It was a big week for Torino as the Granata beat Milan 2-0 to momentarily take the fourth Champions League spot in Serie A – before Atalanta’s win over Udinese on Monday handed it back to Gian Piero Gasperini’s men.
Milan’s defeat saw Gennaro Gattuso’s side drop to seventh in the table and continues a poor run of form that has seen the Rossoneri drop out of the European places and lose ground on its rivals.
At the other end of the table Frosinone’s defeat at home to Napoli all but sends the club down to Serie B – and another winless week for Empoli, Genoa, Parma and Udinese means that the relegation battle carries on for at least another week.
We are now looking forward to match day 35 with the games starting on Friday this week – and once again I’m going to take a look at the fixtures from a betting perspective. I’ve chosen Lazio vs Atalanta as my featured game of the week.
Featured Game – Lazio vs Atalanta
Lazio bounced back from its shock defeat at home to Chievo to beat Sampdoria last week and is right back in the chase for European qualification. Atalanta enjoyed a very good week by climbing to fourth in the table thanks to a win over Udinese after beating Fiorentina in midweek to make it to the Coppa Italia final.
Here are the latest game odds courtesy of Betway.
Lazio to Win
Atalanta to Win
This has all the makings of a classic as defeats at this time of the season can mean the difference between Champions League qualification and spending the summer regrouping.
Before I make my pick and predictions I’m going to take a closer look at both teams.
Losing to Chievo at this stage of the season was unacceptable for Lazio and a good win at Sampdoria last week means that confidence will be regained going into this very tough game against one of the form sides of Serie A.
A defeat for the Rome club would probably end its chances of making the Champions League and head coach Simone Inzaghi will know that three points would really put the pressure on the clubs around it as the season draws to a close.
The Bergamo club has enjoyed an excellent season and will be facing the same opposition in the Coppa Italia final at the end of May. But all thoughts will be on this crunch league game as the Orobici look to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in its history.
Atalanta has to face Genoa, Sassuolo and a Juventus side already crowned champions after this one and can now see that fourth spot is in its own hands. Duvan Zapata was unlucky not to add to his impressive goal tally in the 2-0 victory over Udinese on Monday and will be the main threat once again here.
Betting Pick and Prediction
This promises to be a passionate and fiery affair – with Lazio well aware that it will fall seven points behind Atalanta if it loses to the visitors. The Biancocelesti has had a mixed run of form over the last few weeks – losing to Milan and SPAL as well as the defeat to Chievo – but will surely be up for this one.
Atalanta continue to impress this season and – with the exception of Torino – is looking the most consistent going into the last few games of the season. Although both clubs will be desperate for the three points I feel too much is stake and it will end with them concentrating more on avoiding a defeat. The draw looks like the value bet here.
My Pick: The Draw 3.75
Here is how I think the rest of the weekend’s Serie A games will shape up.
Juventus vs Torino
Juventus to Win
Torino to Win
Juventus looked very poor in the first half of its game at Inter last week – but with the scudetto already sewn up and the Champions League a distant memory it was perhaps unsurprising that the Bianconeri took its foot off the pedal. This is a Turin derby however so expect the champions to be more awake this week.
Torino continues to surprise – and is making a very impressive late run for a top four spot. While other clubs have faltered, the Toro has kept on winning and will be going into this game with its city rivals Juventus believing anything is possible.
Juventus will want to win just to continue claiming city dominance but Torino could cause a few surprises here as it goes for the win. This could end up with the points shared.
Chievo vs SPAL
Chievo to Win
SPAL to Win
This is the first time in a while that the price for a Chievo win has not been over 5.00. Two games without defeat for the first time this season has come far too late for the Verona side but at least the Flying Donkeys are giving its fans something to shout about at last.
SPAL’s draw at home to Genoa last week sees them now ten points clear of the relegation spots and just about safe for another season. A victory here would actually see Leonardo Semplici’s men leapfrog up into the top half of the table so there is something to play for.
With not much at stake however this game could fizzle out way before the end and a draw could be the end result – giving Chievo its third straight unbeaten game.
Udinese vs Inter
Udinese to Win
Inter to Win
Udinese is starting to look in a lot of trouble as other clubs inch away form the bottom three. Another defeat away at Atalanta on Monday means the Zebrette is now just four points ahead of Empoli with four games to play. Igor Tudor’s side is much better at home but there will be more than a few nerves on show in Udine on Sunday.
Inter looked very good – especially in the first half – against Juventus last weekend with Radja Nainggolan popping up with a peach of a goal to take the lead. Mauro Icardi started against the side he is now being linked with and will want to make up for lost time in the remaining games of this season.
