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Posted By Topic: SBOTOP: Latest Italian Football Updates       - Views: 1548
SBOTOP 04-Nov 2022 Friday 4:25 PM (482 days ago)               #1
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Serie A: Can Atalanta Pull Napoli Back Down to the Pack?

Atalanta vs Napoli

The surprising top two teams in Serie A this season are set for a massive showdown at the summit as second-placed Atalanta host leaders Napoli.

The Neapolitans finally tasted defeat for the first time this season in midweek against Liverpool. But they remain unbeaten in Serie A and are currently riding an eight-game winning streak.

Another win for Napoli against Atalanta would send them eight points clear at the top of the Serie A standings, which would be a massive advantage to take to the looming World Cup break.

Atalanta have not been at their best at home this season, but do not discount La Dea’s Serie A 2022 odds of upsetting the leaders and pulling them back down to the chasing pack.

Serie A
AC MILAN
SPEZIA
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

Talking Points

Atalanta punching above their weight once again

As surprising as Napoli’s rise to the top of the Serie A standings has been, Atalanta’s has been right up there in terms of shock value.

After years of overachieving, La Dea seemed to be on their way down after a disappointing 2021-22 season where they finished a distant eighth.

But Gian Piero Gasperini has gone out and done it again as he has reinvented this Atalanta side. Once one of the most prolific goalscorers not just in Italy but in Europe, Atalanta are now a rugged defensive side that has conceded just eight goals thus far (tied for the second-best defensive record in Serie A behind only Juventus).

Striker Duvan Zapata continues to decline – he has yet to score in six appearances this season – while fellow Colombian Luis Muriel has just one in nine.

But Ademola Lookman and Teun Koopmeiners have taken on the goalscoring mantle as they’ve combined for nine of the team’s 18 goals.

Lookman is in particularly impressive form as he’s scored four of his team-leading five goals in the last five games, including their 2-0 away win over Empoli.

Atalanta have a much better record away from the Gewiss Stadium thus far. They are unbeaten in six away games, with five wins and a draw, while they have won just three of their six home games, with two draws and a loss at home to Lazio, their lone defeat of the season.

Napoli undefeated no more

Napoli are the favourites to take all three points against Atalanta in Serie A
Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti before the Serie A match against Sassuolo

Napoli’s tremendous undefeated run to start the season finally came to an end as they lost 2-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in their Champions League group finale.

Although they had effectively sealed top spot in the group already, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti still opted to play a strong side against Liverpool. But the Neapolitans were just not at their sharpest.

Napoli will now look to get back to winning ways in Serie A, where they remain unbeaten and are on an eight-game winning run. That includes big away wins against Lazio, reigning champions AC Milan, and Roma, who are all currently in the top five.

Osimhen adds even more offensive production

And as if Napoli haven’t had enough attacking firepower this season with the likes of breakout star Kvitcha Kvaratskhelia, Giacomo Raspadori, and Giovanni Simeone, Victor Osimhen has finally joined the party.

The Nigerian, who had a slow start to the season in part due to injury, is now back to providing Serie A 2022 highlights. He has scored five goals in his last three Serie A matches, including a terrific hat-trick against Sassuolo last time out. Osimhen is now tied with Marko Arnautovic for the Serie A lead with seven goals.

Midfield playmaker Piotr Zielinski and winger Hirving Lozano were both rested against Liverpool, but they are likely to return to the starting lineup against Atalanta. Lozano has a good record against Atalanta, with three goals in seven matches.

History

The head-to-head record between Napoli and Atalanta is quite close. Napoli hold a very slight 12-10 edge in terms of wins, with five draws over their last 27 Serie A matches. But Atalanta have a 2-1 advantage when it comes to Coppa Italia wins, with one draw.

Last season, the away team won on both occasions. First, Atalanta beat Napoli 3-2 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in a roller-coaster match. And Napoli returned the favour as they went into Gewiss Stadium and won 3-1.

Betting Tip

Despite being away from home, SBOTOP odds still have Napoli installed as significant 2.08 favourites to beat Atalanta, who are priced at 3.35 against the leaders. A draw is 3.45.

There has been just one draw between Napoli and Atalanta in their last 14 matchups, and I don’t expect a draw in their top-of-the-table duel, either. Instead, I’m expecting Napoli to bounce back from their midweek disappointment to beat their nearest challengers. With the likes of Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia in fine form and so much more in reserve, they should have too much for their hosts, who have not been as good on home soil.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

●●●

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 04-Nov-2022 at 4:25 PM





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SBOTOP 05-Nov 2022 Saturday 5:19 PM (481 days ago)            #2
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Serie A: Bitter City Rivals Collide at Derby della Capitale

AS Roma vs Lazio

Bragging rights are on the line when AS Roma and Lazio renew their famous Derby della Capitale matchup this Sunday at Stadio Olimpico.

And one of the backdrops for this Serie A match is the rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri, since these are two coaches who share a history and don’t necessarily like each other.

Following Lazio’s defeat to Feyenoord in the Europa League, Mourinho couldn’t help himself, saying that I Biancocelesti are now favourites to win the Conference League as a hit back to Sarri’s comments few weeks ago about AS Roma overspending for nothing.

Now in the actual Serie A proceedings, the fourth-seeded AS Roma are ahead of fifth-seeded Lazio by only one point, so whoever wins here will also get the coveted top four spot this weekend.

Talking Points

Nicolo Zaniolo slowly regaining rhythm for AS Roma

Nicolo Zaniolo will be the key player for AS Roma’s Serie A match against Lazio
AS Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo in action with Napoli’s Mathias Olivera during the Serie A match

I Giallorossi are doing well despite Paulo Dybala’s absence, thanks to the resurgence of Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo has been regarded as one of the top young players in world football today, but injuries have halted his progress over the last couple of years.

But Jose Mourinho remains a big believer of his and the 23-year-old attacking midfielder repaid his trust by finally opening his scoring account this term in these past two games.

He spearheaded their 3-1 comeback against Hellas Verona on Tuesday, and then he was pivotal in their Europa League final group stage matchday victory over Ludogorets via the exact same scoreline.

Against the Bulgarian side, Zaniolo came off the bench and changed the complexion of the match by winning two penalties that were converted by Lorenzo Pellegrini and scoring the final goal.

With his current contract set to expire in the summer of 2024, Zaniolo has the motivation to maintain his fine form. Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal are reportedly interested in him, so if he keeps this up and avoids injuries, he’ll be earning his big bucks soon – whether in London or in Rome.

Lazio not the same sans their talisman

Mattia Zaccagni, Pedro, and Felipe Anderson have doing all they can to lead Lazio’s attack, but it’s clear that they aren’t as dangerous in the final third without Ciro Immobile.

Ciro Immobile suffered a thigh injury in a scoreless draw with Udinese a few weeks ago, and the Biancocelesti captain was given the diagnosis that he won’t play at least for a month. Lazio are on a two-game losing streak because of this.

I Biancocelesti would also have to cope without Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this Sunday due to accumulation of yellow cards. The inspirational midfielder is the team’s second-leading scorer with five goals and seven assists.

Luis Alberto appears to be the x-factor for Lazio in this derby. The Spaniard was rested against Feyenoord, so he’ll have fresh legs this weekend. He has four goals and two assists this season.

Youngsters Luka Romero, Matteo Cancellieri, Toma Basic, and Marcos Antonio will all get more runs in these next few weeks, which might be a blessing in disguise since it would hasten their development.

Serie A
AC MILAN
SPEZIA
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History

AS Roma have lost only twice in their last 24 Serie A home games against Lazio (W14, D8), with their most recent loss being a 3-1 defeat back in April 2017. Since then, I Giallorossi have won four of their last five home games against I Biancocelesti (D1).

They could also tally two straight clean sheets against Lazio in Serie A for the first time since 2013/14. AS Roma won their previous meeting in March as Tammy Abraham (twice) and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s goals helped them get a 3-0 victory.

Lazio beat AS Roma in their first league meeting last season, 3-2, as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Pedro, and Felipe Anderson netted for I Biancocelesti, while Roger Ibanez and Jordan Veretout scored for I Giallorossi.

Betting Tip

Because there’s so much on the line, we expect this to be a hotly-contested affair and the SBOTOP Serie A 2022 odds concur. Since they’re playing at home, AS Roma were given the slight advantage at 2.03, while Lazio are priced at 3.50 to win according to the 1X2 market.

But this one is certainly tough to call, so we’re inclined to recommend Draw 1X2 @ 3.45, where both sides are take home a point apiece. Despite missing key players, AS Roma and Lazio have enough quality to generate Serie A 2022 highlights, so going for either Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.91 or Over 2.50 @ 1.88 can also get you a decent payout.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

●●●

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 05-Nov-2022 at 5:19 PM





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SBOTOP 08-Nov 2022 Tuesday 1:55 PM (478 days ago)            #3
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Serie A: Former Champions Clash in Turin

Inter Milan could win two Serie A games in a row versus Juventus for the first time since 2003/04 this Sunday. They beat I Bianconeri 1-0 during their last league meeting in April, as Hakan Calhanoglu netted the marginal goal before the halftime break.

The Nerazzurri also defeated I Bianconeri 4-2 a month later to win the Coppa Italia, as Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Ivan Perisic (twice) outscored Alex Sandro and Dusan Vlahovic.

Simone Inzaghi also has the chance to become the first Inter Milan manager since Helenio Herrera (3 between 1961 and 1965) to beat Juventus on the road twice in Serie A.

Furthermore, if Inter Milan’s defence holds up, Juventus could fail to score in back-to-back Serie A meetings against them for the first time since 2010 (2-0 in April and 0-0 in October). They were beaten in two such matches without scoring in 1962/63.

Betting Tip

Matches between Inter Milan and Juventus are hotly-contested and this one is going to be no different.

The SBOTOP Serie A 2022 odds have given Inter Milan the slight edge at 2.42, but Juventus aren’t far behind at 2.83 and chances for a draw are at 3.30 in the 1X2 market.

Both sides look evenly matched on paper and they’re going to cancel each out. Under 2.50 @ 1.88 is your best bet here, while a Correct Score of 1-1 @ 5.40 can give you a decent payout. 

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

●●●

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 08-Nov-2022 at 1:55 PM





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SBOTOP 15-Nov 2022 Tuesday 1:46 PM (471 days ago)            #4
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Serie A: Atalanta vs Inter Clash Looks a Little Different Now…

Atalanta vs Inter Milan

Top four rivals Atalanta and Inter Milan meet at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo on Sunday, locked together on 27 points in fourth and fifth position, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter ahead on goal difference.

It’s a Serie A picture which changed rather significantly on Wednesday night as I Nerazzurri leapfrogged Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta, thanks to a 6-1 mauling of Bologna at the San Siro Stadium, while La Dea suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat away to Lecce. These two results have seen a shift in the latestSerie A 2022 betting odds,with Inter Milan coming into third favorites and Atalanta hovering around sixth. And football is often about momentum, which has moved in opposite directions for these two teams.

Inter will be desperate to get this game on, but Atalanta are a dangerous side at any time and the question is; can Gasperini lift his team in time for this huge test?

Talking Points

La Dea’s stars are rested

The best thing Atalanta fans can make of their let down in Lecce was that a lot of their front line players had the chance of a rest as Gasperini made wholesale changes to his starting line-up. Atalanta missed their chance to pull Napoli down into the pack last week, losing 2-1 after taking an early lead; but before that setback, La Dea had won two of the last three. But the boss tried to freshen things up this week, while resting some key players by making nine changes for the clash with Lecce.

Serie A
NAPOLI
UDINESE
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

Unfortunately, their hosts may have taken that as a bit of an insult as they started the game hovering just above the drop zone, and Lecce fought like tigers to win all three points and move up to 16th. Gasperini defended his decision, saying: “I made those changes because Merih Demiral was not fully fit and Rafael Toloi needed rest, while I wanted to test our lads on the wings and this seemed the right game to do that. The changes didn’t decide the result, but the two goals we conceded after a good start.”

La Dea’s most dangerous players on current form, Ademola Lookman with six goals and

Teun Koopmeiners with four goals, both took their places on the bench. Mario Pasalic and Ruslan Malinovskyi both started but were substituted, while veteran Colombian striker Duvan Zapata scored Atalanta’s goal against Lecce and he’ll be pushing for another start.

Inter show their teeth

After a mixed set of Serie A 2022 results in the opening couple of months, I Nerazzurri made a huge statement on Wednesday in the manner they totally dismantled Bologna, not a team which was short of the ability of confidence, a team which had just won its last four games in all competitions. After Bologna took a surprise lead in 22 minutes Inter Milan simply let rip as Edin Dzeko hit back within two minutes. Federico Dimarco with a brace, Lautaro Martinez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Robin Gosens all got on the score sheet as Inter moved up to fourth.

If Edin Dzeko's luck continues, his team might be able to win their upcoming Serie A match
Edin Dzeko in action for Inter Milan during a Serie A match

But Inzaghi’s team is still a whopping 11 points adrift of runaway leaders Napoli and they need to take strength from this great performance and kick on.

Martinez’s goal made it seven for the campaign for the Argentine star, while Nicolo Barella, with five goals and four assists, has been a real force in the front six. Marcelo Brozovic, the general in the middle of the park, adds the necessary game management and no little steel; he has picked up five yellow cards in eight appearances

Inter’s recent trip to Turin to face Juventus ended in disaster, with a 2-0 defeat, so Inzaghi will remind his team that their big win against Bologna, impressive though it was, is just a start.

History

Inter have won exactly half of the 48 meetings with Atalanta over the past three decades, while there have been 15 draws and nine victories for La Dea.

Both games were drawn last season, 2-2 at the San Siro and 0-0 in Bergamo.

Inter haven’t drawn any away matches in the league this season, with three wins and four losses on the road but, in terms of recent form, I Nerazzuri have the advantage with four wins and two losses from the last six games, while La Dea have won two, drawn one and lost three.

Betting Tip

The hosts are at odds of 2.71 to win this match with Inter at 2.29 and the draw at 3.11… and all three results are right in play.

Both teams will be going for all three points, any less will make a Scudetto challenge more difficult for Inter, while Atalanta have ambitions to win a top four place, and that makes this a game which won’t be short on goalmouth action.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

●●●

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 15-Nov-2022 at 1:46 PM





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SBOTOP 15-Nov 2022 Tuesday 2:09 PM (471 days ago)            #5
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Serie A: Can Napoli Make It 11 in a Row?

Napoli vs Udinese

Serie A leaders Napoli have been a breath of fresh air this autumn.

In fact, as far as this SBOTOP writer is concerned, they have been the team of the season right across Europe so far.

Did anyone really expect Napoli to be leaders heading into the winter break for the World Cup, let alone top a Champions League group which included last season’s tournament runners-up?

Yet, that is exactly what the Partenopei have done.

More than that, they have produced some scintillating football and seen off pretty much all before them at home and abroad.

Now can they finish the first tranche of the season with a flourish and create some more Serie A 2022 highlights as they welcome Udinese to Naples?

Talking Points

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen is keen to get into the score sheet when they face Udinese in Serie A
Napoli forward Victor Osimhen celebrates after the Serie A match against Empoli

Last weekend’s 2-1 success at Atalanta – a top of the table clash in which some of their rivals hoped they may drop points – was one of the most impressive of them all as goals from Victor Osimhen and Eljif Elmas overturned an Ademola Lookman opener.

The 23-year-old Nigerian international headed the ball into the net off a cross from Piotr Zielinski before Elmas put the visitors in front after taking a pass from Osimhen inside the box, his effort flying into the net via a slight deflection.

They extended their advantage to eight points on Tuesday night with a 2-0 home win over Empoli to retain their impressive unbeaten record.

In fact, they’ve not been beaten all season but for a reverse at Liverpool in Europe last week which was, to all extents and purposes, a “dead-rubber” Champions League tie.

In what was their 10th Serie A victory in a row as the hosts dominated but had to wait until the 70th minute to open the scoring, with substitute Hirving Lozano scoring a penalty after Osimhen was fouled.

Empoli’s Sebastiano Luperto was shown a second yellow card for fouling Lozano, who later crossed for Zielinski to wrap up the win.

All that means is that Luciano Spalletti’s team are now guaranteed to be top until the New Year.

Serie A
BOLOGNA
SASSUOLO
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The Naples side have never won the title without the late, great Diego Maradona, with their two triumphs – in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – both coming during his spell there, but there is genuine optimism this term, albeit it is early in the season.

While their attacking play has rightly drawn the plaudits, the foundations have been laid at the back.

Goalkeeper Giovanni Di Lorenzo has been one of the most consistent Napoli performers and alongside Alex Meret has been the only player to start every game so far. He’s under contract until 2025 and the club has opened talks to extend it and reward the new captain with a small pay rise.

Described as the leader of the locker room following several summer departures, he’s been a first choice under three different coaches in Carlo Ancelotti, Gennaro Gattuso, and now Spalletti, proving his worth.

Udinese had been the draw specialists this term, frustrating the likes of Atalanta but also being frustrated themselves, none more so than in their last two games against Spezia and a resilient Lecce.

After a strong start to the season, Udinese have actually failed to win their last six league outings, although five of them have been draws.That said they would likely take another draw in the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Saturday afternoon against a team which has been setting the pace since the start of the season.

History

InSerie A, the two teams have met 29 times with 16 Napoli successes, eight Udinese triumphs, and five draws.

Overall, Napoli have 17 wins to nine.

Last season, Napoli hit four without reply in Udinese with Osimhen, Amir Rrahmani, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Lozano the goal-getters.

The corresponding fixture was much closer but the same outcome as Napoli edged home.

Two goals in 11 second half minutes from Osimhen won the day after Gerard Deulofeu had given Udinese the lead.

Betting Tip

No surprise that the Serie A betting odds back the hosts handsomely.

No surprise that the Serie A 2022 betting odds back the hosts handsomely.

They are available to tip 1X2 @ 1.47 and Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.42, which contrasts with Udinese 1X2 @ 6.00, Asian Handicap +1.00 @ 2.19, and the Draw @ 4.50.

A repeat of last season’s 2-1 home win will pay out @ 6.80 with Correct Score.

I am expecting goals but not too many, so perhaps Total Goal 2-3 @ 2.08 is also a safe bet.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

●●●

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

Stay updated with everything sports and betting.

Follow us on social FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

This message was edited by SBOTOP on 15-Nov-2022 at 2:09 PM





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SBOTOP 15-Nov 2022 Tuesday 2:30 PM (471 days ago)            #6
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Serie A: Juve and Lazio Picking Up Steam

Juventus vs Lazio

Juventus and Lazio are improving as of late so something has to give when they convene on Sunday in Turin.

The hosts are fresh from victories against Inter Milan and Hellas Verona to make it five Serie A wins on the bounce. Meanwhile, their visitors Lazio did their part by prevailing against Roma and Monza this week.

Valuable points are up for grabs since these two sides are only separated by two places and two points in the Italian top-flight table. A win for Juventus can push them up to second place, while the same result for Lazio would pull them closer to pacesetters Napoli.

This is arguably the Serie A affair to look forward to this matchday, so continue to read on below as SBOTOP previews this important game.

Talking Points

Juventus’ injury situation easing up

Max Allegri has been often criticised because of their bad start to the 2022-23 campaign. But now that they’ve been healthier, their Serie A 2022 results have improved.

In their last three away fixtures, Juventus haven’t conceded a single goal for the first time since 2018 and they’ve generated three in return. At home on the other hand, they also haven’t surrendered a goal in their last three but have scored nine goals.

Juve’s backline deserves a ton of credit as Gleison Bremer and Leonardo Bonucci have formed a strong centre-half partnership, while Wojciech Szczesny’s return from injury certainly has helped.

Dusan Vlahovic is hoping for a starting line-up in the upcoming Serie A match between Juventus and Lazio
Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic celebrates scoring their first goal

With top scorer Dusan Vlahovic on the sidelines, several men have stepped up on the other side of the pitch. In their derby victory over Inter Milan, Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli scored at home, while Moise Kean delivered the winning goal in their 1-0 win against bottom feeders Hellas Verona.

Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa are both in training this week, hoping to make it back into Allegri’s starting lineup. Since moving to Italy, Vlahovic has scored four Serie A goals against Lazio – three of which were at home.

But it’s likely that Allegri will stick to what works as of the moment, so Moise Kean should start alongside Arek Milik up front while Rabiot will be joined by Filip Kostic and Manuel Locatelli in midfield.

Lazio now adjusting well sans Immobile

Maurizio Sarri seems to have found a way to cope with Ciro Immobile’s ongoing absence. With not much options up front, Sarri has been deploying Felipe Anderson as their false nine, which has been paying dividends.

The former West Ham winger scored the winning goal against AS Roma in the Derby della Capitale to improve his totals to four goals and four assists. Anderson is being used by Sarri similar to Dries Mertens at Napoli before, where the Belgian notched 28 goals in 35 games across all competitions until he left Naples last summer.

Like Juventus, Lazio’s injury list has eased up which should boost their chances of maintaining the second spot. Mattia Zaccagni’s calf knock is apparently not that serious, while Adam Marusic and Danilo Cataldi are set to return.

More importantly, Sergel Milinkovic-Savic will play his second straight match after serving his suspension against AS Roma. The Serbian midfielder is the club’s second leading scorer with five goals and seven assists this term.

Serie A
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FIORENTINA
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History

Juventus are undefeated in 33 of their last 35 Serie A encounters versus Lazio (W25, D8).

