Chievo – Inter
One headline in Verona-based newspaper L’Arena described this as a “Champions League battle”. The author’s tongue was almost certainly wedged into his cheek at time of writing but for now these two teams are indeed setting the pace in Serie A. Inter are the only team in the division to have won all three games, but Chievo sit two points behind them, in joint-second. The Flying Donkeys’ one draw came away to Juventus in a match where they had a goal wrongly disallowed.
Nor have Chievo got this far by parking the bus. They had the worst scoring record in the division last season, scraping together just 28 goals, but this year they have eight already. Inter, despite conceding only one goal so far in this campaign, have hardly looked impenetrable at the back.
Both teams to score – 2.06
Atalanta – Verona
The likelihood of an overhead kick being scored in this game is heavily diminished by the absence of Mauricio Pinilla, who must serve a one-game suspension after getting himself sent off (after scoring an overhead kick, of course, as well as one other goal) during Atalanta’s 2-2 draw with Sassuolo. Still, there ought to be plenty of opportunities here for his team-mates Germán Denis, Maxi Moralez and Alejandro Gomez. Verona’s defending this season has not been good at all.
Home win – 2.00
Bologna – Frosinone
The only two teams left without a point in Serie A, both Bologna and Frosinone are well aware of the importance of this fixture. Lose here, and the prospects of survival will already start to look pretty grim. If local reports are to be believed, then defeat could even cost the Bologna manager, Delio Rossi, his job.
Both sides have problems up front, scoring just one goal apiece through three games. On paper, Bologna look better equipped, with Mattia Destro added to their attack during the transfer window, but he has failed to make an impact so far.
Draw – 3.45
Genoa – Juventus
“One result can change everything,” said Massimiliano Allegri on the eve of his team’s Champions League opener against Manchester City. He might just have been right. Juventus’s 2-1 victory at the Etihad showed that the champions remain a force to be reckoned with; now they must draw a line under their shabby start to the domestic season and show that they can still win games in Italy as well.
Genoa have won six consecutive Serie A games at the Marassi, but Juventus’s timing is good. The hosts are short of options up front with both Serge Gakpe and Leonardo Pavoletti injured.
Away win – 1.78
Roma – Sassuolo
Roma survived their own personal Space Jam movie on Wenesday. Italian newspapers have long been in the habit of referring to Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team-mates as “Martians” but, with the help of an otherworldly goal from Alessandro Florenzi, the Giallorossi brought their opponents back down to earth.
Beating Sassuolo ought to be a more straightforward task, but there is a danger in taking this fixture too lightly. The visitors have not collected seven points from three games by accident. They are a team in form, even if they will be missing suspended full-back Sime Vrsaljko, and quite capable of making life difficult for opponents who may suffer some fatigue from their midweek exertions.
Draw – 4.60
Torino – Sampdoria
Two of the most entertaining teams to watch so far in this season, Torino and Sampdoria have already scored 16 goals between them. Five of those have belonged to Eder, and he is a tempting price to add to his tally in what ought to be an open game.
Eder to score – 3.90
Carpi – Fiorentina
Marco Borriello did not take long to make an impact at Carpi, scoring with his first touch for his new club, and yet he might not make the starting line-up on Sunday. The club continues to have high hopes for 22-year-old Nigerian Jerry Mbakogu – who scored 15 goals in Serie B last season, but is yet to do so in the top-flight – and there is only space for one striker to start in manager Fabrizio Castori’s 3-5-1-1.
Either way, Carpi will be looking to build on their first Serie A point. They might just have a chance against this Fiorentina team who, whilst talented, have been prone to imploding so far under Paulo Sousa. The Viola have thrown away leads against both Torino and Basel, and had men sent off in each of their last two games.
Draw – 3.40
Napoli – Lazio
Napoli seemed to jolt out of their early-season slumber on Thursday night, walloping Club Brugge 5-0 in the Europa League. Lazio, contrastingly, dozed off right at the end of their game against Dnipro, allowing their opponents to equalise in the 94th minute.
This is an important test for both sides as they each seek to establish themselves as contenders once again for a place in the top three. Napoli will struggle to achieve that goal as long as they remain so vulnerable at the back. They have conceded at least two goals in 10 of their most recent 12 Serie A games.
Lazio to score over 1.5 goals – 3.00