Juventus kicked off last week’s games and looked unimpressive even though they eventually ran out 4-1 winners against a bereft Udinese side. Wonder kid Moise Kean scored two and reminded everyone why they thought he was going to be the next big star a few years ago.
Napoli fell further behind the leaders with a 1-1 draw against Sassuolo. The Partonepei should still finish in second, but Milan’s resurgence – including their 2-1 victory away at Chievo last week – adds a little bit of excitement at the top of Serie A.
Elsewhere Inter, Roma and Torino all won again to make the race for Champions League spots the story to watch over the next few months.
We are now looking forward to match day 28 – which begins with Fiorentina travelling to Sardinia to take on Cagliari on Friday night. I’m going to once again take a look at the weekend’s fixtures from a betting perspective and have chosen the Derby della Madonnina between Milan and Inter as my game of the week.
Featured Game – Milan vs Inter
There was a time when these two clubs were battling for titles but now it is Champions League qualification and city pride that is on the line. Milan, in particular, has improved recently and this game has all the makings of a classic match
Here are the latest game odds courtesy of Betway.
Milan to Win
Inter to Win
Inter are still dealing with the ‘Icardi situation’ but results have not really been affected as they beat SPAL 2-0 at home last week. It is just one defeat in the last five now for the Nerazzuri and confidence will be high even though most bookmakers will fancy a Milan victory.
Before I make my pick and predictions I’m going to take a closer look at both teams.
Milan has been in incredible form since the winter break and is now on a five game winning streak. The opponents in those games have not been the most difficult to beat, although the 3-1 win away at Atalanta is particularly notable.
The difference has been largely the introduction of attacking talent Krzysztof Piatek. The Poland international has scored eight goals in nine games and is starting to turn Milan into a real force again. If he is able to keep anywhere near this kind of form going, next season could be very interesting indeed.
Milan is a side that looks like it wants to win every game going and finish as high up the table as possible. At the moment it is six points behind Napoli in third and it would not be a massive surprise if Milan manage to catch the Naples side before the end of the season.
The predicted fall out over the confusion of Mauro Icardi’s ‘injury’ and lack of game time has not really happened. Couple with the fact that Inter generally fall apart after the winter break, the club’s performances over the last few weeks has actually been quite good.
We will see this week if Inter can capitalize on its impressive 0-0 draw in Frankfurt in the Europa League but it also needs to concentrate on its league position as a defeat to arch rivals Milan – and results elsewhere – could make it very tight in the race for Champions League qualification.
This is the last game of match day 28 so Inter will know how everyone else has got on. Luciano Spalleti’s side should need no further motivation going into a Milan derby but a top four finish is a must.
Betting Pick and Prediction
It is a cliché to suggest that the formbook goes out of the window for derby games but the only way I see Inter standing a chance of a result in this one is if Milan are dragged into an overly passionate affair and loses its composure.
Gennaro Gattuso has surprised me with his relative calmness as a head coach but if anyone is likely to get over excited at the thought of the Derby della Madonnina it is the former Milan midfielder.
I can’t see past a Milan victory here however. With the form the Rossoneri are in another three points seems the more likely outcome.
My Pick: Milan to Win 2.50
Predictions for the Week’s Other Serie A Games
Here is how I think the rest of the weekend’s Serie A games will shape up.
Cagliari vs Fiorentina
Cagliari to Win
Fiorentina to Win
The bookmakers seem to like the look of an away win for the Viola in the Friday night game but Cagliari has won three out of its last five home games and has been hard to beat at the Sardegna Arena, if not on the road.
Fiorentina, on the other hand, has been infuriatingly inconsistent. Draws against Napoli, Inter and Lazio recently have all been impressive but they have allowed the Florence club to drop down the table and European qualification may be out of its grasp via this route.
I can see a narrow home win for Cagliari here to give the Sardinian club even more breathing space between itself and the relegation battle. The price for a home win makes this even more attractive.
Sassuolo vs Sampdoria
Sassuolo to Win
Sampdoria to Win
A draw against Napoli last week is probably a good result for Sassuolo but Roberto De Zerbi’s side will be disappointed that it didn’t take all three points and record only its second win of 2019. Its Serie A status is already secured for next season and it does feel like a little like the Emilia-Romagna club is winding down for the season.
Sampdoria could actually make a play for Europa League qualification if it was able to put in a run of form but recent games does not suggest that Samp is able to be that consistent – even with the best intentions of Serie A’s top goal scorer Fabio Quagliarella.
With neither team looking like they really want to take the initiative this has a draw written all over it – and those odds are certainly the most interesting of the three.
SPAL vs Roma
SPAL to Win
Roma to Win
SPAL is starting to flirt dangerously with the prospect of relegation to Serie B with only one win since October – and none at all at home in that time. A 2-0 defeat at Inter last week was to be expected but Leonardo Semplici’s side will need to get some points from somewhere soon.
