Carpi – Napoli
Consecutive 5-0 wins have transformed the mood at Napoli. Maradona had criticised new manager Maurizio Sarri after a slow start, saying the club would finish no higher than mid-table with him in charge. Arrigo Sacchi replied on Tuesday by saying that the Argentinian would have been lucky to be coached by such a talented tactician.
But if Sarri’s Napoli have shown they can produce barnstorming performances, then they still need to prove they are capable of consistency. And Carpi are playing better than their record suggests. They had more shots (and shots on target) than Fiorentina at the weekend, and might be more efficient against a Napoli defence that has hardly looked resolute.
Both teams to score – 1.88
Chievo – Torino
Chievo had their bubble burst by Inter on Sunday, but Torino remain undefeated after an impressive win over Sampdoria. The exceptional form of Daniele Baselli in midfield, allied to Fabio Quagliarella’s finishing and Bruno Peres’s marauding runs from right-back, is making this team hard to contain.
That said, Torino will not have things easy against the Flying Donkeys, whose intense pressing and work-rate make them a very different proposition to Walter Zenga’s decadent Samp. My one concern for Chievo is whether legs will be heavy from a furious effort against Inter, but otherwise they can be a match for the Granata.
Draw and both teams to score – 4.80
Fiorentina – Bologna
Delio Rossi was not kidding himself after Bologna’s first win of the season. The Felsinei were outplayed by fellow newly-promoted side Frosinone on Sunday, but escaped with all three points thanks to an efficient piece of finishing from Anthony Mounier. “We are still a work in progress,” confessed their manager at the end.
Unfortunately for him, Fiorentina look a lot further advanced in their own rebuilding job. They have won three out of four league games so far under Paulo Sousa, and kept clean sheets in every victory.
Home team to win without conceding – 2.25
Inter – Verona
Roberto Mancini continues to play down the hype around his Inter team after a fourth consecutive victory, noting that Roma won 10 in a row to start the 2012-13 campaign and still finished as runners-up. The Nerazzurri have not played scintillating football thus far but, then again, is it not often said that the key to winning titles is being able to pick up three points even when you are not playing well?
In any case, Inter should extend their run a little further on Wednesday. Brilliance is not required against a Verona side that arrives without the injured Luca Toni, Emil Halfredsson and Rafael Marquez.
Home team to win without conceding – 2.23
Juventus – Frosinone
Off the mark at last, Juventus will fancy their chances of adding another three points here. Frosinone are the last team in the division without a point. Although they deserved something from Sunday’s game against Bologna, the fact that they didn’t get it only serves to reinforce the sense that they lack the tools up front to make their stay in the top-flight a long one.
Juventus are missing two of their own best two forwards, Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata each ruled out due to injury, but that only guarantees that Paulo Dybala will feature. He has found the net in both matches he has started for the Old Lady so far.
Dybala to score – 2.10
Lazio – Genoa
A short turnaround might be a blessing for Lazio, giving them less time to dwell on the trauma of that 5-0 thrashing by Napoli. That said, manager Stefano Pioli does have some serious questions to answer. Already this season his team had been beaten 3-0 by Bayer Leverkusen and 4-0 by Chievo.
Perhaps it is significant that Stefan De Vrij missed two of those three games. The centre-back will be absent once again here, as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, but Lazio have a miserable recent record in this fixture regardless of who is playing – losing their last eight matches against Genoa across all competitions.
Away win – 5.25
Palermo – Sassuolo
Unbeaten in nine Serie A matches dating back to last season, Sassuolo led twice away to Roma on Sunday and, for now, at least, remain level with the Giallorossi in the table. It has been a less positive few days for Palermo, for whom a 3-2 defeat away to Milan is nothing too discouraging, but injuries to forward Uros Djurdjevic and goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino just might be.
Away win – 3.50
Sampdoria – Roma
Francesco Totti scored his 300th Roma goal at the weekend, but he is expected to drop back to the bench for this trip to Sampdoria. Meanwhile, Daniele De Rossi may be deployed in the centre defence – as he was against Juventus last month. The times, they are a changin’ in the Eternal City, and the truth is that this team produced its best performance of this season – beating the Bianconeri – with those two old stalwarts no longer stationed at the heart of the team.
Roma could certainly do with a win to preserve the early advantage that they had earned over Juventus. Sampdoria manager Walter Zenga has promised an attacking approach from his side, so there ought to be opportunities there to exploit.
Away win and both teams to score – 3.85
Empoli – Atalanta
After building their successes on defensive solidity last season, Empoli have been scoring – and conceding – rather more freely this time around. Their four games so far have featured 14 goals, a statistic which reflects greater trends in Serie A. Not a single game in the division has yet finished goalless this season.
Over 2.5 goals – 2.02