Serie A Best Team to Pick – Round 37

FC Torino v AC Milan - Serie A

A crucial Serie A is on the horizon, here are the proposed players to select.

Thomas Strakosha: stopping Crotone’s strikers is not the easiest task, but he is coming off a monster performance against Atalanta.

Joao Cancelo: Sassuolo have hit the net very frequently in the most recent matches, but they have achieved their seasonal target in the last match. The Portuguese left back has also always a decent chance of picking up extra points on offence.  Continue reading

Serie A Game of the Week – Round 36: Lazio vs Atalanta

 

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The most exhilarating game of the weekend was probably the back and forth between Genoa and Fiorentina, but since it was already thoroughly broken down by Chloe here, let’s dive into another pretty amusing one: Lazio-Atalanta, which was also one of the few fixtures where there was something at stake for both teams.

The two clubs arrived at this game in high spirits, riding three-game winning streaks. Simone Inzaghi had the task of replacing his injured star Ciro Immobile and picked the easiest fix, the backup Felipe Caicedo. After some gamesmanship in the pre-game presser, Gian Piero Gasperini fielded both Remo Freuler and Bryan Cristante, kept Josip Ilicic on the bench and chose José-Luis Palomino for the suspended Mattia Caldara.  Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Recap – Round 36

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Here’s the first edition of the Serie A recap, which will provide some quick thoughts on the round that just ended.

Standings implications. Juventus are de facto champions since Napoli dropped two more points and the gap in the goal difference is too wide. It is not officially official, but it is as close as it gets. Inter earned two points to Lazio for the fourth spot and the showdown in the final matchday will likely decide the final team qualifying to Champions League. Sampdoria are virtually eliminated from the Europa League race since they are five points behind the seventh-placed Atalanta, which were leapfrogged by Milan despite a great performance against Lazio.

At the bottom of the table, Verona are mathematically relegated, while Sassuolo are safe. Chievo and Spal nabbed monumental wins, putting Cagliari in real troubles. There are now five teams within two points, with one going down.

Confirmations. Mauro Icardi, Matteo Politano and Hakan Calhanoglu extended their hot streaks. Paulo Dybala did not have a great game but still hit the target, Simone Verdi converted a penalty in an unfavourable match-up. Patrick Cutrone has the biggest nose for the goal among Milan’s centre-forwards. Cengiz Under, Sami Khedira and Musa Barrow continue to produce, same for Mariusz Stepinski. Both Spal strikers took advantage of Benevento’s lousy defence. Giacomo Bonaventura, Douglas Costa and Marcelo Brozovic shined and notched a pair of assist each, Josip Ilicic could have had a similar haul if it was not for Thomas Strakosha and the rest of Lazio’s defenders. Alisson had a couple of tremendous saves.

Guess who is back. It did not propel Napoli to victory, but Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik snapped their scoring slump. Valter Birsa scored a crucial goal, his first since October.

Surprise scorers. The first three are not that astonishing since they are attackers, but it was their first this season, or in Serie A in general: Rafinha finally coronated a string of good performances with a goal, Giuseppe Rossi found the net after over a year and Seung-Wong Lee had the consolation goal against Milan. Ignazio Abate and Andrea Ranocchia have not started much this year and it was certainly a surprise to see them in the scoresheets: the Milan right back even scored a pretty goal on an open play.

Flops of the round. The defences of Bologna, Torino, Udinese and Verona were already headed for tough games, but the blunders of Sebastien De Maio and Nicolas Burdisso did not help. Napoli’s Mario Rui and Pepe Reina had a miscommunication on Lorenzo De Silvestri’s score, which was probably more on the fullback. Gianluigi Buffon sent an errant pass towards Daniele Rugani, who caused a penalty. Sampdoria did not show up in Sassuolo. Not exactly flops, but Gonzalo Higuain and Ivan Perisic did not join the goal fest thrown by their teammates and Edin Dzeko had a quiet outing.

Clutch goal of the day. Not a ton of late-game heroics in this one, the shut-out goes to Fiorentina’s Bryan Dabo timely trail on a feed by Diego Falcinelli to complete the comeback and defeat Genoa.

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Serie A Game of the Week – Round 32: Lazio vs Roma

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The two most anticipated matches of the last Serie A round, Milan-Napoli and Lazio-Roma, failed to deliver in the terms of scoring, but they were still vibrant and certainly did not lack action. The Derby of the Italian Capital was a little more hard-fought.

The two sides arrived at the game in a completely different mood after the European efforts: Roma trampled Barcelona in an historical upset and gained access to the Champions League semi-finals, while Lazio wasted away a good lead with a five-minutes black-out against Red Bulls Salzburg, squandering a qualification that was within reach. They were tied in third place in the standings, one point above Inter.

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Serie Best Team to Pick – Round 29

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No massive clashes in the upcoming Serie A round, but the top teams will try to avoid stumbling to remain in contention for their seasonal objetives. Here are the suggested selections to make

Thomas Strakosha: he made a mess with Luiz Felipe in the last outing in Cagliari, indirectly causing a penalty, but he can be trusted against a seesawing Bologna team that has lost in four straight road games and is still searching for the right combination upfront.

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Serie A Game of the Week: Milan vs Lazio

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The game of the week for the 22nd round of Serie A was one of the two most anticipated ones: Milan-Lazio. Continue reading