Dave Farrar predicts the Neroverdi provide value despite injuries, while Juventus and Inter get the better of Lazio and Atalanta sides stretched too thin...
“Udinese have conceded in every game so far, Sassuolo are the top scorers in Serie A, and whatever the make-up of the teams, De Zerbi’s side should be trading as much stronger favourites than they are”
Stay on the Sassuolo train
Sassuolo v Udinese
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
After winning in Naples, and moving into second place in the Serie A table, Sassuolo host Udinese on Friday night, and I'm slightly baffled as to why they should be trading at 2.1411/10 for the win.
They won in Naples without a whole host of stars, and once again showed that team news is not really that relevant when you're analysing Roberto De Zerbi's side. In these curious times, they seem to have found a fantastic blend, and while they're not going to win the League, this could end up being a famous season for them.
Udinese have lost 5 of their 6 games so far, and while they are probably not as bad as those results would suggest, they are certainly beatable here by a team that is full of confidence.
Udinese have conceded in every game so far, Sassuolo are the top scorers in Serie A, and whatever the make-up of the teams, De Zerbi's side should be trading as much stronger favourites than they are.
Lazio running on empty
Lazio v Juventus
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
Lazio's win at Torino last weekend, in one of the craziest games of a crazy 2020, was a triumph for the spirit in Simone Inzaghi's team, as they once again overcame the Covid-19 outbreak which had decimated the squad and somehow dug up a result.
Reports are suggesting that Lazio will have players back, Ciro Immobile included, this weekend, and that might make them a tempting prospect against Juventus, but I think that it allows us to support an improving Juve.
I tipped Inter for the title with confidence at the start of this season, as I thought that Juve would slip and that Antonio Conte's team were the likeliest to take over their mantle, but the more that I watch these teams closely, the more I think that Juventus might be the answer once again. They HAVE slipped, but no one else seems to be good enough to take advantage, and Andrea Pirlo's team may once again be the most consistent of an average bunch.
There certainly seems to be a balance about Pirlo's side and I was impressed with the way that they brushed aside Ferencvaros in midweek. Cristiano Ronaldo is back, which makes a huge difference of course, and the likes of Arthur appear to be settling. I still think that they have an issue at centre half, but the eventual return of Matthijs De Ligt will go some way to putting that right.
Lazio held sway over Juve last season, but Pirlo gets his first chance to make his mark in this fixture on Sunday morning, and I expect him to take it, as Lazio potentially are running on fumes, and Juve are primed to take advantage.
Inter roar back in Bergamo
Atalanta v Inter
Live on Premier Sports 2 and Betfair Live Video
The obvious thing to do in Bergamo would be to recommend goals in Atalanta v Inter, and that's a likely outcome, but the markets all reflect that and don't make much appeal.
I prefer to concentrate on Atalanta's form, and wonder whether Inter can finally turn in a consistent display, and make a Serie A statement.
If Inter are to be Champions, they haven't started like it. The only game that they have won comfortably was on their trip to Genoa, and aside from that it has been a struggle, culminating in their draw with Parma last weekend, and then a Champions League defeat in Madrid, which has left them clinging on in that competition.
Atalanta are very much the hipsters' choice to win the Scudetto, but their squad doesn't look deep enough to me, and their habit of producing bad performances, seemingly without warning, is also disconcerting. Losing the way that they did to Napoli and then Sampdoria was borderline unforgivable.
I might feel that Juve are the likeliest winners of Serie A, but I still believe in Inter, and know that Antonio Conte will be impressing on them the importance of discipline for this trip to Bergamo. Inter will more than likely be without Romelu Lukaku, which counts as a blow, but it's one that they can overcome, and Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez will feel they can get at an increasingly shaky Atalanta backline.
Gian Piero Gasperini's team seem to be in a bad place at the moment, and if Inter return to anywhere near their best, as they have been threatening to, they should come away with a win here.
Dave’s Serie A P/L – 2020/21
Staked: 17 points
Returned: 16.83 points
P/L: -0.17 points