Udinese look in trouble and even home advantage may not be enough against an Inter side who is finishing the season strongly. I’m going for the away win here.
Empoli vs Fiorentina
Empoli to Win
Fiorentina to Win
Empoli must have thought things were looking up when it took the lead against Bologna last weekend – but the final 3-1 scoreline means that the Azzurri is now desperate for points as it attempts to escape the bottom three. Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli will take heart that his side is scoring goals though.
Fiorentina fans are not happy with the way their season is finishing – and the way the club is currently being run – and it is not hard to see why. Defeat at home to Sassuolo last week saw the Viola drop to 11th in the table and now the chance of European qualification through a Coppa Italia triumph has also evaporated.
With Fiorentina limping towards the end of the season I feel Empoli’s desire will be much stronger here and will be the difference in the home side getting a much needed win.
Parma vs Sampdoria
Parma to Win
Sampdoria to Win
Parma is one of a number of clubs who are probably going to be safe this season, but are still too close to the relegation spots for comfort. A win here would ease the nerves at the Stadio Ennio Tardini but Roberto D’Aversa’s side has not achieved three points since the start of March and has drawn its last four Serie A games.
Sampdoria had entertained thoughts of an outside chance of European qualification, but defeat at home to Lazio last weekend has probably ended those hopes. Fabio Quagliarella scored once again though – his 23rd league goal of the season – and could well be the main focus of attack for the visitors here.
A draw could well be the best result for both sides here and the price of 3.40 looks like the best value wager.
Sassuolo vs Frosinone
Sassuolo to Win
Frosinone to Win
Sassuolo’s win over a woeful Fiorentina side last week did not make the Neroverdi mathematically safe from the drop but Roberto De Zerbi will know that is team has done a good enough job this season to have another chance in Serie A next season. A mid table finish can be counted as a success for a club of its stature.
Frosinone’s defeat at home to Napoli has virtually relegated the Canarini who is now 10 points from safety with just four games to play. Back to back victories at the start of April gave Marco Baroni’s side some hope but just five wins all season has made it a campaign to forget.
With nothing really to play for, Sassuolo may take this game easy but should still come away with all three points.
Genoa vs Roma
Genoa to Win
Roma to Win
A win here is vital for both sides – but for vastly different reasons. Genoa need to arrest its recent slump that has seen the club win just one of its last ten games (curiously against Juventus). The Rossoblu is showing the worst form of any of the clubs at the bottom of the table and is in real trouble at the moment.
Roma seems to have got over its minor blip towards the end of March and has now enjoyed five unbeaten games in Serie A. The draw away at Inter and last week’s 3-0 victory over Cagliari were particularly impressive and Claudio Ranieri will now think his side has a good chance of breaking into the top four before the end of the season.
Nothing is going right for Genoa and it may be that the club only stays up thanks to the poor results of others. Roma look good to extend its good current form and get three more points here.
Napoli vs Cagliari
Napoli to Win
Cagliari to Win
Napoli was looking in slight danger of giving up its runners-up spot to Inter a few games ago, but the 2-0 away win at Frosinone has steadied the ship and Carlo Ancelotti’s men now look like they will see out the season in style.
Cagliari has depended on its home form all season – and now the Sardinian side are all but safe it is hard to see how it will muster up the effort to record an unlikely win at the Stadio San Paolo. Rolando Maran’s team has only beaten Chievo and Atalanta away from the Sardegna Arena and that trend doesn’t seem like changing soon.
Napoli look far too good at the moment to drop any points against a Cagliari side that does not travel well. Three points to the Partenopei.
Milan vs Bologna
Milan to Win
Bologna to Win
Milan will be happy that it is meeting a Bologna side that is just about safe now as the Rossoneri is desperate for points in its race for Champions League qualification. After recent results, even a Europa League place is not guaranteed and Gennaro Gattuso will surely start Krzysztof Piatek after dropping him last week.
A 3-1 win for Bologna last week against fellow relegation rivals Empoli was enough to help the Rossoblu away from the bottom three – and manager Sinisa Mihajlovic can now almost sit back to reflect on a job well done.
A few more points would confirm Bologna’s safety but Milan really need a boost and should take all three here – although the price suggests that a home win would be better as part of a multiple bet than a single.
The battle to escape relegation is just about done in Serie A this season – unless Empoli can start putting together a good run of results.
But the focus is all on the race for European qualification in Italy now, with a number of clubs vying for the available slots. Results this weekend could go a long way in making that picture clearer.
As ever, let me know what you think of my predictions and picks – and enjoy the games.