I Bianconeri last tasted defeat against I Biancocelesti in December 2019 via a 3-1 scoreline where Maurizio Sarri suffered his first loss as Juventus coach. It was Lazio’s first home success over the Turin giants in the league since 2003.

Lazio have scored in each of their last three Serie A away games against Juventus and they could score in four consecutive away games against them for the first time since 2002 (12 before).

Juventus last failed to score in a Serie A match against Lazio in November 2012 in a goalless draw. Since then, I Bianconeri netted 37 goals in 19 games.

Betting Tip

Given that they’re in better form, the Serie A 2022 odds are backing Juventus. The hosts are priced at 2.05 to win, but Lazio aren’t far behind at 3.70 in the 1X2 market.

Since both of these teams have been solid at the back lately, we don’t expect a high-scoring contest in Turin. We believe that Juventus and Lazio will share the spoils – a result that would give you a decent payout at 3.20.

Correct Score 1-1 @ 6.00 and Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.90 are other bets to think about for this weekend’s match.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 16-Dec 2022 Friday 7:14 PM (440 days ago)            #7
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Serie A: Football Italia Is Back on the Radar!

The wait has been longer, the anticipation growing day by day and there’s still a while to be patient. But Italy’s passionate football fans, who have been watching the 2022 World Cup with something of an empty feeling, can see their game coming home again before too long.

There has been a bigger winter break in Serie A this year, stretching from 13th November to the 4th January and the absence of the Azzurri at the greatest show on earth has given the Italian football community time to take stock. And now Serie A fans are ready for action again, particularly those in Naples whose team sits top of the league table with an eight-point lead over second-place Milan. With Juventus in third and Lazio fourth, Inter Milan are outside the Champions League places and 11 points behind Napoli.

The latest Serie A 2022 betting odds here at SBOTOP have priced Napoli at 1.40 to win the Scudetto, with 2021/22 champions AC Milan at 6.50 and Inter at 7.50. The resumption can’t come fast enough for Napoli fans, and they will hope that their team’s form takes the same path as their results from the first half of each of the last two campaigns.

Napoli started explosively in 2021 and 2022 and the extended break might just play in their favour.

Osimhen commits himself to Napoli

And the league leaders will be delighted to hear that their star striker Victor Osimhen sees no reason to leave the club to further his career. He scored 14 goals and made five assists last season and is attracting interest around Europe with his athletic frame and lightning pace. At 23 years of age Osimhen is an exciting prospect and he has received mighty praise from an Azzurri legend. Former AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi believes the Nigerian striker is one of the very best in the world and, if he continues on this trajectory he will challenge the elite very soon.

Premier League
LIVERPOOL
LEICESTER CITY
1X2 Leicester City @ 7.60
Liverpool Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.02
Over 3.00 @ 1.90
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

With nine goals this season Osimhen is in the lead of the race for the Capocannoniere and he is on the radar of a number of big clubs, including Premier League leaders Arsenal.

But in a recent interview in the Italian press Osimhen has allayed the fears of Napoli fans by insisting he has no reason to leave, saying: “Not even 100 per cent, 1,001 per cent. I am at one of the biggest clubs in Europe. This is the life I want to live. When things were not going so well for me, I kept on believing, kept on praying, kept on working hard, I did other jobs before coming back to my love, football. I am in one of the biggest clubs in one of the best leagues in Europe, I was nominated for youth player of the year, and I won so many personal awards for myself, which felt like a huge milestone for me. I’ve got through a lot in life-threatening injuries; I came back and smashed it.”

That must be music to the Napoli fans’ ears. Their team’s Serie A 2022 results have been outstanding, in no part thanks to Osimhen’s nine strikes and his all-round play and his goals might just fire Napoli to the 2022/23 Scudetto.

Serie stars at the World Cup climax

The Italian nation team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup for the second successive time has, understandably, seen a subdued level of interest in Italy, though any football is better than no football and some of Serie A’s stars have made it to the semi-finals.

Marcelo Brozovic has to help Inter Milan gain points to lead the Serie A league table when they meet Napoli in January
Marcelo Brozovic has shown his best performance for Croatia and now needs to help Inter get the top spot in the Serie A table

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who has been in sensational form, and Milan striker Olivier Giroud will line up for France against Morocco on Wednesday night, while the Atlas Lions will have Fiorentina’s midfield ace Sofyan Amrabat in their line-up. In the other semi-final, Inter’s Marcelo Brozovic started for Croatia in their defeat to Argentina, who started with his clubmate Lautaro Martinez on the bench. Martinez will hope to feature in the final after Lionel Messi inspired his team to a 3-0 win.

And the big New Year kick-off… Inter vs Napoli

Serie A fans are counting down the days until the action starts again and the opening round has thrown up a post-Christmas cracker! AC Milan re-open their campaign with a trip to Salernitana in the curtain raiser, but later on the Saturday leaders Napoli head to the San Siro to take on Inter Milan. If the Gli Azzurri come out of the blocks flying then this might really be their year.

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SBOTOP 27-Dec 2022 Tuesday 3:34 PM (429 days ago)            #8
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Serie A: Can Napoli Pick Up Where They Left Off?

Italian football is back again in two weeks time and league leaders Napoli kick off Round 16 of the 2022/23 Serie A campaign with a tough assignment away to Inter Milan; and the eyes of the world will be on the San Siro. 

With an eight point lead at the top of the table the Serie A 2022 betting odds are backing Gli Azzurri to go all the way; but there will be some jitters in Napoli if they falter in Milan, particularly as their recent friendly against Lille showed when they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the Stadio Diego Maradona. Any fears of a potential loss of momentum during the World Cup break were increased slightly as the Ligue 1 side ran out 4-1 winners. Napoli striker Victor Osimhen was facing his old club and he tried everything to get on the score sheet, hitting the side netting with one effort and firing an overhead kick over the bar.

LIGUE 1
CLERMONT
LILLE
1X2 Draw @ 3.55
First Half Under 1.00 @ 2.08
Total Goals 4-6 @ 3.20
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

The French side are back in action as soon as January 28th so it may be that Napoli were slightly undercooked, but this was a chastening experience and the hosts only scored a late consolation when Giacomo Raspadori fired in a goal from a tight angle. And it was an odd experience for Napoli fans who have seen their team win 13 and draw two of their opening 15 league games.

One of the rising stars in Naples, Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, is one of the main reasons for Napoli’s sensational start and club bosses are keen to keep their 21 year old star in the fold for the long term. He joined at the start of the season in a 10m move from Dinamo Batumi and his value has rocketed since, as he has scored eight goals and provided ten assists in his 17 appearances in all competitions. His fantastic ball skills have wowed fans in Italy, and Napoli are apparently preparing an offer of a new deal, doubling his current salary of 1.2m net per season and extending the contract to 2028.

It could be more good news for Napoli fans as Osimhen too has pledged his long term future to the club. At a SBOTOP price of 1.40 to win the 2023 Scudetto the pressure is on Gli Azzurri’s big players and we’ll get a good idea whether Luciano Spalletti’s team can take the heat on the 4th January.

Milan in for France star

Serie A reports are linking Naby Keita from Liverpool to AC Milan
Naby Keita with Liverpool teammate Luis Diaz during their match against Newcastle United

2022 Scudetto winners AC Milan are tracking Eintracht striker Randal Kolo Muani having previously tried to sign him when the France star was at Nantes. Muani scored for Les Bleus in the semi-final in Qatar and he almost bagged the winner in the World Cup final but his last minute pile driver was saved by Argentina keeper Emi Martinez; and now Milan are considering a second move to find support for his international team-mate Olivier Giroud. They will have to pay handsomely though; Eintracht value their man at 35m Euros having made 14 goal contributions in 14 Bundesliga games so far this season.

And I Rossoneri are also keeping tabs on Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita whose contract at Anfield expires in the summer of 2023. Milan are keen to speak to the Guinean before the 2023/24 campaign but they may not be willing to match his Liverpool wages. The midfield ace is yet to feature for Liverpool this season having suffered a hamstring injury, and he is able to negotiate pre-contract agreements with foreign clubs should he fail to land a new deal with the Reds.

Memo on the way to Salernitana

In other Serie A 2022 news Salernitana look set to sign Mexico’s veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa whose contract at Club America expires at the end of December. The 37 year old stopper is due to have a medical at the Serie A club, according to reports in the Italian media. The Mexico captain, who is nicknamed Memo in his homeland, will be available on a free transfer and his immense experience will be an asset to I Granata who sit comfortably in 12th place in the league table with 17 points.

The Mexican legend was playing in his fifth World Cup in Qatar and is the most capped goalkeeper in the nation’s history, and the sixth most capped player with 134 appearances. His leadership skills and command of the penalty area, as well as his trademark curly locks and bandana, are sure to become a popular addition to Salernitana’s squad.

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SBOTOP 28-Dec 2022 Wednesday 4:08 PM (428 days ago)            #9
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Serie A Has Storylines from Top to Bottom

Serie A returns a week from now and one club goes into 2023 with optimism that it could be about to match the achievement inspired by its greatest son.

It was in 1987, and again in 1990, that Napoli were crowned Italian champions, spearheaded by arguably the greatest player to ever play the game.

For the late Diego Armando Maradona was more than just a footballer. He was an idol, a living legend and a true adopted son of the city of Naples.

As impressive as his sporting achievements with Napoli were, his effect on the city stretched further than the boundaries of the San Paolo Stadium, now named in his honour.

Pulling strings and scoring goals, the little Argentinian magician gave the south something to rejoice about and made them rediscover their pride. He became a symbol of liberation and inspired them to change the way they saw themselves.

It was a love affair which continued for seven seasons in all, with Maradona giving Napoli the most successful period in their history. They won the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and a second – and still their most recent – Scudetto in 1990.

Thirty-five years after that first triumph, his legacy lives on through murals and posters around the city.

The question now is, can the class of 2022/23 emulate the dream he made a reality and help the club to become champions of Italy for a third time?

AC Milan are eyeing to dethrone Napoli in Serie A table
AC Milan forward Olivier Giroud celebrates after winning the Serie A

Well, let me not tempt fate, nor get ahead of myself.

Less than half the season has passed and there is a long way to go.

Yet based on the Serie A 2022 highlights to date, Neapolitans can be forgiven for daring to dream.

In fact, Napoli are just the second team in Serie A history – after Juventus – to win at least 13 of their opening 15 league games of a campaign.

Last month, before the break for the World Cup, they had been a breath of fresh air and this SBOTOP writer even suggested they had been the team of the season right across Europe so far.

They made it 11 league wins in a row in their last outing before Qatar as they saw off Udinese in a far more convincing manner than the scoreline suggested.

Now, in their first outing of 2023, they travel to last season’s runners-up, Inter Milan.

That the SBOTOP Serie A 2022 betting odds back Inter shows why Napoli are still not title favourites with many this term.

However, another good result in the San Siro may dispel even more of the doubters.

Remember, this is a team which has an eight-point lead, something few would have expected after a disappointing end to last season which culminated in the departures of cult defender Kalidou Koulibaly and beloved forward Dries Mertens, hot on the heels of an emotional farewell for Lorenzo Insigne.

Manager Luciano Spalletti has somehow ensured that disappointment and, in some cases, disenchantment has been replaced by optimism.

The Italian has integrated remaining players and new signings into a free-flowing, ultra-attacking system which has seen them defeat Lazio, reigning champions Milan, Roma and Atalanta in high-profile games, playing a scintillating brand of football which has made not just Italy, but Europe, sit up and take notice.

While many eyes are on the Partenopei’s quest to end a more than three-decade wait for a third Scudetto, there is intrigue in many other areas when the league resumes.

Premier League
LEEDS UNITED
MANCHESTER CITY
1X2 Draw @ 6.20
Over 3.50 @ 2.03
Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.29
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Can Milan mount a challenge to defend their crown and, what of Rafa Leao – for many their inspiration last season – with a contract extension seemingly at a standstill and amid rumours linking the talented Portuguese with Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris St Germain?

Can Juventus, finally showing some consistency for the first time since Max Allegri’s return in the summer of 2021, actually come from the back to become title contenders themselves?

Can Lazio and Inter, perhaps with Romelu Lukaku clear of injuries, embark on a run to boost their top-four credentials and perhaps more?

Certainly, their clash with Napoli, scheduled for January 13, could answer that question.

And what of Sampdoria?

The Serie A champions in 1991 – the year after Napoli – have been in the top flight for a decade but have just one league win all season and are sat with Hellas Verona and Cremonese firmly entrenched in the bottom three.

Dejan Stankovic will hope to turn things around after replacing Marco Giampaolo, while Cremonese have stuck with Massimiliano Alvini, despite not winning a single game.

It’s already a big six-point gap between that bottom three and the rest, as Monza, Lecce and Salernitana started to turn the early tide.

At top and bottom then, there is much to play for when the most wide open major league in Europe resumes on January 4, a day when, fittingly, Serie A will remember former AC Milan and Bologna boss Sinisa Mihajlovic, who recently died at the age of 53 following a long battle with leukaemia. He will always be remembered fondly.


 

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SBOTOP 04-Jan 2023 Wednesday 12:59 PM (421 days ago)            #10
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Serie A: Inter Look to Trip up Leaders Napoli

Inter Milan vs Napoli

The Serie A season returns from its post-World Cup break in full force with a complete 10-match midweek slate. And without a doubt, the biggest matchup of the round is between runaway leaders Napoli and Inter Milan at the San Siro.

The Neapolitans have been nearly unstoppable this season. They are still unbeaten in 15 games and are riding an 11-game winning streak to open up an 8-point lead atop the Serie A standings.

They will now put that winning run on the line against fifth-place Inter, who also went into the break on a fine run of six wins in seven to remain in the hunt for a Champions League place.

Talking Points

Inter back to their best

It was a tale of two halves for Inter Milan during the pre-World Cup portion of the season. The Nerazzurri had a disastrous start to the season as they lost four of their first eight games.

But the 2020-21 champions finally picked things up after that as they won six of their last seven games. They bounced back from their 2-0 loss to rivals Juventus in the Derby d’Italia by beating Bologna 6-1 at Atalanta 3-2 in Bergamo in their last two games before the World Cup break.

Premier League

CHELSEA

MANCHESTER CITY

TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

What’s more impressive is that Simone Inzaghi’s side were able to go on that long winning run despite being without star striker Romelu Lukaku, who had been sidelined with a thigh injury.

The lengthy break has given Lukaku enough time to recover from his injury woes, and he will be set to return to action against Napoli.

However, it remains to be seen whether Inzaghi will immediately return to the tried and tested front two of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez or stick with Edin Dzeko as one of the starting strikers. The 36-year-old Dzeko has remained quite effective this season with six goals in 15 appearances, including three goals and an assist in the last two games.

Lautaro, who is coming off a World Cup-winning campaign with Argentina, could very well use a bit more time off. Aside from failing to score in all six of the World Cup games he appeared in, Lautaro had also scored just once in his previous six appearances for Inter.

Napoli resume title hunt

Napoli’s over-three-decade-long Serie A title drought might be coming to an end. The Partenopei’s Serie A 2023 odds of winning that long-awaited Scudetto as looking great as they restart the season with an eight-point lead at the top.

The Neapolitans have been sensational all season long. They are still unbeaten in Serie A (13 wins, 2 draws) and are the leading scorers with 37 goals.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti's first Serie A match this 2023 will be against Inter Milan
Luciano Spalletti coaching on the sideline during Inter Milan’s match

Luciano Spalletti will have a virtually full-strength squad to choose from in their first game after the break, which is a huge boost for him. Centre-back Amir Rrahmani is back after missing the last couple of months due to injury, although veteran Juan Jesus is still likely to start alongside South Korean international Kim Min-Jae, who is being linked with a move to Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Napoli’s top two forwards – Victor Osimhen and breakout star Khvitcha Kvaratskhelia – are both fresh and ready to create more Premier League 2023 highlights after the break. The two have combined for 15 goals and 7 assists this season, with the red-hot Osimhen scoring 7 goals in his last six 6 games.

Napoli possess perhaps the deepest pool of attackers in Serie A this season, with Hirving Lozano/Matteo Politano, Giovanni Simeone, Giacomo Raspadori, and Eljif Elmas to call upon off the bench.

History

The recent head-to-head record between these two clubs has been as close as it gets. Both Napoli and Inter have won nine games apiece, and they’ve also drawn nine times in their last 27 Serie A meetings.

However, Inter have had the upper hand in recent years. The Nerazzurri have won five of the last 10 meetings, with four draws and just one defeat. Moreover, they have beaten Napoli in each of their last four visits to the San Siro. Inter won last season’s fixture 3-2 thanks to goals from Hakan Calhanoglu, Ivan Perisic, and Lautaro.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP odds have Inter Milan installed as the slight 2.33 favourites to win at the San Siro. Leaders Napoli are not far behind at 2.92, while a draw is priced at 3.35.

While Napoli have been in fantastic form all season long, travelling to the San Siro to face a similarly in-form Inter will be a tough task. Look for the Nerazzurri to give Napoli all they can handle, but the leaders should have enough about them to pick up a point.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 05-Jan 2023 Thursday 4:12 PM (420 days ago)            #11
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Serie A Is Back and Now for Test of Napoli Character

In the end it was just one goal.

A 56th-minute header from Edin Dzeko, which would prove the only one of a much-anticipated Serie A contest in the San Siro.

Will it prove crucial in the overall standings or was it just a brief setback for a team aiming to make memories and history?

Well, we will find out over the next five months but, as milestone moments in a campaign go, it was certainly not insignificant as a run of 11 consecutive Serie A victories, leaving Napoli as the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues, finally came to an end.

Serie A is back and how we’ve missed it.

After a seven-week absence, we were certainly treated to some Serie A 2023 highlights to savour upon its return.

In a league which has storylines from top to bottom, the day started with the champions.

Their hero was Sandro Tonali who scored one and set up another to guide Milan to a 2-1 victory at Salernitana.

Portuguese livewire Rafael Leao put them ahead just 10 minutes in, picking up Tonali’s pass and going around goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa for a brilliant finish.

Tonali got on the scoresheet five minutes later with a long-range strike into the bottom corner.

Salernitana substitute Federico Bonazzoli pulled one back with seven minutes remaining when he beat goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu at the back post but it was not enough.

AC Milan beat Salernitana to resume the Serie A season by closing to within five points of Napoli
Salernitana’s Federico Bonazzoli in action with AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacer during their Serie A encounter

Only 17 days after playing the World Cup final for France, Theo Hernandez and Olivier Giroud were included in Milan’s starting XI, setting a new record for Serie A.

The two Frenchmen broke Marcelo Brozovic’s record dating back to 2018, when the Croatia international started for Inter Milan 35 days after he featured in the World Cup final.

It was the same scoreline in another early encounter and, my word, 1991 champions Sampdoria needed it as they earned what could prove a vital victory at Sassuolo to boost their bid to beat the drop.

Manolo Gabbiadini and Tommasso Augello were the men on target to move them within five points of Spezia who, although would probably have taken a point beforehand, would have been disappointed to have been pegged back by Atalanta.

Emmanuel Gyasi and M’Bala Nzola had put the hosts 2-0 up at the break and Ethan Ampadu had the ball in the net but was ruled offside. It provide crucial as Rasmus Højlund pulled one back with 13 minutes remaining and then, in stoppage time, Mario Pasalic grabbed a leveller from close range.

One of the other strugglers, rock-bottom Hellas Verona, also led in their match at Torino through Milan Djuric but had to settle for a point and they remain well adrift at the foot of the table.

Spare a thought also for the other team in the relegation zone.

Premier League
CHELSEA
MANCHESTER CITY
1X2 Draw @ 3.90
Over 2.50 @ 1.83
Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.96
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Without a win all season, Cremonese were within minutes of holding the mighty Juventus until Arkadiusz Milik broke their hearts.

His last-gasp free kick sealed a seventh successive victory for Max Allegri’s men who, until that point, had been denied by the heroics of Marco Carnesecchi.

Cremonese had hit the woodwork twice themselves and were left heartbroken when Milik’s long-range free-kick dipped and went in off the underside of the bar.

That keeps Juve in third place, while fifth-placed Lazio are now only level on points with their arch rivals Roma.

While they were going down to a 2-1 defeat at Lecce – Ciro Immobile put them in front before Gabriel Strefezza and Lorenzo Colombo led a dramatic second-half fightback – an early penalty from Lorenzo Pellegrini proved enough for Roma to get back on track with a 1-0 home win over Bologna.

And so to the big game of the night, the main event between Inter Milan and the leaders with many asking, could Napoli pick up from where they left off?

The Partenopei had won 13 of their opening 15 matches before the break, drawing two but, realistically, did not do enough to maintain their unbeaten record, even if it took a fine save from goalkeeper Andre Onana to deny Giacomo Raspadori a late equaliser.

Where does this leave the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 betting odds I hear you ask?

Well, in a very tasty position indeed with Napoli five points ahead of the defending champions with Juventus a further two adrift and Inter Milan hot on their heels just one back.

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti believes his team lost the Scudetto showdown with Inter because they were ‘below par’ and moved the ball ‘too slowly without the usual quality.’ With Juventus and Roma to come before the end of the month we are about to find out a lot more about the team of the season so far.


 

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SBOTOP 10-Jan 2023 Tuesday 2:27 PM (415 days ago)            #12
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Serie A: A Sunday Night Showdown With a Title Race Impact

AC Milan vs AS Roma

We are not quite at the halfway stage of the 2022-23 Serie A season.

However, make no mistake, if sixth placed Roma lose at the San Siro on Sunday evening their faint title aspirations will be over for another year.

That probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given they have not finished above third in any of the past five seasons.

