The international break is finally over, and regular service resumes in the top leagues across Europe including, of course, the Italian Serie A.
The last round of fixtures saw some interesting results, although some clubs' supporters would use more colourful words than 'interesting' to describe their sides efforts. The 4-0 defeat suffered by AC Milan at the hands of Napoli will be a memory the Rossoneri faithful will want to put behind them. Across town, Inter Milan dropped more points, playing out a 1-1 draw at Sampdoria, whilst Fiorentina continued to impress as they thrashed Atalanta 3-0 to remain at the summit of the table. Elsewhere, Juventus registered only their second win of the season, ousting Bologna 3-1. Hellas Verona remain the only winless team in the league and city-rivals Lazio and Roma claimed wins over Frosinone and Palermo respectively.
Saturday 17 October
We kick off the weekend with Roma welcoming Empoli. The Giallorossi put Palermo to the sword last time out with a 4-2 victory, which included a brace from Ivorian star Gervinho. Roma have scored the most goals in the league (17) but have only managed to keep one clean sheet. Empoli are coming off the back of a hard fought 1-0 victory at home against Sassuolo and know a win or draw against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico will be an even tougher task. Empoli managed a 1-1 draw here on two occasions last season; one was in a Serie A fixture while the other was a Coppa Italia tie. However, it’s highly unlikely that they will get three results on the bounce. The home win is the way to go.
AC Milan 2/1
Torino fell to their second straight defeat on the road last time out, going down 2-1 to newly promoted Carpi. However, they return to their fortress, where they have a 100% win record and have scored seven goals and conceded just twice at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino. AC Milan come to town looking to put their humiliating 4-0 home defeat against Napoli behind them. It was the second consecutive defeat suffered by Milan. However, they are unbeaten against their opponents in the last fifteen meetings and the international break could just be what the team needed to bounce back. So I suggest taking Milan on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 11/20.
Sunday 18 October
Bottom-of-the-log Bologna have been disastrous this season. They have suffered six defeats in their seven matches, scoring a measly four goals and conceding twelve times. However, Palermo are next up and they come around to town in terrible form - losing their last four matches on the trot. They have lost two of their three away games this season, whilst Bologna have been just as poor on their home turf. Very little separates the sides at the moment and a draw looks the likely outcome.
Atalanta had defender Gabriel Paletta sent off for a red card in the fifth minute as they were hammered 3-0 away to Fiorentina, ending an unbeaten run of five matches. Newcomers Carpi would have been disappointed with the timing of the international break, killing any momentum they had built while registering their first ever Serie A victory in a 2-1 home win against Torino. Although Carpi have the worst defensive record in the league, Atalanta had the fourth lowest scoring record in the league last season. While Atalanta will be looking to return to winning ways, Carpi will be hoping to cause another upset here. At even money, ‘Both Teams To Score’ is well worth a punt.
After seven games, newly-promoted Frosinone, find themselves second from bottom on the log with a disappointing five losses to their name. To make matters worse, they have only scored four goals while conceding ten. Sampdoria are next up to have a go at the new boys. They have failed to record a win on the road thus far and won’t get a much better chance than this. Sampdoria earned a well-deserved 1-1 draw at home against Roma last time out and will be eager to get back to another victory under their belts this weekend. Go with the away win at 27/20.
Diego Perotti's 76th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot against Udinese, last time out, secured Genoa’s first away point of the season. They now return to their home ground where they claimed a 1-0 win over AC Milan in their last home tie. However, Chievo have won four of the last five meetings away to Genoa and will be looking to build on that record this weekend. They are unbeaten on the road thus far with one win and two draws from three games. You can back Chievo at a valuable 28/10.
Hellas Verona 5/4
A 1-1 draw away to Chievo stretched Hellas Verona’s winless run in the Serie A to nine matches - with their last victory dating back to May this year. Udinese will be looking to take advantage of Verona's defensive frailties while Verona will be going all out for the victory, so as to finally get a league win under their belts. Udinese have shown great promise away from home, winning two of their three games on the road, while Verona have managed to score ten goals in their seven league games. Taking these stats into account I’d go with ‘Both Teams To Score’ at 8/10.
One of two biggest matches in the Serie A this weekend sees Napoli lock horns with log-leaders Fiorentina. Napoli had made a poor start to the new campaign, but came alive last month, slaying the likes of Lazio (5-0), Juventus (2-1) and then beginning the month of October with a bang, by thrashing AC Milan 4-0 at the San Siro. Table-toppers Fiorentina are the league's in-form team with five wins on the trot, scoring an impressive twelve goals and conceding only once. However, their head-to-head record against Napoli is poor. They have lost the last three meetings between the sides. However, Fiorentina’s form can’t go unnoticed and with both teams playing tremendous football and netting goals at will, a score draw is predicted at 36/10.
Sassuolo return to Serie A action off the back of a 1-0 away defeat to Empoli, in round seven. They have now managed just one win from their last five games. Lazio have started the new campaign just as they ended it last season – like a house on fire. They have won five of their seven matches, including three on the trot. La Aquile are only three points off top spot and will surely be looking to keep the pressure on Fiorentina and Inter Milan, who are the only teams above them. They have won the last three head to heads against Sassuolo, scoring three goals in each of those meetings. The away win should be backed.
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