SERIE A is the destination for Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) European NAP this weekend with a trip to Sicily taking his fancy.
Palermo v Empoli | Sunday 14.00
Last week Opta tweeted goals-per-game stats that covered the major European leagues, showing Serie A ahead of the Premier League. Yet the stigma and attitude towards Italy’s top tier remains snobby and elitist on these shores.
Those who regularly watch Serie A will tell you, although the superstar names from the 90’s and early 00’s have long gone, the league continues to entertain and throw up many fascinating battles and enjoyable, very watchable fixtures.
One of those should be on Sunday afternoon when Palermo take on Empoli. I’m expecting a goal-heavy game in Sicily and Both Teams To Score is overpriced at 5/6 with 888 Sport. The two promoted teams have shown a real willingness to attack the league and it would be a surprise if their meeting failed to live up to expectations.
Giuseppe Iachini’s home side are riding high in the top-half of the table with Argentine duo Paulo Dybala and Franco Vazquez earning rave reviews. The Rosanero have netted in all bar four of their 24 league games since promotion but only three clean sheets have led to 17/24 (71%) Both Teams To Score winners.
The islanders have been quick out of the blocks, netting the highest number of first-half goals but it's their record of scoring in all bar one of their league outings since mid-October that deserves maximum respect.
Visitors Empoli have found the going tough at their Stadio Carlo Castellani home but Maurizio Sarri’s men remain a menace on the road. The Azzurri have only failed to trouble the scoresheet once on their travels since the opening day with 8/11 (73%) of away trips resulting in BTTS winners.
Last weekend they dished out a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of Chievo and in previous road trips held high-flying Roma and Milan in their own backyards. Massimo Maccarone continues to defy his veteran status when leading the Empoli attack but bar a clean sheet at bewildered Parma, Sarri’s charges have failed to shutout any opponent when playing away.
Palermo v Empoli – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Ladbrokes)