He notched six goals in seven appearances before getting hurt. Luis Muriel is no longer red-hot, as he has not found the target in the last three rounds, but he will be again their main scoring option from the jump. Alejandro Gomez is going through something similar, but he always has loads of potential as an assist-man. Mario Pasalic is likely to move to the hole and he can pretty sneaky there. Robin Gosens has been their best wing-back so far, but also Timothy Castagne has hit the net once. Continue reading
Atalanta: Josip Ilicic was handed a two-game suspension for kicking an opponent from behind. Duvan Zapata is not ready to come back from his thigh strain. Robin Gosens is dealing with sciatica. Ruslan Malinovskyi has a sore glute. Remo Freuler is bang up as well and the trio is legitimately questionable.
Bologna: Roberto Soriano has been ruled out due to a knee bruise, Federico Santander because of a calf one. Takehiro Tomiyasu (thigh), Mitchell Dijks (toe contusion) and Mattia Destro (knee soreness) stay on the shelf. Continue reading
Inter-Verona: while Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku continue to be very reliable, the Beneamata are getting additional pieces back, as Matias Vecino scored in Champions League and Stefano Sensi looked pretty good in his stint off the bench. The two are certainly better fantasy options than Roberto Gagliardini, who filled in while they were sidelined, and the ex Sassuolo player, in particular, was fantastic at the beginning of the season. Valentino Lazaro was okay against Brescia and his skill-set is interesting, especially against the minnows where he would not need to defend a lot. Matteo Politano got hurt in Dortmund, so the first man up off the bench in the attack would be Salvatore Esposito. Verona have scored just nine times so far, so their back-line is certainly in play despite the ongoing clean sheet-less run. Continue reading
Roma-Napoli: the Giallorossi have reached a pretty strong level of consistency and they are starting to recovering pieces, which will further add to their arsenal. Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov have been terrific all year long, Nicolò Zaniolo has started scoring, Justin Kluivert did damage in Udine and even Javier Pastore is starting to look good playing with continuity. Gianluca Mancini has been a stabilyzing presence, allowing the other contributors to focus more on the offense, primarly Jordan Veretout has begun to be more impactful as a playmaker after a slow start at his new club. Diego Perotti and Cengiz Under will likely need some time before being fit enough to receiving considerable playing time. Continue reading
Lecce-Juventus: the Salentini have weirdly been better away than at home, but, in any case, they are set to be pesky in most of the contests due to their daring style. While Gianluca Lapadula was out nursing an injury, Khouma Babacar proved to be a better reference point for the offense, even though he is unlikely to be particularly consistent in terms of scoring. With his latest performance, Diego Farias is seriously threating the starting job of Filippo Falco, who has not been able to produce despite starting in the eight matches. Marco Mancosu has instead bagged four goals, three on penalties, and he is always lurking as the trailer. Andrea Tabanelli is the other midfield tasked with meaningful offensive duties, while left back Marco Calderoni has found the target twice from distance so far. Continue reading
Despite Saturday’s chaotic win over Genoa, the Milan officials have elected to axe Marco Giampaolo and appoint Stefano Pioli after an underwhelming start of the season, which saw them collect three wins and four losses, against Udinese, Inter, Torino and Fiorentina. They are currently 13th in the table. The new boss has agreed to a two-year contract.
Pioli most recently coached Fiorentina for almost two seasons, as he resigned last April and then the team went into a downward spiral under Vincenzo Montella. He had led them to an eight-placed finish the year before. Continue reading
Genoa-Milan: both offenses have looked very anaemic in recent matches, as the coaches, who are well-known for their proactive mentality, seem to have struggled to convey their ideas to the players. The Griffon have failed to score in the past two matches. Christian Kouame has led them with three goals so far and has been the only consistent contributor, while Andrea Pinamonti has been struck out since week one and ceded minutes to Antonio Sanabria and Andrea Favilli, who have not fared much better. They have yet to find a midfielder that can do some damage in the final third: Lasse Schone is too far away from the goal, but his aim on free kick is getting better, Ivan Radovanovic is shooting a lot but without precision and, like Lukas Lerager, he is more of a substance player than a quality one. Riccardo Saponara has not cracked the XI with enough continuity to be a fantasy factor. There is some appeal on the flanks, where Paolo Ghiglione and Marko Pajac have been serviceable. Continue reading
Juventus-SPAL: the Bianconeri have not been very spectacular in the last two matches against minnows, but they got the job done with the contribution of few different players. Cristiano Ronaldo has shaken off his injury and will be back in this one, Paulo Dybala has outperformed Gonzalo Higuain in the last couple of outings, but the latter is usually closer to the goal. Aaron Ramsey has been pretty good and they could carry on with the tactics where he is heavily featured, but it remains to be seen whether he can play thrice in a row, otherwise Adrien Rabiot or Federico Bernardeschi could get the nod there and reap the benefits of a very offensive role. They have gotten goals from Miralem Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi, even though Sami Khedira is generally the midfielder who is most involved in the offense. Juan Cuadrado loses some steam because he is forced to play as right back for the time being. Continue reading
Match-day four brought just as much drama and stoppage time heroics as previous weeks and has now set up an intriguing slate of fixtures ahead. Inter look to remain atop the table against Lazio while Juventus will be locking horns with yet another newly-promoted side in Brescia. Otherwise, Roma will be taking on Atalanta in what promises goals and excitement. Napoli, on the other hand, take on the in-form Cagliari and will need to be careful not to slip up against the Sardinians.
