MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP has given us plenty of joy this season. His latest arrives from Italy.
Inter Milan v Pescara | Saturday 19:45 | BT Sport
It wasn’t pretty in Palermo but Inter Milan’s resurgence under Stefano Pioli continued last weekend with the Nerazzurri notching their sixth successive Serie A success and eighth across all competitions.
The 1-0 triumph saw Palermo fail to land a shot on-target in their own backyard as Inter kept their sheets clean for the fourth occasion in those eight outings, gaining ground on fourth-placed Lazio in the process.
The Nerazzurri’s have now leaked just twice in their past six league victories and recorded a stunning W7-D1-L1 record since Pioli took charge. That rapid rise from the midst of mid-table towards Champions League qualifying contention is hard to ignore.
Inter are within striking distance of third-placed Napoli and can continue their assault with a Saturday night romp at home to no-hopers Pescara at the San Siro.
Cristian Ansaldi is the only unavailable player for the hosts with Davide Santon ready to cover at left-back but Pescara are saddled with numerous defensive injuries and their top scorer Gianluca Caprari is suspended.
No-hope for Pescara
Promoted Pescara have looked like a fish out of water. Their only league win against Sassuolo wasn’t earned on the pitch – the Dolphons lost 2-1 when the teams met at the Mapei Stadium in August, only to later be awarded the points because their opponents had fielded an ineligible player.
Massimo Oddo’s troops are looking like a lost cause at the bottom of the standings. Taking the match against Sassuolo at face value, Pescara have collected only six points from a possible 60 this term (W0-D6-L13) with only two draws to show for their efforts in 12 matches since mid-October.
There’s now a 12-point gulf between survival and Pescara and last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at home to Sassuolo set a new record for the most Serie A home games (19) without a victory – a stretch dating back to their last stay in the top-flight, in 2012-13 – and their road record is equally awful.
Asian Handicap approach
The Dolphins have been beaten in eight of their past 10 away days with defeats in all four previous trips to top-six sides this season. Those four losses arrived by an aggregate score of 3-12 and another mismatch looms here.
There’s massive mileage in the 4/6 (188BET) quotes on Inter to score a -1.5 Asian Handicap here. The Nerazzurri have won each of their past five home league fixtures by at least a two-goal margin and an aggregate 15-3.
That sample includes thumping victories when welcoming Lazio and Fiorentina so they should have no problem repeating the feat against a Pescara side that’s shipped two goals or more in 7/10 (70%) away.
Inter Milan v Pescara – Inter Milan -1.5 Asian Handicap (4/6 188BET)