Serie A Fantay Preview – Round 29


Torino: the Granata had a nice reaction after falling in an early hole versus Cagliari, but an untimely penalty did them in. Andrea Belotti has found the target for two straight matches and has been excellent missed penalty aside. Simone Zaza is unlikely to be present, but Simone Verdi and especially Cristian Ansaldi, two of their most talented players, saw minutes in the past match and could be ready to start, unlocking few options up front, first of all the advancement of Alex Berenguer. Ansaldi had a positive impact after he subbed on, Verdi might need more time and had been struggling prior to the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 27

Fiorentina-Brescia: the Viola will welcome back Franck Ribery, at least in limited fashion at first, and the coach is ready to tweak is system to accommodate him either in the hole or on the left wing, joining Dusan Vlahovic/Patrick Cutrone and obviously Federico Chiesa up front. In the meantime, it could be Gaetano Castrovilli taking on a bigger role. Alfred Duncan and Marco Benassi have some decent potential.  It is an extremely appealing match-up considering Brescia’s defensive woes and absences: Vlahovic and Castrovilli in the particular were in great form before the lockdown. Continue reading

Coaches in Italy still refuse to believe in fans racist chants after Balotelli almost walks off

The problem with racism in Serie A reached new heights at the weekend when Verona took on Brescia. Mario Balotelli who has been repeatedly subjected to racist taunts much of his whole career when in Italy was again targeted.

The incident happened in the second half when Balotelli went over to take a corner and the section of Verona fans started doing the monkey chant. Rightly disgusted Balotelli kicked the ball in the air and then threatened to walk off the pitch. After a few minutes of whistles and jeers and with both sets of players from both sides convincing him to stay on he did just that.

But racism is going nowhere in Italy, in fact it is getting worse and this was highlighted by both coaches after the game. Where in England you would expect a manager in the post match press conference to speak up against racism, in Italy it feels that coaches do not see the problem.

The monkey chants were clearly audible and yet Verona coach Ivan Juric said: “I’m not afraid to say, today there was nothing. Lots of whistling and teasing against a great player, but there was nothing else. I have also taken so many insults over the years, I know what it means, but today there has been nothing. On the reason of the reaction you have to ask him. When there is racism, I will have no problem saying so because it sucks, even if it comes from my fans. But today I heard nothing. We don’t create a case where there isn’t, it would be a lie.”

How Juric had the gall to say such words is up to him, but what it did was underline that in Italy they do not hear or see a problem such as racism in football. His statement like many others before him seemed to want to make light of the incident and sweep it under the carpet. Perhaps and hopefully in the coming days with video evidence he will change his mind.

It is worrying when a situation is obvious and the coaches and presidents of clubs do not speak up. After the game Balotelli went to social media to thank his teammates but at the end of the day he must be disappointed with Juric’s comments. Aren’t we supposed to be taking steps forward and not backwards? However when UEFA do very little to educate and reinforce racism- banners do absolutely nothing- then we are left at a stalemate.

In England racism has almost disappeared from the stands. Yes of course it is there, but who remembers Balotelli having to stop a game and getting visibly upset when he played in the Premier League? Perhaps he needs to check again if playing in Italy is the right career move for him. However being Italian why shouldn’t he play in his home country, why should he run? The real problem is inside the football dressing rooms and outside the stadiums, sadly it seems that nothing is going to change quickly.

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Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap

After two sleepy weeks, Serie A teams have resumed dealing and wheeling with some very interesting purchases over the last few days. Inter finally landed Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, while Juventus cashed in on Joao Cancelo in a swap with Manchester City, getting back Danilo in the deal. Cagliari pulled off an unexpected one by adding Radja Nainggolan from Inter, then successfully completed the chase for touted prospect Nahitan Nandez from Boca Juniors and, all of a sudden, they have a very crowded and well-assorted midfield despite losing Nicolò Barella.

Milan continue to work on the roster and acquired young centre-back Leo Duarte from Flamengo. He emerged over the last year and a half in Brazil and will contribute to holding down the fort until Mattia Caldara returns later in the year. He will compete with solid but unspectacular Mateo Musacchio to play next to Alessio Romagnoli to open the season.