That position, though, is not considered good enough by either manager Jose Mourinho or club bosses who have backed him since he returned to Rome 18 months ago.

Now let’s be clear, they have undoubtedly improved during that time.

The signings of the likes of Tammy Abraham and goalkeeper Rui Patricio from the English Premier League certainly helped as Roma lifted the inaugural Europa Conference League last term.

Yet, with respect, that is very much a third-tier trophy at the top end of European football and, with players such as Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belottti and Georginio Wijnaldum (who has encountered misfortune with injury) now on board, more is expected of the club from the capital which finished 23 points behind the table-toppers last season.

So, as they head to defending champions AC Milan for a contest which has produced many Serie A highlights over the years, this will be a good test of the direction in which they are heading.

Talking Points

Paulo Dybala has scored 5 goals in 10 Serie A appearances for AS Roma
Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma could be without Paulo Dybala for the trip to face Milan

Roma should be able to call upon the services of Nicolo Zaniolo and Dybala who came off during the win against Bologna on Wednesday, sparking fears that Mourinho could be without two of his main forwards for the trip to the San Siro.

If they don’t make it, it could mean Abraham returns to the starting XI as a lone striker.

Although Roma’s defence is tight as you would expect under the stewardship of Mourinho, the Giallorossi has been unable to break into the top four this season and, defeat on Sunday, will make that their only realistic league aim.

Milan, however, have their sights set higher and an eye on the title they won in such dramatic fashion last May.

In fact, with leaders Napoli losing for the first time in the league this season on Wednesday night, Milan fans will still be dreaming of back-to-back Scudetti, a feat they last achieved in 1994.

Manager Stefano Pioli has an ever-growing injury list but should be able to field the same starting line-up that faced Salernitana in midweek.

That was when they managed to close the gap at the top to five points when Sandro Tonali was the hero and their city rivals and neighbours Inter beat the men from Naples.

My main concern for the hosts is in attack where there is no shortage of talent but, with Olivier Giroud in his late 30s, Zlatan Ibrahimovic now 41 and both Ante Rebic and Divock Origi injury-prone, they may not have the firepower across the whole campaign.

On saying that, they did rather well last season!

La Liga
VALENCIA
CADIZ
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

History

Milan have traditionally had the upper hand in this heavyweight battle.

They have won 83 of their encounters, – I recalled one just as football resumed in the wake of the Covid pandemic in 2020 – Roma have enjoyed 48 victories and there have been a further 55 draws.

That included a league double last season as Milan won 2-1 in Rome thanks to the evergreen Ibrahimovic and a Franck Kessie penalty with Stephan El Shaarawy pulling one back in stoppage time.

Milan were also 3-1 home winners last January – virtually a year to the day in fact – when a Giroud penalty and a Junior Messias goal put them in the ascendancy before Abraham reduced the deficit.

It wasn’t until late on that Rafael Leao made the game safe

It was in October 2017 when Roma last beat Milan on their own turf as two goals in five second half minutes from Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi sealed a 2-0 win.

Betting Tip

The SBOTOP Serie A betting odds give Milan more than an edge, both 1X2 @ 1.89 and Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.17.

Roma are adrift of that 1X2 @ 4.20 and Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.42.

The draw is on offer @ 3.30.

A repeat of the corresponding fixture from last term – Correct Score 3-1 – will pay out @ 15.00

Goal options include over 2.75 @ 2.29, total goal 0-1 @ 2.98, 2-3 @ 1.90 and 4-6 @ 4.00.

I really do think this will be close and it’s not known if the absence from the sidelines of Roma boss Jose Mourinho will prove crucial.

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⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

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SBOTOP 10-Jan 2023 Tuesday 2:30 PM (415 days ago)            #13
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Serie A: Napoli Bet Back on the Winning Trail

Napoliremain top of Serie A after picking up three vital points in a hard earned 2-0 victory away to Sampdoria.

After last week’s defeat to Inter Milan the SBOTOP odds shifted slightly away from Naples and that result made this weekend’s fixture a test of character for Luciano Spalletti’s men, even though their hosts are languishing in the bottom three.

And for much of the game it was a nervy affair as Gli Azzurri dominated possession and the shot counts but couldn’t put the game to bed. It started pretty well for the league leaders when star striker Victor Osimhen took a pass form Mario Rui and rifled his shot into the top left corner. Napoli peppered the Sampdoria goal but without further success in the first half, but their job seemed to become easier when Tomas Rincon felled Osimhen with a crude challenge and received his marching orders.

With almost an hour to play against ten men, Napoli had a great chance to pull away, but as the shots rained in Sampdoria defended stubbornly. Giovanni Di Lorenzo came close when his first time effort whistled inches wide and Stanslav Lobotka forced a great save from the Sampdoria stopper, but the second goal didn’t come until the 81st minute when Ronaldo Vieria handled in the penalty area and Eljif Elmas converted from the spot.

Juve make it a Magnificent Eight

Before Napoli had even taken the pitch Juventus had moved up to second place on 37 points, just four behind Gli Azzurri so it was vital that the leaders held their nerve.

Saturday’s 1-0 win over Udinese made it eight wins on the bounce for the Old Lady and the latest Serie A 2023 betting odds have pulled her in to fourth favourite for the Scudetto at a price of around 9.00; and that is a significant improvement on the early stages of the campaign. 

Danilo scored on the 86th minute of Juventus' 1-0 win against Udinese
Danilo celebrates after scoring for Juventus against Udinese

Momentum is everything and Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestre did all he could to halt Juventus, pulling off some brilliant saves to keep out I Bianconeri. One stop from a Daniele Rugani header was breath-taking, but the visitors’ resistance was finally broken, four minutes time, when Danilo scored from point blank range. The Brazilian wingback had Federico Chiesa to thank after the striker chested a long ball down and hit a first time cross to the far post where Danilo had the easiest of tasks to grab all three points. It was a good win against a team which had performed superbly in the first half of the campaign and have only dropped out of the top six recently after a run of six games without a win.

Juve boss Max Allegri will be particularly pleased that his side also kept an eighth consecutive clean sheet and keeper Wojciech Szczesny can take some credit, keeping out three good efforts from Udinese. Juve fans will hope third placed AC Milan will stumble at home to Roma on Sunday night but it had already been a good weekend with another top four rival slipping up…

Inter frustrated by Monza

In other Serie A 2023 results, fourth placed Inter Milan failed to make any progress after conceding a late, late equaliser away to lowly Monza. The hosts have been clawing their way away from the drop zone and they fought to the last against their illustrious visitors, and were rewarded by Luca Caldirola’s 93rd minute leveller.

The afternoon started well enough for I Nerazzurri when former Manchester United wingback Matteo Darmian converted a cross from Alessandro Bastoni with just ten minutes on the clock. Patrick Ciurria equalised for Monza with a beautifully curled finish but Lautaro Martinez put Inter in charge again and that looked like it would be the winner until Caldirola headed in at the death.

LIGUE 1

BREST

LILLE

1X2 Draw @ 3.35

Under 2.50 @ 2.02

First Half Over 2.75 @ 2.13

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Lazio let it go 

At two goals to the good Lazio looked set to close the gap on the top four, but they remain fifth and three points behind Inter after Empoli pegged them back with two late goals. Felipe Anderson put the Romans ahead with just two minutes on the clock when he finished from a tight angle, and when Mattia Zaccagni stabbed home another goal early in the second half it looked like the hosts were coasting to another three points. 

With 18 shots to five and four to two on target it’s difficult to work out how they ended up with only one, but Lazio’s wastefulness in front of goal and Empoli’s two on-target shots ending in the net gives you the answer. Francesco Caputo finished off a fast break on 83 minutes and then Lazio became wobbly; and when Razvan Marin rifled in a 93rd minute leveller the stadium fell silent. This weekend saw an opportunity missed…for both Lazio and Inter Milan.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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This message was edited by SBOTOP on 14-Jan-2023 at 2:55 PM





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SBOTOP 14-Jan 2023 Saturday 2:57 PM (411 days ago)            #14
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Serie A: Napoli Make Bid for Moroccan Ace as Atalanta Midfielder Moves On

Napoli may have a healthy seven-point lead atop the Serie A standings, but the Partenopei still have work to do to secure that long-awaited Scudetto.

That’s why they are looking to add reinforcements during this transfer window, with Morocco’s World Cup star Azzedine Ounahi one of their main targets.

Meanwhile, one Atalanta midfielder is on the move, with Ruslan Malinovskyi heading to Marseille. And another midfielder could follow him out the door as Teun Koopmeiners has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League giants Liverpool. Inter Milan also face interest from their defenders this transfer window.

Read on below as SBOTOP shares all the transfer news and speculation surrounding Serie A.

Napoli submit bid for Morocco’s Azzedine Ounahi

Napoli are still trying to work out a deal for midfielder Azzedine Ounahi as they look to strengthen their squad for the second half of the season.

The Partenopei had reportedly opened talks with Angers a couple of weeks ago and have recently submitted an offer of €15m for the 22-year-old, who starred for Morocco in the recently concluded World Cup.

Napoli have a settled three-man midfield of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka, and star playmaker Piotr Zielinski, with Tanguy Ndombele and Eljif Elmas coming off the bench. But neither Ndombele nor Elmas is quite as capable defensively, which would make Ounahi’s addition all the more vital for the Azzurri.

Ounahi reportedly prefers a move to Serie A, although he has also attracted interest from Premier League clubs such as Leicester City and Leeds United. But Napoli may struggle to beat out the two English clubs in a bidding war, so their chances of signing the rising star hang in the balance.

In other Napoli news, they secured their first signing of the winter last week in right-back Bartosz Bereszynski, who has arrived on loan from Lazio. Bereszynski won’t drastically alter Napoli’s Serie A 2023 betting odds, but he will provide much-needed cover for captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Atalanta’s Malinovskyi moves on, Koopmeiners next?

One Atalanta midfielder has already moved on during this transfer window, and another might soon follow.

Ruslan Malinovskyi recently joined Marseille on a season-long loan, with an obligatory option to buy for €10 million in the summer.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian had spent the last three-plus seasons at Atalanta, scoring 23 goals and providing 22 assists in 115 Serie A appearances.

However, he had pushed to the periphery of the squad this season, with just 5 starts in 15 appearances, with 1 goal and 2 assists to his name.

Atalanta's Teun Koopmeiners might move from Serie A to Premier League after being linked with Liverpool
Netherlands midfielder Teun Koopmeiners celebrates during their World Cup 2022 match against USA

Meanwhile, another Atalanta midfielder in Teun Koopmeiners could also be on the move as the Dutchman has been heavily linked with Liverpool.

Koopmeiners has been arguably Atalanta’s best player this season and has already provided plenty of Serie A 2023 highlights. He has 5 goals and 2 assists in 17 games, with his 1,475 minutes played far and away the most on the team.

Aside from his eye for goal, Koopmeiners is also a capable passer. He has been Atalanta’s primary progressive passer and shot creator.

But despite the recent speculation, top football insider Fabrizio Romano reports that Liverpool have yet to approach Atalanta for Koopmeiners as of now, and the Dutchman has expressed his desire to stay and play for La Dea.

Inter braced for interest in defenders Dumfries, Skriniar

Inter Milan expect to receive much interest in their defenders, right-back Denzel Dumfries and centre-back Milan Skriniar, this transfer window. There has been speculation that the two might leave back in the summer, and there will be no shortage of suitors for their services this winter.

Premier League
MANCHESTER UNITED
MANCHESTER CITY
1X2 Manchester United @ 4.30
Over 2.75 @ 1.90
Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.03
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Dumfries, who starred with the Netherlands in the World Cup alongside Koopmeiners, has been linked with a host of big clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Barcelona.

Inter are reportedly willing to part with the wing-back for a fee of around $63.5 million fee, although it remains to be seen if any club will be willing to pay that price.

As for Skriniar, he was heavily linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and is now in the last few months of his contract. If Inter feel they cannot come to terms on a new long-term deal, they could be forced to sell – or they risk losing him on a free transfer in the summer. Other clubs will certainly test their resolve by making bids for the highly sought-after defender.


 

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SBOTOP 14-Jan 2023 Saturday 2:59 PM (411 days ago)            #15
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Serie A: Napoli Aim to Dominate Top Two Clash

Napoli vs Juventus

Napoli take on Juventus at the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona on Friday night in a bid to stretch their lead at the top of the league to 10 points, but they face a resurgent Bianconeri who will present the biggest test so far to the Partenopei’s nerves.

The Serie A game between Napoli and Juventusis the standout clash of the Italian football weekend, and if the hosts can avoid defeat then their dream of a long awaited Scudetto will be well and truly on.

Luciano Spalletti’s side recovered from a loss to Inter Milan with a confidence boosting 2-0 win away to Sampdoria, and now they need to follow that up.

Since Max Allegri returned to the helm at Juventus, he has had a big impact. Their start to this season was poor, but he has turned things around quickly and the Turin giants come into the game on an impressive run.

Juve made it eight wins on the bounce with a 1-0 victory at home to Udinese last week and they have put that sequence together without conceding a single goal.

If Juventus can turn their hosts over on Friday and reduce the gap at the top of the league to four points, that will put the cat among the pigeons.

Talking Points

Osimhen is back to his best

The Serie A 2023 betting odds back a Partenopei victory and one of the biggest reasons is the return to top form of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen. The sought-after hitman scored his 10th goal in 13 league games against Sampdoria, while Eljif Elmas added the second to seal the points.

Osimhen’s form is all the more critical as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has suffered a short dip in form. The Georgian winger is still only 21 and comparisons with departed legend Lorenzo Insigne were made as he raced to six goals and five assists in the first half of the campaign.

Friday night gives Kvaratskhelia the ideal opportunity to recover his form against Napoli’s closest challengers and, if he clicks, then it could be another great night for the Azzurri fans. 

Spalletti knows he needs to keep strengthening to hold off the competition in the coming months, and he has put a bid in for Moroccan ace Azzedine Ounahi but his current crop of stars has done a fine job so far.

Serie A
INTER MILAN
HELLAS VERONA
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

Old Lady is up for the big game

There has been quite some turnaround in Turin and Allegri’s blend of youth and experience is proving to be a potent combination and they have no fear of the big game, winning six and drawing two of their last eight matches against teams which started the day at the top of the Serie A table.

The return of Federico Chiesa has been a big boost to the team and his speed of movement and thought is often Juve’s biggest chance of unlocking a defence.

Federico Chiesa is back on time as Juventus will use his defence against Serie A leaders Napoli
Juventus’ Federico Chiesa in action during their Serie A match against Udinese

And when he came off the bench against Udinese, he brilliantly teed up Danilo’s 86th minute winner. That goal enabled the Old Lady to leapfrog AC Milan into second place and announce herself as a serious Scudetto contender.

30-year-old Serbian winger Filip Kostic was a shrewd addition in the summer, while midfield ace Adrien Rabiot showed just what a good player he is with France at the World Cup. And alongside Manuel Locatelli, they form a powerful midfield partnership.

Alex Sandro will be the man tasked with keeping Osimhen quiet and it’s a huge challenge, but the Brazilian has been imperious during Juventus’ run of clean sheets.

History 

I Bianconeri have had the better of the head-to-heads with 27 wins to Napoli’s 16 over the last 30 years.

But Napoli have won their last three games against Juventus in Naples. And with a home record of seven wins and one draw this season, they have made the Stadio Diego Maradona a fortress. 

Juventus’ Serie A 2023 results have been superb, and over the past six games stronger than their hosts, with five victories and a draw compared with Napoli’s three wins and three defeats in all competitions.

It all adds up to being a fascinating battle and could be pivotal in the race for the 2023 Scudetto.

Betting Tip

Napoli are favourites to win this tie at SBOTOP odds of 1.96, and the draw is at 3.16 with Juventus at 3.73. It’s a tricky game to call since the Partenopei was in electric form before the World Cup and became clear favourites to win the title.

The sound in the Stadium will be deafening and Juventus will have to withstand an Azzurri wave. The visitors have been on a superb run, but have not been sweeping their opponents aside, often grinding out wins and I can see this being the end of their winning run. 

A 2-1 home win, at odds of 6.95, is a good outside bet and one which would spark wild celebrations in Naples.

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⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

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SBOTOP 14-Jan 2023 Saturday 3:01 PM (411 days ago)            #16
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Serie A: Inter Need Victory over Verona to Keep Title Hopes Alive

Inter Milan vs Hellas Verona

Inter Milan’s quest to reinsert themselves into the Serie A title race took a significant blow as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Monza after a late Denzel Dumfries own goal.

Simone Inzaghi’s Nerazzurri cannot afford another setback and must come away with all three points when they host relegation-threatened Verona at the San Siro.

The Gialloblu got a much-needed three points themselves after beating Cremonese to climb out of the bottom of the Serie A standings.

But the Serie A 2023 betting odds will be stacked heavily against them at the San Siro as they take on an Inter side with a suddenly back-in-form Lautaro Martinez.

Talking Points

Lautaro returning to form for Inter

Inter thought they had brought themselves back into the Scudetto race after beating leaders Napoli 1-0 at home in their first game back from the break.

However, the Nerazzurri negated that fantastic result in their very next match as they could only draw 2-2 with newly promoted Monza. A Denzel Dumfries own goal in stoppage time saw them drop crucial points as Inter’s three-match winning run came to an end.

But the good news for Inter was that Lautaro Martinez finally ended his extended goal drought. Including his goalless World Cup run with Argentina, Lautaro had failed to score in each of his last eight appearances for club and country before he struck against Monza. Lautaro also came close to scoring another when he hit the woodwork.

And Lautaro carried over that good form to Inter’s midweek Coppa Italia win over Parma. He scored Inter’s equaliser two minutes from time, and Francesco Acerbi scored the winner in extra-time as the Nerazzurri won 2-1 to move on to the quarter-finals.

Lautaro’s return to form is a promising development for Inter, who have missed his goals. Edin Dzeko is also in fine goalscoring form with four goals in his last five appearances.

Lautaro Martinez’ return is encouraging news for Inter Milan as they head onto their next Serie A game
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring during their Serie A game against AC Monza

However, Romelu Lukaku remains woefully off the pace and continues to have little impact. The Belgian started the big game against Napoli, but Lautaro is likely to partner Dzeko against Verona.

Meanwhile, midfielder Marcelo Brozovic may make his return after missing the last few matches with a calf injury. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has filled in for Brozovic in the last two games, but having the Croatian back will be a huge boost to the Inter midfield.

Inter have a fantastic home record this season. They have won seven of their eight Serie A matches at San Siro, with 20 goals scored and just four conceded. Their only setback came in a 2-1 defeat to Roma back in October.

Verona improving under new boss

Verona made their way out of the bottom of the Serie A standings with a crucial 2-0 win over Cremonese, who are now rock-bottom as they remain winless in 17 games.

The Gialloblu got off to a horrendous start to the season under Gabriele Cioffi and it continued under caretaker Salvatore Bocchetti. But their Serie A 2023 results have finally started to improve under new coach Marco Zaffaroni. He is unbeaten in his first two games in charge after drawing 1-1 with Torino on his debut and beating Cremonese.

Darko Lazovic has been instrumental in Verona’s resurgence. The 32-year-old Serb has attempted a total of eight shots over the last two games. Moreover, he has played a part in their last three goals as he set up their opener against Torino and bagged a brace against Cremonese.

Top centre-forward Kevin Lasagna remains out due to injury, so Milan Djuric may continue to deputise against Inter. The 32-year-old Bosnian scored their goal against Torino and has four shots in the last two games.

Serie A
LECCE
AC MILAN
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

History

Inter have completely and utterly dominated Verona over the years. They are unbeaten in their last 14 Serie A meetings against the Gialloblu, with 11 wins and 3 draws. They did the double over the Mastiffs, winning 3-1 away and 2-0 at home.

Although, Verona did give Inter a good fight at the Marcantonio Bentegodi as Inter needed two late Joaquin Correa goal to secure the win.

Betting Tip

The SBOTOP odds have installed Inter Milan as massive 1.27 favourites to get the win at San Siro. Verona are priced at 9.75, while a draw is 5.40.

While Veron have shown signs of improvement of late, taking on Inter at the San Siro will be a massive step up in competition from Torino and Cremonese.

Inter have been absolutely dominant at home this season, and with Lautaro back among the goals, look for the Nerazzurri to have no problems against visiting Verona.

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⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

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SBOTOP 19-Jan 2023 Thursday 2:30 PM (406 days ago)            #17
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Serie A: The Top Transfer Targets From Italian Top-Flight

Serie A has always been a hotbed of talent, as numerous stars have come and gone from old to young.

But compared to the other European leagues, there’s not much going on in Italy at this time of the year, although interest in their top players isn’t fading anytime soon.

In recent years, Serie A clubs have been more creative with their transfer strategy, owing to financial constraints in most cases.

Most of these teams would (and might) eventually sell their players, especially with foreign clubs knocking on their door with inflated transfer fees that they simply couldn’t refuse.

So, without further ado, read on below as SBOTOP lists the top players who are gaining a lot of attention in the January transfer window.

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen is one of the hottest commodities in the transfer market today. He has been in fine form this season, notching 12 goals and three assists in 14 league matches for Napoli.

His current contract is due to expire in 2025, and the Nigerian international is said to be happy in Naples. However, knowing Napoli’s thrifty owners, they might let go of Osimhen if foreign clubs are willing to meet their huge demands.

Napoli want big money for Osimhen, if ever. Reports claim that the Naples outfit wants a fee in the region of £133-M and will not accept anything less.