With match-day five upon us, here are FIVE players you should consider dropping from your fantacalcio side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Suso (ATT, Milan, Value 17.9) - The former Liverpool man had a performance to forget against Milan’s fierce rivals Inter and will be kicking himself for not passing the ball on the rossoneri’s most dangerous counter-attack in the first half. While Suso has arguably been Milan’s best performer and ther catalyst in the final third, his selfishness and poor decision-making on the ball will not go down well with Marco Giampaolo.
As Milan continue to struggle for an identity and look laborious in the final third, expect Suso to keep encountering issues. At 17.9M there are frankly better options. For the time being, you should seriously consider swapping him out of your lineup.
Nikola Milenkovic (DEF, Fiorentina, Value 18.2) - The Serbian international is among the most promising defenders in Serie A, yet, still has ways to go before establishing himself as a consistent performer in Italy. Despite an ambitious summer, Fiorentina’s struggles have continued from years past and they appear set for another indifferent season. They may have encountered a difficult schedule, but their defensive issues are worrying nonetheless.
Moreover, Montella’s men have already conceded eight goals this season, two of which came in their most-recent collapse against Atalanta. Up two goals, la viola fell asleep conceding two careless goals against Gian Piero Gasperini’s men. While Milenkovic has all the tools to take the next step in his career, at 18.2M it’s time to move on.
Ricardo Rodriguez (DEF, Milan, Value 17.9) - The Swiss international has maintained his spot in the eleven over Theo Hernandez to begin the season, however, has begun showing signs of slowing down. Against Inter, Rodriguez put in a horrid performance and was regularly beaten by his man. Whether he was being careless at the back or lackluster in the final third, it’s clear the former Wolfsburg man needs a spell on the bench.
Considering Hernandez‘ impressive cameo performance, don’t be surprised to see the Frenchman given the nod over Rodriguez this week. As a result, you should consider dropping the Milan man before his value drops too much.
Duvan Zapata (ATT, Atalanta, Value 21.8) - The burgeoning forward has picked up where he left off last season scoring three goals in his first four appearances this season, however, simply put, he looked off the pace against Fiorentina.
Zapata is at his best when he imposes his physique on the opposition and plays off the defender. Against Fiorentina, the former Napoli man displayed signs of fatigue indicating some rest may be on the horizon for him. With Luis Muriel and Josip Ilicic in good form, expect Zapata to be rested in Atalanta’s upcoming game. After all, Gasperini can’t afford to burn him out.
Daniele Baselli (MID, Torino, Value 17.7) - The former Atalanta man has thrived since Walter Mazzarri has taken over and has established himself as a key player for I Granata. Despite his notable improvements over the years, Baselli’s game still lacks end-product in the final third as he proves to be often wasteful.
With Torino taking on Milan, expect Mazzarri’s men to sit deep and absorb the pressure. This type of game doesn’t exactly suit Baselli’s strengths. As a result, you’d be wise to temporarily drop the midfielder from your side.
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Brescia-Juventus: two questions loom large on the game, one for each side. Mario Balotelli is eligible to return after the suspension, but his conditioning might be a problem after skipping the summer preparation, so he might be initially be kept on the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out due to muscle fatigue and it is new situation under Maurizio Sarri; they also do not have Douglas Costa, so they lack a pure left-wing player. Federico Bernardeschi could certainly be adapted there, but he has struggled so far, so the coach might try new solutions, like for instance fielding Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together. Whoever ends up starting up front will have to shoulder a bigger load sans Ronaldo. Continue reading