Dave Farrar is here with this week's Serie A column, and he expects goals at Fiorentina and Juve as well as a good Parma outing at the San Siro...
"I don’t have the space to detail Inter’s injury list here, but they’ll once again have to play with Tommaso Rocchi and Ricky Alvarez up front, and even though Alvarez is getting better, that combination won’t strike fear into Roberto Donadoni."
The decline of Inter Milan this season has spelled dark times for their young coach Andrea Stramaccioni, but has been a source of profit for this column. The question is: can we go to the well again this weekend? Inter are [2.14] to beat Parma at San Siro, and it's certainly not a price which makes much appeal. The difference between Parma and Inter's other recent conquerors, Bologna, Cagliari and Atalanta, is that Parma are themselves out of form. Their price of [4.0] for the win is probably about fair.
I don't have the space to detail Inter's injury list here, but they'll once again have to play with Tommaso Rocchi and Ricky Alvarez up front, and even though Alvarez is getting better, that combination won't strike fear into Roberto Donadoni. The visiting coach has a couple of issues to deal with himself, namely the absence of Gabriel Paletta, and given that Parma have failed to score in three of their last four games, and that they've picked up only 2 points from their last 18 away, I can't recommend them at 3/1.
I am still interested in Inter, though.
They played well against Roma in midweek, but that game will have taken a lot out of them, and, rather like Milan last week, I can't help but feel that the chance to lay them at a price near even money is too good to be missed. We have had much success backing Bologna and Atalanta to win at San Siro lately, but I'm going to be more conservative here, and lay Inter at [2.14]. For all Parma's issues, that is definitely too short, and so logic should prevail.
Lay Inter to beat Parma @ [2.14]
Antonio Conte still refuses to talk about the Scudetto until Juventus are certain winners. Many would argue that they already have won the League, but Conte's professionalism will carry his team right through until the end of the season. If Juve can win against Milan on Sunday night, then they'll be just a couple of games away from celebrating another title, and if Napoli fail to beat Cagliari, then that day will move ever closer. Juve are [1.78] to beat Milan, and that price probably has a lot to do with the continued absence of Mario Balotelli from the Milan starting line up. His suspension has hit the Rossoneri just as they seemed likely to get past Napoli into second place, and Max Allegri will have to play Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephan El Sharaawy up front together once more.
Milan performed with credit against Napoli, and I don't think that they should be as big as they are to emerge from Turin with at least a point, even though Mathieu Flamini is suspended. The goals markets are the aspect of this game which interest me most, and I think that Both Teams to Score may be overpriced at [1.88]. Milan have scored in each of their last six away games, and with Juve likely to find a way through against a defence which looked less than solid last week, that rates a decent bet. The Coppa Italia game between these two earlier this year was richly entertaining, and this game could well throw up another Sunday night spectacle. Over 2.5 Goals are available at [1.96], but I prefer the former option at a slightly shorter price.
Back Both Teams to Score in Juventus v Milan @ [1.88]
There was a time when this match looked like a real issue for Fiorentina as they continue to push for a 4th placed finish. La Viola really must win this, as Roma, who are emerging as their likeliest challengers, have a home game against Pescara which they look certain to win. I was hoping to see Fiorentina a little bigger than [1.5] to win, and won't be advocating them at that price, but we should take note of the fact that Torino have lost four of their last seven games, and of the manner in which they've lost them.
Torino's last three games have produced 15 goals, and without looking too much further back, you'll find 4-1 and 4-3 defeats. They've conceded 10 goals in their last three away matches and that makes the goal markets worth more than a second look. Stefan Jovetic is out, but Adem Llajic has been in great form for Fiorentina, and with Marcelo Larrondo responding well to getting his chance last week, Fiorentina are likely to be their usual fluent selves. And they LOVE playing teams who are as open as Torino. I expect Fiorentina to win, and to do so convincingly. That brings the Asian Handicap into play, but I prefer to play over 3.5 goals at [3.4].
Back Over 3.5 Goals in Fiorentina v Torino @ [3.4]