A much-changed Juventus side lost to SPAL for only the second time ever in match day 32 to extend the scudetto formalities for at least another week. In a move that didn’t sit well with SPAL’s relegation rivals, Massimiliano Allegri gave senior debuts to three players and came away from Ferrara with nothing.
Elsewhere Milan beat Lazio in a fractious game that ended in a mass brawl but gave Gennaro Gattuso’s team three valuable points in its quest for Champions League soccer next season. Roma and Inter also both won, while Fiorentina picked up its 16th draw of the campaign.
The teams at the bottom of the table all had a disappointing weekend so the race to avoid the drop continues.
We are now looking forward to match day 33 with all games aside from one taking place on Saturday this week – and once again I’m going to take a look at the fixtures from a betting perspective. I’ve chosen Inter vs Roma as my featured game of the week.
Featured Game – Inter vs Roma
Inter look to have steadied the ship after the extended confusion with Mauro Icardi. But a Roma victory in Milan would change everything once again and this game could be pivotal in the race for Champions League qualification.
Here are the latest game odds courtesy of Betway.
Inter to Win
Roma to Win
This game brings two sides that are finally finding a little consistency together and promises to be a full-blooded encounter. The price for a home win seem remarkably short given the two sides’ positions in the league and first impressions of the odds make a wager on Roma an attractive proposition.
But before I make my pick and predictions I’m going to take a closer look at both teams.
It is still unclear where Mauro Icardi will be playing his football next season but the Argentinian was instrumental in the Nerazzurri’s victory over Frosinone last weekend. He set up two of the three goals in what was potentially a tricky fixture given the Canarini’s previous two victories.
Another three points for Luciano Spalletti’s side would consolidate third position and keep the points gap separating Inter from the chasing pack. But the Milan side will also know that a draw would be more useful to them than Roma and may well set up accordingly.
The 3-0 defeat in the Rome derby seemed to knock the Giallorossi’s confidence as it then went on to lose two of its next three games – including one to relegation-threatened SPAL. But a 1-0 victory over Udinese last week followed an away win at Sampdoria and the customary draw with Fiorentina – and things seem to be back on track for Claudio Ranieri’s team.
Edin Dzeko scored his first Serie A goal at the Stadio Olimpico for a year in the win over Udinese and the Bosnian will be hoping to keep up that goal scoring touch away at Inter.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Although both sides possess plenty of attacking talent I have a feeling that this may turn into the stereotypical Italian game with two defenses keeping very tight and not allowing the flair players to really get going.
There are still five games to go after this weekend but a point here would be a huge psychological boost to Inter’s attempts to finish in third and I feel a draw is the more likely result. The odds for a share of the spoils is very attractive too,
Pick: The Draw 4.00
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.
Parma vs Milan
Parma to Win
Milan to Win
Parma has now only won once in the last 12 games and has experienced two successive scoreless draws. It seems unlikely that Roberto D’Aversa’s side can get drawn into the relegation battle but there is the need for a few more points to make the last weeks of the campaign less fraught.
Milan’s hard-fought victory over Lazio last weekend was its first in five attempts – and it had seemed as if the defeat in the Milan derby had knocked the Rossoneri’s confidence. But a win in Parma would really put the pressure on the chasing pack and with the box to box running of Franck Kessie, Milan have a match winner in the middle of the field.
Parma seemed to have switched off for summer a few months early and an away victory is very possible here – although the odds are not that inspiring. Using this as part of a multiple bet might be more profitable.
Bologna vs Sampdoria
Bologna to Win
Sampdoria to Win
Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was not happy at all with Juventus’ decision to rest players against SPAL last week as he felt it gave his side’s rivals an advantage in its bid to avoid relegation. But the Rossoblu now have two home games where six points are not out of the question – and if that is achieved then Serie A security should be assured.
Sampdoria gave its fans the victory that they wanted the most with the 2-0 win over city rivals Genoa last weekend. Fabio Quagliarella – of course – was on the score sheet once again and he will be the main threat for a Bologna side desperate for the points.
Samp does harbor hopes of Europa League qualification itself but I think the home side will come out on top here.
Cagliari vs Frosinone
Cagliari to Win
Frosinone to Win
Cagliari is enjoying a slight improvement in fortunes as the season draws to a close – and last week’s 1-1 draw away at Torino should be seen as a very good result given the opposition. The Sardinian club is always better at home and with the visitors in such dire straits a home win seems likely.