The week was pretty much dominated by midfielders: a year after letting him go for free, the new Fiorentina management brought back Milan Badelj on loan with option to buy from Lazio, then they snatched Erick Pulgar away from Bologna by exercising the relatively low release clause. The Chilean international was a standout last season and was deadly on penalty, which will come in handy considering the departure of Jordan Veretout. Despite the age difference, the two are pretty similar, so it will be interesting to see whether Vincenzo Montella will tweak his system to accommodate both and perhaps deploy one more attacker.

Genoa have found their new technical leader in Lasse Schone from Ajax who, despite the rather defensive position as pivot, put up great numbers thanks to his ability on set pieces and therefore will be one to look out for in the fantasy game. The Griffon also signed Riccardo Saponara on loan from Fiorentina, whom coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will try to turn into an offensive box-to-box in the Rade Krunic mold, and Colombian youngster Kevin Agudelo from Atletico Huila.

For one brilliant midfielder joining Serie A, another one left as Sampdoria agreed to sell Dennis Praet to Leicester City, who has been a linchpin of their squad over the last three seasons and grew constantly year after year. They acquired Morten Thorsby from Heerenveen and could gamble on a Jakub Jankto resurgence on top of obviously reinvesting the funds on a newcomer.

For once, Atalanta decided to go with an experienced guy rather than bet on potential and brought in Martin Skrtel from Fenerbahce to fill in the gap after Gianluca Mancini left. Gian Piero Gasperini is now back to having five reliable centre-backs to rotate.

A decent coup for Verona, as they won the race for free agent Darko Lazovic, who was pretty good last year at Genoa, where he notched three goals and four assists. He reunites with coach Milan Juric and will be able to play in a number of positions on both flanks. They also grabbed two of the best Serie B players from last season: Gennaro Tutino, on loan from Napoli, who had a terrific year in Cosenza, and Valerio Verre from Sampdoria, who shined in Perugia. They both reached the double-digit threshold and could be significant parts of the 3-4-2-1 tactic Milan Juric is currently using.

Brescia got busy too and signed two presumptive starters in Jaromir Zmhral from Slavia Prague and Giangiacomo Magnani from Sassuolo. The midfielder could be a sneaky fantasy asset, while the centre-back started last season very well but was eventually overshadowed by more talented teammates. Lecce instead added Cristian Dell’Orco, who was serviceable as left centre-back at Empoli in 2018/2019 and will probably end up playing left back for them, alternating with other buzzed about newcomer Brayan Vera.

A pair of players departed from Serie A: Roma sent Rick Karsdorp back to Feyenoord on loan, while Bologna shipped Adam Nagy to Bristol City. The Dutch right back had some okay stretches and at times challenged Alessandro Florenzi, but ultimately he could not stay healthy, while Nagy had become merely a back-up. The Felsinei will have to address the midfield in a meaningful manner.

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Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap


All in all, it was a pretty quiet week in Serie A, but it still included some massive deals, as Juventus pulled off one of the transfers of the summer by acquiring Matthijs De Ligt from Ajax, while Roma have commenced re-building the back-line with Gianluca Mancini from Atalanta and won the race to sign Jordan Veretout from Fiorentina

The Orobici have signed Ruben Malinovskyi from Genk, who is somebody to keep an eye on fantasy-wise since he was extremely productive in Belgium, thanks to penalties and other set pieces. Continue reading

Verona name Juric as their new coach


A successful late run that allowed them to snatch a spot in the playoffs and then go all the way was not enough to convince Hellas Verona to bet on Alfredo Aglietti in 2019/2020. They parted ways with him and appointed former Genoa coach Ivan Juric, whom they had reportedly decided to hire no matter where they would play, who has agreed to a one-year contract. The Gialloblù spent the last four seasons going up and down Serie A and Serie B.

Aglietti was hired with two matches to go, when the Scaligeri were on the outside looking in, and he managed to get them into the postseason and defeated Pescara and Cittadella to gain the promotion. He previously managed at Empoli, Novara, Virtus Entella and Ascoli, but likely paid the prize for his lack of experience in the top league. He had agreed to a short-term contract before taking over.  Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 38



Juventus XI: 4-3-2-1 Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Sturaro, Bentancur, Marchisio; Dybala, Douglas Costa; Higuain.

Potential Lineup Changes: Barzagli for Rugani, Pjanic for Bentancur, Mandzukic for Douglas Costa.

Doubtful: Chiellini (hamstring), Khedira (calf), Howedes (hamstring), Cuadrado.

Confirmed Out: Bernardeschi Continue reading

Serie A Player Status Updates – Round 38


No shortage of injuries and suspensions heading into the final game.

