Dave Farrar is back with his weekly look at the games in Serie A, and fancies a Lazio win at Bologna as well as some low-scoring games elsewhere...
"Udinese like to counter attack away from home, but the problem that they’ll have in this one is that Samp are unlikely to give them the opportunity to. The home team will try and force the game, but they are short of quality in forward areas, and even though neither of these teams has been involved in a 0-0 draw this season, that run might end here."
Bologna v Lazio
Live on BT Sport 2
Both Bologna and Lazio have new coaches in charge, and both hope for the kind of momentum that will lead to to what they would have hoped for at the start of the season. For Davide Ballardini and Bologna, safety and a top 10 finish if possible, and for Edy Reja and Lazio a push for a European place.
Reja's influence was evident in Lazio's 1-0 win over Inter last weekend: he has always prided himself on the solidity and strength of character of his teams, and Lazio looked more defensively confident than they have for some time, Miroslav Klose providing the late spark at the other end of the pitch.
Bologna were easily beaten at Catania, hastening the exit of Stefano Pioli, and Ballardini has a big job on his hands. His new team is just a point away from the relegation places, and have won only once since October. Last season, this fixture finished in a goalless draw, and with two experienced coaches having the potential to cancel each other out, that scoreline is a big runner here at around 11.010/1. Bologna will once again miss Alessandro Diamanti, and that significantly lessens their goal threat. Lazio are trading at 2.526/4 for the win, but given the likelihood of a low scoring, attritional game, I prefer to take a look at the Correct Score market, and back Edy Reja's side to win 1-0 for the second week in a row. They're available at around the 8.88/1 mark to do just that.
Torino v Fiorentina
Live on BT Sport 1
Both Torino and Fiorentina head into the early game on Sunday trying to prove that they can cope without major goalscoring threats. With Ciro Immobile and Giuseppe Rossi out, the destiny of this game will depend on which side adapts best to the absence of one of their main men. Given the season that Torino have had so far, I'm surprised to see Fiorentina as short as 2.6613/8 to win in Turin. La Viola have won their last three, but Torino have three victories in their last four, and a home record which has seen them beaten only once here, by Juventus.
The problem for Giampiero Ventura has been the habit of drawing too many games, and if they could have turned one point into three a little more regularly, then they'd be significantly better than 7th in the table. I'm leaning towards a draw here, which is available at 3.39/4. In the absence of Rossi, Vincenzo Montella may be a little more circumspect than usual, and the same potentially applies to Ventura.
Given their issues going into this, a draw wouldn't greatly displease either coach, and that's my pick.
Sampdoria v Udinese
Live on BT Sport 2
Neither of these teams have started the year at all well, and both are still within range of the relegation zone. Samp were poor in their defeat at Napoli last weekend, while Udinese were convincingly beaten by Verona, confirming the notion that the Friuli, such a fortress for them in recent seasons, is now anything but. That was their fourth home defeat of the season.
Udinese like to counter attack away from home, but the problem that they'll have in this one is that Samp are unlikely to give them the opportunity to. The home team will try and force the game, but they are short of quality in forward areas, and even though neither of these teams has been involved in a 0-0 draw this season, that run might end here. The strange Monday early evening kick off time won't help the atmosphere at the Marassi, and I can only see a dour affair.
Under 2.5 Goals are available at around the 1.75/7 mark if that's your kind of price, but I'm happy to back the 0-0 Correct Score here at 9.08/1. If the game remains goalless well into the second half, I can't see either team truly pushing to win it, and that's an attitude that I always like to have on my side. Both teams need to win, but I suspect neither will, and both will have to spend a bit more time looking over their shoulders.
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