The big game of week 24 in Italy ended with a very impressive looking Milan side coming away from Bergamo with three points as their new signings performed just as Gennaro Gattuso would have hoped in the 3-1 victory over Atalanta.
It ended the home team’s good run of form and turns the Rossoneri into definite Champions League qualification contenders.
Elsewhere games went much as expected – although Napoli will be disappointed that they were unable to beat Torino at home and must now all but concede the title to Juventus.
Fiorentina, on the other hand, featured in another high scoring game beating SPAL 4-1 away as Inter overcame off the field issues to record a strong 2-1 victory over Sampdoria.
We are now looking forward to match day 25 – which begins with Milan looking for another three points at home to relegation threatened Empoli on Friday night. I’m going to once again take a look at the weekend’s fixtures from a betting perspective and have chosen Fiorentina vs Inter as my game of the week.
Featured Game – Fiorentina vs Inter
Another mouthwatering game this weekend as Fiorentina welcome Inter to the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Here are the latest game odds courtesy of Betway.
Fiorentina to Win
Inter to Win
Inter were able to shrug off the current problems surrounding Mauro Icardi to record a good win over Sampdoria last week. Certain players that have underperformed this season – such as summer signing Radja Nainggolan – stepped up and gave the Milan side a much needed victory to make their fans forget everything else that is going on for at least 90 minutes.
Fiorentina start a really tough run of games with this home fixture against Inter but has looked very good in the past few weeks – and scoring a lot of goals in the process. A home win would be a great boost for their hopes of European qualification so everything is set up for a fascinating evening in Florence on Sunday.
But before I make my pick and predictions I’m going to take a closer look at both teams.
Fiorentina was involved in one of the first big VAR-related controversies in their game at SPAL last weekend. A goal for the hosts was chalked off after consultation with the video referee – and Fiorentina immediately capitalized by converting a penalty to put them 2-1 up instead. The Viola went on to record another big victory and will be full of confidence ahead of Inter’s visit.
The home fans have certainly got used to seeing goals this season and although coach Stefano Pioli has been criticized at times he is seemingly getting results from his young side.
I like the attacking style of play that Fiorentina is showing at the moment and Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone could cause the Inter defense a lot of problems on Sunday.
I am not entirely convinced by the home side’s defense however and that could be where it comes unstuck – especially if Inter has its mind on the game.
I was expecting Inter to completely implode following a poor start to the season – and then Mauro Icardi’s self-exclusion drama. But Luciano Spalleti has somehow got his team to get results with back-to-back victories over Parma and Sampdoria consolidating their third place position in Serie A.
After a brilliant World Cup for Croatia Ivan Perisic has been nowhere good enough and early on in the season it seemed as though his mind was elsewhere as transfer speculation grew. But he is just one of Inter’s big players who has now started to perform.
Inter will have to step up to ensure that they are comfortably in the Champions League spots come the end of the season but with the clubs directly below them all dropping points at vital points of the season they will should be safe – only Milan’s resurgence could stop them from claiming third.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Neither of these sides have looked consistent enough over the entirety of the campaign for my liking but Inter has made third position its own since the early weeks of the season and Fiorentina has recorded some truly impressive results.
Inter does have their Europa League second leg tie against Rapid Wien on Thursday night but as it is at the San Siro I can’t see it tiring the side too much for the Fiorentina game on Sunday.
The draw is the most attractive price out of the three main markets as I’m not sure either side will stamp their full authority on the game. But for an even better wager I’m going to go for a draw and both teams to score – 4.20 at Betway – as Fiorentina and Inter have both been able to find the net on a regular basis recently.
My Pick: The Draw and Both Teams to Score 4.20
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.
Milan vs Empoli
Milan to Win
Empoli to Win
I’m really enjoying the resurrection of Milan this season – with the January signings of Krzysztof Piatek and Lucas Paqueta making the Rossoneri real contenders for a top four finish. Milan has not lost in the league since before Christmas and got a huge win away at Atalanta last weekend.
Empoli is skirting the relegation places at the moment and will not be relishing a visit to the San Siro. They did get a good win against Sassuolo last week but even a price of 9.00 does not interest me here.
