Chievo – Parma
Jonathan Biabiany’s absence from the Parma team that faced Milan last Sunday – as well as the last-minute collapse of his mooted summer transfer to the Rossoneri – was explained when the Ducali confirmed this week that he had been diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia. The player has now been ruled out indefinitely, while further medical evaluations are made.
His absence comes as a significant blow to Parma, but they are remain a superior side to Chievo – who were extremely fortunate to beat Napoli last weekend despite their opponents having 33 shots on goal.
Antonio Cassano to score – 3.30
Genoa – Lazio
This has been an unforgiving start to the season for Genoa, who opened with a visit from last season’s third-placed finishers, Napoli, and followed that up with an away game against last season’s fourth-placed team, Fiorentina. They emerged with credit from both games, but also with only a single point. Without the efforts of goalkeeper Mattia Perin, that too might have eluded them.
Now they host Lazio, who made their ambition clear with a number of high-profile signings over the summer. Marco Parolo opened his Lazio account against Cesena last weekend, and is an inviting price to grab another here.
Marco Parolo to score – 6.00
Roma – Cagliari
Nineteen months after being sacked by Roma for the second time, Zdenek Zeman returns to the Stadio Olimpico. There will be mixed feelings among the home fans towards a manager who was once greatly adored in these parts, but on the pitch they have little to fear. The Giallorossi have, after all, signed two of Cagliari’s best players – Radja Nainggolan and Davide Astori – during the last two transfer windows.
Astori will not be available on Sunday, and nor will Juan Iturbe after both players picked up injuries during Wednesday’s Champions League win over CSKA Moscow. But Roma have a deep enough squad these days to cope.
Roma to win with a one-goal handicap – 1.88
Sassuolo – Sampdoria
After losing 7-0 to Inter last season, Sassuolo responded by drawing their next game, away to Napoli, 1-1. Fans will be hoping for a similar reaction here after they lost by that exact same scoreline at San Siro last weekend. They might not get it against a Sampdoria team that has started the new season well.
Away win – 2.75
Atalanta – Fiorentina
Two games without a goal were enough to set alarm bells ringing at Fiorentina. They broke that duck emphatically with a 3-0 win over Guignamp in the Europa League on Thursday, but while fans will draw encouragement from Juan Cuadrado’s excellent performance, Mario Gómez once again struggled.
Atalanta are coming off a good win away to Cagliari, are traditionally strong at home and may benefit from their opponent’s reduced preparation time. But I have a hard time imagining this Fiorentina team being shut out yet again.
Both teams to score – 1.89
Udinese – Napoli
Napoli’s grim start to the new campaign looked to be getting even worse as they fell behind at home to Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday. Happily for Rafael Benitez, the Partenopei rallied to win 3-1, saving him from further unwelcome questions regarding his future with the team.
But much more is still required of a side whose minimum ambition for this season remains a top-three finish. Napoli struggled last season in league games that immediately followed a Thursday night European fixture – winning just one out of four. Udinese were desperately disappointing against Juventus last weekend, but may be a different proposition at home.
Draw – 3.20
Palermo – Inter
Last season’s thrashing of Sassuolo turned out to be a false dawn for Inter, who went on to win just five of their next 18 games. Walter Mazzarri is eager to avoid a repeat of that slide, and there are good reasons to believe his team can do so. The emergence of Mateo Kovacic and Mauro Icardi have lent Inter a youthful energy that they had sorely lacked in the recent past.
Palermo are still adjusting to life in the top-flight, with the sales of both of last season’s top two goalscorers, Kyle Lafferty and Abel Hernandez, continuing to look ill-advised. Their home form will be key to their chances of survival this season, but getting something here looks like a tough ask.
Away win – 1.98
Torino – Verona
Torino also lost both of their most prolific players – Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci – over the summer, and so far nobody has stepped in to fill the void. The Granata have failed to score in either of their first two league games, and carried that run over into Europe this week as they drew 0-0 away to Club Brugges.
Still, this could be the first time that we see Torino’s new first-choice strike partnership of Amauri and Fabio Quagliarella play together from the start. Enough quality remains for this team to do better than they have done so far.
Home win – 1.90
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