MARK O’HAIRE’S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP takes him to Serie A on Saturday night.
Inter Milan v Genoa | Saturday 19.45 | BT Sport Europe
The European NAP is in the midst of a frustrating few weeks. We’ve had red cards, woodworks hit, early injuries and poor finishing culminating in plenty of near-misses but I’m returning to Italy this weekend for a big-priced bet that’s gotten me all hot and bothered. Hopefully I can persuade you to follow…
Inter Milan surrendered top spot in Serie A on Monday night to Scudetto rivals Napoli but there was plenty of encouragement and character to take from Roberto Mancini’s troops display.
Falling behind to a 64-second opener, going down to 10 men in the first-half before leaking a second just after the hour mark at the Stadio San Paolo, the Nerazzurri launched a wonderful offensive to claw a goal back, even hitting the woodwork twice in the final minute. It was a thrilling and ballsy fight back that ultimately fell short.
So Inter will be desperate to return to the summit on Saturday night when they entertain Genoa. Most pundits have correctly labelled Mancini’s men dull, dour and boring this season with a side that’s been built from the back. They’re consistent, solid and stable but most importantly, adept at picking up points.
Inter have only won once by more than a single goal – their last San Siro outing against newly-promoted Frosinone– and scored exactly once in 11 of their 14 games. In contrast, they’ve conceded just nine goals and shutout six of their seven visitors to San Siro.
Mancini’s altered his formation constantly to match that of his opponent, no matter who that might be. And it’s been working to a tee. We should expect a similar case on Saturday night as the Nerazzurri bid to enhance a wonderful record when welcoming Genoa (W6-D3-L0) since 1994.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s travellers have fallen well below the standards that saw them push for a European place last season with the Rossoblu down in 13th and bagging just one win from their past six (W1-D3-L2).
At times Genoa have been their own worst enemy and the Rossoblu boss was devastated after last week’s soft reverse at home to struggling Carpi. And to make matters worse, top scorer Leonardo Pavoletti was sent off and will now begin a three-match ban.
Since arriving, Pavoletti’s 11-games have seen Genoa score an average of 2.00 goals-per-game but the 21 fixtures he’s missed have seen that figure drop dramatically to just 1.29 goals-per-game. Their loss-rate has also taken a big dip from 2/11 (18%) with him to 9/21 (43%) without.
Furthermore, seven of their nine defeats without Pavoletti in attack have come ‘to nil’ and 16 of those 21 matches have featured fewer than three goals. The visitors haven’t recorded an away victory since May (W0-D3-L4), a clean sheet on the road in 15 and have managed just 15 goals in total this term.
So we should be safe to assume Inter will squeeze their way to yet another three points on Saturday night, right? I believe so and I’m ready to go hard rather than go home and back Inter to win with Under 2.5 Goals at tantalising, inviting and downright dirty price of 14/5 with Boylesports.
This selection has proven profitable in seven of the hosts’ nine league wins and five of Genoa’s six Serie A losses in 2015/16 and looks too good to turn down at nearly 3/1. Have I tempted you in?
Inter Milan v Genoa – Inter Milan to win and Under 2.5 Goals (14/5 Boylesports)
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