Atalanta - Fiorentina
Paulo Sousa felt that Fiorentina should have got more than a 1-1 draw from their midweek match against Tottenham, but in the long run he might be grateful that they didn’t. There could be worse outcomes for his team than an honourable exit from the Europa League in next Thursday’s return fixture, leaving the Viola free to focus on pursuing third place in Serie A.
For now, Fiorentina face another three-day turnaround for their match away to Atalanta. They have won eight consecutive head-to-heads with these opponents, and, despite the fixture congestion, should be able to make it nine in a row. Atalanta have not beaten anybody since 6 December.
Away win - 2.10
Genoa - Udinese
No team has been less prolific in Serie A than Udinese, for whom even the return of Duván Zapata has proved insufficient to reinvigorate an anaemic attack. But Genoa themselves are averaging only one per game, and with leading scorer Leonardo Pavoletti out of action, this could be a low-scoring affair.
At least one team fails to score - 1.86
Sassuolo - Empoli
Where once these teams aspired to gatecrash the European places, now both are drifting towards a midtable finish. With 35 and 34 points respectively, neither Sassuolo nor Empoli need worry too much about relegation, but equally it is hard for either to look ahead when they have no wins to show for their last seven and six matches respectively.
I can’t say that I have huge faith in either side at present, but as a betting proposition, the visitors look the more interesting. Empoli have the fifth best away record in Serie A, and their only road defeat since October was against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.
Away win - 4.05
Torino - Carpi
Torino’s victory over Palermo last Sunday was just their second in 12 matches, so how confident should we be about their prospects of overturning Carpi? The visitors do have a woeful record away from home, with one win, three draws and eight defeats, but they had been enjoying an improved run of form before facing Napoli, Fiorentina and Roma in consecutive matches.
All things being equal, I would take Torino to win the game. But all things are not equal in betting, and they have played too poorly lately to justify such lopsided odds in my mind.
Draw no bet: away win - 4.05
Frosinone - Lazio
The only Italian team to emerge with a positive result from European action this week, Lazio still need to improve domestically if they are to compete on a continental stage again next year. Frosinone are deceptively tricky opponents, 18th in the table but boasting more victories at the Stadio Matusa (17) than the Biancocelesti have achieved so far this season on their travels (12).
The hosts are at close to full strength, with Adriano Russo the only doubt, whereas Lazio - with Dusan Basta, Santiago Gentiletti and Stefan De Vrij all missing - are short almost an entire back four. If the Biancocelesti play with the same commitment as they did in Turkey then they are unlikely to be beaten, but I could see them getting caught in another stalemate.
Draw - 3.70
Roma - Palermo
Real Madrid provided Roma with a reality check on Tuesday, winning 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico to effectively eliminate the Giallorossi from the Champions League. But Luciano Spalletti’s team could still draw plenty of positives from an evening on which they stood toe-to-toe with Cristiano Ronaldo and company, and from which they might well have taken a draw if they had been awarded a rightful penalty when Dani Carvajal brought down Alessandro Florenzi inside the area.
Their performance was in-keeping with those that they have produced over the last month, winning four straight in Serie A. Another one like it should be enough to see off struggling Palermo with ease.
Roma to win with a one-goal handicap - 1.97