Dave Farrar predicts the Easter weekend will find Roma defeated, goals in Sardinia, and Sampdoria celebrating in Florence...
“One writer I read this week described Roma as ‘resurgent’ after that Cesena win. They aren't. They'll be resurgent if they beat Napoli, and their fragile squad is far too short to do so.”
Roma v Napoli
In recent weeks, both of the protagonists of the sunshine derby should have come with a health warning. Roma's once legitimate pursuit of Juve's title has withered and died, while Napoli are in the process of throwing away third place, as well as any chance of challenging Roma for second.
The form guide makes pretty ugly reading: Roma's victory over Cesena last time was only their third in Serie A this calendar year, while Napoli have won only one of their last six League games. Both are far better than that, but both have looked tired lately and Napoli's continuing involvement in the Europa League won't help their cause in that regard.
Roma are 2.3211/8 for the win, with Napoli 3.55 and the draw available at 3.45. Given that both teams have had the weekend off, and given that Francesco Totti is missing for Roma, I like the idea of backing Napoli to start to turnaround their form.
I know that they've had players on international duty, but a break from the relentlessness of Serie A will have been good for them, and they're overpriced to win here.
One writer I read this week described Roma as "resurgent" after that Cesena win. They aren't. They'll be resurgent if they beat Napoli, and their fragile squad is far too short to do so.
Back Napoli to beat Roma @ 3.55/2
Cagliari v Lazio
Cagliari did the job for us last time in the Over 3.5 goals market, and there's no real reason to desert them here as they take on in form Lazio in Sardinia. Lazio are pushing hard for second place now, and Stefano Pioli is without question the Coach of the year in Serie A. His team is 1.84/5 to win here, and Lazio look rock solid.
Zdenek Zeman won't die wondering though, and the impression I get now is that things are SO desperate for Cagliari, that he may as well keep going for all three points. It seems like the only realistic way that a team cut adrift at the bottom can stay up.
They're five points behind Atalanta, who are the first team safe, and Zeman has to get them winning. I don't think for a second that they'll begin their push for safety against Lazio, but I do think that their approach will once again lead to goals.
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Cagliari v Lazio @ 3.02/1
Fiorentina v Sampdoria
Live on ESPN
Sampdoria have made more money for this column than any other team this season so far, and I'm hoping that they're going to continue that trend this weekend.
Given that Samp have won four games in a row, and that Fiorentina have both a key Europa League match and a Cup semi final on the horizon, I have no idea why Samp are 5.79/2 to win this weekend.
Fiorentina might be great to watch, and in a good vein of form themselves, but Samp beat them comfortably in November, and are playing with such nerveless confidence right now that I'm convinced they can go to the Artemio Franchi and win.
If you feel like laying La Viola at 1.774/5 then I understand that, but I'm jumping on that Samp price, it feels far too good to miss.
Back Sampdoria to beat Fiorentina @ 5.79/2