Roma v Sassuolo
Sunday March 19, 19:45
Live on BT Sport
I know how Aitor Karanka feels now. Like the ex-Middlesbrough boss, I had success last year, but this year is proving tougher, and the pressure is growing. Our boys Eintracht Frankfurt blew several excellent chances last night, as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Hamburg. Tough week.
But we dig in, and keep going. We finish the week in Italy, as Roma take on Sassuolo.
Roma were dumped out of the Europa League on Thursday night, as they beat Lyon 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico, but lost a thrilling tie 5-4 on aggregate. The Giallorossi were on the wrong end of some amazing goals at Parc OL, but ultimately it was two preventable set-piece goals from Mouctar Diakhaby that made the difference.
That said, Roma played well, and although they are having a sticky spell (they lost their last Serie A home game 2-1 to Napoli and were beaten 2-0 by Lazio in the Coppa Italia), I think they'll come out the other side soon, starting with tonight's game.
Roma won 3-0 at Palermo last weekend, and against struggling sides they have tended to do well all season. Their six Serie A defeats this term have all been against teams that are currently in the top half of the table.
There is also confidence to take from Roma's home record. They have won 12 of their 13 home matches in Serie A, and seven of those 12 wins have been by a margin of two goals or greater.
Sassuolo struggled to deal with the pressure of playing in the Europa League this season, and at one stage there were fears that they may suffer a disastrous relegation. They are effectively safe because the current bottom three are all abysmal, cut adrift and doomed. They have however shown a bit of form on the road of late - they have taken ten points from their last four away matches, and have scored ten goals in their last six away games.
I think Roma will win this, but they have only kept one clean sheet in their last eight games, so I think Sassuolo can contribute to an exciting encounter. Over 3.5 Goals is trading at [2.18], and that's a bet that has paid out in seven of Roma's last 15 matches in all competitions. 12 of Roma's home matches this term have featured at least four goals.
Back Over 3.5 Goals at [2.18]
Points Staked: 41
Points Returned: 33.98
P/L: -7.02 points