Serie A Overview Week 21
But things are very different now as my assertion that Serie A was becoming a four or five horse race has been proved right in recent weeks. And I'm sure due to this fact, many a Juventus backers got taken by the Seria A odds. The 2-1 loss to ten man Sampdoria at home and a 1-1 draw in Parma at fortress Ennio Tardini Stadium their last two outings has seen their lead cut to just three points. This is just the second time in over a decade that Juve have failed to win their first two games of the new year to add fuel to the fire that they are in a little bit of trouble right now, though that may sound strange as they are top of the league, so the trouble is relative to their achievements of course!
What is also a very interesting and telling factor is that if the league were made up of the top seven teams only, then on results so far amongst just those elite few, Juventus would be lying only 5th and Inter Milan would in fact be top of the league. They are the polar opposite of Inter who struggle at the lower teams but have beaten all but the two Rome teams in the top seven. Also rather worrying for the Bianconeri is that they were in front in both those games mentioned but could not hold or protect that lead.
Second place Lazio beat Atalanta in Rome 2-0 to move within three points behind the leaders. It was their fourth win in a row and that is ten wins and four draws in all competitions for the form team in Italy. Napoli's 3-0 win at home to Palermo keeps them in third ahead of Inter who beat Pescara 2-0 in Milan for their first win since Week 16 and if Napoli win their appeal against a two point deduction then they will join Lazio just three points behind The Old Lady! Fiorentina and Roma could not capitalize on Juve's trouble though as both lost this weekend, Roma going down 1-0 in Catania who have cemented tenth place with that win and Udinese spanked The Viola 3-1 to go eighth ahead of Parma, both on 30 points. Both sides will rue missed opportunities from these games too. Milan could have made stripes up the table with a win but drew a pretty dire game in Sampdoria 0-0 and remain seventh on 31 points, one behind Roma.
At the bottom it seems all over bar the shouting for Siena as their gallant fightback against Torino was not enough, going down 3-2 and missing a penalty and Palermo's loss in Naples has them second bottom behind Genoa who, as I predicted in my Week 20 Preview of the game, lost at home to Cagliari who leapfrog them out of the bottom three. Bologna were the big surprise of the week, blowing the in form Chievo out the water 4-0 to move up to 14th on equal points with Sampdoria in 15th. Chievo remain in 11th but the gap to Catania is now five points as the league is pretty much split in half coming into Week 21 in Serie A.
So, now to this weekend's fixtures as I give you all my odds, free picks and predictions for Serie A, starting with the early game in Palermo Saturday and ending with arguably the tie of Week 21 in Rome Sunday night!
Saturday 22nd January 2013
Palermo vs. Lazio
The two contrasting records speak for themselves in this one, as second from bottom takes on second from top and THE form team (undefeated in 14 games in all competitions, winning ten) Lazio. Palermo have not won since week 14, losing all but one in that time, scoring just twice whilst conceding 11, and have lost their last three straight. This should be as straight forward as they come for Lazio and I can see them handing out a hiding to Palermo this weekend to compound their misery and keep them firmly in the relegation places. Lazio are 10/1 against Juve's 2/7 with William Hill to win the Scudetto this season and I for one think that is well worth a flutter before their odds shorten dramatically on this run of form.
Football Tips: Away win for me at 13/10 and a correct scoreline of 3-0 at 22/1 both with William Hill
Juventus vs. Udinese
I asked it last week and I'll ask it again, have the wheels come off in Turin? Could this be another draw or defeat, making it three in a row without a win for Juve? Well Udinese have scored 14 and conceded only four their last six outings, beating Inter and Fiorentina their last two times out, putting three past both of them. Juve were the better side in the 1-1 draw in Parma but that just makes it worse that they surrendered the lead and two points. They had won their previous four however and have not become a bad side overnight but with confidence in themselves at a season low and coming up against a side in just as good form as Lazio for me, is not the game they want right now as Udinese try to power their way to a European spot in Serie A and the odds in light of Udineses form mean you should jump on this right now! All of Udine's last nine goals have been score by either Di Natale, with six, or Luis Muriel the other three, so look to either of those two to add to their personal tally.
Football Tips: Away win for me at 9/1 with bet365
Milan vs. Bologna
This one, would most every other season be an absolute dead cert, home banker, sure thing for the Milan giants but then this is not a normal season for the Rossoneri and could be their worst final league placing for many a year. Bologna surprised everyone last weekend by trouncing the in-form Chievo 4-0 and last night played out of their skins to come back from 2-0 to tie it up in normal time against the other Milan side Inter. They were headed for penalties and a possible semi-final in the Copa Italia until the Nerazzurri snatched it in the final minute of extra time with a Andrea Ranocchia strike at the death to earn a clash with either Roma or Fiorentina, who play their quarter-final tonight. Milan should have the fire power to overcome the team from the home of spaghetti sauce but then they fielded a three striker attack last weekend but were totally ineffectual and the performance called 'ugly' by some journalists.
Foobtall Tips: Home win for me at 2/5 with William Hill
Sunday 23rd January 2013
Fiorentina vs. Napoli
The early game Sunday has the sputtering Florentine side hosting Napoli and their goal machine Edinson Cavanni, who before not scoring last weekend had netted in four consecutive games and has been on fire all season long, so look to him to score again in this one. Napoli are third in the table and five points ahead of fifth placed Fiorentina but recent form could not be more different. Napoli have won three in a row including the 4-1 demolition of Roma two weeks ago and are scoring goals for fun it seems. Fiorentina lost their last home game to lowly Pescara before Udinese took them apart last time as they surrendered an early lead to go down 3-1. The Viola have lost three of their last six, drawing one and winning two and are not in the same form as earlier this season but will look to turn things back around in this match. Before then, they also have the little matter of a Copa Italia quarter-final against Roma to deal with tonight to further muddy the waters if they cannot find a way to beat the side from the Capital. But for now, I think I'll take Napoli for my Football Betting.
