EUROPEAN football expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over Monday night's Serie A fixture between Chievo and Genoa.
Chievo v Genoa | Monday 18:00 | BT Sport
Chievo’s ninth-placed finish last season represented their best season since returning to Serie A in 2008/09. It was also the first time in which the Flying Donkeys had concluded a campaign in the top-half since 2005/06.
The turnaround since Rolando Maran took charge has been quite sensational and although the Verona-based hosts have claimed a solitary success in seven (W1-D2-L4) and suffered three defeats in four, Chievo’s ability to stay in games makes them dangerous operators for any outfit.
Head back to October 2014 and Chievo had been beaten in five of their opening seven matches, leading to Eugenio Corini’s dismissal. Maran was soon appointed as Corini’s replacement with a remit for survival and only survival.
Maran the man
Maran managed W9-D12-L10 in his 31 fixtures in charge, guiding the Flying Donkeys to 14th; nine points clear of the bottom-three. And the new man in charge continued the ascent last season with their outstanding top-half finish.
And whilst it’s easy to dismiss Chievo here due to their poor recent form, it’s worth investigating their wonderful record at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.
Under Maran’s watch, the hosts have suffered only 10 (24%) defeats in 42 home fixtures – those losses came against Juventus (x2), Napoli (x2), Inter (x2), Milan, Fiorentina, Udinese and Genoa in his first game in the dugout.
Those 42 outings have included 17 (40%) clean sheets, 27/42 (64%) Under 2.5 Goals winners and 28/42 (67%) half-time draws (21 of which were goalless). On only six occasions have Chievo trailed at home at the interval under Maran.
The Flying Donkeys did collect a morale-boosting midweek win against Novara (3-0) in the Coppa Italia – Roberto Inglese grabbing a brace – and I’m keen to keep the hosts onside here, knowing how hardy they can be.
Sure, right-back Fabrizio Cacciatore is suspended – Nicolas Frey will start in his place – and although Genoa arrive on the back of beating Juventus 3-1 last Sunday, the visitors’ road record leaves a lot to be desired.
Old Lady battered and bruised
The Rossoblu charged into a 3-0 lead inside the opening half an hour against the defending champions, eventually triumphing 3-1. Young Gio Simeone scored twice as Ivan Juric’s charges played with a reckless abandon not seen before under his watch.
Genoa were aggressive without the ball and direct when in possession. Luca Rigoni was a menace, roaming free between the lines of midfield and attack, while Diego Laxalt and Darko Lazovic dominated their flanks and Lucas Ocampos led a ferocious press from the front.
But it was an after the Lord Mayor’s show effort in midweek as they required extra-time to see off second tier Perugia in the Coppa Italia. With Leonardo Pavoletti still out Genoa aren’t quite as potent and it must be said, Juventus were as bad as I can remember over the past four years under Max Allegri.
Juric – who achieved promotion with Crotone last season for the first time in their history in his only season at the club – is expected to stick with the 3-4-1-2 line-up but needs a change of fortune on the road.
Oppose an awful away record
Since the start of last season, the Grifone have managed just W5-D4-L16 on their travels, keeping only four clean sheets. In just five of those fixtures have Genoa scored more than a solitary goal with Under 2.5 Goals banking in 15/25 (60%).
We’ve already outlined plenty of excellent trends in Chievo’s favour but it looks even better when we drill down into Maran’s record against bottom-half dwellers. Chievo have W11-D8-L1 when welcoming clubs in 11th and below, only failing to net twice.
With Chievo’s excellent home record standing prettily alongside Genoa’s ugly away return, it makes sense to support the hosts off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap line at 9/11 (188BET) – that’s around 1.82 in decimals. This selection would see our stake returned if the game ends all-square.
Elsewhere, I can’t resist a pop at the 0-0 half-time correct score at 31/20 (BetStars). We’ve already mentioned Chievo’s outstanding success in this market but once again it appears too good to turn down when viewing the Flying Donkeys’ efforts against the league’s lesser lights.
A huge 16/20 (70%) of Chievo’s home encounters with bottom-half teams under Maran have seen half-time draws. And it’s well worth noting too that Genoa’s last 11 outings have averaged just 2.18 goals per game with seven being level at the break.
Chievo v Genoa – Chievo 0 Asian Handicap (9/11 188BET)
Chievo v Genoa – 0-0 half-time correct score (31/20 BetStars)