Sampdoria – Cesena
Like an early 1980s Steve Perry, Cesena manager Domenico Di Carlo has spent the last week bellowing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the direction of anyone who will listen. Sure, his team might be seven points adrift of safety, having just lost at home to a Chievo side who were once relegation rivals, but “eight games are still a lot. And we can get results home or away.”
Can they really, though? Cesena have won only a single away game so far this season, and that was against last-placed Parma. They should lose this weekend and, given that only Juventus have conceded fewer goals at home than Samp this season, there’s a good chance that Di Carlo’s team will not score either.
Home team to win without conceding – 2.18
Juventus – Lazio
It might be too late for the title race, but from an entertainment perspective this match has arrived at just the right moment. Lazio have won eight consecutive games to propel themselves up to second in the league – vaulting their neighbours Roma in the process. They are the form team in Serie A, and now they have a chance to take on the best team in Serie A. At a moment when Juventus might just be distracted by their Champions League quarter-final, too.
But the Old Lady is in pretty good shape herself. The only goal that she has conceded in her last eight games was not against Fiorentina, Borussia Dortmund or Monaco, but instead against last-placed Parma. Juve were guilty of excessive rotation and taking an opponent too lightly that day. They are unlikely to make the same mistake this weekend.
The visitors, furthermore, have awkward injuries to contend with. Stefan De Vrij is out, and Stefan Radu, who might have slotted inside to replace him, has been unable to train this week, too. Marco Parolo will be absent from midfield. Losing this spine will deny Lazio a good deal of solidity at the back. But with Felipe Anderson, Antonio Candreva and Miroslav Klose all in good form, they will still retain a devastating counter-punch.
Home team to win and both teams to score – 4.40
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