Italian Serie A Preview

The Serie A table is looking very familiar as Juventus are now back where they belong - at the top of the table after edging Napoli 1-0 last weekend.  The win made it 15 on the spin for the Italian champions and Juve are now just two wins away from the Serie A record for consecutive victories established by Inter Milan in 2006/07. If the Old Lady wins their next league game at Bologna, it would be down to Inter themselves to stop that from happening, when they visit Juventus Stadium on the 28th of February. Fiorentina then made ground on second place Napoli with a 2-1 victory over Inter on home soil. That defeat proved crucial for Inter who were leapfrogged by Roma on Friday night after they ousted newcomers Carpi 3-1 in front of their own fans. New boys Frosinone did well to scrape a 2-1 win at Empoli, but they still remain three points away from safety. Hellas Verona and Carpi occupy the other two places, while Genoa and Sampdoria continue to flirt with the relegation zone. With 13 games to go anything can be expected, but for now, let’s just focus on the up and coming week.  

Friday 19 February

11/2 Bologna | Draw 28/10 | Juventus 11/20 (21:45) 

Mattia Destro's late winner helped Bologna to a 1-0 victory over hapless Udinese at the Stadio Friuli. They return to their ground where they are unbeaten in their last three matches, so it’s doubtful they will go down without a fight against Juventus. The defending champions moved top of Serie A for the first time this season as Simone Zaza’s spectacular, if lightly deflected, goal two minutes from time, extended Juventus’s run of successive league victories to 15 with a 1-0 win, and put a bold full-stop to a sequence of eight Napoli wins. There is a possibility of Juventus playing a slightly weaker team against Bologna with their round of 16 clash against Bayern Munich more important. However, the Old Lady need to maintain their lead at the top of the log, so they should do enough to claim maximum points.

Saturday 20 February

5/4 Hellas Verona | 22/10 | Chievo 9/4 (19:00) 

Bottom-of-the-log Hellas Verona ended a run of five matches unbeaten as they fell to a 5-2 thrashing at Lazio. Verona have managed just one victory all season and look very likely to make the drop to Serie B. Chievo settled for a hard-fought 1-1 draw at home to Sassuolo last time out. The Flying Donkeys have been below-par on their travels this term, but judging by Verona’s horrid form this season, an away win is more than likely. However, the bottom-dwellers are desperate to stay afloat, making this a very cagey encounter. The Under 2.5 Goals market is the way to go at 7/10.  

6/10 Inter Milan | 29/10 | Sampdoria 9/2 (21:45) 

Inter Milan have managed just two wins from their last eight matches following their 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina. They will be overjoyed to return to their home patch where they have claimed seven wins from a possible 12. Sampdoria's winless run stretched to seven matches after a goalless draw at home to Atalanta. They have suffered five defeats in that horrid run and are in desperate need to turn their form around. Inter need to get back to winning ways if they are to snatch a European place this season. The home win is tipped. 

Sunday 21 February

27/10 Atalanta | 23/10 | Fiorentina 21/20 (16:00) 

Atalanta are 12th on the table with 28 points after a well-deserved goalless draw at Sampdoria last Sunday. The stalemate at Sampdoria made it eight league games without a win. Fiorentina stretched their unbeaten run to five matches last time out with a hard fought 2-1 victory at home to Inter Milan. Fiorentina go third in Serie A thanks to Khouma Babacar's injury-time winner, in a match with three late red cards. The Lilies have been brilliant on their turf with 10 wins from 13 matches, but it’s away from home where they have lacked consistency. However, form is temporary and class is permanent, back Fiorentina to come away with maximum points. 

11/10 Genoa | 9/4 | Udinese 26/10 (16:00) 

Genoa put up a good fight, but it wasn’t enough as they fell to a hard-fought 2-1 defeat away to AC Milan – extending their winless run to five matches. Udinese fell to a disappointing 1-0 home defeat last time out to stretch their run without a victory to seven matches which includes four defeats. To make matters worse, their record away to Genoa doesn’t bode well as they have managed just one win against their opponents in eight meetings. A tight affair is expected, but Genoa are tipped to knick the win.  

11/10 Sassuolo | 9/4 | Empoli 5/2 (16:00) 

Sassuolo were unlucky not to take all three points as they settled for a 1-1 draw at Chievo in a match they dominated. The draw extends their winless run to seven matches. However, Empoli haven’t been much better as they remain without a victory in their last six games following their disappointing 2-1 home defeat against relegation-threatened Frosinone. Both teams will have a cautious approach to the game as neither side can afford another defeat. Back the second half to be the Highest Scoring Half at 11/10.  

13/20 Torino | 27/10 | Carpi 9/2 (16:00) 

Torino returned to winning ways last weekend with an impressive 3-1 victory at Palermo, ending a winless run of five matches. Carpi lie second from bottom of the log with just four wins from 25 matches. They have been in terrible form in recent weeks with three defeats on the trot, scoring just twice and conceding six times. They have registered just one win from 12 travels and that record is unlikely to improve here. It might not be pretty, but Torino is tipped to grind out the win.  

37/10 Frosinone | 27/10 | Lazio 15/20 (19:00)

Frosinone made history last weekend, recording their first ever away win in the top flight, as Daniel Ciofani scored a brace in a crucial 2-1 victory at Empoli. They return to home soil where they have won five of the 13 games played and are more than capable of getting the better of Lazio who have struggled on the road. However, the Rome-based club have lost just once in their last eight matches. The safest bet would be Both Teams To Score at 17/20.  

4/10 Roma | 37/10 | Palermo 72/10 (21:45)

Roma's 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Carpi shot them into fourth place on the table and it was also their fourth consecutive victory - their best league run since their blistering five-game winning run at the start of last season. Palermo come to town without a win in their last four matches, including a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Torino last time out. The reverse fixture ended 4-2 in favour of Roma, and with the kind of form they are in now, they should pull the double over their opponents. Back the home team to Score In Both Halves at 23/20.  

Monday 22 February

6/10 Napoli | 3/1 | AC Milan 42/10 (22:00) 

Napoli, aiming to win the title for the first time since 1990, fell to a hard-fought 1-0 defeat at Juventus last time out. They had won their previous eight games and boasted the league’s most prolific attack with 53 goals. Napoli will be back home though, where they remain unbeaten with 10 wins from 12 games. Goals from Carlos Bacca and Keisuke Honda fired AC Milan to a 2-1 win over Genoa. The victory extended their unbeaten run to seven matches, including four victories. This one could go either way, but looking at recent meetings it’s usually a high scoring game with Napoli winning four of the last five head-to-heads. Take Over 2.5 Goals at 7/10. 

Serie A Picks
Juventus WIN 11/20
Hellas Verona UNDER 2.5 GOALS 7/10
Inter Milan WIN 6/10
Fiorentina WIN 21/20 
Genoa WIN 11/10
Torino WIN 13/20
Frosinone BTTS 17/20
Napoli OVER 2.5 GOALS 7/10

Written by Aaron Crowie