Match Previews: Italian Serie A (Week 16)

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Updated: December 10, 2013
Verona

Catania vs. Hellas Verona

Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Angelo Massimino

 

Catania

Winning in just two matches this season, Catania cannot afford to lose again in their next battle. They are terribly bad on the road, with all of their away tourneys ended in defeats. At home, however, Rossazzurri have a slight chance of earning points. Both their wins, along with three draws, were obtained from fixtures inside the Stadio Angelo Massimino. They currently have a very modest score of nine points, which is small enough to keep them in the league’s least comfortable position.

 

Except from the ability to steal the ball from the opposition, Catania barely have special skills that would help them improve their form. A home advantage could be a comforting factor, but the home losses they incurred from Inter and AC Milan are warning signs that even in their own territory, complacency should not prevail.

 

Hellas Verona

After a three-match losing streak in the Italian top-flight league, Verona have finally found silver lining when they won their match against Atalanta 2-1. The crisis they had to endure before this reduced the side from the high morale they established in the earlier parts of the season. Thanks largely to Jorginho’s late penalty—which was a crucial deciding factor of Gialloblu’s week 15 fate in the season—Verona are making a strong comeback to the tournament. Atalanta took the lead through Denis before a Gomez header. Jorginho delivered the winning goal in the 87th minute.

 

Football betting tip: After regaining their confidence, Hellas Verona will strive to keep their pace up. Catania’s strength in the competition is tepid at best, which means that incurring a defeat in their next battle will not be a surprise. A two-goal lead by the visitors will cap this fixture’s outcome.

 

Verona | Image source: sportsmole.co.uk

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Juventus vs. Sassuolo

Match Date: 14 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Juventus Stadium

 

Juventus

Unbeaten for nine consecutive matches (eight wins, one draw), Juventus are proving the pitch beasts that they are. The side are currently on top of the league table and are three points clear of second placers, AS Roma. Earning 40 points from only 15 matches, Juventus will have an unprecedented string of successes throughout the tournament’s entire run.

 

Sassuolo

Sassuolo should have extended their four-match unbeaten streak in Serie A if only Chievo failed to score against them in their most recent fixture. The 0-1 defeat would be the team’s seventh loss this season, but considering how they have improved since day one, Sassuolo should not feel too bad about their downfall. There are some indicators that Eusebio Di Francesco’s men will make good retaliations in the future. Their success at escaping the relegation zone after several weeks of staying there is an evidence of the squad’s determination to fulfill their goal.

 

Football betting tip: Although recent improvements may indicate Sassuolo to be an increasingly strong side, their caliber is yet to be considered at par with Juventus. A triumphant home side should be expected from this tourney.

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Chievo 

Chievo Verona vs. Sampdoria

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Marc`Antonio Bentegodi

 

Chievo

Battles in the air are what Chievo Verona are most notable for. However, their defense—particularly against counter attacks and through balls—is another area that they are increasingly known for, albeit in a negative light. This is generally true in their fixtures from weeks two through ten, when a total of 18 goals have been conceded. Their most recent matches are nonetheless not part of this sad story. The side have been undefeated for five Serie A weeks, and what is more impressive about the streak is that one of these finished in a clean sheet while two concluded in draws that held their opponents deprived of a goal. The side are now outside the relegation zone.

 

Sampdoria

After five weeks of winless matches, Sampdoria have finally obtained three points when they thrashed Catania 2-0 last weekend. This marks the side’s only third win this season, but was good enough to fetch them out of the relegation zone. They are now up by three spots from last week, but they are still tasked to score at least seven goals (without conceding any) to cancel out their negative goal difference.

 

Football betting tip: This will be an interesting battle as both sides were former parts of the bottom and are now in the table’s safer zones. Their stories might be similar, but totally not identical. Chievo have shown much greater improvement than Sampdoria, and the former winning this tourney would be a reasonable result.

 

Chievo | Image source: zimbio.com

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Fiorentina vs. Bologna

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi

 

Fiorentina

Despite losing points to Roma last weekend, Fiorentina still rank on a strong sixth-place position. They are among the most consistent players in the season, and they never went out of the top six since day one.

 

Viola’s last five matches produced nine points to bring their overall score to the 20’s range. They are still six points short to enable them to barge into the top three, but they are impressively 14 points clear of the relegation zone. In addition, they have only lost once in all of their home matches this term.

