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Crotone – the surprise Serie B leaders

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It’s official; after their 3-2 win against Everton on Saturday, Leicester City are top of the Premier League at Christmas. The brilliance of Leicester City is only rivalled by the shock it’s caused among fans, especially when you consider this time last season, the Foxes were bottom of the league and looked nowhere near good enough to fight off relegation.

But one of the beautiful things about football and why we enjoy betting on matches is the randomness and unpredictability of the game. Who in their right mind would seriously have predicted Leicester’s lofty rise this season?

But it’s not just the Premier League featuring a surprise at the top of the table, as the Italian Serie B is currently being led by southern Italian minnows Crotone.

The Calabria outfit have suffered numerous bankruptcies in recent years, and have rarely challenged for promotion into the Serie A. Last season they finished in 16th place, barely avoiding the relegation play-off places.

In fact Crotone have never played Serie A football, and only won promotion back into Serie B as recently as 2009. In recent seasons their consistency in the league has improved, and it seems this season it’s starting to pay off.

Ante Budimir - the powerful forward has been a described as a "sniper" in front of goal

Ante Budimir – the powerful forward has been a described as a “sniper” in front of goal

Manager Ivan Juric, the clubs first ever non-Italian manager, was hired at the start of the season and was considered a somewhat risky acquisition, having never managed in the Serie B before. But he’s proved his worth, and his signing of Ante Budimir on-loan has been particularly praised. The powerful Croatian forward has been favourably compared to Dimitar Berbatov, and has been the difference upfront this season, scoring 9 goals.

Cagliari – one of the favourites for the Serie B title – are a point behind Crotone going into Wednesday’s games. The two teams face each other in mid-January following the winter break in which may be a hotly contested decider for the top of the table.

Crotone are 17/20 to win against Trapani on Wednesday 23rd December. KO 7:30

(Images from opinione-pubblica and it.eurosport)

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