Frosinone was very disappointing in its 3-1 loss to Inter last week after picking up six valuable points in its previous two games against Parma and Fiorentina. Defeat here could see the Canarini ten points adrift – depending on other results – and that is surely too much of a gap to make up by the end of the season.
Cagliari is on a good run at the moment and should be good for another three points here that would take the club into the top half of the table.
Empoli vs SPAL
Empoli to Win
SPAL to Win
Empoli earned a valuable point away at Atalanta on Monday night and will have a renewed sense of confidence going into this massive relegation six-pointer. The Azzurri has not actually lost at home since the end of January and a win here would put a lot of pressure on the teams above.
SPAL will have been delighted with its victory over the champions elect last week – even with the much-changed line up put out by Juventus. Those three points helped the Ferrara club climb the table momentarily and continued a fine run of form that has seen Leonardo Semplici’s team win four of the last five.
Even with SPAL’s winning streak in mind I feel Empoli will continue its own formidable home form and pick up three invaluable points from this one.
Genoa vs Torino
Genoa to Win
Torino to Win
Genoa is not playing well at the moment and last week’s Derby della Lanterna defeat to Sampdoria will have hurt everyone at the club. The club is slowly being dragged into the relegation fight and what seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago might be come true if Cesare Prandelli cannot get his players to perform in the coming weeks.
Torino’s push for European qualification has stalled in the last few weeks as it has only won one of its last five games. Draws against Parma, Cagliari and Fiorentina has slowed down the Turin club and three points here would put the pressure back on Roma and Atalanta above.
This is likely to be a tight game but Torino might have just enough to edge out the win.
Lazio vs Chievo
Lazio to Win
Chievo to Win
I don’t usually like to describe any top flight game as a dead cert but I will be very surprised if Lazio do not come away from this one without three points. A sense of indignation surrounded the Rome club after its defeat to Milan last week and a big win here should be expected.
Chievo limp on with its Serie A season and can now only attempt to play for some kind of pride for the reminder of the campaign. The Mussi Volanti still have just the solitary victory this season and that could well remain the case after the last six games.
Although the odds do not offer any real value there is no other wager to make here than a Lazio home win.
Udinese vs Sassuolo
Udinese to Win
Sassuolo to Win
Udinese has been flirting with relegation for a while now but it is largely down to its away form. The Zebrette has not lost at the Dacia Arena since the middle of January – and has had a string of tough away fixtures to deal with. Igor Tudor seems to have turned things around slightly in Udine so this could end in a much-needed three points for the home team.
Sassuolo is comfortably in mid table without any need to really push on too hard. Just two victories since the turn of the year have been supplemented with enough draws to keep the minnows safe and another season of Serie A soccer should be enjoyed in Reggio Emilia next year.
Three points for the home side seems the most likely outcome here as both clubs look to cement their top flight status.
Juventus vs Fiorentina
Juventus to Win
Fiorentina to Win
Juventus tricked everyone last week and delayed the formal crowning by losing to SPAL. This week should see the Bianconeri back to normal and the scudetto officially handed over. Massimiliano Allegri will be hoping that those celebrations will follow Champions League success and make it a good week for the Turin club.
Stefano Pioli’s exit from Fiorentina has become increasingly bitter as Vincenzo Montella attempts to settle things down before the big Coppa Italia semi final second leg against Atalanta next week. The Viola has not won a league game since the middle of February however and – although this is not the game to turn that form around – something will need to change in Florence soon.
Three points for Juventus as the club is officially crowned kings of Italy.
Napoli vs Atalanta
Napoli to Win
Atalanta to Win
A lot depends on Napoli’s Europa League second leg game against Liverpool to how this one will go. If the Partenopei lose in midweek then – with Champions League soccer already assured – the rest of the domestic season could go downhill very fast indeed.
Atalanta continue to push for a Champions League spot – but last week’s 0-0 draw at home with Empoli was very disappointing and Gian Piero Gasperini will be expecting much more form his side in Naples.
There are external factors still to come that could play a part in the outcome of this game but I’m going to go for a draw.
Juventus look almost certain to finally win the league this weekend – although the scudetto has realistically been settled for quite a while now. But there is plenty to play for at both ends of the table – with the European places are still up for grabs as well as various clubs bidding to escape the drop to Serie B.
As ever, let me know what you think of my predictions and picks – and enjoy the games.