Italian Serie A: Week 18 Preview


Week 18 Preview


Our football pundit gives his insight into the Italian Serie A week 18 action which kicks off on Friday 22 December 2017.


Both Milan giants suffered shocking results last week! Inter were inexplicably thrashed 3-1 at home by Udinese and AC Milan were on the receiving end of a 3-0 drubbing at Hellas Verona. That presented a golden opportunity for Napoli to climb to the summit of the standings and they pounced. The pick of this weekend’s fixtures is the clash between Juventus and AS Roma. The other matches should be easy to call. Here are my predictions. 

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Friday 22 December 

Chievo Verona 13/10 | Draw 43/20 | Bologna 23/10 
There’s little separating these two sides as they lie 12th and 13th on the standings with the same number of points. Bologna, who are one spot above their opponents, will certainly bank on home ground advantage and the fact that they have slightly record that their opponents. They have won two and drawn one of their last five games, however, they head into this one off the back of two consecutive defeats. 

Chievo are winless in the last three encounters with just one draw. This will be a cagey six-pointer and I foresee the hosts, who have failed to score a single goal in three matches, going down. Put your money on Bologna. 

Cagliari 22/10 | Draw 24/10 | Fiorentina 12/10
Cagliari will head into this one with the intention to put to an end their four-match winless run. The Islanders have lost 10 of their opening 17 fixtures and it shall be interesting to see how they deal with a superior opponent at home. Fiorentina are five spots above their opponents and they have a recent record of four draws and one win in five matches. My money is on the visitors to win comfortably. 

Saturday 23 December 

Lazio 2/9 | Draw 11/2 | Crotone 11/1 
Lazio have had a good season with nine points separating them and the top-placed Napoli and they have a game in hand. They currently lie fifth which is a UEFA Europa spot and they would like to tighten their grip on that or even aim higher. 

Crotone climbed out of the relegation zone last week, courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Chievo, putting to an end a four-match losing streak. This will be a stern test against a side that has bigger ambitions. I’m tipping the home side to win this one. 

Genoa 4/10 | Draw 7/2 | Benevento 13/2 
This is a match between two struggling sides as Genoa is tied on points with Spal 2013 who are in the relegation zone. By their standards, the goalless draw they earned at Fiorentina last week was credible. This is one of the matches they have to win if they really want to survive the chop. 

Benevento have really been struggling with only one point earned so far, this season. They have lost 16 and drawn one of their opening 17 matches. They remain rooted to the foot of the table and it looks like even a mighty miracle might not be enough to see them survive. I think Genoa will edge this one at home. 

Spal 26/10 | Draw 49/20 | Torino 1/1
Spal are in the relegation zone and this is a crucial game as they can’t afford to lose ground on the teams above them. Their 2-1 win over struggling Benevento last week has given them a chance to survive but it remains to be seen how they deal with a team of Torino’s calibre. Torino were smashed 3-1 by now table-topping Napoli but that defeat followed a six-match unbeaten run. They will be hoping to collect maximum points against a lesser opponent. Get on Torino to win. 



Napoli 3/10 | Draw 5/1 | Sampdoria 15/2
Napoli top the standings after winning 13 of their opening seven fixtures and they really mean business this season, having lost only one game. They will be looking to steer clear of the chasing pack which includes the likes of Juventus and Inter Milan. 

Sampdoria have done well this season as they currently find themselves in a Europa League play-off spot. They’d have been higher up the table had it not been for the slump over the last four games which has seen them manage only one draw and three defeats. Napoli should have enough to get the better of their opponents here. 

Sassuolo 36/10 | Draw 28/10 | Inter Milan 7/10 
Sassoulo will face a tough test against one of the league title contenders and it will take a lot of doing from them to please the home crowd. They’ve managed to grind out results against both Sampdoria and Crotone recently and that should boost the players’ morale. 

Inter are now two points off the pace after losing their first match of the season 3-1 to Udinese and they will be desperate to return to winning ways. They have won 12 of their opening 17 matches and I think they will be too strong for their opponents. I’m tipping Inter Milan to win. 

Udinese 13/20 | Draw 29/10 | Hellas Verona 39/10
Udinese come flying into this clash with a recent record of three straight wins, including a 3-1 demolition of Inter. Professional discipline will be imperative to eliminate complacency against a relegation-threatened side. 

It would be a shocking result if Verona manages to get something out of this clash as they have won only three of their 17 matches played so far this season. They have just shocked AC Milan 3-0 though, proving that wounded lions can’t be underestimated. However, I’m backing Udinese on the (-1) Handicap. 

AC Milan 15/10 | Draw 23/10 | Atalanta 18/10 
AC Milan who have recently appointed the legendary Gennaro Gattusso as their new manager were on the receiving end of one of the shock results of the previous round, losing 3-0 to struggling Verona. Gattusso was highly critical of his side who are now seventh on the log and will be looking for a positive reaction. Atalanta are unbeaten in their last four games with two wins and two draws and they will be looking to maintain their spot above their opponents. I’m expecting Milan to return to winning ways. 

Juventus 8/10 | Draw 26/10 | Roma 33/10 
The defending champions are slowly closing in on the top spot and they are now one point adrift. They are unbeaten in the last four matches, having collected 10 out of a possible 12 points. The only team to have denied them maximum points in that period is Inter who have topped the table for some time. 

Roma are fourth on the log and this won’t be an easy assignment away to the side that has won the title for the past five seasons. Roma are unbeaten in their last five matches with three wins and two draws. I’m backing Juve to Win & Both Teams to Score at 26/10.  

TREBLE @ 45/10
Napoli Win 3/10
Inter Win 7/10
AC Milan Win 15/10


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