Juventus: Sami Khedira got pulled last minute against Roma due to a muscular issue and he should not be available, same for Giorgio Chiellini and Benedikt Howedes, who have been on the shelf for a while now. Massimiliano Allegri has ruled out also Juan Cuadrado. Despite what the coach said, Federico Bernardeschi is the only one not in the squad list.

Napoli: Vlad Chiriches has undergone surgery to stabilize the shoulder that has given him a lot of problems in the past few years.

Roma: Radja Nainggolan in disqualified, while Cengiz Under got a knock on the ribs and he is very questionable. Gregoire Defrel and Rick Karsdorp are out with severe injuries, Bruno Peres is doubtful with a muscular one. Alisson has some soreness in his hip flexor and will not play.  Continue reading

Serie A Probable Lineups – Round 37



Benevento XI: 4-3-3 Puggioni; Sagna, Djimsiti, Tosca, Letizia; Brignola, Viola, Sandro, Parigini; Diabate, Coda.

Potential Lineup Changes: Venuti for Tosca, Gyamfi for Parigini, Cataldi for Coda.

Questionable: Tosca (groin).

Confirmed Out: Djuricic (hamstring), Guilherme (knee), Antei (heel), Lucioni (suspension), Iemmello (knee), Billong, D’Alessandro (knee), Lombardi, Memushaj (ankle).


Genoa XI: 3-5-2 Lamanna; Biraschi, Rossettini, Izzo; Rosi, Hiljemark, Veloso, Bertolacci, Lazovic; Lapadula, Medeiros.

Potential Lineup Changes: Spolli for Rossettini, El Yamiq for Izzo, Rossi for Lapadula.

Confirmed Out: Pandev, Zukanovic (suspension), Bessa, Perin (hamstring), Laxalt (knee), Migliore (groin), Pereira (ankle), Rigoni (knee).



Inter XI: 4-2-3-1 Handanovic; Cancelo, Skriniar, Ranocchia, D’Ambrosio; Brozovic, Vecino; Candreva, Rafinha, Perisic; Icardi.

Potential Lineup Changes: Miranda for Ranocchia, Vecino for Valero, Karamoh for Candeva.

Questionable: Miranda (hamstring), Gagliardini (hamstring).


Sassuolo XI: 3-5-2 Consigli; Lemos, Acerbi, Dell’Orco; Adjapong, Missiroli, Magnanelli, Duncan, Rogerio; Berardi, Politano.

Potential Lineup Changes: Letschert for Dell’Orco, Sensi for Magnanelli, Babacar for Berardi.

Questionable: Dell’Orco, Letschert.

Confirmed Out: Peluso (suspension), Lirola (knee), Goldaniga (hamstring).



Bologna XI: 4-3-3 Mirante; Mbaye, De Maio, Helander, Masina; Poli, Crisetig, Dzemaili; Verdi, Palacio, Di Francesco.

Potential Lineup Changes: Krafth for Mbaye, Nagy for Crisetig, Destro for Di Francesco.

Questionable: Pulgar (hamstring), Donsah (knee).

Out: Gonzalez (knee), Orsolini (hamstring).


Chievo XI: 4-3-3 4-3-3 Sorrentino; Depaoli, Tomovic, Dainelli, Gobbi; Castro, Rigoni, Hetemaj; Birsa, Inglese, Giaccherini.

Potential Lineup Changes: Cacciatore for Depaoli, Bastien for Castro, Stepinski for Inglese.

Questionable: Cacciatore.

Confirmed Out: Bani, Radovanovic (suspension).



Crotone XI: 4-3-3 Cordaz; Faraoni, Ceccherini, Capuano, Martella; Nalini, Barberis, Mandragora, Stoian; Simy, Trotta.

Potential Lineup Changes: Sampirisi for Faraoni, Rohden for Stoian.

Confirmed Out: Budimir (foot), Benali (foot).


Lazio XI: 3-5-1-1 Strakosha; Caceres, De Vrij, Radu; Marusic, Murgia, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic; Felipe Anderson; Caicedo.

Potential Lineup Changes: Bastos for Radu.

Questionable: Radu (hamstring).

Confirmed Out: Immobile (hamstring), Luis Alberto (hamstring), Luiz Felipe (suspension), Lukaku, Parolo (hamstring).



Fiorentina XI: 4-3-1-2 Sportiello; Laurini, Pezzella, Milenkovic, Biraghi; Benassi, Badelj, Veretout; Saponara; Chiesa, Simeone.

