OUR man in Rome Marco Di Cosmo (@scioltz) gives us his best bets from his beloved Serie A this weekend.
Atalanta v Fiorentina | Sunday 14:00 | BT Sport Extra
This is a hard match to call as Fiorentina visit one of the toughest ground in Italian football. Atalanta are historically a hard team to beat on their own soil but despite their excellent start of the season they’ve struggled in recent weeks.
Their main problem has been the loss of Maxi Moralez, who was a really creative winger and the absence of Mauricio Pinilla and German Denis, now sold to the Independente.
The Chilean striker is back though, and the bergamaschi have acquired Alino Diamanti from Watford, who while not at the peak of his career still has talent to show.
Atalanta’s coach Edy Reja have always been known as a defensive man, and despite a sparkling start to the season he is now showing his lack of offensive approach.
Atalanta haven’t won a single game in their last 10, with their last three points coming at the beginning of December. They have turned into a really defensive unit though, registering three 0-0 draws in their last four games.
I think they will have the same approach here against Fiorentina. The Viola have recently beaten Inter in injury time and drew against Tottenham in the Europa League. That game could be costly for them though, having played with all their best players in a hard fight against one of the best English teams.
I bet Fiorentina will pay for that in terms of chances conceded, and I’m confident they’ll be vulnerable in the second half. Atalanta to score a single goal is odds against and I think that is really too big given the recent history of this team on home soil and the problems of Fiorentina.
Sassuolo v Empoli | Sunday 14:00
Backing goals in what is almost a friendly match could be the wise move here. Sassuolo and Empoli are having a wonderful season, playing really entertaining footballs without any worries of relegation.
They’ve both suffered difficult times in recent days though with neither side having registered a win in their last five games. A defensive approach is not in the nature of the coaches and both will surely play an open game. I will watch this match with a keen interest as I’m expecting goals and more goals.
Frosinone v Lazio | Sunday 17:00 | BT Sport 2
I see goals here too, but for different reasons. We often praised Frosinone for goals, and we’ve called them right so far with the Ciociari having the worst defensive record in Serie A.
I also have often praised Maurizio Stallone’s style, with his team never playing defensively and relying on the counter, but always pressing and playing really positively.
This strategy has meant they’ve conceded a number of goals but also led to some great performances despite the low quality of players in their squad.
I think Frosinone have a big opportunity to easily find the net against Lazio on Sunday and they could even fight for points. They have scored 16 goals in 13 games, having netted against big teams like Napoli and Milan; also Lazio’s defensive players are among the worst in the entire Serie A and the home side can score here.
Their shaky defence though puts me off backing them for the win so I’ll prefer to stick with the goal markets and back Both Teams To Score in this fixture.
Roma v Palermo | Sunday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
Palermo are having an absolute nightmare this season. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve changed their coach and to me they are really risking relegation despite having much more talent than teams like Frosinone and Carpi.
They have no chance here against a renewed Roma under coach Luciano Spalletti. The giallorossi have registered four consecutive wins in Serie A and put on a great performance against Real Madrid, even if they lost 2-0.
Palermo have the fourth worst defence in the league and while they might score with Franco Vazquez always a danger they will suffer defeat against an in-form AS Roma.
Verona v Chievo | Saturday 17:00 | BT Sport Europe
Is there still hope for Verona staying up? They’ve raised their performances in recent weeks and enjoyed their first win of the season against Atalanta and two important draws against the likes of Inter and Roma.
Their last match against Lazio wasn’t one of their best display, however they showed some renewed confidence in their attack when losing 5-2. After scoring only 14 goals in their first 22 games, Hellas have now found a good rhythm for their attack scoring seven goals in their last three matches.
What has changed is their approach as they need wins now till the end of the season to have some chance to avoid relegation. Chievo are not in their best form and the hosts will push hard to score and win this contest. I don’t rate them defensively enough to trust them for a win and I prefer backing goals as I have confidence Chievo could be really dangerous on the counter.
Verona v Chievo – Over 2 Goals Asian Handicap Goal Line
Atalanta v Fiorentina – Atalanta to score Over 0.5 Second Half Goals (5/4 Betfair)
Sassuolo v Empoli – Both Teams To Score (Evens Coral)
Frosinone v Lazio – Both Teams To Score (4/5 Boylesports)
Roma v Palermo – Roma to win and Over 2.5 Goals (Evens Paddy Power)
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