Roma – Juventus
Last season’s top two meet in what already feels like a precarious fixture. Neither side won their first game and, as such, the losers could finish this weekend five or six points off the top of the table. Both teams have reinforced in the last few days, Roma adding defender Lucas Digne on loan from Paris Saint-Germain while Juve did the same with Juan Cuadrado from Chelsea, but equally both should expect much better from the players they already have.
Their respective new-look attacks struggled on the opening weekend, but this fixture has taken on the feel of a derby in recent years and I expect both teams to play with a much higher tempo and aggression than we have seen from them so far.
Draw and both teams to score – 4.80
Atalanta – Frosinone
Frosinone did not appear daunted on their top-flight debut, attacking Torino early and even taking a lead before falling to an eventual 2-1 defeat. On paper, their opposition are weaker this weekend, but this time they are not playing at home.
It is early to make sweeping judgements of Frosinone but they showed in that first game that they are willing to throw men into the attack. Five of Atalanta’s last six games have featured three or more goals.
Over 2.5 goals – 2.23
Carpi – Inter
Inter beat Carpi 4-2 this summer in a highly entertaining friendly. A repeat of that scoreline might not be so easy for the hosts to swallow. After shipping five goals against Sampdoria, Carpi need to demonstrate that they are not hopelessly out of their depth.
The good news is that they will not have to face Mauro Icardi – who scored in July’s friendly but is out with a thigh injury. The bad news is that Stevan Jovetic should start in his stead.
Away win – 1.72
Chievo – Lazio
Turfed out of the Champions League after a woeful performance away to Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday night, how will Lazio respond? Napoli struggled in the wake of their defeat to Athletic Bilbao at the same stage of last year’s competition, collecting only four points from their next four Serie A games. Lazio cannot afford to be complacent against opponents who persist in punching above their weight.
Chievo opened their season by beating Empoli 3-1 last Sunday and have not lost any of their last eight home games in Serie A, dating back to last season. They are capable of holding their own.
Double chance: home or draw – 1.67
Genoa – Verona
Enterprising and ambitious, Verona very nearly upset Roma in the match which kicked off the new campaign. Only a late rally from the Giallorossi denied them, but Andrea Mandorlini’s side should go after Genoa with the same conviction. Given Genoa’s own attacking proclivities, this could become an open game if they do.
Over 2.5 goals – 1.95
Napoli – Sampdoria
A defeat away to Sassuolo was not exactly how Napoli were hoping the Maurizio Sarri era would begin. Better things are expected of the manager’s first competitive game at the Stadio San Paolo, although Samp are not to be underestimated. Luis Muriel and Eder were in scintillating form as they combined for four of their team’s five goals against Carpi.
Napoli would love to see similar ruthlessness from Gonzalo Higuaín, who has looked jaded since returning from the Copa America. He and his team-mates will have opportunities to refresh themselves against a Samp defence that has looked far from robust under Walter Zenga.
Home team to win and both teams to score – 3.10
Torino – Fiorentina
Perhaps the most impressive debut of Serie A’s opening weekend was that of Paulo Sousa on the Fiorentina bench. His team comfortably outplayed Milan – even before the Rossoneri went down to 10 men – and demonstrated that they had grown in a new direction since parting ways with Vincenzo Montella, adopting their new manager’s preference for high pressing and direct passing.
They might find the challenge stiffer against a Torino team who have built astutely despite selling Matteo Darmian this summer, and who look more than capable of pushing for a European place. But I was sufficiently impressed with the Viola to consider them worth backing here.
Away win – 2.75
Udinese – Palermo
Udinese’s victory over Juventus was at once hugely impressive and yet not all that meaningful. They had been outplayed for most of the match and survived through a mixture of bloody-mindedness and good fortune. They scored with the first real opportunity that came their way.
That is nothing to be ashamed of – a win away to the champions is worth celebrating however you get it – but this context should make us wary of assuming the Friuliani will follow up with similarly strong results against lesser opponents. Palermo were arguably more impressive in their win over Genoa, with Franco Vázquez pulling the strings.
Away win – 3.55