Udinese 1.8, the draw 3.35, Palermo 4.75
The headline-writers have called it a “mal di trasferta” – a travelling sickness. It is not a recent affliction for Palermo – whose inability to obtain results away from home, even during phases when they are dominant at the Stadio Renzo Barbera is well-documented. But when the team as a whole is struggling as they are right now – sat 17th in Serie A – the problem is cast into sharper focus.
Palermo have lost eight of their last 10 away fixtures, yet more troubling still is the fact that they have failed to even score in the same proportion of those matches. Udinese are not as secure at the back as they used to be before Samir Handanovic’s move to Inter this summer, but they are coming off two good wins in the league. Take the home clean sheet at 2.4.
Lazio 2.4, the draw 3.2, Inter 3.0
The knock on Andrea Stramaccioni’s Inter is that they always play to the level of their opposition. Against the best teams in Serie A, that is a blessing – the manager having steered his team to wins over Milan, Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina already this year. Against the division’s lesser lights it can also be a curse – Inter dropping points cheaply against Siena, Atalanta and Cagliari.
Lazio fall into the former category, meaning that we should see a strong performance on Sunday. The Biancocelesti will have Miroslav Klose back from injury as well as six different players in their likely starting XI (Abdoulay Konko, Giuseppe Biava, Cristian Ledesma, Hernanes, Antonio Candreva and Stefano Mauri) who have scored against Inter before. Rather than pick a winner, go with over 2.5 goals at 1.9.
Fiorentina 1.4, the draw 4.25, Siena 8.0
All eyes have been on Stevan Jovetic in training this week as the Montenegrin forward aims to make his first appearance for Fiorentina in more than a month, but arguably just as important to the team would be the return of David Pizarro after the midfielder spent last week in Chile grieving for the death of his sister. Either way, Fiorentina are rightly heavy favourites for this Tuscan derby. The smart bet, though, may again be on over 2.5 goals – available for this game at 2.0. There have been at least three goals in Fiorentina’s last six Serie A games.
Milan 1.18, the draw 6.5, Pescara 14.0
With Milan back in form and Pescara struggling to stay afloat, there would seem to be only one likely outcome at San Siro on Sunday, but it is hard to find any betting value here supporting the home side. Backing Stephan El Shaarawy to score each game has been a rewarding investment of late, but at just 1.6 to do so here the rate of return is not great. As unlikely as it might sound, Pescara – who did after all win last weekend – are worth considering in the double chance market at 4.45.
Catania 1.8, the draw 3.5, Sampdoria 4.5
There will be no return to the Stadio Angelo Massimino for Sampdoria’s Maxi Lopez – not in a playing capacity at any rate – with the former Catania forward continuing his recovery from the knee injury which has kept him out for more than a month. Sampdoria are finally beginning to recover some important players, however, with Nicola Pozzi making his first appearance since September on Monday. Still, Catania’s home form is excellent, and against opponents who have conceded at least two in each of their last five games, I would back them to win at 1.8.
Chievo 3.85, the draw 3.45, Roma 1.95
The first time Roma’s players were introduced to the club’s American president James Pallotta, he jumped fully-clothed into a swimming pool. Back then he was trying to make a point about outside-the-box thinking, but when he returns to Italy this weekend he will just be hoping to see his team extend their four-game winning streak. Given that Roma have kept just one clean sheet away from home all season, consider Alberto Paloschi – who has five goals in as many games – to score for Chievo at 2.45.
Genoa 2.4, the draw 3.1, Torino 3.1
Gigi Del Neri soldiers on as manager of Genoa, Sunday’s loss to fellow strugglers Pescara representing his seventh defeat in eight games since taking charge in October. Torino are going through a similarly rough spell – with just one win in their last 10 games. With both teams so short of confidence, the draw, at 3.1 feels like a strong possibility.
Juventus 1.27, the draw 5.25, Atalanta 11.0
Superstitious Juventus fans were left wondering what it all meant on Wednesday night, as Sebastian Giovinco, wearing the No12 shirt, scored his 12th goal for Juventus in the 12th minute of the second half of their Coppa Italia win over Cagliari while the calendar showed 12/12/12. Somehow it felt more consequential than Nicklas Bendtner getting ruled out for two or more months with a tendon injury.
Neither event is likely to have any great impact on Juventus’s performance this weekend. Between league and cups, the Bianconeri have won their last three games 1-0 – so bet on under 2.5 goals at 2.05.
Parma 2.0, the draw 3.2, Cagliari 4.0
This is another match-up between teams struggling for form. Parma have won just once in their last six games, while Cagliari have not even managed to do that. The Sardinian club are traditionally very poor travellers, but have collected as many points on their travels this year as they have at home. I would be tempted by the draw at 3.2.
Napoli 1.38, the draw 4.4, Bologna 9.0
Napoli will be happy just to get back to football after a week overshadowed by the news that the Italian Football Federation’s prosecutor Stefano Palazzi had recommended nine month suspensions for club captain Paolo Cannavaro and his fellow defender Gianluca Grava over their alleged failure to report an attempted fix. Palazzi also called for the team to receive a one-point penalty.
The players’ agent, Gaetano Fedele, has contended that both players are innocent and an appeals process awaits but in the meantime Cannavaro should start as normal on Sunday. Back his team to win even with a one-goal handicap at odds of 2.1. Bologna have scored just four times away from home all season.