Osimhen has been linked to a host of Premier League clubs, namely Arsenal, Manchester United, and Newcastle United. However, there have been zero concrete negotiations as of now.

It’s unlikely that he’ll move elsewhere this month, but expect his stock to skyrocket if he maintains his form and stays healthy throughout this season.

Rafael Leao

Like Osimhen, Rafael Leao has been linked to a host of foreign clubs too. The 23-year-old winger is one of Serie A’s best players today, leading AC Milan in the scoring charts with nine goals and seven assists.

There’s been a lot of speculation about his future with the Rossoneri since his contract expires in June 2024. He has yet to sign a new contract with the club, raising concerns among Milan fans that another promising young player, like Gianluigi Donnarumma in 2021 and Franck Kessie last summer, will depart soon.

Rafael Leao has already scored eight Serie A goals this season for AC Milan
AC Milan’s Rafael Leao in action during their match against Lecce

Manchester United are keen on bringing Leao into their ranks to further bolster their attacking corps, while Chelsea were also linked with a move for him, although they’ve recently acquired Mykhailo Mudryk for a huge fee.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Leao should continue to produce Serie A 2023 highlights for AC Milan. However, their Serie A 2023 odds of successfully defending their title are dwindling by the week since Napoli are unstoppable at the moment.

Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat has been on everyone’s radar after starring for Morocco at the World Cup. He is valued at around €50-M, which is a good price for clubs that are looking to reinforce their midfield.

The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a winter move to teams from the Premier League, La Liga, and Ligue 1, although Fiorentina chiefs are hesitant to sell him this month.

Liverpool, in particular, are in hot pursuit since they’re eager to refresh their midfield core. Jurgen Klopp reportedly had a dialogue with Amrabat’s representatives after the World Cup.

Although not their first choice, Amrabat should fit in seamlessly in Klopp’s system since he’s a rugged and hardworking defencive midfielder.

It’s also important to note that Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and James Milner’s contracts are expiring on June 1.

Premier League
LIVERPOOL
CHELSEA
1X2 Liverpool @ 1.89
Chelsea Asian Handicap +0.50 @ 2.04
Under 2.75 @ 1.91
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Milan Skriniar

There’s a growing pessimism at San Siro because Milan Skriniar has yet to accept a new contract with Inter Milan. The 27-year-old’s current deal will expire at the end of this season, and if both parties can’t agree to new terms, then he might leave on a free transfer.

Skriniar actually almost left Inter Milan last summer amid interest from PSG, but the Nerazzurri eventually decided not to sell him.

The Slovakian centre-back is having yet another productive campaign this season, so Inter Milan are braced to receive bids for his services. PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, Newcastle United, and Liverpool are reportedly keeping tabs on Skriniar.

Should Inter Milan sell Skriniar now, that would allow them to keep hold of their starting right-back Denzel Dumfries, who is also a sought-after asset in the transfer market.

Dumfries is also having a solid year for the Nerazzurri. The Dutch wing-back has tallied two goals and two assists in 22 games played across all competitions this term.


 

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SBOTOP 24-Jan 2023 Tuesday 7:45 PM (401 days ago)            #18
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Serie A: Juventus and Atalanta Set for Huge Turin Clash

Juventus vs Atalanta

The Serie A game between Juventus and Atalanta is one of the top matches to check out this weekend, as these two sides are battling for the coveted top four berths.

Right now, Juventus have the upper hand since they’re in third place with 37 points, but Atalanta are not far behind since they have 34 points despite being in sixth.

Juventus could’ve narrowed the gap against pacesetters Napoli when they met them last Saturday, but they were humbled at the Diego Maradona Stadium with a scoreline of 5-1.

Atalanta, on the other hand, have started the new year right by churning out positive Serie A 2023 results against sides who are in the lower half of the standings.

Needless to say, this is a huge matchup for these two top-four hopefuls, so read on below as SBOTOP offers a preview for this contest.

Talking Points

Juventus’ youngsters providing the spark

After losing to Napoli last weekend, Juventus didn’t have much time to rest for their Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie against Monza, so Max Allegri reshuffled his starting XI.

Allegri deployed a 3-5-1-1 formation with Moise Kean leading the line. Fellow youngsters Nicolo Fagioli Fabio Miretti, Samuel Iling-Junior, and Matias Soule all got to start as well.

Moise Kean got on the board for his fifth goal of the season when he scored after eight minutes, but Mattia Valoti answered back from a corner kick 16 minutes later. Kean could’ve had a brace if his later goal wasn’t disallowed.

Can Federico Chiesa score a goal in their upcoming Serie A clash against Atalanta?
Juventus’ Federico Chiesa fights for the ball during their match against Napoli

But the hero for Old Lady was Federico Chiesa, as the Italian winger hit the winner in the 78th minute – his first goal for the club after 378 days following a torn ACL.

I Bianconeri are through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, where they’ll host Lazio on February 2nd.

Prior to the bad loss against Napoli, Juventus had been picking up steam after a terrible start to the 2022-23 campaign as their injury situation has eased up, and Allegri is hoping that they’ll have a clean bill of health moving forward.

Huge blow for Atalanta’s midfield

Gian Piero Gasperini will have to rotate his squad as they’ve lost two key midfielders this past week.

Teun Koopmeiners is out against Juventus after picking up his fifth yellow card against Salernitana, while Ruslan Malinovskyi has been loaned out to Ligue 1 side Marseille

Malinovskyi’s loan deal has an option to buy, so if he does well at Marseille, then Atalanta would essentially lose him for good this summer.

Koopmeiners has been one of the best players for Atalanta this season, notching six goals and three assists thus far. He has linked up well with top scorer Ademola Lookman (nine goals) and Marten de Roon.

With Koopmeiners out, Gasperini will likely replace him with Ederson, while Jeremie Boga is another candidate to start.

La Dea enters this game in high spirits, having beaten their last two opponents by an aggregate score of 13-4 earlier this week – 8-2 against Salernitana in Serie A and 5-2 against Spezia in the Coppa Italia Round of 16.

Like Juventus, Atalanta are through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, where they’ll host Inter Milan on January 31st.

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History

Juventus have been utterly dominant in their head-to-heads against Atalanta, winning all 13 of their previous meetings. But since then, they have drawn seven of their last 11 Serie A games against Atalanta (two wins each).

The Old Lady has only lost one of their last 25 Serie A home games against Atalanta (W18, D6). The said defeat was their most recent one—a 1-0 loss in November 2021.

Atalanta have gone undefeated against Juventus in their last five Serie A meetings and could remain undefeated in six straight for only the second time in their top-flight history. They last did this from 1963 to 1966, when they also stayed unbeaten for six games in a row.

Betting Tip

Matches between Juventus and Atalanta have been generally close, which is why they are not far off from each other in the Serie A 2023 odds. For this game, Juventus are slightly priced higher at 2.19, while Atalanta are installed at 3.25 in the 1X2 market.

We might see another 1-1 draw just like in their previous meeting in February, and it’s going to be a heated affair at Turin. In addition to a draw at 3.35, Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.90 and Over 2.25 @ 1.79 are available for this contest. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to choose either of those alternatives.

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SBOTOP 24-Jan 2023 Tuesday 8:24 PM (401 days ago)            #19
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Serie A: Champions Milan Face Must-Win Situation at Lazio

Lazio vs AC Milan

AC Milan’s Serie A title defence is in serious jeopardy. The reigning champions are currently 12 points adrift of runaway leaders Napoli, and another defeat would all but sink their hopes of defending their crown.

The Rossoneri need nothing less than a win in their big midweek match against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico to keep the faint Serie A 2023 odds of retaining their title alive.

The Biancocelesti are now in the top four in Serie A after Juventus were handed a massive 15-point penalty, and a victory would send them just one point behind Milan.

Talking Points

Lazio get back on track without Immobile

Lazio had a slow start after returning from the World Cup break. They suffered a 2-1 defeat away to Lecce, then gave away a 2-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Empoli.

But the Biancocelesti have bounced back from those poor results with back-to-back wins over Sassuolo in the league and Bologna in the Coppa Italia.

Felipe Anderson is ready to spearhead Lazio against AC Milan in upcoming Serie A match
Lazio’s Felipe Anderson celebrates after scoring a goal during their Serie A match against Atalanta in October 2022

Felipe Anderson has been instrumental in those wins, providing Serie A 2023 highlights in the absence of captain Ciro Immobile. The mercurial Brazilian has now scored in each of his last three games.

With Immobile still dealing with an injury, Felipe Anderson will once again be tasked with leading the line as a false nine, with Mattia Zaccagni and Pedro on either side. Zaccagni has been in similarly fine form with two goals in his last three appearances.

Regular starting right-back Manuel Lazzari is set to return after serving out a one-game suspension against Sassuolo. Lazzari has been a significant part of Lazio’s defence, which has been among the best this season. They have conceded just 15 goals to date, which is third behind only Juventus and leaders Napoli.

However, their home form has been unusually spotty of late. They have won just one of their last four matches at the Stadio Olimpico, with two draws and a shock 3-1 thrashing at the hands of relegation struggles Salernitana.

Milan’s title hopes fading

AC Milan have had a rough start to the new year. After a 2-1 win at Salernitana, the Rossoneri have gone on a run of four games without a win in all competitions. That includes back-to-back 2-2 draws against Roma and Lecce that have further derailed their title defence, as well as a humiliating 3-0 thrashing at the hands of rivals Inter in the Italian Super Cup.

After surrendering a 2-goal lead late against Roma, Milan fought back from two goals down to salvage a point away at Lecce.

Star forward Rafael Leao, who has still not signed a new contract with the Rossoneri, has been in decent form since returning from the break, with two goals and an assist in his last five games.

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But Stefano Pioli’s side have started to slip defensively, which was one of the strengths that carried them to the championship last season. The injury to top goalkeeper Mike Maignan is finally being felt, with veteran Ciprian Tatarusanu now proving to be a significant downgrade.

Maignan is making progress in his rehabilitation, but he won’t be available for a couple more weeks so Milan will have to hang on until then.

Milan have a fairly defence away record this season, with just one defeat in their nine games. However, they have won just won of their last four, with one defeat and two draws.

History

Milan have had Lazio’s number in recent years. The Rossoneri have a 12-6 advantage in terms of wins, with nine draws over their last 27 meetings.

Milan did the double over Lazio last season as they won 2-0 at the San Siro and 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. They also thrashed Lazio 4-0 in the Copa Italia. Olivier Giroud scored three goals against Lazio last season, while Rafael Leao scored two.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP odds have AC Milan installed as narrow 2.33 favourites to beat Lazio, who are priced at 3.05 to bring down the champions at home. A draw is 3.20.

Lazio are a good side that will be tough to beat, especially at home. But Milan will have a bit extra motivation in this match as their whole season is effectively on the line. A loss to Lazio would all but end their title defence, and they’re not going to let that happen without a fight.

Look for Milan to get the need they win to keep some semblance of a title race alive in Serie A this season.

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SBOTOP 28-Jan 2023 Saturday 1:58 PM (397 days ago)            #20
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Serie A: Roma Test for Runaway Leaders

Napoli vs AS Roma

Napoli host Roma at the Stadio Diego Maradona on Sunday in the match of the weekend. It’s a chance for the chasing pack to close the gap a little, or for rampant Napoli to keep the Scudetto bandwagon rolling.

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli have been by far the best side in Serie A this season and when they returned after the World Cup break they faced a serious test of character which, so far, they have passed with flying colours by taking nine points from four difficult games and they are about to face another serious test of their title credentials.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho is a tactical master and he loves a big game, and his team is in fine form on a run of five wins from the last six, putting them nicely in the frame for a Champions League push.

Both teams come into the game with a 2-0 away win, Napoli away to Salernitana and Roma at Spezia.

The very latest Serie A 2023 betting odds have the Partenopei nailed on for a first Scudetto since 1990 at odds of 1.08. And with a 12-point lead over second-placed Milan, it is Napoli’s to lose. 

Talking Points

Napoli have the eye of the tiger

And Spalletti’s team look in no mood to let anyone else have a look in as they home in on the Scudetto. Napoli are only the sixth team in history to tot up 50 points by the halfway stage of a Serie A campaign and it is a club record for the Partenopei.

On returning from the World Cup break, they recovered from their 1-0 defeat to Inter Milan with three resounding wins, the highlight being a 5-1 thrashing of Juventus.

The subsequent deduction of 15 points from Juve for transfer irregularities has dumped the Old Lady out of the title race, leaving the two Milan clubs as the only real contenders and they both have a mountain to climb.

Victor Osimhen is proving to be one of the most important players for Napoli this Serie A season
Napoli’s Victor Osimhen celebrates after scoring against AS Roma on October 23, 2022 at the Olympic Stadium

With 13 goals from 15 games, striker Victor Osimhen is having the season of his life and he is one of the hottest properties in European football. He’s committed his immediate future to Naples but that won’t stop speculation of a move in the summer, with Premier League club Manchester United said to be monitoring the situation.

But for now, Osimhen is a Blue and he is all but certain to better his tally from last season of 14 maybe even this weekend!

Roma’s wall of defiance

Roma are in Champions League contention, sitting fifth in the table but level on points with Lazio and Inter Milan on 37.  

And while they boast some real flair players in their ranks, it is the defence which has excelled recently, keeping six cleans sheets in the last seven games, in all competitions.

Mourinho has former Manchester United player Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic in his ranks. Smalling is a vastly experienced centre-half while Matic is still one of the best defencive midfielders in the business.

Captained by full-back Gianluca Mancini, this is a tough unit to break down and Smalling, along with his central defence partner Roger Ibanez, will relish a battle with Osimhen.

Roma’s attack has been sparked to life by the addition of Paulo Dybala, who has scored seven goals and two in the last two games against Spezia and Fiorentina while assisting both other goals in the 2-0 victories. 

In other Serie A 2023 news, Roma attacking midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo has been the subject of transfer speculation again with Premier League strugglers Bournemouth the latest club making an enquiry for the 23-year-old.

But Mourinho is playing hard ball and will only let his player go if a buying club meets his valuation. Zaniolo may have a place on the bench against Napoli but is highly unlikely to start. 

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History

With 20 wins to 15, Roma have edged the head-to-head meetings over the past three decades, though Napoli won the return match in October 1-0 thanks to an Osimhen strike, while Roma have failed to win at the Stadio Diego Maradona on their last four visits.

And Roma boss Mourinho has won only one of his six dugout dues with Spalletti, that coming back in October when he coached Inter Milan to a win over Roma managed by Spalletti at the time. 

But Roma have been very strong away from home this season with six wins, three draws and a single defeat, while Napoli have been devastating at home, winning eight and drawing one of their nine league fixtures in Naples.

Betting Tip

Napoli are at SBOTOP odds of 1.71 to win and 3.44 to draw, with Roma out there at 4.55.

I think Napoli will edge this and I back the hosts to breach the Roma rearguard and, for an outside bet, 2-1 is at odds of 6.56 for the correct scoreline. 

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SBOTOP 28-Jan 2023 Saturday 2:00 PM (397 days ago)            #21
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Serie A: Lazio Out to Cement Third Place

Lazio vs Fiorentina

They’ve just seen off the Serie A champions in style so, as they prepare to welcome Fiorentina to the Stadio Olimpico this Sunday, Lazio have every right to be confident.

Ok, a title bid seems highly unlikely for Maurizio Sarri’s men who still trail leaders Napoli by 13 points.

But if they are to make sure of a Champions League place – a stage they have only reached twice in the past decade – then it is matches like this they should be winning.

Talking Points

Few connected with the club will forget the Serie A 2023 highlights they delivered against the champions on Tuesday night in the capital.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored after just four minutes and it was one-way traffic from there on in with Mattia Zaccagni, Luis Alberto, and Felipe Anderson all finding the back of the net.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is ready to help Lazio keep their winning streak in upcoming Serie A game against Fiorentina
Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic celebrates after scoring an early goal during their Serie A match against AC Milan

Although a back-up striker could arrive, it’s unlikely the club will add any key reinforcements to their squad before next week’s January transfer window closes.

Yet more performances and results like Tuesday and Sarri may not need them.

The veteran coach has started to build an interesting project in the Italian capital, although if reports are to be believed, differences of opinion with sporting director Igli Tare and a supposed lack of backing from president Claudio Lotito could push him to look for an exit at the end of the season.

The two sides certainly come into this one in contrasting form since the turn of the year.

Although they began their post-World Cup return with a defeat to Lecce, Lazio are unbeaten in four games since in league and cup.

By comparison, Fiorentina have won just once in four league matches in 2023, and have not won away from home since the start of November.

The Viola have this week signed Italy international Salvatore Sirigu from Napoli, joining the Tuscans on a free transfer after just six months at the Stadio Maradona where he was not really involved.

A member of the Euro 2020-winning Italian squad, he should be a shrewd recruit, thought whether he can lift Fiorentina from the relative comfort of midtable to a European berth is a big ask for anyone.

Their task is made even harder with Gaetano Castrovilli and Arthur Cabral likely to miss the trip.

As for Lazio – who have kept a clean sheet in each of their previous three matches, preventing Sassuolo, Bologna, and Milan from finding the net – key striker Ciro Immobile will still be out due to injury, while Mario Gila is also rated doubtful.

History

Lazio have held a clear upper hand in this fixture in recent years. In fact, it’s fair to say they have been rather dominant with only one Viola success in the last 12 meetings,

That came in May 2021 when two goals from Dusan Vlahovic sealed a 2-0 home win in Florence.

Lazio won both league games last season, including the corresponding fixture when Pedro scored the only goal.

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The return was won by a bigger margin with Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile on target in a 3-0 win.

Earlier this term, the gap was even wider as Matias Vecino headed the first against his former club with Mattia Zaccagni nodding the second as Lazio showed clinical first-half finishing.

Thumping finishes from Alberto and Immobile in the final five minutes added to Fiorentina’s misery.

It’s 2015 since Fiorentina won against Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico.

Then Vecino (two), Cristian Tello, and Federico Bernardeschi were the goal-getters in a 4-2 success.

Betting Tip

With the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 betting odds, Lazio are naturally firm favourites.

Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.44 immediately caught my eye, as did -0.50 @ 2.08.

The Florence side will earn you a nice pay day with victory, given they are priced Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.13.

The draw is on offer @ 3.20 with other bets to consider including Lazio 1X2 @ 2.08 and Fiorentina 1X2 @ 3.60.

A repeat of last season’s clash, won by a solitary goal from the hosts, is available @ 6.60 with Correct Score 1-0.

Goal options include Over 2.50 @ 2.01, Over 2.75 @ 2.33, Total Goal 0-1 @ 3.20, 2-3 @ 1.90, and 4-6 @ 3.70.

This is not a home banker if Fiorentina, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Torino last weekend – despite racking up 63-per cent possession and 19 shots – can find their shooting boots.

Yet I still keep coming back to that initial offering which is why I am looking for Lazio to win.

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SBOTOP 31-Jan 2023 Tuesday 4:43 PM (394 days ago)            #22
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Coppa Italia: Holders Inter Face Tough Quarter-Final Draw

Defending Coppa Italia champions Inter Milan will have their work cut out for them as they host in-form Atalanta in the quarter-finals. La Dea have been scoring goals for fun of late, and they will be keen to knock the holders out.

And in the other big quarter-final tie, Juventus will look to stay alive in their only remaining shot at silverware this season as they take on Lazio.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina and Torino meet again after facing off just a few weeks ago while Roma host struggling Cremonese.

Read on below as SBOTOP previews all four Coppa Italia quarter-finals.

Inter Milan vs Atalanta

Inter and Atalanta are currently second and third in the Serie A table as of this writing. After both dropped points the previous week – Inter lost at home to Empoli while Atalanta drew 3-3 in their massive clash against Juventus – they bounced back with wins as Inter beat bottom-club Cremonese while Atalanta smashed second-from-bottom Sampdoria 2-0.

Lautaro Martinez bagged both goals against Cremonese as his post-World Cup purple patch continues. The Argentine has now scored six goals in his last seven appearances, including the late equaliser in their extra-time 2-1 win against Parma in the previous round.

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Lautaro is likely to lead the line once again this midweek, with either Romelu Lukaku or Joaquin Correa replacing veteran Edin Dzeko.

As for Atalanta, they are now six games unbeaten in all competitions after their win over Samp. They have been in terrific goalscoring form of late, with 18 goals over their last four games. That includes an 8-2 hammering of Salernitana and a 5-2 rout of Spezia in the previous round of the Coppa Italia.

Ademola Lookman had a brace in that match as he has been banging in the goals in his debut season in Bergamo. The 25-year-old, who is second in Serie A with 12 goals, has been involved in 9 of those 18 goals in the last four games with 7 goals and 2 assists.

Fiorentina vs Torino

Fiorentina and Torino will meet for the second time in the space of just a couple of weeks. The two met on Jan. 21 in Florence, and Torino came away with a 1-0 away win thanks to an Aleksey Miranchuk goal.

Miranchuk has been one of Torino’s star performers this season; the Russian is one of three Torino players with 4 league goals (Antonio Sanabria and Nikola Vlasic are the two others), and also has 2 assists.

Torino produced one of the top Coppa Italia 2023 results thus far as they knocked off reigning Serie A champions AC Milan 1-0 in extra-time at the San Siro in the previous round.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina are floundering. Their loss to Torino was their second in a row, and they could very well lose a third straight away to Lazio. The Viola were kept goalless in back-to-back games, the first time that has happened since the start of the season.

