AN enticing fixture from Italy’s top tier takes place on Monday night. We asked Serie A supporter Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) for the best bet.
Lazio v Sampdoria | Monday 19.45 | BT Sport Europe
Both Lazio and Sampdoria started the season with lofty ambitions to secure another spot in Europe but the two famous old clubs are in free-fall ahead of Monday night’s encounter in the capital.
The duo boast a pathetic three points between them from the past 36 on offer (Lazio W0-D1-L5, Sampdoria W0-D2-L4) and must be left well alone.
Stefano Pioli’s hosts bounced back from their Champions League qualifying exit in August to rise to third in early October but will start this fixture in 13th and looking to end a run of three home fixtures without a win (D1-L2).
Not since March 2010 have the Biancocelesti gone four matches without tasting success at the Stadio Olimpico and although their reasonable performances in the Europa League have offered some respite, defensive problems continue to hamper domestic progress.
Stefan De Vrij’s absence has been a constant thorn but on Monday night Pioli must do without fellow centre-back Mauricio through suspension meaning Wesley Hoedt will play alongside Santiago Gentiletti once more. Senad Lulic is also out and so just a third clean sheet in nine Rome outings looks unlikely.
Seeing Lazio at such skinny quotes (11/20 BetVictor) has me almost searching for a bucket – *retch* – but for those determined to take the Eagles as a serious betting proposition, the Biancocelesti hold a seriously strong recent record against Sampdoria.
Lazio have W6-D1-L0 in their last seven head-to-heads with the visitors, including five shutouts. In the capital, the hosts have won eight of their last nine Serie A contests against the Blucerchiati, leaking just twice.
It’s also worth pointing out that looking further back, Lazio have actually recorded victories in 10 of their last 16 league games when entertaining league opposition with eight of their most recent 15 finishing in wins by at least two goals.
However, those dreadful defensive stats and selection problems just can’t be ignored and so, although Sampdoria are in anything but fine fettle, they’re still more than capable of breaching the Biancocelesti’s backline.
Eder, Luis Muriel and Roberto Soriano are a cut above the rest of the squad and so it’s no major news to hear the travellers have only fired blanks in seven of their 26 road trips since the start of last season. Like their hosts, Samp’s issues remain in defence.
Vincenzo Montella hoped to cure the guests’ blues at the back by switching to a three-man defence but he’s lost each of his first three outings and the Blucerchiati are still searching for their first clean sheet in 13 and win in 11 on their travels (W0-D5-L5).
The suggestion is, Montella will revert to the same system that Walter Zenga used before him as Samp’s struggles see the relegation zone loom perilously close and their attacking instincts curbed under his watch – they attempted only four shots-on-target (scoring twice) in his first three games.
But ultimately, bad defences breed goals and between these two they’ve kept only five shutouts in 30 league matches in 2015/16. The Both Teams To Score bet has been a winner in 10 of Samp’s 15 this term and so I’ll happily back it again here at 21/20 quotes with 888 Sport.
Lazio v Sampdoria – Both Teams To Score (21/20 888 Sport)
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