Dave Farrar predicts the Rossoneri will again lose to their Lombardy neighbours in the race for sixth, while Juventus and Napoli continue their opposite trajectories...
“If you add to that the disappointment and exertion of the Cup Final defeat in midweek, Atalanta are going to be relatively fresh, and that will put Milan on the back foot.”
Milan bow down in Bergamo
Atalanta v Milan
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Atalanta won at San Siro earlier this season, and are attractively priced to complete only their third ever double over Milan in Serie A. A victory would move them above the Rossoneri into sixth, and they'd be favourites to keep that position, which would signify another outstanding campaign.
I didn't expect Atalanta to reach the heights of last season, and I suppose they haven't, but they have remained rock solid, counting themselves unlucky in the Europa League and reaching a points total that they've only ever bettered once in Serie A, in that 2016-17 campaign.
Milan have won five of their last eight away from home, and that makes them a danger, but all except one of those wins came in February and March and their levels have dropped significantly since then. They draw too many games, create too little, and Gennaro Gattuso has an uphill task to get them where they want to be next season.
If you add to that the disappointment and exertion of the Cup Final defeat in midweek, Atalanta are going to be relatively fresh, and that will put Milan on the back foot. [1.95] may seem a little short, but I think that the home team should be a little shorter for this, and I'll be backing them to leapfrog Milan into sixth.
Roma v Juventus
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This had long looked like the fixture which would potentially deny Juventus the Serie A title, the insurance policy that Napoli had in hand as they kept the pressure up on Max Allegri's team, and yet now it seems more relevant to the race for third place than to what's happening at the top of Serie A.
Juventus know that, whatever happens in Roma and in Genoa this weekend, they will be Champions if they at least draw with Verona on the final day, and while they'll want to win Serie A in style, they're in a powerful position. All of this seemed unlikely when they were 2-1 down against Inter with two minutes remaining a couple of weeks ago.
The final of the Coppa Italia seemed to add to the confusion for Juventus, but they won on Wednesday by brushing Milan aside 4-0, and they bounce into Rome as strong as ever, and knowing that the title is in sight. Should they draw here, they'll be Champions going into the final weekend.
It's obviously tempting to support Roma here on the basis that Juventus will be tired after the Cup Final and that this is a game that Allegri's team doesn't need to win, but the prices reflect that lazy supposition, and that makes Juventus backable at [3.5].
Liverpool exposed Roma's weaknesses, and several teams have managed to do just that at the Olimpico this season: Eusebio Di Francesco's men have already lost here against Inter, Napoli, Milan, Samp, Fiorentina, and Atalanta. They thrive on their travels, and seem a little stilted at home, especially against the big teams. To back them here, we'd need evidence that this won't be the case against the best team in the League.
Juve are unbeaten in their last 12 Serie A away games, and have kept a clean sheet in seven of those, and while a draw will give both teams what they want, and will be a big runner here, it's in the make-up of this Juventus team to want to finish things off in style. They can still win the League by a double figure margin, and they'll be gunning for that. A team never to be underestimated, and one to be supported whenever possible.
Napoli are spent
Sampdoria v Napoli
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Napoli's season has come off the rails, not just in Florence against Giovanni Simeone, but at home against Torino last time, and it seems bizarre that they're as short as [1.68] to win at Sampdoria.
Only Juventus and Napoli have better home records than Samp this season, and Marco Giampaolo's team won't want to throw this campaign away. Top eight is realistically as high as they can finish, but that will still represent a rock solid season and something on which to build.
Napoli look tired: their small squad, Maurizio Sarri's reluctance to rotate, and their mental weaknesses have all been exposed in recent weeks. They did gloriously well to win at Juventus, but then consistency failed them, and now they seem certain to give up a title that for so long seemed to be theirs for the taking.
Napoli have an excellent recent record against Samp, winning five of their last six here, but we have to see this game in context: a team that is excellent at home, and that scored twice in defeat in Naples earlier in the season, against one which is coming to terms with what has happened in the last few weeks.
On price alone, Napoli are a lay, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they are beaten here. They know that the game is up, and after throwing everything they have at Serie A this season, they resemble a fighter in the Twelfth Round trying to stay on his feet. Samp will be confident that they can find the knockout punch.
Staked: 107 points
Returned: 122.34 points
P/L: + 15.34 points