Fiorentina are tied with Torino with just 21 goals scored in Serie A, although they have played one game fewer. Arthur Cabral, Giacomo Bonaventura, and Luka Jovic are tied for the team lead with just three goals apiece as the team has been unable to find a consistent source of goals.

Roma vs Cremonese

Jose Mourinho's AS Roma will take on Cremonese in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals
AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho during their Serie A match against Sassuolo

Roma are on a roll at the moment. Prior to their match against Serie A leaders Napoli, Jose Mourinho’s side are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions with four wins and three draws. That includes a 1-0 win over Genoa in the previous round, followed by back-to-back 2-0 wins over Fiorentina and Spezia.

Paulo Dybala has been in fantastic form of late. After scoring the winner against Genoa, the Argentine scored both goals against Fiorentina and collected 2 assists against Spezia. One of those assists went to Tammy Abraham, who is finally regaining his best form and has picked up 2 goals and 2 assists over his last four games.

The Giallorossi will like their chances of moving on to the semi-finals as they host Cremonese, who have yet to win a single match in Serie A. Although, I Grigiorossi did defy the Coppa Italia 2023 odds as they knocked out Napoli in the previous round on penalties.

Juventus vs Lazio

With Juventus out of the Champions League and their Serie A title hopes dashed by the massive 15-point penalty, the Old Lady’s only hope of silverware this season is the Coppa Italia.

The Bianconeri beat Monza 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals. Federico Chiesa got the winning goal, his first since returning from his serious knee injury.

Chiesa has only started one game to date – Juve’s 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Napoli. If he doesn’t start on the weekend against Monza, he could very well do so in midweek against Lazio.

Speaking of the Biancocelesti, they have won three games in a row ahead of their weekend clash against Fiorentina.

Felipe Anderson has been fantastic as he’s stepped up in the absence of captain Ciro Immobile. The Brazilian has scored in each of his last four games, including the winner against Bologna to send Lazio to the Coppa Italia 2023 quarter-finals.


 

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SBOTOP 03-Feb 2023 Friday 3:22 PM (391 days ago)            #23
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Coppa Italia Shocks in the Capital

So, you have played 20 league matches so far this season and are rock bottom.

In fact, you have yet to claim a single win and now are travelling to the Italian capital to face AS Roma in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals.

Only one outcome surely?

Well, no… actually.

Instead, a result which not only defied SBOTOP Coppa Italia betting odds, but blew them out of the water.

For giant-killers Cremonese somehow defeated Roma 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico to set up their first Coppa Italia semi-final since 1987.

Yes, Cremonese surprisingly knocked out Napoli in the last 16 but the Serie A leaders rested key players with a first title in more than 30 years their priority.

This was different.

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Just before the half hour, Marash Kumbulla was caught napping in the centre-circle and Cyriel Dessers robbed him to sprint towards goal.

He was brought down by Rui Patricio for a penalty and Dessers blasted the resultant spot-kick into the roof of the net.

Roma boss Jose Mourinho made four changes at the break but Cremonese quickly doubled their lead and again it was self-inflicted.

Roger Ibanez slipped over four minutes after the restart, and, as David Okereke rolled across for Charles Pickel’s wayward shot, Zeki Celik accidentally turned the ball into his own net.

The hosts were desperate to get back into the contest and had Tammy Abraham’s curling shot found the net, instead of bouncing off the inside of the far post with 13 minutes remaining, we could have been set for a frantic finish.

Instead, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Abraham found Andrea Belotti who half-volleyed into the far bottom corner, but it was too late.

Cremonese will now face Fiorentina who are chasing their first major trophy for 22 years.

That’s after second half goals from Luka Jovic and Jonathan Ikoné were enough to book Viola’s spot and avenge a recent league defeat by Torino.

After opportunities for both teams in Florence, the breakthrough arrived in the 65th minute when a sort corner was played to Aleksa Terzić whose cross was headed home by Jovic at the far post.

In stoppage time, Ikoné sealed the victory— and a place in the final four — with a fine strike into the bottom right corner in the final minute after good work from Arthur Cabral.

Cabral also hit the crossbar in stoppage time before Yann Karamoh pulled one back for Torino to set up a nervy final few minutes.

Holders Inter Milan were the first team to seal their place as they saw off Atalanta, thanks to a solitary goal 12 minutes into the second half.

Matteo Darmian found himself high up the pitch and in a position to receive the ball on the edge of the box, letting it roll across his body before pulling the trigger with a clinical left-footed effort which fizzed across goal and nestled into the far corner.

In a close encounter, it left Atalanta rueing a chance moments earlier as Jeremie Boga raced towards the touchline and pulled back a cross into the danger zone which Andre Onana beat away, yet Joakim Maehle could only blast the rebound over the bar.

Darmian sends Inter into Coppa Italia semi-finals after win at Atalanta
Inter Milan’s Matteo Darmian celebrates scoring their first goal vs Atalanta

Inter will now meet Juventus in the semi-finals and a contest with the potential for Coppa Italia highlights aplenty.

That’s after the Turin giants, still reeling from a 15 points league deduction for “financial irregularities” and “false accounting” in relation to historic transfer dealings, saw off 2019 Coppa Italia winners Lazio.

It was a match in which Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic started together for the first time for Juve.

When Vlahovic first made the move to Turin just over a year ago, Chiesa had just been ruled out for the rest of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

The two players were teammates at Fiorentina before that and the last time they started a match together was also Chiesa’s final appearance in the Viola jersey.

Against Lazio and Maurizio Sarri, the manager who guided them to the Serie A title in 2020, it turned out neither player was involved in the decisive moment a minute before the break.

Filip Kostic had already seen an angled drive fingertipped expertly away by Luis Maximiano but the keeper didn’t cover himself in glory when he flapped at a Kostic delivery and Gleison Bremer headed home.

With that Juventus had a perfect start to February after a January to forget.

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SBOTOP 07-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:55 PM (387 days ago)            #24
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Serie A: Empoli Can Pose a Threat to Roma’s Lofty Aspirations

AS Roma vs Empoli

February is a pivotal time for AS Roma if they are to stay on track for a top-four finish in Serie A, and they will kick off the month with a game against one of the in-form sides today in Empoli.

AS Roma are currently in sixth place with 37 points, but they’re only trailing by three against second-placed Inter Milan. Empoli, on the other hand, have risen to 10th with 26 points, and they’re looking to cement their top-half status.

The Giallorossi usually have their way in this particular matchup, but Gli Azzurri are doing much better than most would expect given their recent stretch of positive Serie A 2023 results.

The pre-match SBOTOP betting odds have Empoli as the huge underdogs despite their unbeaten run, which should give them motivation upon facing Jose Mourinho and co. on Saturday.

Talking Points

Jose Mourinho not in a good mood

Jose Mourinho to guide AS Roma to another victory in the Serie A
AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho coaching from the sidelines during a Serie A match versus Napoli

The Giallorossi saw their five-game undefeated streak end last Monday when they lost 2-1 against table leaders Napoli.

And then they were on the receiving end of a huge upset in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals, as they were beaten 2-1 by Cremonese, a side that’s currently at the bottom of the Serie A standings.

Jose Mourinho was particularly angry about their shocking defeat against Cremonese. The Portuguese gaffer was so pissed about his side’s lacklustre first-half performance that he stormed down the tunnel before the half-time whistle sounded.

Cyriel Dessers converted a penalty for Cremonese after 28 minutes after AS Roma’s Rui Patricio brought him down inside the box. The hosts doubled their lead four minutes after the break when Mehmet Celik inadvertently tapped the ball into their goal following a cross into the box by Cremonese.

Andrea Belotti snatched one back for AS Roma four minutes into added time, but their Coppa Italia fate had already been sealed.

AS Roma have a great chance to bounce back because they have winnable games ahead. After meeting Empoli, they’ll take on Lecce, Hellas Verona, and Cremonese in Serie A, while they’ll face RB Salzburg next in the Europa League.

For this game, Mourinho is likely to maintain his starting XI, but he may name the likes of Diego Llorente and Gini Wijnaldum on the bench. Llorente arrived on loan from Leeds United, while Wijnaldum is finally healed from a broken leg.

Nicolo Zaniolo, who was Mourinho’s favourite before, is still frozen out following his failed exit attempt during the January transfer window. Lorenzo Pellegrini, Paulo Dybala, and Tammy Abraham will continue to lead their frontline.

Empoli have gone a long way

Empoli have yet to lose a game since the winter break. By posting three wins and three draws, they’ve matched their best Italian top-flight streak since 2015, when they went unbeaten for eight consecutive games under Maurizio Sarri.

This is in stark contrast to last season, when they were on the verge of being relegated to the second tier, and they have Paulo Zanetti to thank for their remarkable rise.

Gli Azzurri are going to be bolstered by the returns of Fabiano Parisi and Liam Henderson from suspension, while Mattia Destro is closing in on a return.

Tommaso Baldanzi and Francesco Caputo will spearhead Empoli’s attack once more. Baldanzi leads the team with four goals, while Caputo has one goal and two assists.

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History

AS Roma haven’t lost a game against Empoli in Serie A since February 2007 (W10, D3), when Nicola Pozzi led Gli Azzurri to a rare 1-0 victory at Castellani.

They’ve also never lost to Empoli at home in Serie A (W12, D2), and they’ve always scored in these 14 home games. 

The Giallorossi have won their last two Serie A home games without conceding a single goal, and they are on the verge of doing so for the third consecutive match for the first time since May 2019 under Claudio Ranieri.

AS Roma defeated Empoli in their first matchup earlier this season by a 2-1 tally, as Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham scored one goal apiece, while Filippo Bandinelli found the back of the net for Empoli.

Betting Tip

The Serie A 2023 odds favour AS Roma for this fixture, as they’re priced at 1.49 to win. Perhaps Empoli are underestimated here since they’re installed at 7.20, while a draw is at 3.90 in the 1X2 market.

AS Roma aren’t immune to upsets here and there, and Empoli are going to be a stern opposition. But in the end, we feel that the Giallorossi will come away with three points on Saturday.

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SBOTOP 07-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:58 PM (387 days ago)            #25
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Serie A: It’s Derby Day in Milano

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

The Serie A champions of the past two seasons are up against it.

A title tilt is slipping away from both clubs and, quite frankly, if either side is defeated in the San Siro this weekend they can all but kiss goodbye to their faint aspirations.

In fact, a draw isn’t much good for any of the Milan giants either.

So, who will prevail – 2021 winners Inter Milan or defending champions AC Milan?

Talking Points

In many ways, you have to fancy Inter given Milan’s lousy current form.

They were hammered on their own turf by struggling Sassuolo last weekend to all but trigger the end of their title defence and will need a second half full of Serie A 2023 highlights if they are to give themselves any chance of back-to-back titles.

Stefano Pioli’s side, who pipped their neighbours and rivals for the title on a dramatic last day last term, are now on a four-match winless run in the Italian top-flight and have conceded 12 goals in their last three matches in all competitions.

Domenico Berardi, Gregoire Defrel, Davide Frattesi, Armand Lauriente, and Matheus Henrique all scored for the visitors as the Rossoneri conceded five at the San Siro for the first time in Serie A since April 1997, with Olivier Giroud and Divock Origi replying for the hosts.

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They have dropped to fifth as a result with Inter now in second – two points ahead.

Pioli has already pledged there will be radical changes to shake Milan out of their mini-crisis and that could well mean a change of system for Sunday’s Derby della Madonnina.

He will, however, have to make do without Ismael Bennacer who has been ruled out of action with a thigh injury and Fikayo Tomori who has a hip injury.

The game will also come too soon for long-term absentee, veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic, although there is some good news for the Rossoneri after the 41 year-old Swedish forward, who carried an injury in the second half of their Scudetto charge last season, played a part in Milan’s training session on Friday.

It was the first time in eight months that he has been able to work with his teammates on the pitch. How he has been missed.

For Inter, Marcelo Brozovic is still sidelined due to a calf injury and is expected to return very soon but it is highly unlikely he will be risked for this contest.

In the week it’s been revealed that Serie A clubs’ spending in January was the lowest in 17 years – while Premier League clubs invested €829-M, including Chelsea’s €320-M, Italian sides in the top flight spent €31-M – the two Milan giants will be keen to put on a show and keep alive their faint hopes of overhauling league leaders Napoli.

Throw in the usual tension of derby day, and this will not be one for the faint hearted.

History

Inter Milan will be hoping for a Serie A derby win against AC Milan
Inter Milan celebrate after winning the Italian Super Cup

Inter Milan currently hold the bragging rights in this derby with 80 successes compared to 71 Milan victories. There have also been 67 draws.

This will be their third match-up this season.

In October, Milan edged a five-goal thriller, thanks to goals from Rafael Leao (two) and Giroud. Marcelo Brozovic and Edin Dzeko had netted for Inter with the first and last goals of the contest.

Last month was a rather more one-sided affair as Inter ran out 3-0 winners in the Supercoppa Final with Federico Dimarco, Dzeko, and Lautaro Martinez on target at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The corresponding fixture last season saw Milan won 2-1 as Giroud scored twice in three second half minutes to overturn an Ivan Perisic opener.

The last time Milan enjoyed a league double over Inter was in 2010-11 when they recorded 1-0 and 3-0 victories.

Betting Tip

Inter are the only side to have beaten Napoli in the league this term and I think they will have the edge on the champions too.

They are available to tip 1X2 @ 2.00 compared to Milan @ 3.70 with the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 betting odds. The draw is on offer @ 3.35.

A derby full of goals will pay out well with options of Total Goal 0-1 @ 3.50, 2-3 @ 1.91, 4-6 @ 3.35, and Over 2.75 @ 2.12.

Another 2-1 Milan victory will earn you a pay day of @ 12.50 with Correct Score.

I do think Inter will have too much on this occasion.

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SBOTOP 07-Feb 2023 Tuesday 1:03 PM (387 days ago)            #26
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Serie A: Derby Defeat Marks End of Milan Title Defence

AC Milan’s chances of successfully defending their Serie A title this season were already quite remote before this weekend’s big derby against Inter.

But defeat to their city rivals is likely the final nail in the coffin of their title defence as they are now down in sixth place, 18 points adrift of runaway leaders Napoli.

Speaking of Napoli, they maintained their 13-point lead from Inter with another convincing victory thanks in large part to the red-hot Victor Osimhen, who is arguably the hottest striker in Europe at the moment.

Paulo Dybala has been right up there with Osimhen as he has helped prop up Roma’s push for a Champions League spot – and possibly higher.

Read on below as SBOTOP lists down the three top takeaways from the latest round of Serie A fixtures.

Milan title hopes truly dead after derby defeat

Any hopes AC Milan still might have had of successfully defending their Serie A crown are most likely dead and buried after their 1-0 derby defeat to Inter Milan.

A first-half Lautaro Martinez strike was enough to sink Milan, who were decidedly second-best in the match and did not have a single shot on target.

Milan’s disastrous stretch of Serie A 2023 results since the season restart continues. They are now without a win in their last five games (seven in all competitions) and have lost their last three on the bounce.

That horrific run of form leaves Milan in sixth place, 18 points behind leaders Napoli with 17 rounds remaining.

Even if Milan had won the derby, they would still have been 15 points adrift, and the Serie A 2023 odds of them overturning such a lead would still have been quite remote.

But with another demoralising defeat in the Milan derby extending the deficit further, this feels like a fitting time to pronounce the title defence of Stefano Pioli’s side well and truly dead.

Osimhen the hottest striker in Europe

While nothing seems to be going right at Milan, Victor Osimhen and Napoli can seemingly do no wrong. The Nigerian continued his sizzling form as he scored a brace in Napoli’s 3-0 win at Spezia.

Victor Osimhen has been the key man in Napoli's domination this Serie A season
Napoli star Victor Osimhen celebrates after scoring a goal during their Serie A match against Spezia

Osimhen has now scored 7 goals in 6 Serie A games since the break and is now on 16 goals on the season to lead the Capocannoniere race by a comfortable margin.

It’s safe to say that in the form he’s in at the moment, Victor Osimhen is currently the hottest striker in all of Europe. Yes, above Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe, or even Erling Haaland.

Osimhen was one of the hottest striker prospects in Europe even before his recent hot run of form, and Napoli will surely struggle to hold onto him in the summer.

But if Osimhen can continue his brilliant form to the end of the season and lead Napoli to their long-awaited Scudetto, then he will forever be a legend in Naples whatever happens.

Roma have real shot at second

Roma bounced back from quite a rough week – one that saw them lose away to Napoli in the league and at home to Cremonese in the Coppa Italia – as they beat Empoli 2-0. Paulo Dybala bagged a brace of assists to keep the Romans right there in the hunt for a top-four spot.

But Jose Mourinho’s side should be aiming much higher than fourth. With Milan collapsing and Juventus out of the running after getting slapped with a 15-point penalty, the road is wide open for the Giallorossi to go as high as second this season.

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MANCHESTER UNITED
LEEDS UNITED
1X2 Leeds United @ 6.20
Over 3.00 @ 2.01
Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.07
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Paulo Dybala has been in sparkling form since winning the World Cup with Argentina. La Joya has been involved in 7 of Roma’s 9 goals over their last 6 games (3 goals, 4 assists). Meanwhile, Tammy Abraham has finally rediscovered his form after a slow start to the season.

With Nicolo Zaniolo’s relationship with Mourinho and the club wrecked after his failed transfer in the winter, Dybala and Abraham will be crucial in keeping Roma in the hunt. But there are few duos better than those two in all of Serie A, so Roma are very much in with a shout.


 

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SBOTOP 21-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:20 PM (373 days ago)            #27
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Serie A: A ‘Six Pointer’ in the Stadio

Lazio vs Atalanta

Only one point separates the sides and both are chasing Champions League qualification.

In my opinion, however, only one of Lazio or Atalanta are likely to finish in the Serie A top four this term.

If that proves to be the case, this clash could well be crucial come the season end.

Talking Points

Both teams need to return to winning ways after suffering setbacks in their last outings.

Lazio took a brief lead at basement battlers Hellas Verona through Pedro before being pegged back by Cyril Ngonge.

There was even more disappointment for Atalanta who went down at Sassuolo and finished the contest with nine men which means Joakim Maehle and Luis Muriel will be suspended for the trip to the Stadio Olimpico.

Atalanta can take heart from their recent record in these clashes, however, and have only lost two of their last 11 league meetings.

Their inconsistency must frustrate manager Gian Piero Gasperini who will also be without Maehle’s fellow wing-back Davide Zappacosta (hamstring) this weekend, while Jose Luis Palomino is sidelined by a thigh problem.

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Matteo Ruggeri is the man most likely to deputise for Maehle, although the visitors may be otherwise unchanged as Rasmus Hojlund and Ademola Lookman continue their promising partnership up front.

That would mean Duvan Zapata on the bench again. The Colombian striker has scored just once in the league so far this season but has the talent to create Serie A highlights against the best of them.

They also have Ademola Lookman, fresh from being named the Italian Players’ Union player of the month for January after the former Everton man scored five goals and provided two assists.

He is the latest attacker Gasperini has helped improve to take on the big boys of Italian football and is hot on the heels of Victor Osimhen at the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts with 12 goals, and three assists.

Certainly, the home team are favourites but Atalanta have overachieved and upset the odds regularly under Gasperini in recent years and their absence from European competition this season could help their bid to return to the Champions League via a top-four finish.

Lazio have yet to manage a league double over Atalanta since Gasperini took charge in 2016.

With the likes of Pedro and Ciro Immobile in attack – even though the latter has failed to find the net in his last four Serie A matches and is currently at his lowest scoring tally at this stage of the season for a decade – they have proven matchwinners.

Their captain should lead the line in an attacking triumvirate also featuring Mattia Zaccagni.

Felipe Anderson could be in contention for a starting berth and, a doubt over Danilo Cataldi aside, manager Maurizio Sarri finds himself in the fortunate position of having a virtually full squad available.

With only five points separating the sides placed second to sixth, matches like this could be considered ‘six-pointers and the outcome crucial.

History

Ademola Lookman is in sensational form in Serie A
Ademola Lookman during the Italian Serie A match between Sassuolo 1-0 Atalanta

Their most famous meeting came in the 2019 Italian Cup Final, a trophy Lazio won after two goals in the final eight minutes from substitute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa sparked home celebrations in the capital and ensured they would not be beaten by the Bergamo Boys three times that season.

Since then they have met eight times and there have been some thrillers.

That included the following season when they shared six goals in Rome before Atalanta edged a five-goal contest at home.

Their meetings last season were also closely contested,

Atalanta showed real character to twice come back from behind with goals in stoppage time of each half as Zapata and Marten de Room cancelled out goals from Pedro and Immobile in a 2-2 draw.

The corresponding fixture last season ended goalless.

Lazio had the edge earlier this term as Mattia Zaccagni and Anderson sealed a 2-0 success in October to inflict Atalanta’s first defeat of the campaign.

Betting Tip

The SBOTOP Serie A betting odds give the home side the edge.

Lazio are available to tip 1X2 @ 2.38 and Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 1.76, while Atalanta are priced 1X2 @ 2.98 and Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 2.20.

For goals, over 2.75 will pay out @ 2.06, total goal 0-1 @ 3.75, 2-3 @ 1.96 and 4-6 @ 3.30.

A repeat of last season’s goalless fare is on offer with Correct Score @ 11.00.

The expected closeness of the encounter is best perhaps highlighted by the small difference between Double Chance Lazio or Draw @ 1.36 and Atalanta or Draw @ 1.53.

The 1X2 Draw has caught my eye @ 3.20 but, with the visitors missing key men through suspension, I’m edging towards a close win for the hosts and my *** tip is Half Time Full Time Draw Home @ 5.60.

