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Milan 1.25, the draw 6.10, Livorno 13.00
Four consecutive victories have reignited Milan’s hopes of a Europa League berth, but reports of internal strife persist. Clarence Seedorf’s relationship with his players has been called into question, with Ignazio Abate, in particular, understood to be distraught at his lack of playing opportunities. The full-back’s hopes of making it into Italy’s World Cup squad are slipping by the week.
Regardless of the mood around the club, however, the Rossoneri should not have any trouble beating a bad and dispirited Livorno team. Back Milan to overcome a one-goal handicap at odds of 1.83.
Atalanta 1.95, the draw 3.25, Verona 4.55
Two teams of over-achievers meet at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, knowing that the loser can probably kiss goodbye to their hopes of a European berth. Both Atalanta and Verona have seen their results dip, although the latter club did at least score three times en route to defeat against Fiorentina last weekend.
With Luca Toni very much in the hunt for this year’s capocannoniere title, and Atalanta typically more prolific at home, the goals could flow again here. Take the overs at 1.88.
Catania 2.20, the draw 3.35, Sampdoria 3.45
Sampdoria were humiliated by Mauro Icardi and Inter last weekend, but don’t let the 4-0 scoreline fool you. Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team were actually very competitive throughout the first half and unlucky to trail at the break. Given that they were playing with 10 men from the 20th minute onwards, it was perhaps unsurprising that they should fade towards the end.
With a full complement of players and, perhaps just as importantly, their manager back on the touchline following the end of his suspension, I expect Samp to put in a solid display against opponents who sit bottom of the table. Back them in the double-chance market at 1.70.
Chievo 2.05, the draw 3.30, Sassuolo 3.90
Victory over Livorno last weekend moved Chievo five points clear of the relegation zone, but defeat to 19th-placed Sassuolo would drag them right back into the mix.
The good news for the Flying Donkeys is that they have been pretty good at home lately, winning three of their last five at the Bentegodi. Their opponents will also be missing defender Lorenzo Ariaudo through suspension, although they do get Paolo Cannavaro back in his place. The home win is my pick at 2.05.
Genoa 2.25, the draw 3.10, Cagliari 3.60
It has been a slow limp towards the finish line for both Genoa and Cagliari, but with five games left to go both can feel pretty confident of staying up. The visitors are eight points clear of the relegation zone following their draw with Sassuolo last week, while the hosts are six further ahead.
Neither team is playing well, but having the fear of relegation stripped away could have a liberating effect. The overs are an attractive price at 2.30.
Lazio 1.90, the draw 3.45, Torino 4.50
Only one of Torino’s ‘Goal Twins’ will be on hand at the Stadio Olimpico, Alessio Cerci having earned a suspension with his fourth yellow card of the campaign. But one suspects that Ciro Immobile can still do plenty of damage on his own. He has scored six times in his last four games.
Lazio are short-manned themselves, with Federico Marchetti, Miroslav Klose, Ederson and André Dias all expected to miss this game through injury. The away win looks tempting at such a long price, but I think Immobile to score is the better bet at odds of 3.25.
Parma 2.55, the draw 3.40, Inter 2.85
Financial concerns are weighing heavily on the minds of Inter’s directors as their team prepares for this crucial road trip. For now the Nerazzurri sit two points clear of Parma in fifth place, and that is a position they need to preserve. Falling to sixth would mean entering the Europa League in the third qualifying round – scheduled to begin in late July. For Inter, that would also mean having to abandon their participation in the lucrative International Champions Cup, an invitational preseason tournament played in the United States.
Parma, though, have not lost at home in Serie A since November, and most recently beat Napoli 1-0 at the Tardini. Rather than pick a winner, I might consider backing Mauro Icardi to score at 3.20. He has hit four in his last two games, and is finally showing signs of living up to his immense potential.
Udinese 3.45, the draw 3.35, Napoli 2.20
There will be no Gonzalo HIguaín for Napoli this weekend, after the Argentinian striker injured his thigh during a training-ground collision with Raúl Albiol. The impact of his absence should not be underestimated. Higuaín has 17 goals to his name so far this Serie A season, whereas the man most likely to replace him, Duván Zapata, has just two.
For that reason I would consider Udinese in the double chance market at 1.70. They have won five of their last seven in all competitions at the Stadio Friuli.
Juventus 1.15, the draw 7.80, Bologna 19.00
For once Juventus get to play before Roma do, avoiding the additional pressure that comes with knowing that their rivals have already won. Not that it seemed to really bother them in either of the last two weeks, as they dispatched Livorno and Udinese with ease.
It is safe to expect a similar outcome on Saturday against 17th-placed Bologna, but finding a bet with worthwhile odds is not so straightforward. Backing the home team to win without conceding might be the best you can do at 1.55.
Fiorentina 3.15, the draw 3.40, Roma 2.35
Ultimately, Roma’s efforts this season look to have been in vain. With five games left to go, they are on course to finish the season with 91 points, and yet by the time they kick off this weekend, they could be as many as 11 behind first-placed Juventus. That is quite the dispiriting place to be ahead of what could be an intensely difficult fixture.
Roma, furthermore, are some way below full-strength, missing such important members of their starting XI as Kevin Strootman, Mehdi Benatia and Mattia Destro. As well as they have played lately, with seven straight wins coming into this weekend, I think that this game might finally prove a bridge too far. At 3.15, try the home win.