A Milan victory is the only result I expect on Friday night but with odds of 1.33 I am going to look elsewhere for a value bet.
Torino vs Atalanta
Torino to Win
Atalanta to Win
Atalanta’s recent form has started to shorten their odds but last week’s defeat to Milan could serve as a wake up call to anyone getting carried away by the performances of Gian Piero Gasperini’s men – and the goal scoring ability of Duvan Zapata in particular.
Torino has quietly gone about its business and currently sit in ninth position – only three points off a Europa League spot – but do not seem to attract the same kind of praise as teams like Fiorentina.
Turin’s ‘other’ club has not lost at home since mid-December – and that was against Juventus – so those home odds look good to me. But to play it safe the same price for a draw is my recommendation.
Frosinone vs Roma
Frosinone to Win
Roma to Win
The first thing to note from those odds is that a price of 1.47 is far too short for a Roma win given their unpredictability this season. I do expect the visitors to win but a bet at that price does not interest me.
Frosinone can lose 5-0 at home one week and then win 4-0 the next so it is another club who are hard to call. The home side did get a vital – and somewhat surprising – win over Sampdoria two weeks ago but I cannot see it getting anything from a Roma side with teenager Nicolo Zanioli in such sparkling form.
Sampdoria vs Cagliari
Sampdoria to Win
Cagliari to Win
Sampdoria are on a bad run of form and I have been predicting the club to pick up results for the last few weeks without any luck. Three successive defeats have derailed the home side’s European push but I would expect a win against this opposition.
Cagliari has not travelled well this season – having only won one Serie A game on the road – and odds of 4.33 are not enough to attract my interest.
The home win is the stand out bet of the three but with a price of just 1.87 there is not enough value in backing Sampdoria.
Bologna vs Juventus
Bologna to Win
Juventus to Win
Sinisa Mihajlovic has started to give Bologna hope after taking over in January – with the win away at Inter particularly impressive. But things are not looking good for the club and a defeat to the runaway leaders – and other results not going their way – could plunge them into either greater trouble.
Juventus can just about count on a 35th scudetto so the players may have their minds on Champions League glory – but an away victory seems most likely here. The odds are too short to interest me but I could be tempted by the draw if I was in the mood for a long shot.
Chievo vs Genoa
Chievo to Win
Genoa to Win
Chievo is rooted to the bottom of Serie A and it looks like the Verona club will be ending their eleven-year stay in the top flight at the end of the season. It has only won one game all season and looks completely devoid of confidence.
Genoa, on the other hand, is on a four game unbeaten streak and recorded a very good 2-1 victory over Lazio last week. The club has now climbed safely into mid table and I think 2.40 for an away win on Sunday afternoon is fairly good value.
Sassuolo vs SPAL
Sassuolo to Win
SPAL to Win
SPAL has found life difficult in its second season in the top flight this season but the 4-1 defeat to Fiorentina last week was still a surprise. The players would point to the controversial VAR ruling as completely changing the look of the game however and with a refreshingly attacking style of play I can see the visitors getting some kind of result here.
Sassuolo has not performed in the last few weeks and the defeat to Empoli was a particular low point. I’m not sure that SPAL will have enough to come away with the three points but 3.25 for a draw looks like a good bet.
Parma vs Napoli
Parma to Win
Napoli to Win
Napoli has now drawn three out of its last four Serie A games – and only scored in the 3-0 win over Sampdoria. Maybe the exit of talismanic Marek Hamsik has had something to do with the side’s dip in form but 1.55 for an away win seems far too short given that the scudetto is already virtually on its way to Turin.
Parma looks like it will survive in the top flight for another season – much to the delight of many fans – and although I don’t believe they have enough to beat their opponents on Sunday evening, I do like the look of odds of 4.20 for the draw.
Match day 25 has some more really intriguing looking fixtures with the race for the European spots especially interesting. Milan’s return to form has been made at exactly the right time and it could be the battle for Europa League qualification that is the big story towards the end of the season.
The bottom of the table is perfectly poised as well though so, once again, this weekend’s results will be crucial to all involved.
As ever, let me know what you think of my predictions and picks – and enjoy the games!