EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) is looking to continue his hot European NAP streak with a selection from Monday night's Serie A action.
Atalanta v Lazio | Monday 17th December 2018, 19:30 | Eleven Sports
Monday night’s Serie A offering should be a thrilling affair as resurgent Atalanta welcome out-of-sorts Lazio to Bergamo. The last five meetings between these two at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia have produced 21 goals with both sides scoring on each occasion and an entertaining repeat should be on the cards here.
Atalanta have finally found their groove in recent weeks, six Serie A victories from their past eight encounters (W6-D0-L2) to move to within four points of the top-four. Gian Piero Gasperini’s group cruised to a 3-1 win at Udinese last weekend, wining the shot count 16-6 and conceding just a solitary on-target effort.
That impressive outing from La Dea has been consistent with their recent performances. Inter Milan were thrashed 4-1 here before the November international break, whilst their two losses came late on against Napoli, and when down to 10 men at Empoli. The hosts have scored at least twice in six of their past seven and should cause Lazio problems.
Atalanta ace in attack
Atalanta are actually averaging a division-best 1.24 Expected Goals from open play, and level pegging with Juventus for posting 1.73 xG per-game. No Serie A side are firing in more shots from inside the penalty area than La Dea with the Bergamo boys also averaging more touches in the penalty area than any of their league rivals.
The return from suspension of Josip Ilicic means the hosts are at full-strength for this showdown and they’re fair 5/4 favourites to succeed. However, I prefer to play the Over 2.5 Goals market at 8/11 (188BET), a selection that’s copped in each of Atalanta’s last seven games with Over 3.5 Goals returning profit on four occasions.
Lazio’s worrying recent run
Lazio kept their players locked in a training retreat ahead of last weekend’s match with Sampdoria. A regular occurrence in Italy, the decision to keep the players in-house was made in the hope of turning around a worrying slide in results and performances.
However, Simone Inzaghi’s troops played out a fourth successive Serie A stalemate in a mad-cap finale. A controversial penalty had given Lazio a 2-1 lead deep into stoppage-time but the Biancocelesti shipped a 99th-minute equaliser at the Stadio Olimpico, something Inzaghi said he’d “never seen in 25 years of football.”
In midweek, the Romans were beaten 2-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt, extending their winless streak from the 8th November. The visitors have tabled only two league triumphs since the end of October and have now alarmingly dropped outside of the Champions League qualification positions.
Goals forecast for Bergamo bash
Still, Lazio (like Atalanta) are renowned for their forward-thinking approach and both sides have scored in eight of their most recent 10 across all competitions, six of which also paid out for Over 2.5 Goals backers. Although the away side’s league fixtures have been relatively low scoring of late, they have notched in all bar two of their past 21 matches.
The visitors’ matches are averaging 2.67 goals domestically, with the xG average standing at 2.73, and across all competitions the Biancocelesti are generating a strong 1.73 xG average, enough encouragement to believe they can join Atalanta in producing a high-scoring spectacle from the peninsula on Monday night.
Looking at Atalanta and Lazio’s respective home/away games under their current bosses, 54/90 (60%) have seen Over 2.5 Goals with those contests averaging 2.93 goals per-game. And when drilling deeper into their records against top-half teams, 26/44 (59%) have seen three goals or more, and 29/44 (66%) saw both sides score.
Atalanta v Lazio – Over 2.5 Goals (8/11 188BET)