MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the two games from the Italian top tier on Monday night in the hunt for more winners.
Empoli v Udinese | Monday 18.00 | ESPN
Empoli and Udinese have managed just one Serie A win in 18 outings between them to send both sides plummeting down the ladder. Hosts Empoli sit just a point above the relegation zone and know they must start turning draws into victories if they’re to avoid dropping straight back down to Serie B.
Maurizio Sarri’s men have played some enterprising football on the road but the Azzurri are yet to find the winning formula at the Stadio Carlo Castellani with low-scoring stalemates seemingly inescapable.
Empoli have W2-D5-L3 on home soil but take out defeats to Roma and Juventus and that record looks slightly more enticing (W2-D5-L1).
But the Azzurri have failed to score in six of their 10 games in front of their home fans with their last four all ending 0-0. They've now drawn seven of their last eight league matches and so it’s hard to really find confidence in taking them at a shade of odds-against (21/20 BetVictor).
Udinese arrive with just one win in 11 under their belts and without a clean sheet in that spell. The Zebras have only failed to net in five of their 19 outings in Serie A action this season and should recall the rested Antonio Di Natalie for this encounter.
The visitors road record of W2-D3-L4 doesn’t look too remarkable although all nine road trips have come against sides in the current top-12. Empoli should offer Andrea Stramaccioni’s side a little relief and at 6/5 they look decent value with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap market.
With this selection we’ll receive a full payout should Udinese win the fixture but if the game ends all-square, we’ll still pocket half of our potential full pay-out.
Napoli v Genoa | Monday 20.00 | ESPN
Three points for Napoli on Monday night would move Rafa Benitez's side back into the third and final Champions League qualifying spot and that’s a big carrot for a Partenopei side that’s failed to find any sort of consistency in 2014/15.
Three wins from their last four fixtures has at least reignited their claims as Italy’s next best behind runaway leaders Roma and Juventus but at 2/5 it’s hard to find enough reasons to make them a solid play at the San Paolo.
So instead, I’ve looked towards the Win + Both Teams To Score market with Napoli rated an 11/5 chance with William Hill. So far this season, the goals have been flying in at both ends of Napoli matches and I’m hopeful the trends will continue.
Benitez’s charges have conceded more than any of their top-seven rivals, leaking 24 goals with only two clean sheets kept in nine outings in Naples. Indeed in five of those nine matches they’ve even shipped two or more goals in front of their home fans.
However, they are starting to hit their stride and should have enough firepower in the tank to outscore a Genoa side that’s hit the buffers after an impressive end to 2014. The Rossoblu just two defeats until mid-December but they’ve now gone five games without a win sandwiched between the winter break.
Despite their poor recent run, the goals have continued to flow in Genoa’s matches. The visitors have leaked 10 in their last four matches and despite their position in seventh can only lay claim to five clean sheets from 19, so far this season.
Genoa have scored 16 in their last eight away games though and the Rossoblu will fancy their chances of notching at least one at the San Paolo. Seven of their nine road fixtures have already featured Both Teams Scoring and Monday night’s showdown could easily follow suit.
Empoli v Udinese – Udinese +0.25 Asian Handicap (6/5 BetVictor)
Napoli v Genoa – Napoli to win + Both Teams To Score (11/5 William Hill)