Dave Farrar predicts Zemanlandia will keep delivering in Cagliari v Chievo, Napoli's defence will remain weak, and Parma to go down in flames against Lazio...
“With Parma likely to play on the front foot, this match is tailor made for Lazio on the counter attack. The market seems to be predicting a low scoring game, and I disagree with that. If Donadoni is going down, I suspect that he'll do so in flames.”
There are rumours, strong ones, that Roberto Donadoni will be out should Parma lose this game, and Lazio are 2.26/5 to come away from the Tardini with a win.
Hernan Crespo is the man being lined up to take over, but we shouldn't write off Donadoni just yet. The last time that he had a do or die home game his players responded with a win against Inter, and I expect Parma to attack Lazio early, and try to create a similar outcome. There are two problems with that theory: Parma have a whole host of players out, and Lazio are better than Inter were.
An away win is the likely outcome, although I'm not touching it at that price. I'd far rather take a look at the 'Goals' markets.
The Biancocelesti may have drawn their last away game 0-0, but were unlucky to do so, and with Parma likely to play on the front foot, this match is tailor made for Lazio on the counter attack. The absence of Antonio Candreva is a blow, and that stops me from tipping up something as spectacular as Over 5.5 Goals, but the market seems to be predicting a low scoring game, and I disagree with that.
If Donadoni is going down, I suspect that he'll do so in flames.
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ 3.613/5
There's a theme to this week's column, I can't deny, and I think that there'll be goals on Sunday morning at the San Paolo.
Napoli have been involved in some ridiculous home games already this season, and their opponents Empoli may not approach things like Cagliari, yet Maurizio Sarri's men will engage a quality opponent if they have to, and I put this match in the same category as their 2-2 draw against Milan. I know that they were at home that day, but they caught Milan by surprise, and led 2-0 only to relinquish their advantage in the second half.
With Napoli so vulnerable defensively, especially with Kalidou Koulibaly suspended, I wouldn't be at all surprised if something similar happens here.
The stats suggest that Empoli like to keep things tight away from home, but remember that certain teams are capable of bringing sides like Empoli out of their shells, and Napoli are one such outfit. Sunday morning games can often be underwhelming, I suspect that this one may be a little better than that.
Back Over 3.5 Goals @ 2.915/8
I apologised for sounding like a broken record with regards to Cagliari last week, and after they came good for us, it's the same tactics and the same logic again. Since their 4-0 defeat by Fiorentina, Cagliari have drawn 4-4 (after extra time) in the Coppa Italia against Modena, and I'm not sure what more evidence we need that Cagliari games will produce goals.
Zemanlandia is at its zenith right now, and this Cagliari side reminds me very much of Zdenek Zeman's wonderful Lecce team of a few years ago, the one which seemed to lose 5-4 every week.
Chievo will approach things circumspectly, and so I don't expect the kind of Sardinia bloodbath that we've seen lately, but there is no way on this planet that Over 2.5 Goals should be trading anywhere near even money.
This Cagliari theme will die away, probably with Zeman's sacking, but it's making sweet music at the moment and so we need to stay with it.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.9210/11
Staked: 18 pts
Returned: 15.02 pts
P/L: - 2.98 pts