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SBOTOP 21-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:22 PM (373 days ago)            #28
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Serie A: Juve Have a Mountain to Climb to Return to the Top Half

Juventus vs Fiorentina

Juventus’ 2022-23 Serie A campaign has taken a turn for the worse as they were docked 15 points following an investigation into their past transfer transactions.

Before the penalty was applied on Friday, Juventus were competing for European football. However, they’ve now dropped down to 10th place in the Italian top-flight standings.

They’re only two points above Fiorentina, who are currently in 13th place. La Viola haven’t won a league game for more than a month now, so they are keen to end their drought.

The expectations for Fiorentina may be low based on their recent form, but they’re capable of stealing points from Juventus, as shown in their most recent meetings.

So, can they do it again on Sunday? Read on below as SBOTOP previews this contest.

Talking Points

Juventus need Vlahovic to fire again

Dusan Vlahovic leads Juventus in scoring with nine goals and three assists in the Serie A
Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic celebrates scoring their first goal in the Serie A match against Salernitana

If Juventus are going to make a furious comeback to a top-four place, then they need to get hot in the final third again.

And perhaps a 3-0 win over Salernitana would kick-start their run since it was one of their best performances so far in 2023.

Dusan Vlahovic is back in the Serie A 2023 highlights reel as he put an end to his four-month goal drought with a brace, and he also had an assist for Filip Kostic, who put the finishing touches before the end of the first half.

Vlahovic now has nine goals and three assists to lead Juventus in scoring. The hope for Juventus is that their Serbian hitman will stay injury-free for the rest of this season.

On Sunday, Max Allegri will probably start with the same team against Salernitana, though he might think about pairing Vlahovic with some of their best young players.

For a club blessed with attacking talent, at least compared to their visitors this weekend, Juventus shouldn’t have any problems breaching Fiorentina’s leaky backline.

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Fiorentina on a slump

La Viola have won just one of their six Serie A games in 2023, with only Cremonese, Sampdoria, and Salernitana picking up fewer points this year. They have also kept only one clean sheet in their last 14 league matches.

They’re coming off a 2-1 loss against Bologna at home on Monday, as Stefan Posch scored the marginal goal in the 47th minute after a tight first half.

Returning to European football is now a pipe dream for Fiorentina, but they still have plenty left to play for this season.

Their most realistic chance of winning their first silverware in two decades is the Coppa Italia, as they’re already in the semi-finals and have a winnable tie against Cremonese.

And next week, they’re back in the Europa Conference League, slated to take on Braga in the knockout round play-offs.

Vincenzo Italiano has a couple of players who can give Juventus problems on Sunday, such as Luka Jovic, Nicolas Gonzalez, and Antonin Barak. The three of them have scored 16 goals between them thus far.

History

I Bianconeri have been superb at home against La Viola, as they’ve won 10 out of their last 11 meetings in Turin, with the latter winning in the other game. Fiorentina defeated Juventus 3-0 in December 2020, which is their second-largest victory against them on the road in the Italian top-flight.

But Juventus have won just one of their last five league matches against Fiorentina (D2, L2) after winning nine of their previous 11 Serie A meetings with La Viola.

Also, Juventus have only picked up a point in their last two league home games, drawing 3-3 against Atalanta and losing 2-0 to Monza.

Max Allegri has yet to lose a home league match against Fiorentina (W6) as Juventus manager, with two clean sheets in the last three such games.

Fiorentina held Juventus to a 1-1 draw during their first meeting this season in September, as Christian Kouame netted the equaliser in 29 minutes after Arek Milik scored 20 minutes earlier.

Betting Tip

The Serie A 2023 odds are expecting Juventus to win on Sunday, as they’re installed at 1.85, while Fiorentina are priced at 4.00, and a draw is at 3.60 in the 1X2 market.

Expectations are higher for Juventus because their squad is getting closer to full strength. But as shown in the reverse fixture last September, La Viola can give the Old Lady a huge run for her money.

It also feels like we’re about to have yet another low-scoring affair, so you might want to consider going for Under 2.50 @ 2.08 as your betting alternative.

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SBOTOP 21-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:25 PM (373 days ago)            #29
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Serie A: Inter Seek Revenge on Struggling Udinese

Inter Milan vs Udinese

Inter Milan missed their chance to solidify second spot in the Serie A standings after drawing with second-from-bottom Sampdoria over the weekend.

The draw left the Nerazzurri just three points above the chasing trio of Atalanta, Roma, and rivals AC Milan. Simone Inzaghi’s side will be hoping to pick up all three points when they host Udinese this weekend.

Udinese beat Inter 3-1 in their first meeting this season. However, the Friulani’s form has fallen off a cliff since then, and the Serie A 2023 betting odds will have the Nerazzurri as heavy favourites to get their revenge at San Siro.

Talking Points

Inter miss chance to solidify second

Second-place Inter Milan fell further behind runaway leaders Serie A Napoli – 15 points to be exact – after a disappointing goalless draw away at relegation strugglers Sampdoria.

The draw snapped Inter’s three-game win streak in all competitions, which included big 1-0 wins over Atalanta in the Coppa Italia and city rivals AC Milan in the league.

Despite dominating possession and launching 25 shots at Samp’s goal, the Nerazzurri managed just 5 shots on target. Romelu Lukaku got the start alongside World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez, but he remains stuck at just one Serie A goal in 10 appearances this season.

Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku will need to bring back his A-game in their next Serie A game against Udinese
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku reacts during their Serie A game against Sampdoria

Aside from Joaquin Correa, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi will have a complete squad to choose from against Udinese. He may opt to make a few changes ahead of their Champions League round of 16 first leg against FC Porto. Veteran striker Edin Dzeko may very well replace the misfiring Lukaku in the starting lineup.

Inter have a stellar home record in Serie A this season. They have won 9 of their 11 matches at the San Siro with 22 goals scored, which is fourth in the league, and just 5 conceded, which is tied for the best home defensive record.

Udinese downturn continues

Udinese have experienced quite a U-turn in form. Since going on a six-game winning streak in the first few months of the season, the Friulani have won just one of their last 14 Serie A matches, with eight draws and five defeats.

That disastrous run of Serie A 2023 results has seen them drop to 8th in the standings, nine points back of sixth place, which is the final European spot.

Udinese were held to a 2-2 draw by Sassuolo last time out as their home winless drought reached seven games.

Playmaker Roberto Pereyra (2 goals, 5 assists this season) finally made his way back to the starting lineup after missing the last month due to injury, although he lasted just 45 minutes before being replaced by Florian Thauvin.

Meanwhile, Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu (2 goals, 6 assists) remains sidelined after undergoing knee surgery, limiting Udinese’s attacking potential. The Friulani have scored just 13 goals in their last 14 games, the fourth-fewest total in Serie A during that time.

After a hot start to the season, leading scorer Beto (7 goals) has found the net just twice since Oct. 9, although he did have 4 shots against Sassuolo.

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AC MONZA
AC MILAN
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History

Inter have had the upper hand over Udinese in recent years. The Nerazzurri hold an 18-7 advantage in wins over their last 28 meetings, with just 3 draws.

Inter had gone nine games without defeat against Udinese heading into this season. However, the Fruilani fought back from an early goal down to beat Inter 3-1 at the Dacia Arena in September.

Deulofeu was fantastic in that match as he set up two of the goals, had five total shots and also hit the woodwork.

Betting Tip 

SBOTOP odds have Inter Milan installed as big 1.50 favourites to beat Udinese, who are priced at 6.00 to complete the double over the Nerazzurri. A draw is 4.20.

Inter have not been all that convincing at home in recent weeks. They have scored just three goals in their last four home matches, although they did beat both Napoli and Milan 1-0.

But a visit from a struggling Udinese side seems like the perfect opportunity for Inter to get back into the goalscoring groove. I expect them to do just that en route to a comfortable home win.

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SBOTOP 21-Feb 2023 Tuesday 12:30 PM (373 days ago)            #30
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Serie A: Neapolitans Dare to Dream

It’s still only February and there are 15 rounds of Serie A matches remaining but fans in the city of Naples are, finally, daring to dream.

Sure, there have been dreams before, not least on occasions between 2015-19, when they were Serie A runners-up in three out of four seasons and went tantalisingly close to the title under Maurizio Sarri, particularly in 2018 when they claimed a club record total of 91 points.

Yet the fact remains that Napoli have never won the title without the late, great Diego Maradona, with their two triumphs – in 1986-87 and 1989-90 – both coming during his spell there.

The genuine optimism this term is now firmly a reality, however, and with a firm foundation laid from the back and attacking play drawing the plaudits from across Europe, Luciano Spalletti’s team are being talked about as Italian champions-elect.

Now let me go back to my first point in that there is still plenty of football to be played.

So, with the age-old ethos of ‘one game at a time’, Napoli again did their bit with a routine away victory over Sassuolo.

They took the lead after only 12 minutes through one of their unsung heroes as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fired low into the corner after a fine run.

Then, after surviving a scare when Armand Lauriente struck the post for the hosts, a striker whose name is becoming as prolific as his record, netted in the seventh successive league game.

Victor Osimhen, who had earlier hit the woodwork, is spearheading their attack and here was another moment to add to his own personal Serie A 2023 highlights collection.

The Nigerian striker came off with six minutes remaining and looked concerned as he spoke to the Napoli staff, pointing to his thigh and grimacing a little.

However, the 24-year-old, who is proving one of the most deadly marksman in Europe, shared some good news after the match to ease the worries of any his fans.

Inter Milan remain Napoli’s closest challengers, some 15 points behind, following a hard-fought 3-1 home win over Udinese.

It provided some revenge for the Nerazzurri who had lost by the same scoreline to the same opponents earlier in the campaign.

Inter Milan managed to come through the test of hosting Udinese in their recent Serie A encounter
Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku during the Serie A match against Udinese

On a weekend tinged with sadness for many, Romelu Lukaku dedicated his opening goal at the San Siro to former teammate Christian Atsu, a former Everton team-mate who has lost his life in the Turkey-Syria earthquake tragedy.

The Belgian forward opened the scoring with his first goal in the stadium 636 days (that spell includes a season at Chelsea) – a re-taken penalty after the first effort that was actually saved was ruled invalid due to encroachment.

Just before half-time, the battling visitors were level when a Roberto Pereyra-led counter-attack resulted in Sandi Lovric’s effort finding the roof of the net via a slight deflection off Matteo Darmian.

With home frustration growing, it took a moment of magic for Inter to regain the lead with 17 minutes remaining as Henrikh Mkhitaryan swept in a fine first-time strike from the edge of the box.

The win was finally secured in stoppage time when Lautaro Martinez held off a defender to smash home a third.

That kept Inter ahead of their city rivals, defending champions Milan, as they faced the club owned and run by the men who were at the helm during their most successful period in the late 1980s and 1990s,

Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani ran Milan for more than 30 years and are now attempting to bring joy to Monza enjoying their first season in the Italian top flight in their 110-year history.

In the end, a goal after half hour from Junior Messias sealed Milan’s third consecutive 1-0 victory in all competitions, while the home side were denied twice by the woodwork during one attack in the second half as their unbeaten run since the turn of the year came to an end.

UEFA – Champions League
LIVERPOOL
REAL MADRID
1X2 Draw @ 3.45
Over 3.00 @ 2.14
Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.88
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At the other end of the table, Sampdoria remain in trouble after a late defeat at home to Bologna, while Salernitana and managerless Spezia showed spirit but were undone by too much quality from Lazio and Juventus respectively.

In the case of the former, Ciro Immobile scored twice in nine second-half minutes to move Lazio up to fifth, while Juventus won by the same scoreline with Moise Kean and Angel Di Maria on target.

The result which surprised me and the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 betting odds the most saw Lecce win 2-1 at Atalanta to move 10 points clear of the drop zone.

The final contest of the weekend saw Roma overcome the loss of Tammy Abraham early on to an eye injury to defeat Hellas Verona.

If the visitors can play more like this, they will have a decent chance of climbing out of the bottom three.

Of course, they have to score and Roma showed them the way with the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time as Ola Solbakken netted his first goal for the club, ending Verona’s five-match unbeaten run in the process.


 

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SBOTOP 25-Feb 2023 Saturday 1:27 PM (369 days ago)            #31
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Serie A: Atalanta Test for Improving Milan

AC Milan vs Atalanta

Fourth faces sixth at the San Siro on Sunday in a game which could really shake up the battle for the top four.

Serie A: Milan vs Atalantabrings together two teams with serious Champions League aspirations, in a highly competitive race. At SBOTOP odds of 1.02 to win the Scudetto, Napoli are in the distance and the race is on for the other three Champions League places. And it’s tight at the top with just six points separating Inter Milan in second from Atalanta. It would be even more congested were it not for Juventus’ hefty points ban which has certainly made it more interesting for the chasing pack.

Atalanta are three points back from Milan but they can draw level with I Rossoneri with a win, though fifth placed Lazio are at home to struggling Sampdoria this weekend and could move up to third if results go their way. But La Dea come into the game on the back of a shock home defeat to Lecce and they will be looking to make amends in Milan while their hosts made it three victories in a row with an away win in Monza.

Talking Points

Milan are toughing it out

Brahim Diaz to feature for AC Milan vs Atalanta in Serie A
AC Milan’s Brahim Diaz celebrates scoring their first goal vs Tottenham Hotspur

Midfield ace Junior Messias scored the only goal of the game to give Milan a big three points against Monza and that was the third 1-0 win in a row. It hasn’t always been pretty but Stefano Pioli’s lads have ground out these results and winning is a habit. Milan have been short of a prolific striker for a while, only two players hitting 20 goals over the past 20 campaigns, Andriy Schevchenko in 2004 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2012.

Olivier Giroud is an experienced target man and he still knows where the net is, bagging seven goals so far this season while the star man, once again, is Rafael Leao with eight goals and five assists. And there is another promising young striker in Brahim Diaz, who has four league goals and he scored the winner in Milan’s Champions League match with Tottenham Hotspur. 

Milan could win four in a row for the first time this season and Pioli has praised his men for their ability to overcome a three match losing run, saying: “It’s easy to be a team when things are going well, it was much less easy to overcome those three or four difficult weeks.”

But overcome them they did and the Milan vs Atalanta betting odds are backing Pioli’s men to make it four from four though Atalanta will present the stiffest test they have faced in a while.

Atalanta’s new generation are doing just fine

Gian Piero Gasperini has led Atalanta for the last six campaigns and they have become one of the best attacking sides in Europe over that time, spearheaded by the Colombian duo of Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata. But they are both in their 30s now and some new talents have emerged to score the goals, former Everton and Fulham striker, Ademola Lookman already scoring 12 in his best campaign to date. And 20 year old Denmark striker Ramsus Hojlund has won plenty of admirers in Italy following his 15m Euros transfer from Sturm Graz in the summer.

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MAINZ
BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH
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He has scored seven goals in 21 games and Real Madrid and Arsenal are both said to be tracking the young star, Los Blancos on the hunt of for a successor to Karim Benzema. 

Hojlund scored the second goal in La Dea’s match against Lazio recently, a 2-0 win which lifted them into contention and he is sure to start against Milan and he clearly has a great future ahead of him. And Gasperini will be hoping for a return to top form for Dutch midfielder Teun Koopmeiners who has six goals and was superb in the first half of the campaign.

History

I Rossoneri have had much the better of the head to head Milan vs Atalanta results,winning 23 matches to La Dea’s ten and there have been 14 draws in all competitions over the past three decades.

The two teams met in Bergamo in the second game of this season as Milan fought back from a first half deficit to earn a 1-1 draw.  

They have comparable form over the past six games; Milan’s three consecutive wins followed three losses while Atalanta have won two, drawn one and lost three of the last six.

Betting Tip

With Milan at odds of 2.11, Atalanta at 2.92 and the draw at 3.20 all three results are well in play here and I think both teams will go for the win; Milan because they are at home and are looking for some momentum, and Atalanta because they always do! 

I think La Dea will push their hosts hard and I doubt they will allow another 1-0 for Milan.

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SBOTOP 25-Feb 2023 Saturday 1:28 PM (369 days ago)            #32
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Serie A: Sunday in Bologna for In-form Inter

Bologna vs Inter Milan

Top Serie A action comes to Bologna on Sunday as high-flying Inter Milan make the 200km trip to take on Thiago Motta’s well drilled side.

Inter Milan are the closest to Napoli in the race for the 2023 Scudetto, but a full 15 points behind the Azzurri. The Serie A 2023 betting odds have all but handed the title to Napoli, and Inter boss Simone Inzaghi has his sights firmly set on a top two place… but the nightmare scenario is form his team to drop out of the Champions League places.

Only six points separate second-placed Inter from Atalanta in sixth.

With a decent set of Serie A 2023 results over the past few weeks eighth placed Bologna are nine points adrift of Atalanta in the final guaranteed Europa qualification spot and level on 32 points with Juventus, and they come into the game on the back of a 2-1 win away to Sampdoria. Meanwhile Inter Milan were in Champions League action on Wednesday with a home fixture against FC Porto, which they navigated carefully, winning 1-0.

Talking Points

Lukaku back on song

Inter fans will be delighted to see their lethal partnership of 2021 back together. Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku fired I Nerazzurri to a first Scudetto in 11 seasons but then the Belgian striker went back to Chelsea to try his hand in the Premier League once again. It didn’t work out for Lukaku at Stamford Bridge, though he’s not the only player to have struggled in West London over the past 12 months, and he’s back at the San Siro where his old mate Martinez is still top scoring, with 13 goals in the league.

It was Lukaku who bagged the 86th minute winner against FC Porto on Wednesday, reacting quickly to fire in the rebound after his header had crashed against the crossbar. Porto are a very good side and they had chances to go ahead, but when Otavio was sent off with 15 minutes remaining the Italians took advantage and will head to Portugal in three weeks time, in the box seat.

Inter beat Udinese 3-1 last time out in the league and Lukaku and Martinez were both on target, the third goal coming from former Manchester United and Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With Lukaku back in the fold wide men Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicola Barella have every chance of improving on their five assists each and things are looking good for Inter.

Juventus have a mountain to climb following their recent points deduction and I Nerazzuri have three Champions League places to aim for; but Inzaghi will not want to leave anything to chance.

Bologna bounce back

After winning back-to-back games against Spezia and Fiorentina, Bologna slipped up when they were last at home, losing 1-0 to mid table Monza.

Union Berlin aim to defeat 2nd place Inter Milan in the Serie A table
Bologna’s Musa Barrow celebrates scoring their second goal against Napoli

Head coach Motta, a former Inter Milan midfielder and a combative player, has instilled a tough mentality at the club and they recovered from the setback against Monza with the impressive victory over Sampdoria. I Rossoblu are led by Roberto Soriano, a box-to-box midfielder who has been with the club since 2019, and the attack has been spearheaded by the feisty former West Ham striker Marko Arnautovic who has plundered eight goals this season and has 22 in 48 games for Bologna.

One more player to watch is flying winger Ricardo Orsolini who, with six goals and three assists, has been in fine form and he scored the last minute winner to hand Bologna all three points in Sampdoria

History

Inter Milan have enjoyed plenty of success against these opponents winning 31 of the last 49 encounters while drawing eight and losing ten. And Inzaghi’s team destroyed Bologna at the San Siro this season, winning 6-1 as Martinez and Calhanoglu both got on the score sheet, though Bologna won this fixture 2-1 last term.

In terms of recent form the visitors are stronger, with five wins and a draw over the past six games while Bologna have won three drawn one, and lost two in all competitions; and I Nerazzurri are unbeaten away from home in eight games.

Betting Tip

Bologna are atSBOTOP odds of 4.26 to win this match and 3.30 to draw with the Double Chance priced at 1.96. Motta has an effective unit and they are well worth their eighth place but Inter have more quality in depth and a bigger incentive to win.

I expect Inzaghi’s side to stay in second place by the end of the weekend.

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SBOTOP 02-Mar 2023 Thursday 2:56 PM (364 days ago)            #33
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Serie A: Lazio Next for Rampant Napoli

Napoli vs Lazio

The runaway Serie A league leaders welcome Lazio for a Friday night festival of football in Naples, but the fourth-placed visitors will be hell-bent on wrecking their hosts’ party.

Napoli fans are daring to dream and, with an 18-point lead with 14 games to play. Surely, it is becoming a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Luciano Spalletti leads the Azzurri to their first Scudetto since 1990.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds say it’s a done deal.

Meanwhile, Lazio are fourth, trailing the two Milan clubs and trying to hold off Roma and Atalanta, with Juventus starting to appear in the rearview mirror. Had the Old Lady not been docked 15 points as a punishment for financial irregularities she would be in second place and Lazio would be fifth.

But Maurizio Sarri’s I Biancoceleste must take advantage if they are to win a coveted Champions League place. Anything other than a defeat at the Stadio Diego Maradona would be a great result for Lazio, but that is one big test!

Talking Points

Vic and Khvic are the best in the business

Spalletti’s side has won the last seven games in all competitions and the last five without conceding a goal while scoring 12, and they come into the game on the back of three consecutive 2-0 away victories, including one in their Champions League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.

This is a team bursting with confidence and two of the best players on the planet, on current form.

Serie A
ATALANTA
UDINESE
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Striker Victor Osimhen is well in control of the race for the Capocannoniere with 19 goals, six ahead of Inter’s Lautaro Martinez. The Nigerian ace has scored 21 goals in 25 games in all competitions and his strike in the victory over Empoli last week was his ninth consecutive Serie A goal. He says: “This is the best season of my career. I feel great mentally and physically and I hope to carry on like this.”

