Italian Serie A Preview

Scudetto holders Juventus look to have completed their title challenge after their victory at home against Genoa, thus a fourth consecutive Serie A championship looks inevitable. Roma; Lazio, Sampdoria, Napoli and Fiorentina are the main contenders vying for a spot in Europe as well as a place in the biggest club competition, the UEFA Champions League. The bottom three clubs; Cagliari, Cesena and Parma are a minimum of five points off safety, making this game-week at the utmost importance to produce positive results. Only 10 games remain, that’s 10 weeks of entertaining football and 10 weeks to get richer than you currently are.

Roma 11/10 | Draw 23/10 | Napoli 24/10
Daniele De Rossi ended Roma’s disastrous run of results, securing a 1-0 victory away to Cesena last time out. The Giallorossi were in crisis and under pressure after crashing out of the Europa League and seeing their lead over third-placed Lazio cut to just one point. Rafa Benitez’s men were leapfrogged by Sampdoria in Fourth place after another defensive howler, with Duvan Zapata rescuing a point for Napoli against 10-man Atalanta. With just one victory from their last six games, they travel to Roma hoping to find some sort of form. Both sides will be desperate for maximum points but home advantage should give Roma the edge, which will add even more misery to Napoli’s Champions League hopes. 

Atalanta 17/10 | Draw 21/10 | Turin 17/10
Atalanta are off the back of a brave 1-1 draw away to Napoli. That stalemate gave them a five point cushion from the drop. Turin got back to winning ways against relegation bound Parma with a 2-0 victory. Prior to the win, The Granata had lost their last two matches, which made the victory all the more important. It should be a tight affair, just as it was in the reverse tie when the sides were inseparable, playing out to a goalless draw. However, Atalanta’s bold performance against Napoli a fortnight ago, gives me the confidence to back them to claim maximum points. 

Cagliari 32/10 | Draw 27/10 | Lazio 8/10
A 3-1 defeat away to AC Milan gave Cagliari their sixth defeat from their last eight matches. They will be eager for a positive result when they host the in-form Lazio. The Roma based side have been outstanding, winning six matches on the trot. A routine 2-0 victory on home soil against Hellas Verona showed Lazio’s strength in attack as well as their solid defensive unit. It’s difficult to see Lazio dropping points against Cagliari who have been dreadful. The relegation candidates are low on confidence and lack the firepower to penetrate Lazio’s backline. The away win is tipped.  

Genoa 21/20 | Draw 23/10 | Udinese 11/4
Genoa have been poor of late with back-to-back losses after a hard fought 1-0 defeat away to Juventus. They have struggled to score goals in recent weeks and after a week’s rest due to International duty, the team will hopefully be rejuvenated. It’s Udinese up next, fresh off a 2-2 draw at home against Fiorentina. With just one victory in their last seven league games, Udinese remain in 12th place but have a game in hand. However, they have a leaky defence and Genoa are tipped to snatch the win.  

Hellas Verona 17/20 | Draw 26/10 | Cesena 32/10
Hellas Verona gave their all as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at high flyers Lazio. Prior to that loss, they defied all odds as they pulled off a shock 2-0 victory on their turf against Napoli. Relegation threatened Cesena come to town off the back of a 1-0 home defeat against second-placed Roma. They have struggled on the road with just one win from 13 matches. Verona are unbeaten against Cesena in the last six meetings at home and are tipped to get the win. 

Inter Milan 1/5 | Draw 52/10 | Parma 13/1
Inter Milan suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Sampdoria last time out. They are now winless in their last six matches in all competitions and will be desperate to return to winning ways here. Parma look destined for the drop; the club are in total disarray after being declared bankrupt a few weeks ago. Bottom of the league; 15 points from safety and have managed just three victories from 26 Serie A matches, Parma’s campaign has only gotten from bad to the pits. To make matters worse, they record at the San Siro Stadium does not read well, with Inter winning six of the last seven meetings. Inter are tipped for the HT-FT double at 6/10.

Palermo 14/10 | Draw 22/10 | AC Milan 2/1
Palermo are winless in their last five matches after losing 1-0 away to Chievo. It also stretches their terrible record on the road to a winless nine travels. The defeat practically ends any outside hopes Palermo still might have harboured of qualifying for Europe next season. AC Milan have not won back-to-back league games since October but have the chance to do so when they travel to Palermo at the weekend. Jeremy Menez scored two goals and assisted one as Milan put a three game winless streak behind them with a comfortable 3-1 win over Cagliari. It was a much needed win for the Rossoneri, to relieve some of the pressure on coach Filippo Inzaghi. Palermo won the reverse tie 2-0 but Milan are tipped to inflict revenge on their opponents. 

Sassuolo 12/10 | Draw 22/10 | Chievo 24/10
Sassuolo dropped two places on the log, from 12th to 14th after a 3-1 defeat at Empoli. It was their fifth loss from their last six matches and another defeat here could possibly see them sink a further two places down the Italian table. Chievo put plenty of daylight between themselves and the relegation zone thanks to a 1-0 win on their ground against Palermo. The win puts them 11 points clear of the bottom three with as many games of the season remaining. Sassuolo and Chievo share the same points (32), making this fixture all the more important in terms of bragging rights. Chievo won this tie 1-0 last season and should be backed on the win/draw double at 6/10.

Fiorentina 7/10 | Draw 27/10 | Sampdoria 38/10
Two second-half goals from Mario Gomez were not enough for Fiorentina to take all three points at Udinese last time out. It was a costly result for Fiorentina, as they lost ground on the battle for a top three place and a ticket to the Champions League. They have fallen to sixth in Serie A, six points adrift of third-place Lazio. Before the entertaining 2-2 draw at Udinese, The Viola followed their 2-1 league triumph over AC Milan with a 3-0 victory at Roma to advance to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. Sampdoria battled to a fourth consecutive victory, with a 1-0 win on their turf against Inter Milan as they eye a Champions League place after climbing above Napoli, who were held 1-1 by Atalanta. They have remained unbeaten at their fortress with seven wins and seven draws from 14 games but that will all count for nothing as they travel to unfamiliar turf. It’s difficult to separate the sides at present with both teams buzzing. The draw is on the cards.

Juventus 4/10 | Draw 37/10 | Empoli 72/10
The Serie A champions are unbeaten at home in the last 42 games with 38 victories and just four draws after a 1-0 win against Genoa. Carlos Tevez continued his fine form with his 24th goal of the season to help Juve stay 14 points clear at the top of Serie A. Tevez scored twice in Juve's Champions League win in Dortmund in midweek and was the key man again. The Old Lady have have lost just one match in the league and Empoli is doubtful to break that kind of form here.  However, to their credit, Empoli are unbeaten in their last eight matches and won’t make this an easy task for the Italian champions. But still, Juventus should prove too strong for their opponents and another HT-FT double tipped at 9/10 will do it. 

Written by Vuvuzela

Vuvu’s Serie A Picks

Roma WIN 11/10
Atalanta WIN 17/10
Lazio WIN 8/10
Genoa WIN 21/20
Hellas Veron WIN 17/20
Inter Milan HT-FT DOUBLE 6/10
AC Milan WIN 2/1
Chievo WIN/DRAW 6/10
Fiorentina DRAW 27/10
Juventus HT-FT DOUBLE 19/20