 

Bologna

None of their last five fixtures gave them enough points to get them out of the relegation zone. Bologna may have drawn thrice in those occasions, but the scores earned from these tourneys were very insufficient to produce a strong form. I Rossoblù still lack the faculties to defend counter attacks and convert chances, which probably explains why they have more goals conceded than goals scored. They are desperate to obtain victory, but with that comes the very difficult task of overcoming strong opponents.

 

Football betting tip: Apparently, Fiorentina have the upper hand in this match against Bologna. Unless the latter make some interesting surprises, the former will largely be in control of the ball.

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Gian

Genoa vs. Atalanta

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Comunale Luigi Ferraris

 

Genoa

Genoa are still undefeated at home under Gian Piero Gasperini, earning them 10 points from all the four home matches he has overseen. With four victories, three deadlocks, and only two defeats, the coach has managed to keep Genoa within the top 10 and several points clear of relegation. Gasperini’s knack for nailing an away match may still need some more polishing, but his ability to pull off a home tourney has already been tried and tested.

 

Atalanta

Plagued by inconsistency, Atalanta are in an uptight position to claim safe refuge in the league rankings. They are presently three spots away from the top half, after only earning 17 points from 15 matches, mostly from home. As visitors, La Dea are significantly volatile. Seven out of the eight away matches they had this season finished in distressing defeats, with their 2-0 downfall from modest Sassuolo particularly embarrassing. They need to maintain a strong hold to set pieces for them to pick up new points, but improving their defense against through ball attacks and long shots would just be as important.

 

Football betting tip: Facing a much more in-form side, Atalanta will have a difficult task to overcome. Genoa are in a home advantage, and obtaining all three points from this tourney is not a long shot for them.

 

Gian Piero Gasperini | Image source: bsports.com

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Lazio vs. Livorno

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Olimpico

 

Lazio

Lazio are generally declining in the season. After reaching a peak position at number six (thus far) in weeks five and six, they are now down to number 12. This is after having their last six Serie A tourneys dry of a triumph (three draws, three defeats). The squad’s defense is on the rocks, as evidenced by the 22 goals conceded (against 19 scored) since opening day.

 

While they may be skilled at creating long shot opportunities, I Biancocelesti are bizarrely weak at defending against through ball and counter attacks. Vladimir Petković cannot seem to find solution to turn this dilemma around. Failure to address it could potentially endanger them of falling into relegation.

 

Livorno

Only one point was obtained from Livorno’s last four matches. The 2-2 draw (their most recent) with Milan was tolerable, but the goal-less defeats from Inter, Juve, and Chievo were absolutely not. In those battles alone, the side conceded seven goals—a figure big enough to spur negative goal difference.

 

Amaranto are spending their second consecutive time in the bottom three, and will likely extend their stay there if they still fail to convert chances and lose control of the ball.

 

Online betting tip: Both of these sides have proven vulnerable to falling on a deep cliff. Lazio and Livorno are equally deprived of a win, but their issue on inconsistency will likely prevent them from obtaining the much-sought success. A low-scoring draw should therefore be expected from this encounter.

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Parma

Parma vs. Cagliari

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Ennio Tardini

 

Parma

Although Parma were unbeaten in their four most recent Serie A matches, they are not among the league’s top clubs. In fact, they are only ranked at number 10 at least for the time being. The result is due to the squad bagging deadlocks for the most part of their campaign this season. Their current record stands at W4-D6-L5.

 

Compared to their performance in the league’s earlier runs, Parma’s recent displays are quite of an improvement. They have secured at least one goal in their last four tourneys, of which a clean sheet was obtained from their brawl against Napoli.

 

Cagliari

While they may have never been in the relegation zone for the past 15 match weeks, Cagliari have disappointed their supporters a few times already. They were defeated on five different occasions this season (including three successive ones), of which three finished in zero goals. In their most recent fixtures, however, Rossoblu have shown sizable improvement in their form. They were unbeaten in the last four weeks, having earned eight points from two victories and two draws.

 

Cagliari have yet to prove themselves on the road, as none of their away matches concluded in triumph. Of the seven tourneys they played outside their own turf, three were deadlocks while four were losses.