He’s been dogged by injury in recent campaigns but the future looks bright for this world-class hitman.

And he has another gem alongside him in the shape of the Georgian attacking midfielder, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who tops the Serie A assists list with nine, while also scoring ten goals in the league. A 10m Euro signing from Dinamo Batumi, ‘Kvaradona’, as the Napoli fans call him, could be the bargain of the decade.

Lazio’s defence is world-class

So this will be a fascinating battle between one of the best attacking sides in Europe and one of the toughest defences to breach. I Biancoceleste are unbeaten in four games, since a 2-0 reversal against top-four rivals Atalanta, and their defence has achieved four clean sheets since that defeat.

Can Lazio's Ciro Immobile score against Napoli in Seria A?
Lazio’s Ciro Immobile celebrates scoring their first goal during their UEL Play-off against CFR Cluj

The shutout against Sampdoria last week was their 13th in the league this season, one more than Napoli. Lazio have registered 17 clean sheets from 34 games in all competitions and only Manchester United and Barcelona have had more clean sheets in Europe.

Sarri will have to make once change as Nicolo Casale has accumulated enough yellow cards to warrant a ban. He will be replaced by Alessio Romagnoli, who has recovered from a thigh strain, and he will line up alongside Patric in the center of defence, with Adam Marusic and Manuel Lazzari on the flanks.

Midfield general Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will protect the defence while supporting the attack. He has made eight assists and alongside Mattia Zaccagni, who has eight goals and four assists, and Luis Alberto, who scored Lazio’s winner against Sampdoria last week, this makes up an effective midfield unit to back up the front three, led by nine-goal Ciro Immobile.

This is a strong side which will test the leaders for sure, but past performances are not in Lazio’s favour.

History

Napoli have won 24 of the last 49 encounters with Lazio, while the Albiceleste have won 16 and there have been nine draws.

The Azzurri have won the last four, including a 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico early in the campaign, and they are unbeaten at home to Lazio over the last eight meetings.

Add to that a home record of ten wins and a single draw this season, and it would be one of the big Serie A 2023 results of the campaign if the hosts fail to win this top-four clash.

Betting Tip

At SBOTOP odds of 1.54 to win Napoli’s bandwagon is expected to roll on, with the draw at 3.74 and Lazio at 4.64 to win.

This is another serious test for the heirs to the Italian crown, but I think they will pass it to make it 22 wins from 25 and bring that long-awaited Scudetto even closer.

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SBOTOP 11-Mar 2023 Saturday 3:18 PM (355 days ago)            #34
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Serie A: Can Roma Claim the Last Top Four Spot Left by Juventus?

AS Roma vs Juventus

One of the biggest Serie A matches to look forward to this weekend is the one between AS Roma and Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico.

This game pits two sides who prioritise securing a spot in European football next season over trying to win the Scudetto, since Napoli seems to be on their way to winning it as they broke free from the chasing pack.

Right now, AS Roma have the upper hand since they currently trail the Champions League spots by a single point with 44 points for fifth place, whereas Juventus are in seventh place with 35 points.

The pre-game SBOTOP betting odds expect a tight contest between these two sides, which has been the case in their most recent encounters since valuable points are up for grabs.

Serie A
SPEZIA
HELLAS VERONA
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Talking Points

Mourinho’s hot head hurts AS Roma

AS Roma made headlines in the Serie A 2023 news for the wrong reasons when they were beaten by relegation-threatened Cremonese already for the second time this year.

Cremonese eliminated AS Roma in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals last February 2nd with a 2-1 tally, and it was déjà vu on Wednesday.

They played so poorly in the first half on Wednesday that Jose Mourinho received his marching orders for dissent at the beginning of the second half. The Special One was slapped a two-match suspension for losing his cool, which he will appeal.

Mourinho, who is obviously in a foul mood, has now picked up a yellow or red card in eight games in less than two years of his spell at the Stadio Olimpico.

The aforementioned defeat damaged their own hopes of finishing in Serie A’s top four because they’ve already lost two of their last five games.

With or without Mourinho at the touchline, AS Roma must get back on their feet as quickly as possible with tough matches coming up.

After hosting Juventus on Sunday, they’ll face Real Sociedad for their Europa League Round of 16 tie, and they have a crunch match against fourth-placed Lazio on March 20th.

Juventus showing signs of life

Seventh-placed Juventus are eyeing a Serie A win against fifth-placed AS Roma
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri coaching on the sideline during the Europa League play-off

Juventus could’ve called it a year when they were given a 15-point deduction due to financial irregularities, but instead they’ve reacted positively with four league victories on the bounce.

They have also emerged as one of the favourites to win the Europa League this season after advancing to the Round of 16. If they somehow win it, they’ll be in the Champions League next season without having to finish in the top four of Serie A.

Dusan Vlahovic is finally scoring goals again, but Angel Di Maria is the in-form player right now for I Bianconeri. The Argentine winger recorded a hat-trick in their recent game against Nantes, and he also scored a goal during their February 20 Serie A match against Spezia.

Paul Pogba also made his long-awaited return to football after being sidelined for almost a year in Juventus’ 4-2 win against Torino in the most recent Turin Derby, which is another welcome development for Max Allegri and co.

History

Juventus have AS Roma’s number here in Serie A, as I Giallorossi have suffered their most league defeats against I Bianconeri (85), including three in their last four encounters.

In their last seven matches, the first goal of the game has been scored on average in the 12th minute, with Juventus opening the scoring five times.

These two teams last met in August, where it ended in a 1-1 draw as Tammy Abraham nullified Dusan Vlahovic’s early goal. Before the said draw, Juventus had beaten AS Roma three times consecutively.

AS Roma have won each of their last four Serie A home games without conceding a single goal, but Juventus have won six of their last seven Serie A road games (L1) after failing to win any of their first four this season (D2, L2).

Betting Tip

The winner of this game is a tough call since AS Roma and Juventus are not far off from each other in the Serie A 2023 odds.

The hosts have the slight edge because they’re priced at 2.59 to win, but their visitors are at 2.73, and a draw is at 2.88 in the 1X2 market.

But our main bet here is going for Juventus First Goal at 2.07 because of the way they’ve started their matches recently. They’ve managed to score the first goal in their undefeated run, which is something that AS Roma have to prevent for a better chance of winning.

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Serie A: Bologna Look to Break Lazio Win Streak

Bologna vs Lazio

Lazio have a very realistic shot at second place in Serie A this season. Maurizio Sarri’s men have won three games in a row – including a shock win over runaway leaders Napoli – as they’ve kept the pressure on Inter Milan.

But the Biancocelesti’s winning run will be under threat as they visit eighth-placed Bologna this weekend.

The Rossoblu have been in decent form of late and they will be keen to bounce back at home after their own win streak was snapped last time out by Torino.

Talking Points

Bologna looking to bounce back

Bologna’s brief two-game winning run came to an end as they fell to fellow mid-table side Torino last time out. Thiago Motta’s men controlled nearly 57 per cent of possession, but they could only manage one shot on target in 11 total shots.

Prior to that loss, Bologna had brought down an in-form Inter Milan side, 1-0 at home thanks to a Riccardo Orsolini winner. Motta recently won Serie A Coach of the Month as his side won three of their four matches in February.

Serie A club Bologna are yet to seal a spot in the European football next season
Bologna’s Riccardo Orsolini celebrates scoring their first goal against Inter Milan in Serie A

Bologna’s leading scorer, Marko Arnautovic (8 goals), was back on the bench after his recent injury layoff, but he did not come on. Although, there is a decent chance he makes his return to the starting lineup against Lazio in place of Musa Barrow, who did not score in his three starts as a centre-forward.

Instead, it has been Riccardo Orsolini who has been providing the Serie A 2023 highlights for the Bologna attack in recent months. The 26-year-old has scored five of his seven goals in 2023 and has provided four goals and two assists in his last six games.

Bologna’s home form has been a big reason why they are riding high in the top half of the table this season. They have won six of their 13 games at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, with just 10 goals conceded. By contrast, they have already conceded 24 goals in 12 games away from home.

Lazio defence powering win streak

Lazio’s five-game unbeaten run in all competitions came to a surprise end in midweek as they lost 2-1 to AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 tie.

That loss came on the heels of Lazio’s huge 1-0 win away to leaders Napoli, their third straight win in Serie A.

The Lazio defence, which is second only to Napoli with just 19 goals conceded this season, continues to perform splendidly. They have kept three straight clean sheets during their recent three-game win streak.

The Lazio backline is back to full strength after Alessio Romagnoli returned for the Napoli match after a few weeks out.

That stellar defence is making up for the fact that Lazio’s forwards are not in the best of form. Captain Ciro Immobile has not quite been at his best this season amid injuries, while Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson have combined for just one goal in their last 18 appearances in all competitions.

Luckily, midfielders Luis Alberto and Matias Vecino have popped up with some crucial goals in recent weeks to win the Biancocelesti some valuable points.

Lazio have a terrific away record this season. They have won seven of 12 away matches, with three draws and two defeats. Moreover, their seven goals conceded is also tied with Napoli for the best away defensive record in the league.

Serie A
SPEZIA
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History

The head-to-head record between the two clubs has been lopsided toward Lazio. The Biancocelesti have a 14-4 advantage in wins, with eight draws over their last 30 Serie A meetings.

Lazio have won each of the last three meetings against Bologna, including the first two this season. They won their first league encounter 2-1 at home, and they won again 1-0 in the Coppa Italia.

The home side has had a decided advantage in this matchup in recent years. The home team has won each of the last six Serie A matches, with the away team scoring just two total goals in those games.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP’s Serie A 2023 betting odds have Lazio installed as slight 2.42 favourites away from home against Bologna, who are priced at 2.75 to beat the Biancocelesti at home. A draw is 3.10.

With Bologna’s strong defensive record at home, this won’t be an easy match for Lazio by any stretch. The Biancocelesti will have to work hard to pick up all three points away from home. But Lazio know how to battle for results, and with capable goalscorers in Immobile, they should be able to come out on top in the end.

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SBOTOP 11-Mar 2023 Saturday 3:21 PM (355 days ago)            #36
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Serie A: Atalanta Set for a Backlash in Naples

Napoli vs Atalanta

The Serie A game between Napoli and Atalanta is the Italian match of the weekend folks, as it’s first against sixth and I’m hoping for fireworks.

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli have had a sensational campaign and hold an incredible 15-point lead at the top, but they went down to a surprise 1-0 defeat to Lazio last week and we can expect a reaction from the Azzurri on Saturday.

They were thwarted by Lazio’s world-class defence but now they come up against an Atalanta side which is strangely out of sorts, with just one win in six.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s team is on a tricky run and they are in danger of losing touch with the top four places. But the one recent win they achieved was against Napoli’s conquerors, Lazio, and they remain a dangerous side to encounter.

But at the time of writing, the latest Serie A 2023 betting odds back Napoli at a price of 1.61 and it’s hard to see past a home win.

Talking Points

Napoli’s All- Stars are in demand

Few predicted just how well Napoli would do this year but it has become increasingly evident that the Azzurri is the best side in Serie A by a country mile, and they have some of the most sought after players in Europe at the moment.

The club owners have a few decisions to make in the summer as their stars are worth multi-millions and are probably at the peak of their value, but Spalletti will be reluctant to let go too quickly.

Napoli are the league’s top scorers with 58 goals and they have the tightest defence, conceding just 16 goals.

According to the Serie A 2023 news, Spalletti will just have one change to make on Saturday, replacing the suspended wing-back Mario Rui with Mathias Olivera, but his lethal attack remains unchanged.

Victor Osimhen has been a revelation this term. After suffering a terrible head injury last year, he is now fulfilling his obvious potential and has bagged 19 goals in 21 games. The 24-year-old Nigerian has said he’d like to play in the Premier League some day, but not just yet.

As well as ripping up the league, Osimhen opened the score in Napoli’s Champions League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt and Giovanni Di Lorenzo made it 2-0, a great lead to bring back to Naples.

And another star who’s wowing in Europe and Italy is Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia who has attracted interest from the Premier League’s richest clubs, Newcastle United and Manchester City. And winger Hirving Lozano is also on the radar in England, with big spending Chelsea tracking the Mexican.

Spalletti has put together a sensational unit and other teams can just stand and admire for the moment.

Big test for Atalanta’s defence

Marten de Roon of Atalanta will try to help his team gain points and take home the victory against Napoli in Serie A
Midfielder Marten de Roon of Atalanta celebrates winning with his teammates against Lazio

Under the guidance of Gasperini, Atalanta have built a reputation as an exciting attacking side but it is their defence which will be under scrutiny on Saturday in Naples. 

31-year-old Marten de Roon is the defencive lynchpin, and his pace and awareness make him the key player in stopping counterattacks. He’s a versatile player, able to operate as a wing-back or as a defencive midfielder, and his positional sense allows the wing-backs to advance.

De Roon is an asset at the back as well as supporting Atalanta’s forwards, as is full-back Joachim Maehle. The 25-year-old is a mainstay in the Denmark side with 34 caps and nine goals, and he plays in a more advanced position for the Danes, while in his 68 games for Atalanta he has become an accomplished defender.

Ademola Lookman with 12 goals is Atalanta’s top scorer and he will lead the line on Saturday, but Gasperini has some new injury problems to contend with. Davide Zappacosta, who scored against Lazio, and Teun Koopmeiners have joined Duvan Zapata on the sidelines, and Ederson and Mateo Ruggeri are set to step in.

History

The head-to-heads could hardly be closer with the Azzurri nudging ahead by 18 victories to 17 in all competitions since 1993, thanks to a 2-1 victory in Bergamo in November.

Recent form favours Napoli, who lost to Lazio last week, but they won the previous seven matches in all competitions. But with one win in six and four defeats in that time, La Dea is in a rut she wants to get out of.

Betting Tip

With a home record of 10 wins, one draw, and a single defeat, the Stadio Diego Maradona has been a fortress for Napoli, and at a short SBOTOP price it’s highly likely that the win tally will reach 11 on Saturday.

Atalanta are priced at 2.08 (Double Chance Win or Draw) to stop the runaway leaders. However, prior to their defeat at the hands of Lazio, the Azzurri were ahead by half time in each of their previous four matches and that’s what I’m backing again.

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SBOTOP 21-Mar 2023 Tuesday 3:20 PM (345 days ago)            #37
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Serie A: Can Napoli Pass Tough Torino Test?

Torino vs Napoli

Napoli are closing in on their much-awaited Serie A championship. A big win over struggling Atalanta coupled with another slip-up by second-placed Inter Milan has seen the Neapolitans extend their lead back up to 18 points with just 12 games to play.

And after a dominant midweek performance in the Champions League, Napoli now set their sights on another Serie A victory at Torino.

While the Serie A 2023 betting odds will have the leaders as heavy favourites to win, Torino have been tough to beat at home and could pose quite a challenge for the champions-elect.

Talking Points

Torino still riding high in top half of the table

For the second straight season, Torino appear to be safe from relegation. Coach Ivan Juric, who led the team to a 10th-place finish last season, is doing another terrific job this year as he has Il Toro up in eighth, just one point behind city rivals Juventus.

Torino are sitting at the 8th spot in the Serie A table with 37 points
Torino manager Ivan Juric giving commands from the touchline during their match against Lecce

After suffering a 4-2 defeat to Juve in the Turin Derby, Torino have recovered nicely with back-to-back wins over Bologna (1-0) and Lecce (0-2).

The return to form of Antonio Sanabria has been huge for the Bulls. Sanabria, who is the team’s leading scorer with seven goals, has three goals and an assist in his last four games.

Meanwhile, Yann Karamoh has provided a major spark to the attack in 2023. The 24-year-old Frenchman has scored four goals in his last six appearances in all competitions, including winning goals against Udinese and Bologna.

But the defence has also been a big factor in Torino’s rise to the top half of the table. They have conceded just 29 goals this season, which is the fifth-best defensive record in Serie A.

Torino’s Serie A 2023 results at home have also been terrific in recent months. They have won four of their last seven games at the Stadio Olimpico, with just two draws and one defeat.

Osimhen, Napoli continue to dominate

Napoli’s dream season keeps getting better. Not only are the Neapolitans well on their way toward winning the Scudetto, but they are also through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time after a dominant 5-0 aggregate win over reigning Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt.

Victor Osimhen’s brilliant season continues as he bagged a brace to lead the Neapolitans to a 3-0 home win in the second leg.

The Nigerian, who leads Serie A with 19 goals, is on a bit of a cold spell in the league as he’s failed to score in each of his last two Serie A matches. It’s the first time he’s gone more than one game without scoring a goal this season since early September.

Coach Luciano Spalletti has hardly made any rotations to his side in recent games, and with the international break coming up, he is expected to field another full-strength XI against Torino.

Although, the likes of Hirving Lozano and Eljif Elmas could potentially get starts to give the likes of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia a much-needed break.

Napoli have far and away the best away record in Serie A this season. They have won 11 of 13 away games, with one loss and one draw. Moreover, they have scored at least two goals and have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five Serie A outings.

Serie A
LAZIO
AS ROMA
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History

Napoli have completely dominated Torino over the years. The Neapolitans have won 15 of their last 22 meetings against Torino, with Il Toro coming out on top just twice.

Napoli are currently on an incredible 15-match unbeaten run against Torino in Serie A, with 11 wins and four draws. That includes a 3-1 win in their first meeting this season. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa bagged a brace inside the first 12 minutes, while Khvicha Kvaratskhelia added a third.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP odds have Napoli installed as huge 1.77 favourites to beat Torino, who are priced at 4.20 to pull off the upset against the league leaders. A draw is 3.40.

This match figures to be a tougher one than expected given Torino’s strong form coupled with Napoli playing in midweek.

Nevertheless, Napoli got a wake-up call in their loss at home to Lazio and will not be so keen to let up even with the international break coming up. Expect them to continue their impressive winning run against Torino at the Stadio Olimpico.

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SBOTOP 21-Mar 2023 Tuesday 3:22 PM (345 days ago)            #38
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Serie A: Derby D’Italia is all about the 2023/24 Champions League

Inter Milan vs Juventus

Two of Italy’s juggernauts are set to collide on Sunday in the Derby D’Italia and, as always, this game is about pride, but there’s plenty at stake for both teams with European places on offer.

Serie A: Inter Milan vs Juventus is one of football’s biggest games but, unusually, this year it isn’t a battle for the top spot as Napoli are running away with the Scudetto. The Azzurri are a whopping 18 points clear with 12 games to play, and 2021 champions Inter are in second place. Juventus are clawing their way back up the table after their January points deduction and they have a Europa League place in their sights but have certainly not ruled out a top four finish. 

This is a huge match which could have serious implications for the top four run-in and a Juventus win, in particular, would send shock waves around Italy.

Both teams were in European action in midweek, Inter came through their Champions League tie against FC Porto while Juventus saw off Freiburg to progress to the Europa League quarter finals. In the league last week, Inter lost away to Spezia while Juventus had a thumping 4-2 win at home to Sampdoria

The Inter Milan vs Juventus betting odds are leaning towards a home win but I’m not so sure.

Talking Points

Inter’s case for the defence

Inter went through to the quarter finals of the Champions League with a 1-0 aggregate win over FC Porto, grinding out a 0-0 draw in Portugal on Tuesday and it is Simone Inzaghi’s defence which has caught the eye this season, particularly at home, with Francesco Acerbi, on loan fro Lazio adding steel and experience. While World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez has scored an impressive 14 goals to top score for I Nerazzurri, Inter’s defence has a more outstanding record, particularly at the San Siro Stadium where they have conceded just two goals all campaign.

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But a strong defence alone isn’t always enough to see a game through and in Inter’s recent trip to Bologna they mis-fired in front of goal and were punished by a late Riccardo Orsolini goal on the break. And I Nerazzurri received another blow during their 0-0 draw with FC Porto on Tuesday when defender Alessandro Bastoni pulled up with a muscle injury, though Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij is ready to step in.

Inzaghi doesn’t need any more injuries in his defensive unit. With just two wins in the last five games his team is only three points ahead of fifth placed Roma. He wants the San Siro to be a fortress over the next six games, starting on Sunday against I Bianconeri.

Juventus fighting back hard

Juventus boss Max Allegri had a big task to keep his team focused following the 15 point deduction the club copped in January. His players have responded well and are pushing up towards the Europa League places, in seventh and only four points behind sixth placed Atalanta and, whisper it quietly, ten behind AC Milan in second. So there will be plenty of teams in the leading group paying close attention to the Inter Milan vs Juventus updates as they roll in.

Dusan Vlahovic is in good form, with eight goals this season, and he scored a penalty in Juve’s 2-0 win in Freiburg, Federico Chiesa bagging the second. And these two will pose Inter’s defence plenty of questions on Sunday, particularly if Manuel Locatelli can win the midfield battle with Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic. Another key player is France midfielder Adrien Rabiot who had a superb World Cup and has rebuilt his reputation as a box to box player, effective in front of his defence and in support of the attack. He scored twice in the Old Lady’s entertaining win over Sampdoria last week.

Juventus are currently at the 7th spot in the Serie A table, 10 points behind 4th placers AC Milan
Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot controls the ball during their match against Nantes in Europa League

At the back, Bremer has settled well in the middle of the Old Lady’s defence but he will be without the rock, Leonardo Bonucci, beside him as the Juve legend and skipper was injured against Sampdoria with Danilo stepping in against Freiburg. Meanwhile, midfielder Paul Pogba remains a long term absentee.

