Carpi - Udinese
After a surprising draw away to Lazio in their first game back from the winter break, are Carpi ready to make a sustained push for top-flight survival? For now I would suggest that we probably ought not to start getting ahead of ourselves. It is one thing to park the bus against out-of-form opponents and quite another to line up to win a game at home.
Udinese have as many victories (four) as defeats away from home and appear to have found a new goal threat in Chelsea loanee Stipe Perica - who has scored in each of their last two games.
Away win - 2.50
Fiorentina - Lazio
It is getting harder and harder to ignore Fiorentina’s title credentials. One point off the top after 18 games, they are the only team in Serie A that can boast two players - Josip Ilicic and Nikola Kalinic - with nine or more goals each, leaving them potentially less reliant on any one individual than most of their title rivals.
Lazio have a good track record against them in recent years, winning all of the last three meetings (including two at the Stadio Artemio Franchi) and drawing the two before that. But the Viola have won seven out of nine at home this season, scoring 20 goals along the way, while Lazio have a paltry six points from eight away games.
Half-time/full-time: Home/Home - 3.00
Roma - Milan
La Repubblica defined this as the “Derby dei Precari” - the Derby of the Precarious Ones - a reference to the fact that both managers, Rudi Garcia and Sinisa Mihajlovic, find their jobs under threat. Roma ought to be challenging for the Scudetto, and boast the second-most prolific attack in the league, but repeated defensive mishaps leave them six points off the pace. Milan are another five further back despite spending more than €90m in the transfer market last summer.
Roma showcased their frailty as they twice threw away leads to draw 3-3 with Chievo in midweek, but can draw encouragement from the fact that they will have both Miralem Pjanic - their leading scorer and assist-man - and Radja Nainggolan back from suspension. That should provide them with a far more cohesive midfield platform than Milan, whose enduring lack of fluidity in that department is alarming.
Home win - 2.00