HAVING delivered six winners from nine European bets at the weekend, we asked Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) for his view on Monday night’s Serie A action.
Fiorentina v AC Milan | Monday 18.00 | ESPN
Milan have made pretty hard viewing to casual Serie A observers over the past couple of seasons and the Rossoneri’s fall from grace might not be complete just yet. Like last season, the former European heavyweights have collected a meagre 35 points from 36 matches but this time, under the stewardship of legendary poacher Filippo Inzaghi, Milan have recorded just eight wins – it’s their lowest tally at this stage since 1983/84!
True, Inzaghi’s charges arrive at Stadio Artemio Franchi unbeaten in four but a closer look at their seasons reveals far more harrowing stats and trends. The Rossoneri have won just four Serie A games since October and last weekend suffered the embarrassment of a last-minute equaliser at home to Verona.
The San Siro faithful are starting to turn on hero Inzaghi and so with only two wins from 12 on their travels, a trip to Florence will be a difficult test. However, it should be noted that while Milan have recorded uninspiring W1-D3-L3 figures from their last seven head-to-head against La Viola, they are unbeaten at the Franchi dating back to November 2005 (D3-L5).
Inzaghi will no doubt be hoping that the twin effects of Rome’s two sides will have softened Fiorentina ahead of this showdown. The Florence-based side were smashed 4-0 at Lazio last week to end their W5-D3-L0 run in Serie A before a tough 1-1 Europa League draw against Roma on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, Vincenzo Montella’s hosts have W8-D5-L2 in their last 15 league matches and have W8-D3-L1 when taking on bottom-half dwellers. La Viola are desperate to keep their Champions League dream alive and although the toils of competing in three separate competitions could be starting to take hold, Montella has enough options to keep Fiorentina chugging on.
With Milan winless in eight away days in league action and with eight defeats from their previous 12 away to top-six Serie A sides, it’s hard to have any faith in this current Rossoneri group. Fiorentina might be tired and may make a number of changes but they remain too good a prospect at 19/20 (William Hill) to turn down on Monday night.
Torino v Lazio | Monday 18.00
It’s been a rough week for Torino. Enjoying their best unbeaten run in Serie A since 1976/77, the Granata suffered their first defeat in 12 matches (W6-D6) to Udinese last weekend before suffering a 2-0 loss at Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday night. It’s left Giampiero Ventura’s European qualification aspirations hanging by a thread with a defeat to Lazio on Monday night unthinkable.
But I don’t envisage this Granata side to end up on the losing side and have to say, I’m a little wide-eyed at the 23/10 quotes from BetVictor on the hosts. The Bulls have W3-D3-L0 in their last six Serie A starts at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin and suffered only two defeats in their past 18 fixtures on home soil.
Indeed, Ventura’s team have lost only one of their last eight when welcoming top-six teams, running out as winners four times in that spell. They’ll also be boosted by the news that Lazio head north without a plethora of players. Bruno Pereirinha, Santiago Gentiletti, Filip Djordjevic, Mamadou Tounkara, Abdoulay Konko and Antonio Candreva are all confirmed absences.
The capital club have won just three of their last nine away and that’s despite facing seven teams in the bottom-half of the table. They may well be on their best winning streak (four) since 2010 and Miroslav Klose might be in a rich vein of form but there’s no way I could entertain a bet on Lazio at 6/4.
Instead, I’ll have a small interest in Both Teams To Score at 11/12 from 888 Sport. It’s a bet that’s won in seven of Torino’s last nine as well as four of their six games at the Olimpico against top-half teams this term. Only three of Lazio’s last eight have also proven profitable for BTTS backers but seven of their 13 road trips in the league have featured goals at both ends, making a play at almost even-money worthwhile.
Roma v Sampdoria | Monday 20.00 | BT Sport 1
Ah, Roma. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who backed Rudi Garcia’s challengers to win the Scudetto at 5/2 pre-season? Everything appeared to be in place for the Giallorossi but the 7-1 demolition by Bayern Munich in the Champions League hit the capital club for six. I’m certain, that was the beginning of the end to their title hopes and dreams.
Those in the know in Italy believe Garcia could be on his way at the end of the season. The Frenchman has made an incredible impact since taking the role at the beginning of last season but even he looks to be out of ideas on how to revitalise this Roma side. It’s now 10 draws in their last 13 games with table-topping Juventus boasting an unassailable 14-point advantage going into Monday night.
The Wolves are no longer fighting for the title. Instead, Garcia’s charges must focus on fighting off city rivals Lazio and Napoli for second. And for every positive slant, there’s a negative; Roma have only lost two of their last 26 league games but won just five of their previous 21 fixtures inside of 90 minutes. And although they remain winless at the Olimpico since November in Serie A, they’re also yet to be beaten on home soil.
Sampdoria arrive in the capital on the back of consecutive wins and find themselves in the heady heights of sixth. Siniša Mihajlović's are certainly over-performing with a Europa League berth in their sights. The Blucerchiati have an almost fully fit squad to pick from with a front three of Eder, Samuel Eto’o and Luis Muriel forming a formidable attacking trident.
Indeed, Samp have scored in their last nine league outings and I fancy them to cause this faltering Roma side problems. The visitors have only lost four games this season (only the top two have lost fewer) and with that in mind, it’s hard not to be keen on the 13/10 from 888 Sport on Sampdoria in the Double Chance market – should Mihajlović's men avoid defeat, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
Fiorentina v AC Milan- Fiorentina to win (19/20 William Hill)
Torino v Lazio – Both Teams To Score (11/12 888 Sport)
Roma v Sampdoria – Sampdoria double chance (13/10 888 Sport)