Italian Serie A Preview

Juventus stretched their lead even further at the top of the table to 14 points after Roma fell to their first league defeat this year. The Scudetto title chase looks to be wrapped up, as Juve picked up a 1-0 victory away to Palermo. Elsewhere, Napoli are now behind Lazio and occupy fourth place in the Serie A standings, after Raphael Benitez’s men lost 2-0 against Hellas Verona last weekend’s Serie A action. The Naples-based team are now out of the Champions League spots and will have to be on top of their game in the coming weeks if they hope to overcome the challenge posed by Lazio, who are hoping to finish in the top three. In Sunday’s late game, Inter were unable to overcome Cesena, with the game ending 1-1. The draw saw the 2010 Champions League winners move up to seventh place on the log, while Cesena are now second from bottom on the log, four points off from safety.

Chievo 14/10 | Draw 21/10 | Palermo 2/1
Chievo showed their mettle on Sunday by beating Genoa 2-0, courtesy of a brace from Alberto Paloschi. The victory means Chievo are now nine points off 18th place Cagliari in the Serie A table and are edging ever closer to safety. Palermo come to town fresh off a hard fought 1-0 loss at home against log leaders Juventus. Their away form has been terrible; winless away in eight games, they have not won on the road since November 2. Chievo are unbeaten at home against Palermo in the last six meetings and should edge the win here.

AC Milan 15/20 | Draw 11/4 | Cagliari 7/2
AC Milan continued their horrid campaign with a 2-1 defeat away to Fiorentina on Monday night. Filippo Inzaghi’s Milan have managed just two victories from their last eight matches but will have the perfect chance to return to winning ways against Cagliari. The relegation candidates extended their winless run to seven matches after a 1-1 draw on home soil against Empoli. Cagliari are 18th in the standings, four points adrift of safety with 11 games remaining and have not scored more than one goal since January 24. Although Milan have struggled in recent weeks, they are tipped to oust their opponents. 

Empoli 11/10 | Draw 9/4 | Sassuolo 27/10
Empoli left it late as they equalized with less than 30 seconds of stoppage time remaining to make it 1-1 away to a lacklustre Cagliari side, stretching their unbeaten run to seven league games. Sassuolo are next up; and come into this fixture in a bit of form after annihilating debt ridden Parma 4-1 at home. They are unbeaten against Empoli in the last nine meetings, making the win/draw for Sassuolo well worth a punt at 6/10. 

Juventus 3/10 | Draw 9/2 | Genoa 97/10
Juventus barely broke sweat as they claimed a 1-0 win at Palermo to strengthen their hopes for a fourth consecutive scudetto. The Serie A champions are unbeaten at home in the last 41 games with 37 victories and just four draws. Genoa’s five game unbeaten run ended on Sunday after falling to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home against Chievo. They will be facing an uphill battle when they visit Serie A giants Juventus this weekend. A half-time/full-time win for Juve will give you 15/20.

Cesena 9/2 | Draw 11/4 | Roma 13/20
Relegation threatened Cesena are coming off a well-deserved 1-1 draw away to Inter Milan. They have only managed four wins from 27 Serie A clashes and face a disappointing Roma side on the slide. Roma fell to their first defeat in the league since November, to see their grasp on a place in the Champions League next season loosen with a 2-0 loss at home to Sampdoria. The defeat helped Juventus get one hand on a fourth straight Serie A title, thanks to their 14-point advantage with 11 games remaining. It’s do or die for Roma and with their quality at hand, they should bounce back to glory days here. 

Lazio 4/10 | Draw 36/10 | Hellas Verona 62/10
Lazio exerted some pressure on city rivals Roma with a 2-0 win at Torino which has the Biancocelesti breathing down the necks of the Giallorossi. Felipe Anderson scored two goals in seven minutes to earn Stefano Pioli's men a win which gives them a three-point cushion over Napoli in the hunt for the third Champions League berth on offer to Serie A. It also gave Lazio their fifth victory in as many weeks as confidence grows amongst the team, staff and supporters as they look to overtake Roma. They will have to get past a tricky Verona side next, who have some decent form behind them of late. Luca Toni netted both goals for Hellas Verona, who took a big step away from the bottom three with a 2-0 victory at home against European hopefuls Napoli. Unbeaten in their last four matches Verona will be looking for at least a point this weekend. However, Lazio look unstoppable at present and a home win + Both Teams To Score looks a given at 19/10. 

Parma 3/1 | Draw 9/4 | Turin 1/1
Relegation bound Parma were hammered 4-1 on Sunday away to Sassuolo and to make matters worse, they have had two points deducted by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for failing to pay their players' salaries. The cash-strapped club's players have not been paid all season and the Crusaders have a debt of 197.4m euros (£145m). They are bottom of the league, 15 points from safety and have already been docked a point. The two-time UEFA cup winners have a bankruptcy hearing set for March 19. Parma have managed just three victories from 25 matches this campaign. Having seen their 12-game unbeaten run ended by Udinese last weekend, Turin fell to their second consecutive loss on Monday night, going down 2-0 on their ground against a rampant Lazio side. Turin have a dreadful record against Parma, losing nine of the last 10 meetings on their turf. Despite Parma’s problems within the club, I’m backing them to come out firing and give their supporters something to smile about with a victory. 

Sampdoria 18/10 | Draw 21/10 | Inter Milan 31/20
A shock 2-0 victory away to Roma saw Sampdoria pick up their third victory on the trot. They return to their home fortress where they remain unbeaten with six wins and seven draws from 13 matches. Inter Milan's hopes of qualifying for Europe next season were dealt a blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Cesena. They have battled to maintain winning form and will struggle against an in-form Sampdoria side. However, they have won six of the last seven meetings against them and should settle for a draw.  

Napoli 9/20 | Draw 7/2 | Atalanta 57/10
Napoli saw their push for a place in the Champions League next season suffer a setback as they were beaten 2-0 at Hellas Verona on Sunday. They return to their home patch where they have won the last three meetings against their opponents. Atalanta are winless in their last six games after playing out to a goalless stalemate at home against Udinese this past weekend. Just four points clear of the relegation zone, Atalanta will be desperate for a positive result. Napoli win + Both Teams To Score looks a good bet at 2/1.

Udinese 9/4 | Draw 9/4 | Fiorentina 5/4
Udinese failed to build on their 3-2 victory at home against Torino last weekend as they were held to a goalless draw away to 10 men Atalanta. Fiorentina came from behind to pile the misery on Filippo Inzaghi and his AC Milan team with a 2-1 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Four wins from their last six games, Fiorentina look more capable of getting the victory here. There has not been a draw between these sides since the 2006/07 season and with Fiorentina in form, that doesn’t look like changing. The away win is tipped. 

Written by Vuvuzela

Vuvu’s Serie A Picks

Chievo WIN 14/10
AC Milan WIN 15/20
Sassuolo WIN/DRAW 6/10
Juventus HT-FT DOUBLE 15/20
Roma WIN 13/20
Lazio WIN+BTTS 19/10
Sampdoria DRAW 21/10
Napoli WIN+BTTS 2/1
Fiorentina WIN 5/4