THE European season continues its relentless quest for conclusion on Thursday and Jack Wright (@bet_shop_boys ) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Atalanta vs Napoli | Thursday 2nd July 2020, 18:30 | Premier Sports
What a mouthwatering clash we have in store at the Gewiss Stadium as two of the most in-form sides in Italy do battle.
Both clubs bring 100% post-restart records in to this one, and taking into account games before the hiatus, Atalanta have won six successive league matches scoring 21 in the process, with Napoli on a run of five victories taking the lead in to the interval in their last three. At least one of those records will have to go.
One thing I certainly can’t see ending despite the game being played in July, is the avalanche of goals. Gian Piero Gasperini’s hosts have now seen three or more goals in their last nine Serie A fixtures, with six of those having Over 3.5, including all of the last four, and they have hit teams for seven twice in that sequence. Meanwhile, the Parthenopeans have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight.
The Nerazzurri go into this game occupying fourth – the final Champions League qualifying berth – and 12 points clear of the side from Naples who sit sixth, clearly meaning if the away side want to have any hope of catching their hosts, they need to leave with all three points from this trip.
We should be guaranteed an exciting and open contest as a result and should mean the side from Bergamo – just one of the home side's fixtures have featured fewer than three goals. And I’m banking on them to keep to their incredible average of 4.43 total goals per-game.
Despite only losing three times on their travels this season, Gennaro Gattuso’s guests have done so against Juventus, Lazio and Roma, three sides like Thursday's hosts, above them in the table. A repeat of either the 4-3 defeat to the Old Lady or the 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture in October would do us just fine as I’m not predicting a winner here.
Atalanta have actually suffered defeat on four occasions in their own stadium, against Torino, Cagliari, Juventus and Spal so I am not taking on the result market, simply looking forward to a goalfest between, as outlined above two sides in great form.
Over 3.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score is available at 6/4 (SkyBet) and that will do for me
Roma vs Udinese | Thursday 2nd July 2020, 20:45 | Premier Sports
We are staying in Italy for the second pick and our good friends from the capital, Roma.
If you cast your mind back to last week, we got a comfortable win when Roma easily cleared the necessary seven corner line against Sampdoria. They won 10 that day in a game total of 18, followed up by a trip to Milan which saw a combined 11 flag kicks. Back on home turf at the Stadio Olimpico for the visit of relegation-threatened Udinese should see another high count of my favourite set piece.
Not much has changed with the Giallorossi still topping the Serie A averages for home corners won, now with a total of 120 (8.57 per-game) and 12.14 in total. However, despite their lowly standing, Udinese have won the second-highest amount of flag kicks away in the league, 83 from 14 games that sees an average of 5.93 and could result in a closer battle and even higher total than the one witnessed in my last piece.
Indeed, the 175 corners that Luca Gotti’s visitors have seen on their travels in total is the highest in Italy’s top-flight. So seeing the side from Udine available at 4/5 to have four or more visits to the corner quadrant was a big surprise – this is for a side that amassed an incredible 16 in their last away game at Torino, in their return to action after the break.
Le Zebrette won five corners in the reverse fixture and six here last season when the total reached 13. As much as playing Paulo Fonseca’s side to force eight or more flag kicks at 10/11 appealed I will instead simply opt for the total line of 12+ at a slightly better price of 1/1 with SkyBet.