In last weekend’s big Serie A game Juventus edged Napoli 1-0 in a tight encounter. Whilst the match was predictably low scoring, the talent on offer was clear and Napoli showed enough to stay spirited in the title race. The following day Inter threw away a lead vs. Fiorentina to lose 2-1 in the dying moments. They finished with ten men and their difficulties continue.
Due to a unique set of results, seven teams in Serie A are without a win in five games; Atalanta, Genoa, Sassuolo, Udinese, Empoli, Sampdoria and Carpi. This weekend sees Genoa host Udinese and Empoli travel to Sassuolo – surely someone will pick up a win?
Udinese have fallen slowly since the 2013 season. They backed up a surprise third place finish with a respectable fifth, but then sank to 13th (2014) and 16th (2015). Whilst a plethora of big names have left the club – Alexis Sanchez, Samir Handanovic, Kwadwo Asamoah, Mehdi Benatia – it is clear that they are missing the goals of David Di Natale most of all. There is little more the Italian could have done, experiencing a long peak and scoring over 20 goals in many consecutive years. His form has finally dipped at the age of 38 and the era of one of Serie A’s greatest servants is coming to an end.
Udinese are the lowest scorers in the division and have done well to find the seven wins keeping them aloft of relegation. They are unlikely to enjoy their trip to Genoa, however, whose five-game baron streak has seen plenty of games against the top clubs. I back Genoa to find a win at home (21/20) but I’m not expecting goals.
Empoli were my coupon-buster last week and they travel to Sassuolo. Both teams are devoid of wins but in no danger of going down. With any luck we’ll see some goals and I think Empoli could be brushed aside by the Neroverdi on Sunday. Sassuolo are missing Simone Zaza this season but Nicola Sansone scored a cracker last weekend and I think they are due a win. With eleven draws they are the division’s specialists but I don’t see that outcome this time around. They’re priced at evens to win on the Betfect site.
Geographically, Frosinone vs. Lazio is a huge game. Whilst it will never replace Roma/Lazio as the region’s greatest, it’s the kind of fixture Frosinone fans would have been dreaming about just a few seasons ago. Two wins in three give Frosinone a realistic chance of staying up but Lazio arrive off the back of a 5-2 win. I’ll be backing over 2.5 goals here.
Juventus go to ninth-placed Bologna on Friday and should collect three points. However, they haven’t looked their most impressive the last two weekends and with a huge Champions League tie looming you may find the draw worthy of a second look at 5/2. Despite their on-going troubles, Inter should have enough to get back on track against Sampdoria.
If you can save yourself for Monday night, Napoli vs. Milan is the biggest fixture on offer. Napoli have been muscled off top spot but whilst Milan are in the ascendance they are far from unbeatable. I’ll be backing Napoli + BTTS at 21/10.
Win Fourfold @ 9.95/1
Genoa win against Udinese @ 21/20
Lazio win against Frosinone @ 7/10
Inter win against Sampdoria @ 4/7
Sassuolo win against Empoli @ 1/1
Goals Treble @ 4.16/1
Genoa vs. Udinese (Under 2.5) @ 8/13
Frosinone vs. Lazio (Over 2.5) @ 17/20
Napoli vs. Milan (Over 2.5) @ 8/11
Odds correct as of 18/02/16
Written by Mike Franchetti