Dave Farrar previews this weekend's Serie A action including the big Milan derby in which he expects Inter to come out victorious...
"Their pace and ability in the final third means that the likes of Diego Milito (who has a great record against Milan) and Antonio Cassano (who has scored four in his last five Serie A matches) should flourish, and Inter are overpriced."
The relatively new (well, everything is realitive in Sicily) Palermo coach Gian Piero Gasperini returns to the club at which he made his name on Saturday night, and his team couldn't be going to the Marassi with more of a confidence boost.
Palermo were stunning in their 4-1 victory over Chievo, and they will head north with a feeling that they can grab another victory, an outcome which is currently trading at 3.65.
Genoa were dreadful in their away draw in Udine, but Gigi De Canio's team are turning into the kind of side that is unrecognisable between home and away games. Away from home, they have been solid, and since they lost a thriller 3-2 in Catania, De Canio has looked to keep a clean sheet and steal a goal on the counter: it worked in Rome against Lazio, but not in Udine.
At home, Genoa are a high pressure team which adopts a more attacking formation (and indeed mindset, which isn't something to be underestimated). They pushed Juventus all the way in their 3-1 defeat, and their 1-1 draw against Parma should have had more than two goals.
Gasperini's 3-4-3 system takes a while to settle, but the Palermo players were looking more comfortable in their defeat at Pescara, and it finally seems to have clicked. The Rosanero look great going forward, and they will be a team to follow in terms of goals from now on - at least, until Gasperini receives the inevitable phone call from his trigger happy President Maurizio Zamparini.
I'm happy to back Over 2.5 Goals at Marassi, at around about 2.01/1, and will have a go at Over 3.5 Goals also at 3.65. The stats don't necessarily say that this match will feature many goals, but the tactical match up, and the likely intent of both teams seems tailor made for that kind of outcome. Maybe not the 3-3 draw that these sides played out in 2007, but something entertaining for an ESPN Saturday night audience.
The last time that Lazio played a Europa League match, they followed up by losing at home against Genoa, and making a healthy profit for this column.
Lazio are 1.991/1 favourites for their visit to Pescara, and I think that they're worth opposing. Lazio tend to rely on two or three key players, and even with their best player, Hernanes, in the side, they struggled to beat Maribor on Thursday night. Heading to a tough, tight ground and taking on a team which will put them under severe pressure is just about the last thing that Vladimir Petkovic would want.
After an awkward start, Pescara have now won two in a row, and they will fancy that they can cause a shock on Sunday. Pescara are currently 4.47/2 for the win, but I'd like to keep the draw on my side, and will once again expect a lay of tired Lazio to pay off.
The big game of the weekend comes on Sunday night, and the golden rule in these derby matches has often been to back the team which is seemingly out of form in the run up. That would make Milan tasty favourites at 2.68/5, and they'll have their supporters, but I think that quite simply Inter are the better side, and will take them at 3.185/40 to get a sixth win in the last eight Milan derbies.
Both teams had trips to Eastern Europe in midweek, and both were successful, with Milan having more time to recover, but remember that Inter have won three out of three games away from home, and have picked up five points more than their city rivals so far this season, with Milan winning only once at San Siro, and already losing two League games here.
Of course, you could argue that this isn't an away game for Inter, but the Milan fans will want their team to go forward, will expect that in fact, and so Inter can play in the counter attacking style that suits them so well away.
Their pace and ability in the final third means that the likes of Diego Milito (who has a great record against Milan) and Antonio Cassano (who has scored four in his last five Serie A matches) should flourish, and Inter are overpriced. It could well be tense and low scoring, but I'll take Inter to win.