 

Online betting tip: Parma and Cagliari are both in the mid-table, ranking side by side and flaunting almost the same record. However, the hosts have a far greater number of goals scored while the visitors are generally weak away from home. Parma will finish this encounter at least one goal superior of Cagliari.

 

Parma | Image source: sportsmole.co.uk

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Udinese vs. Torino

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Friuli

 

Udinese

If not for Federico Fernandez’ own goal, Udinese would have incurred their ninth defeat this season. The 3-3 draw they bagged with Napoli was initially dominated by the latter, with all of the goals scored in the first half belonging them. In the second period, Fernandez took on a careless goal against his own side, while Udinese’s Bruno Fernandes found the net just before Dzemaili’s equalizer. Dusan Basta finished the scoring to round up the match in a lousy stalemate.

 

Earning 17 points from 15 matches, Udinese are in an awkward placement in the league table. They are four places away from the top half, but they are still four points clear of relegation.

 

Torino

Il Toro’s current position at number seven is five spots higher than their standing last week. Thanks to the clean sheet they earned against Lazio, the team bagged three points to increase their total score to 19 points.

 

Torino’s attacking mechanism has shown some progress lately, particularly in their joist against Catania when they netted four goals against the opposition’s one. The clean sheet they obtained in their most recent battle is also indicative of the squad’s improving defense. However, coach Giampiero Ventura is still faced with a massive challenge pertinent to his squad’s stubbornness in the offside, carelessness on creating fouls, and on their weakness in aerial duels.

 

Online betting tip: Udinese have historically been more successful than Torino, as far as their past meetings are concerned. Of the previous six fixtures that these sides have battled out together, Udinese won thrice, Torino once, while the rest were draws. In this upcoming tourney, another win by the hosts is a likely occurrence.

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Napoli

Napoli vs. Internazionale

Match Date: 15 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio San Paolo

 

Napoli

Napoli are earning mixed reception in their recent runs in both the domestic league and the UEFA tournament. Their Serie A campaign has generally been strong, despite some shortcomings in a few of their fixtures. In the Champions League, however, the side have been beaten twice in five Group stage matches. They are currently level with Borussia Dormund in terms of total points earned (9), but are placed one spot lower than the German club due to their negative goal difference.

 

Partenopei are currently third in the Serie A ranking—at least five points short of Roma and Juventus, but four points clear of fourth placers, Inter.

 

Internazionale

Their last three Serie A fixtures all ended in a draw, but when other competitions are taken into account, a victory will break the streak. Inter have successfully slammed Trapani 3-2 in their campaign for the Coppa Italia last Wednesday. The side were heavily dominant in the match’s first period, until the opponents retaliated with two goals in the second half.

 

On the road, Inter are relatively strong. They have never been defeated in the seven away matches they had in the Italian top-flight league, although all ended in victory. The side’s current overall record stands at W7-D7-L1.

 

Online betting tip: This tourney will be a very vigorous one. An exchange of equally stunning displays means that soaring will be extremely tight. A draw would best end this clash.

 

Napoli | Image source: sportsmole.co.uk

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AC Milan vs. AS Roma

Match Date: 16 December 2013 (local)

Match Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

 

AC Milan

Whether in the domestic league, the UEFA tournament, or in a club friendly, AC Milan barely get intimidated by the prowess of their opponents. The squad have been unbeaten in their last six matches, which constitute three draws from Serie A and three victories (collective) from the same competition, in the Champions League, and in an exhibition match.

 

Domestically, Milan rank in the top half. While they may have dwindled by a few notches in the current season from the last, the team remain among the strongest in the tournament. They have already incurred five defeats in the season, but their overall score is still larger than that of the other clubs.

 

AS Roma

The only club in Serie A not to be beaten even just once since curtain raiser (or even earlier), Roma are proving to be one of the toughest players in the domestic league. Currently placed at the second highest spot, behind Juventus, the troupe have achieved substantial improvement from last season. Thus far, they already scored 37 points from 15 fixtures, delivered 29 goals, and conceded only five. They currently vaunt the largest positive goal difference among the Italian clubs.

 

Online betting tip: AC Milan and AS Roma are both highly esteemed for the powerhouses that they are. This face-off will be glorified by a number of stellar performances, which will all eventually convene in a medium-scoring stalemate.