Given the three-from-three success of last week's Italian-flavoured column, Christian Crowther revisits Serie A...
"This wretched run has stop sometime though and an earlier win at the San Siro and draw away at Roma provide evidence of Sampdoria's capabilities."
Lay Palermo to beat Sampdoria @ 2.226/5
There are not many teams in Europe's top leagues on a worse run than Sampdoria at present - losing their last six straight games in Serie A - to leave themselves hovering precariously above the drop zone in 16th. Such a dramatic slide was hardly foreseeable eitherfollowing a really decent start to their league campaign which saw the visitors go five games unbeaten, winning three. On closer inspection of their results however, it's clear they have by no means become whipping boys, losing on each occasion by just the solitary goal. This wretched run has to stop sometime though and an earlier win at the San Siro and draw away at Roma provide evidence of Sampdoria's capabilities. Palermo only have one win to their name this season.
Lay AC Milan to beat Fiorentina @ 2.0621/20
Even though Milan finally broke their San Siro curse at the fourth attempt against Cagliari - going on to win two further home games - this Rossoneri side is still suffering the effects of losing its best players. At this rate, the class of 2012/13 will quickly be forgotten at a club which remembers the past so fondly. There have been signs of improvement in recent weeks, though a draw away at lowly Palermo at the end of October was a stark reminder of this side's limitations. Fiorentina, by contrast, don't have the distraction of Europe and are in inspired form, winning four of their last five in Serie A and drawing the other. The Viola, seven points ahead of Milan at present, engineered a win in this fixture last season and will fancy their chances of a result again this.
Lay Brentford to beat Carlisle @ 1.824/5
Brentford are enjoying decent fortunes in League One again this season as they court the promotion places. This has been a theme of much of the Bees' time in the division since promotion in 2008/09 where they have finished ninth twice - the position they currently occupy - with an 11th place sandwiched in between. The one stumbling block to joining the promotion party is being able to string two or more wins together on a consistent basis, something they haven't managed once in 16 games league games to date. Annoyingly for fans of the west London outfit, the Bees have twice been dragged into home draws against teams occupying the relegation places at present.