Football Tips: Away win for me at 11/5 with bet365
Atalanta vs. Cagliari
Two teams that sit four places and three points apart at the wrong end of the table clash in Bergamo this Sunday. Cagliari had lost six straight before beating Genoa last match to at least move out of the bottom three to be replaced by the team they beat. Atalanta's record is little better with one win in six and four defeats, including their last two. The draw seems unlikely as the two have mustered just one between them in twelve games but the win for Cagliari gives them a little momentum at least and they will be equal on points with their rivals this weekend if they can find a win. Atalanta have not scored away in over 400 minutes of football now and are on their worst run of form since May 2010. They are at home in this one though but then that's not saying too much with the form they are in right now.
Football Tips: Away win for me at 14/5 with William Hill
Chievo vs. Parma
The 'Italian QPR' have swapped form with their London counterparts of late, but are still a force at home and excepting last weekend's 4-0 hammering, tend to always be in games and always battle hard. They are 11th place to Parma's ninth but six point behind their visitors and need to re-group for this one. Parma could be challenging for so much more if they could replicate their home form away and did so when on their travels to, coincidentally, Bologna. So if they won 2-1 there and Chievo lost 4-0 in the same place then obviously this one will end 6-1 to Parma, which you can get for 500/1 at best with all he usual betting houses. So maybe not then eh! Tough one to call when two tough teams clash as they do here but I am leaning towards Chievo on home ground as I think there is little to separate these two and see last week’s result as just a blip, especially as The Flying Donkeys have not lost by that score or margin since 2007!
Football Tips: Home win for me at 8/5 with bet365
Genoa vs. Catania
Twelve points and eight places separate these two as Genoa slipped back into the bottom three after defeat last week to relegation rivals Cagliari. Catania are 10th and will be much buoyed by their defeat of Roma last time out 1-0. They had not scored in 295 minutes of football before then though but three wins and a draw their last six outings has seen them maintain there position in the top half. Genoa have won just half the games their opponents have so far this season and won just once in six, losing three. I expect Catania to add to that sorry tale and maintain their outside chance of a place in Europe next season.
Football Tips: Away win for me at 11/4 with William Hill
Pescara vs. Torino
A true six pointer if ever there was one as Torino will go six points ahead of Pescara with a win here and so conversely if the home side are victorious then they are all square on points and more importantly for the hosts, moving away from the drop zone and the bottom three. Pescara have shown improvement of late, even in defeat and three wins and three losses their last six, and the losses were at Napoli and in the San Siro twice to both Milan teams to give it some perspective, has them moving in the right direction and at home they have won their last three in a row and the win away in Florence two weeks ago will have added to their belief in spades no doubt. The other Turin side have a three way split of two wins, two draws and two defeats there last half dozen encounters but are undefeated in four now and I can see this one being a topsy turvey affair and am leaning towards the score draw, and a high scoring one at that!
Football Tips: Score draw for me at 9/4 and a correct score prediction of 2-2 at 16/1 both with William Hill
Siena vs. Sampdoria
Bottom plays 15th in this one but there is a gap of ten points between those five places as Siena become more and more isolated as the weeks, and defeats, go by. They were very, very unfortunate not to get a point at Torino last weekend but them's the breaks when you are at the bottom it seems. Sampdoria had lost three in a row before their most unlikely victory at Juve and then a creditable point at home to Milan in what was a bore draw to say the least. I like to root for the underdog and have seen plenty of spirit and fight from Siena but no cigar. Actually, not even the match to light it as that is six defeats in six and surely no way back. But then a few weeks ago the title was 100% Juve's no question right. They do at least have enough games left to try and turn it around but I just cannot see it. Sampdoria have only won one in six themselves, but what a win and it could be argued they are better on the road anyway, as that result and a 2-2 at Fiorentina when they were flying high in week 15 shows.
Football Tips: Score draw for me at 11/5 with bet365
Roma vs. Inter
The evening game Sunday wraps up Week 21 in Serie A as sixth place takes on fourth in the Capital. Roma are most definitely on the slide right now and have lost three on the bounce away from Stadio Olympico and heavily so, conceding six and scoring just once, but then Inter always seem to struggle in the Capital and have not exactly been firing on all cylinders themselves in recent weeks. The two have almost identical records with three wins apiece their last six but Roma lost the other three whilst Inter lost two and drew one. It cannot be ignored that they just never ever seem to do well in the Capital and the Capitolini are certainly a different proposition at home but they have lost there the last two games on the bounce to drop six points adrift of their visitors. I like Inter in this one for some reason though and see them as the last of the top four to have a chance to really challenge for the title in reality. Sticking my neck out in this one and going against the record somewhat as I lean towards The Nerazzurri, who have not lost this season when scoring first in Serie A and with Roma facing Fiorentina tonight in the Copa Italia, the Milan team will hope that like them last night, the game goes into extra time to make fatigue an issue for both sides come Sunday.
Away win for me at 21/10 and a correct score prediction of 2-1 at 10/1 both with William Hill
Can't get enough Premier League action? Week 23 is here!