Potential Lineup Changes: Gaspar for Laurini, Eysseric for Saponara.

Questionable: Vitor Hugo (hamstring).

Confirmed Out: Lo Faso (knee).


Cagliari XI: 4-3-1-2 Cragno; Faragò, Andreolli, Ceppitelli, Lykogiannis; Dessena, Barella, Padoin; Ionita; Farias, Pavoletti.

Potential Lineup Changes: Romagnoli for Andreolli, Joao Pedro for Dessena, Sau for Farias.

Confirmed Out: Ceter (hamstring), Castan (foot), Cigarini (suspension).



Torino XI: 3-4-2-1 Sirigu; Burdisso, Nkoulou, Moretti; De Silvestri, Rincon, Baselli, Ansaldi; Falque, Ljajic; Belotti.

Potential Lineup Changes: Acquah for Baselli, Edera for Falque, Niang for Belotti.

Questionable: Bonifazi (hamstring), Obi (hamstring).

Confirmed Out: Lyanco (foot).


Spal XI: 3-5-2 Gomis; Cionek, Salamon, Felipe; Schiattarella, Grassi, Everton Luiz, Kurtic, Costa; Paloschi, Antenucci.

Potential Lineup Changes: Simic for Salamon, Drame for Schiattarella, Floccari for Paloschi.

Questionable: Mattiello (hamstring), Vaisanen (hamstring).

Confirmed Out: Lazzari (knee), Meret (shoulder), Borriello (calf), Viviani (calf), Vicari (suspension).



Verona XI: 4-3-3 Nicolas; Ferrari, Caracciolo, Vukovic, Fares; Romulo, Zuculini, Calvano; Verde, Cerci, Matos.

Potential Lineup Changes: Danzi for Zuculini, Fossati for Calvano, Petkovic for Verde.

Questionable: Petkovic (hamstring), Buchel (knee), Calvano.

Confirmed Out: Valoti (hamstring), Bianchetti (hip), Zaccagni (knee), Kean (hamstring).


Udinese XI: 3-5-1-1 Bizzarri; Larsen, Danilo, Samir; Widmer, Barak, Behrami, Jankto, Adnan; Balic; Lasagna.

Potential Lineup Changes: Nuytinck for Samir, Zampano for Widmer, De Paul for Barak.

Confirmed Out: Angella (calf), Fofana (suspension).



Atalanta XI: 3-4-1-2 Berisha; Masiello, Caldara, Toloi; Hateboer, Freuler, De Roon, Gosens; Cristante; Barrow, Gomez.

Potential Lineup Changes: Castagne for Hateboer, Ilicic for Barrow.

Questionable: Cornelius (hamstring).

Confirmed Out: Spinazzola (knee), Petanga (groin), Rizzo.


Milan XI: 4-3-3 Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Locatelli, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone, Calhanoglu.

Potential Lineup Changes: Biglia for Locatelli, Kalinic for Cutrone.

Questionable: Biglia (back).

Confirmed Out: Conti (knee).



Roma XI: 4-3-3 Alisson; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Under, Dzeko, El Shaarawy.

Potential Lineup Changes: Pellegrini for Strootman, Schick for El Shaarawy.

Questionable: Manolas (hamstring), Perotti (ankle), Strootman (ribs).

Confirmed Out: Defrel (ankle, knee), Karsdorp (knee), Bruno Peres (hip).


Juventus XI: 4-4-2 Szczesny; Lichtsteiner, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Douglas Costa, Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Higuain.

Potential Lineup Changes: Barzagli for Rugani, Marchisio for Pjanic, Mandzukic for Douglas Costa.

Questionable: De Sciglio (foot), Sturaro (Achilles), Howedes (quad).

Confirmed Out: Chiellini (hamstring).



Sampdoria XI: 4-3-1-2 Viviano; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic; Linetty, Torreira, Praet; Ramirez; Caprari, Kownacki.

Potential Lineup Changes: Strinic for Sala, Barreto for Ramirez, Zapata for Caprari.

Questionable: Zapata (hamstring), Barreto (knee).

Confirmed Out: Murru (knee), Quagliarella (knee).


Napoli XI: 4-3-3 Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.

Potential Lineup Changes: Diawara for Jorginho, Zielinski for Hamsik, Milik for Mertens.

Confirmed Out: Chiriches, Ounas.

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