Eusebio Di Francesco was relieved of his duties as head coach after Roma crashed out of the Champions League last week – following the humiliation of a 3-0 derby defeat against Lazio. Claudio Ranieri has now rejoined the club and oversaw a 2-1 victory against Empoli on Monday.
A new coach might be just what Roma need to kick start its season now it has just Serie A to concentrate on and I feel an away win is the most likely result here – even if it would only provide meager betting returns.
Torino vs Bologna
Torino to Win
Bologna to Win
Alongside Milan, Torino is the real form side in Serie A at the moment and a home win against relegation-threatened Bologna would seem to be one of the more predictable results of the weekend’s action. Scoring goals has been Torino’s problem this season – with just 35 in 27 Serie A games – but Andrea Belotti has scored three in his last two games and could find himself on the score sheet again in this one.
Bologna had seemed to be in relegation mode before last weekend’s victory over Cagliari. But it is difficult to see how the well-liked club will escape the drop this season. Empoli and Frosinone have also been winning the odd game and Bologna need to get some points now before a tough run-in at the end of the season.
Torino is odds on to win against Bologna and I wouldn’t go against the bookmakers on this one. This could be a game to include in a multiple bet rather than a single win though.
Genoa vs Juventus
Genoa to Win
Juventus to Win
The result in Juventus’ Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid will have a big say in how this one goes. With the scudetto all but assured, Massimiliano Allegri rested players against Udinese and could well do the same for the trip to Genoa. If Juve’s Champions League dream is over by the time this game comes around it could be a deflated side that takes the field.
Genoa might well capitalize on Juve’s minds being elsewhere. The Rossoblu lost last weekend away at Parma but had been on a six game unbeaten streak that has seen the club consolidate its mid table position.
With everything else that is going on with Juventus at the moment this could be the best time to bet against a win for the Bianconeri. A home win is probably asking too much but a price of 4.00 for the draw is tempting.
Atalanta vs Chievo
Atalanta to Win
Chievo to Win
Atalanta’s back-to-back victories over Fiorentina and Sampdoria came at just the right time for the Bergamo club as a series of defeats had threatened to destabilize its attempt of European qualification this season. A Champions League spot would seem to be out of Atalanta’s grasp now but another three points against lowly Chievo will help grab a Europa League place.
Chievo has been rock bottom of Serie A since the second game of the season and last weekend’s defeat to Milan – although expected – suggests that the Verona club will be relegated long before the end of this campaign. The Mussi Volanti has won just one game all season and that trend is not going to change now.
This will end in a convincing win for the home side but wagers involving total goals might be more profitable than a straight win bet.
Empoli vs Frosinone
Empoli to Win
Frosinone to Win
A real six pointer at Empoli this weekend as two clubs in danger of relegation face off at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. Empoli’s draw against Parma two weeks ago was encouraging but the Tuscany club has only won one game since the start of December and need to make home advantage tell against Frosinone.
Only bottom of the table Chievo has scored as few goals as Frosinone this season and things are not looking good for the Canaries. The club has had a run of very difficult fixtures recently but it needs to get all the points it can now if it isn’t to fall away before the end of the season.
This game may not be a classic but both sides need to put in a performance to give them hope of saving their seasons. A home win seems the most likely outcome however.
Lazio vs Parma
Lazio to Win
Parma to Win
The stunning Derby della Capitale win over Roma has revitalized Lazio as it now looks to push for a European spot that didn’t seem to be there a month ago. A draw away at Fiorentina last week was a good result for Simone Inzaghi’s men and a run of favorable fixtures could make all the difference for the Biancocelesti.
Parma has just about done exactly what it wanted to achieve this season by securing its Serie A status for another year at least. Considering where the club has come from in recent seasons you can hardly begrudge Parma being satisfied with that. Last week’s win over Genoa arrested a recent slide in form and although Lazio should win this I’m not sure it will bother the away fans too much.
Napoli vs Udinese
Napoli to Win
Udinese to Win
Napoli look like a side waiting for the end of the season now that any real chance of the scudetto has disappeared. Only a late Lorenzo Insigne goal saved a point against Sassuolo last week but Carlo Ancellotti’s men have only lost once at home this season and that is unlikely to change with the visit of Udinese.
Udinese could do with a few more wins to ensure safety this season but back-to-back games against Juventus and Napoli is not the time to demand three points. Head coach Davide Nicola will look to future games against relegation rivals to pick up the points his side needs.
Napoli may be going through the motions but a home win is to be expected here.
The Derby della Madonnina is the real eye catching fixture this week and with both sides chasing Champions League spots there is more on the line than normal.
It will also be fascinating to see if Torino can carry on its recent fine form and look to spoil the party.
As ever, let me know what you think of my predictions and picks – and enjoy the games.