History

I Bianconeri are ahead in the head to head results with 32 wins to 17 and there have been 22 draws, in all competitions over the past three decades.

With five wins from six Juventus have shown plenty of form in recent weeks while Inter have stuttered, winning three of their last six, but they have an imposing record of 11 wins and two defeats at home.

Betting Tip

The hosts are favourites, odds on at 1.96 to win this game to keep a firm grip on their second place, while the draw is 3.11 and Juventus are priced at 3.35 with SBOTOP to take all three points. The Bianconeri players have an ‘us against the world’ attitude and at the moment they are winning; and I have a feeling their momentum will continue in Milan on Sunday.

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SBOTOP 21-Mar 2023 Tuesday 3:24 PM (345 days ago)            #39
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Serie A: Who is the Real Power in Red-Hot Rome?

Lazio vs AS Roma

It’s time for the second Derby della Capitale of the season in Serie A and the stakes are delicately poised.

There are just two points between the two rivals from the Italian capital, yet that is enough to separate them by two positions and, crucially, from the Champions League qualification places they both crave.

Lazio sit in third, Roma in fifth (defending champions Milan split them in fourth) and it is against that backdrop that we can surely expect some Serie A highlights on Sunday teatime.

Talking Points

So, who is the real power in Rome?

Well, based on recent years, Lazio still have the Serie A edge but it is close and this contest should prove that once more.

If you are a football follower outside of the Italian capital, chances are you may not fully appreciate what this game actually means to those involved.

This derby is one of the most passionately felt matches in world football and history suggests a feisty encounter.

Between 2000 and 2020 alone, this fixture produced 24 red cards, at least two more than any other fixture in Europe’s top five leagues.

It is also now a meeting of two managers whose career paths have taken on very different routes.

Maurizio Sarri has managed more than 20 different sides, with Chelsea the only one of those not in Italy. He also spent a number of years managing amateur and lower-league clubs. On the other hand, Mourinho has spent most of his career with Europe’s top clubs.

At the start of the season he also piled the pressure on his compatriot by claiming he expected Roma to be in the running for the title this term following a summer of big spending and Mourinho has not been afraid to bite back.

Both sides have experienced mixed results in the past week.

Serie A
INTER MILAN
JUVENTUS
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After a goalless draw at Bologna last Saturday ended their winning streak – which included a surprise success over leaders Napoli – Lazio were knocked out of the Europa Conference League by Dutch club AZ Alkmaar on Thursday night, prompting Sarri to suggest his squad was not deep enough to cope with both competitions.

Roma also experienced mixed results.

They went down to a surprise (and at times controversial) 4-3 home defeat to Sassuolo in which they played the entire second half with 10 men following Marash Kumbulla’s dismissal – a red card which means he will be suspended this weekend.

They then went to Spain and saw off Real Sociedad to advance to the Europa League quarter-finals.

That prompted Mourinho to have a dig at his city rivals as they were eliminated from a competition Roma won last term.

The Portuguese manager will actually be absent from the touchline this weekend as he serves a two-match ban and, along with Kumbulla, he will also be without Rick Karsdorp who is facing a spell on the sidelines.

On a more positive note, captain Lorenzo Pellegrini may return from a worrying looking head injury sustained against Sociedad, while Gianluca Mancini should slot back into the defensive line in place of Kumbulla.

Sarri will continue to be without the talismanic Ciro Immobile up front and Matias Vecino is suspended so Danilo Cataldi should deputise.

History

Can Felipe Anderson replicate his winning performance against AS Roma in Serie A?
Lazio’s Felipe Anderson scored the winning goal in the reverse fixture last November

Lazio edged out Roma 1-0 in the Rome derby on in November, thanks to a first-half goal from midfielder Felipe Anderson.

The corresponding match last term saw Lazio edge a five goal thriller.

Anderson proved the matchwinner on that occasion too with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Pedro on target for the home side in a frenetic start before Roger Ibanez and a Jordan Veretout penalty kept Roma in touch.

Roma have won 25 out of their 63 clashes with Lazio who have tasted success in 22 of the encounters.

Betting Tip

Roma have the edge with the SBOTOP Serie A betting odds but it is mighty close.

In fact, both are on offer with exactly the same Asian Handicap bet ­in -0.25 @ 2.35.

Jose Mourinho’s men are also priced 1X2 @ 2.64, which compares with Lazio who can be backed 1X2 @ 2.75.

The expected close contest is also shown by the offer of 1X2 Draw @ 2.80 which is my *** prediction.

Before you take my word for it, however, it is worth considering a raft of other options including over 2.25 goals @ 2.20, under 1.75 @ 2.33, total goal 0-1 @ 2.41, 2-3 @ 1.93 and 4-6 @ 5.40.

A re-run of their meeting earlier this season – Correct Score 1-0 – will pay out @ 6.40, whereas a repeat of last season is available @ 50.00 with Correct Score 3-2.

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:30 AM (327 days ago)            #40
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Serie A: The Highs and Lows of Life in Italy

Football is the best game on the planet; of course it is. It combines pace, power, and skill more than any other sport and is watched by billions of people worldwide.

The beautiful game can take you into a state of ecstasy one week and break your heart the next. The highs and lows are steeper than almost any other area of life and we simply love it. And the extremes of emotion are no better illustrated than in Serie A right now, where Napoli are on the crest of a wave, 19 points clear at the top of the table, and Cremonese are rock bottom and 11 from safety.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds here at SBOTOP tell you it’s pretty much a done deal at either end and, with just nine games to play that’s some situation for each club to be in.

Napoli have performed so well that they have blown the competition apart, and are now serious contenders to win the Champions League, and head coach Luciano Spalletti has just been recognised by Italian football, winning the 2023 Enzo Bearzot Award, chosen by a panel of football journalists in Italy. There wasn’t really any doubt as his team’s Serie A 2023 news have been simply sensational, with 23 wins, two draws and two defeats and they have scored the most goals (64) and conceded the fewest (16).

With one win, ten draws and 16 defeats, Cremonese are at the other end of the scale and owner Giovanni Arvedi has said his club simply wasn’t ready to take on life at the top table. He threw the dice in January with the appointment of former Genoa boss Davide Ballardini and, under his guidance, La Crema picked up their only win, a stunning 2-1 victory over Jose Mourinho’s Roma in February. But one point from the following three games brought Cremonese back down to earth.

Having returned to the top division last season, thanks to a second placed finish to Lecce, hopes were high at Cremonese but Arvedi has recently admitted they were unjustified, saying: “This year we’re not happy, but we’ve learned something. Honestly, we were not prepared to face Serie A, we didn’t know it. I admit that we were not structurally prepared. We are preparing with the coaches we have now, who are good, but they are insufficient. You make a huge leap from Serie B to Serie A in terms of organisation, but also in terms of quality, stamina and experience of the players.

“We have lost some matches by giving up.”

Pretty harsh stuff…but Cremonese have faired better in the Coppa Italia where they have reached the semi-finals and will face Fiorentina next month.

No Juve players as Azzurri’s crash to England

Italy lost to England in their Euro 2024 opener in Naples, though the Azzurri had chances to draw or even win the game as they pegged the Three Lions back from 2-0 to 2-1, but Roberto Mancini’s team ran out of time. But there was another curiosity at the Stadio Diego Maradona as the Italy squad contained not one Juventus player for the first time since 1994. Centre back Leonardo Bonnucci was picked as captain but he has struggled with fitness for much of the domestic campaign, and though he joined the Azzurri in Naples he returned to Turin pretty sharpish to continue his recovery.

Serie A: Leonardo Bonucci remains sidelined in Euro 2024 qualifiers due to his leg injury
Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci and Bremer in action with SC Freiburg’s Lucas Hoeler

Bonnucci was badly missed as Italy failed to clear an early England attack and Declan Rice put the visitors ahead which gave Italy an uphill battle.

The Azzurri are in the final four of the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League and are reigning European Champions but they will be keen to get their Euro 2024 campaign back on track. I suspect we’ll see a Bianconeri player in the next round of fixtures; if not Bonnucci then maybe Manuel Locatelli or Federico Chiesa.

Come on Mancini…you know it makes sense!

After the break…

Once the international fortnight has passed we’ll be back to Serie A action and, while Napoli are three wins away from picking up a first Scudetto since 1990, the race for the Champions League places is hotting up. And Juventus might just be clawing their way back into contention. I Bianconeri is in seventh place, seven points behind AC Milan in fourth, and 11 behind Lazio in second.

A home game against 18th placed Hellas Verona gives Juve a great chance to keep the momentum moving while sixth placed Atalanta return with a trip to bottom club Cremonese.

Third placed Inter Milan plays on Saturday 1st too, at home to Fiorentina, while the other chasers are in action on Sunday. Lazio visit Monza, fifth-placed Roma host Sampdoria, and AC Milan…head to Naples to take on the champions elect.

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:32 AM (327 days ago)            #41
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Serie A: The Race for Top Four Begins Here

Inter Milan vs Fiorentina

With the Serie A title seemingly returning to Naples for the only time since the late, great Diego Armando Maradona inspired a club to unfathomable heights – and mark my words, he was so adored even some Napoli fans supported his Argentina side against their native Italy during the World Cup in 1990 – then the race for the remaining Champions League spots is where many Italian giants are having to focus their attentions in the final months of the season.

One of those giants, Inter Milan – champions in 2021 and runners-up last term – are certainly favourites for many to claim second place.

Yet the inconsistency which has plagued the Nerazzurri this season will have to be remedied if they are to hold off the likes of Lazio, currently in second spot, defending champions AC Milan, Roma, Atalanta and Juventus, in the race for a top four finish.

Talking Points

As well as produce Serie A highlights, Inter are looking to protect their seven-year unbeaten record against Fiorentina when they welcome La Viola to the San Siro on Saturday.

Simone Inzaghi’s side are without a win in three matches in all competitions and, if that form doesn’t improve, he may well start to feel the pressure of an unemployed Antonio Conte looking over his shoulder.

Conte, of course, was the boss who guided Inter to the title two seasons ago – albeit he left once he realised he could not continue to spend at the rate he previously had.

Fiorentina travel to San Siro to face Inter in Serie A
Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic celebrates scoring their second goal with Dodo and Luca Ranieri

Summer transfer talk has already started when it comes to Inter with Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof the latest to be linked as they look for Milan Skriniar’s replacement.

The Swede has been struggling with playing time at Old Trafford this season and Inter need a new centre-back given that Skriniar will join PSG on a free transfer in June.

Meanwhile, it’s reported Francesco Acerbi wants to remain at San Siro, making his loan move from Lazio permanent, while Stefan de Vrij seems eager to signing a new deal.

Speculation continues over the future of Denzel Dumfries, fresh from setting up two goals in Holland’s 3-0 win over Gibraltar.

The 26 year-old, who recently changed agents, has done well under Inzaghi who may be needing to sell the Dutchman to generate some resources.

With the personnel available, they are firm favourites this weekend, even against a Fiorentina finally starting to find some form. 

Vincenzo Italiano’s team has strung together a seven-match winning streak between Serie A and the Europa Conference League.

This could be a good test as they are soon going to have to get used to playing away from home.

That’s because La Viola will have to vacate their home stadium for two years beginning in 2024 and returning in 2026 whilst their ground undergoes major renovation work – during which they could lose revenues of up to €30 million when attendances will likely be diminished at a smaller stadium.

The Tuscans are considering several options away from their home venue, including Empoli, Parma and Reggio Emilia.

For now, though, let’s see if they can stretch that run in one of Europe’s great footballing cathedrals.

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History

This has been a game which has produced some classics and Serie A highlights in recent years.

I remember in 2019 when the sides played out a 3-3 draw in Serie A when a first minute own goal gave the hosts the lead before Inter fought back to lead 3-1 through Matias Vecino, Matteo Politano and Ivan Perisic before Luis Muriel and a last minute Jordan Veretout penalty left the Florence fans happy.

Two years earlier, Fiorentina edged a nine-goal thriller in front of their own fans – doubles from Vecino, Khoumar Babacar and a header from the late skipper Davide Astori sealed a 5-4 win.

They were well in the ascendancy until two goals in the final three minutes from Mauro Icardi completed his hat-trick and brought Inter back to within a goal.

That remains Viola’s only success over Inter in their last 14 meetings.

Overall, Inter have 71 league victories against Fiorentina who have won on 44 occasions with a further 54 draws.

Last season, this contest ended 1-1 when Dumfries cancelled out the opener from Lucas Torreira – both goals coming in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Inter edged a seven goal thriller in Florence earlier this term when Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a 95th minute winner, just after Luka Jovic seemed to have rescued Fiorentina a point.

Betting Tip

With Inter vying for second spot and Fiorentina seemingly too adrift to secure a European spot and too comfortable to be dragged into the relegation battle, the biggest threat to the visitors could be trying to stay motivated.

Or they could just relax and turn on the style against an Inter team who have trailed in Napoli’s wake this term.

The SBOTOP Serie A betting odds reflect as much.

Inter are priced 1X2 @ 1.67 compared to the visitors @ 4.70.

The draw is not fancied either given the odds are @ 3.45, while a repeat of the corresponding fixture last season – Correct Score 1-1 – will pay out @ 6.80.

For a game which has produced a fair few goals in recent years, it’s worth considering total goal 4-6 @ 3.40 and over 2.75 goals @ 2.08 – total goal 0-1 @ 3.45 and 2-3 @ 1.90 are among the other options.

They may have one eye on their upcoming Champions League quarter-final when they’ll face Benfica, but I simply cannot see past Inter in the San Siro and my *** tip is Asian Handicap Inter -1.00 @ 2.21.

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:34 AM (327 days ago)            #42
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Serie A: No Mercy for Milan in Naples

Napoli vs AC Milan

Serie A action returns with a cracker at the Stadio Diego Maradona on Sunday, when runaway leaders Napoli take on top four chasers AC Milan.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds have pretty much closed the book on the 2023 Scudetto with I Partonepei potentially a couple of weeks away from clinching the title after a phenomenal campaign.

Meanwhile, I Rossoneri have a lot of work to do to hold on to their fourth place with Roma and Atalanta breathing down their necks and Juventus catching up quickly.

Napoli went into the international break with a 4-0 victory away to Torino, while Milan were on the end of a 3-1 defeat to Udinese. I see no reason why the leaders should start to stutter as they haven’t so far and are nearly out of sight, while I Rossoneri have a bit of convincing to do.

Talking Points

Kvaradona is becoming unstoppable

With a 19-point lead at the top of the table, Napoli are pretty much uncatchable and they have a player in their ranks who few others in Italy can live with.

22-year-old Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, with 12 goals and 10 assists in his first Napoli campaign, has just picked up his third Player of the Month Award for March to add to his two previous awards in August and February.

Anybody who thought the Georgian winger may have been fading after an explosive start to life in Italy had another think coming as he roared back in the New Year and has been sensational, making more than his fair share of Serie A 2023 highlights.

Partonepei fans and the media have nicknamed him “Kvaradona” in honour of the great Naples legend Maradona. He has a way to go to reach those heights, but his tight ball control, electric turn of pace, and superb crossing and shooting skills make Kvaratskhelia an exciting prospect. 

Napoli passed the Torino test with flying colours and while Kvaradona converted a penalty, Victor Osimhen scored a brace to make it 21 goals from 23 games, putting the lethal Nigerian in pole position to win the Capocannoniere.

Victor Osimhen has scored 21 goals from 23 Serie A matches this season
Napoli’s Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their third goal against Torino

With quality all around the field, from Alex Meret in the goals, skipper Giovanni Di Lorenzo in defence, and Piotr Zielinski in midfield, this is a team capable of winning the Italian and Champions Leagues.

As we reported here atSBOTOPhead coachLuciano Spalletti has just won the Enzo Bearzot award for the Best Coach of the Year and it’s not the only thing he’s going to win this season.

Milan’s young boys need to find a way

Milan and Napoli have been drawn together in the Champions League quarter-final and Rossoneri head coach Stefano Pioli doesn’t sound too thrilled by the prospect of meeting the Partonepei twice in such a short space of time.

His team won the Scudetto last term but he has excused their weaker campaign this time; saying: “Only a few teams manage to repeat and be competitive in Europe as well. It’s a leap we didn’t make, but this year will still give us the chance to grow, understand many things, and improve to become an even stronger club.”

Pioli went on to say that Napoli is a quality team with great players, and he will be priming his young stars to try to match them on Sunday and in the Champions League on 12th April.

Rafael Leao is performing to high standards again, while Brahim Diaz and Sandro Tonali are both making good progress, but they will come up against the champions elect on Sunday and they need to put in their best performance of the season to come away with a result.

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History

The head-to-heads have gone back and forth over the past three decades, and Napoli have won three of the last four meetings with I Rossoneri to go ahead by 15 victories to 13, and there have been 16 draws.

Napoli are on a winning streak of three, while Milan are winless in four. And with a home record of 11 victories, one draw, and one defeat this season, Spalletti’s men are hot favourites to nudge ever nearer the Scudetto on Sunday.

Betting Tip

Napoli can be backed at 1.72 to win this game with Milan at 4.07, and the draw is at 3.40, so I expect he hosts to deliver. Pioli’s Milan are in a fierce battle for a top four place and they will fight tooth and nail, but the odds are stacked against them in Naples, and they will do well to escape with a point.

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:36 AM (327 days ago)            #43
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Serie A: Juventus Shake Up the Top Four Race

Juventus’ climb up the Serie A table continued on Saturday when they beat Hellas Verona at the Allianz Stadium thanks to a second half Moise Kean strike.

I Bianconeri have clawed their way back into top four contention, recovering impressively from a 15 point deduction to climb within four points of the Champions League places; and with ten games still to play they have plenty of time to win their place among Europe’s elite. Max Allegri’s side has responded magnificently to their punishment and with an ‘us against the world’ mentality they are hitting form at the perfect stage of the campaign.

Juve are chasing two trophies, the Europa League and the Coppa Italia and are strong contenders in both tournaments and, on a run of eight wins from nine in all competitions, they could have a successful end to the campaign.

A Champions League spot and a trophy will be a triumph for the Old Lady and that is definitely on the cards.

They need the teams above them to continue faltering, but Juventus are certainly doing their bit and though they weren’t at their best against Hellas Verona, they edged a tight affair when Kean fired latched on to a superb ball from Manuel Locatelli and smashed home his sixth goal of the campaign. I Bianconeri could have had another goal but Danilo’s first half chance hit the frame of the goal and bounced to safety, while Verona came close when Fabio Depaoli hammered a volley narrowly wide.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds on the Old Lady winning a top four place are dropping by the week and the Milan clubs, Atalanta and Roma are looking over their shoulders.

Inter in danger of collapse

Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan lost more ground in the top four race on Saturday when they fell to a third consecutive defeat when they went down to in-form Fiorentina. They lost away to struggling Spezia and then Inter were beaten 1-0 at home by Juventus before La Viola inflicted the same pain on Inzaghi’s team at the San Siro Stadium.

Giacomo Bonaventura has helped Fiorentina beat third placed Inter Milan in their Serie A away match at San Siro
Giacomo Bonaventura celebrates scoring his first goal for Fiorentina against Inter Milan at San Siro

Inter were in good shape to finish second but this barren run means they are only two points ahead of Atalanta in fifth place. Team of the season Napoli have the Scudetto in their sights with a 19 point lead over second placed Lazio; but Inter could have gone second until they went down to La Viola who, with a fifth win in a row still have faint hopes of winning a Europa League place. Giacomo Bonaventura sunk I Nerazzurri but Inzaghi will be in despair at the performance of his strikers who drew a blank at home for the second match in succession.

Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku, on loan at Inter, missed a sitter to continue a miserable run of form. Blues boss Graham Potter, under serious pressure himself has hinted there may be a future for the Belgian at Stamford Bridge, but he will be of little use to anyone if he continues to be wasteful in front of goal.

Lukaku missed an open goal from six yards out, minutes into the second half and his howler looked even worse when Fiorentina scored the winner. Bonaventura showed the Inter man how to do it when he nodded in a rebound from a corner after 53 minutes. Even then the hosts could have levelled but Nicolo Barella’s half volley smashed against the crossbar as Inter fell to another defeat.

They have met two in form teams in Juventus and Fiorentina; but losing is a habit and Inter need to shake it off.

La Dea pile more misery on Cremonese

In other Serie A 2023 news Atalanta moved up into fifth place with a 3-1 win over Cremonese who remain rooted the bottom spot and 11 points from safety. La Dea’s attack minded strategy paid off as Martin de Roon, Jeremie Boga and Ademola Lookman pushed La Cremona closer to the drop.

Daniele Ciofani scored a reply from the penalty spot and, with 15 shots to 12 and four each on target, the hosts could feel they deserved a point but Atalanta were ruthless to make it back to back wins. 

Napoli host AC Milan in the late Sunday kick-off. We previewed that game, here at SBOTOP and expect Gli Azzurri to push closer to their inevitable title though fourth placed Milan are desperate for a result to keep their season on track. Before that Roma host Sampdoria on Sunday and they could climb into the top four with a win, while Lazio stay second thanks to a 2-0 victory away to Monza.

But all eyes are on Juventus.


 

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:38 AM (327 days ago)            #44
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Serie A: Mixed Emotions in Milan

It’s the red Half of Milan which is celebrating right now after the Rossoneri pulled off the Serie A result of the campaign on Sunday when they beat runaway leaders Napoli 4-0 at the Stadio Diego Maradona.

This SBOTOP writer was convinced that Napoli would beat AC Milan on Sunday, and I wasn’t alone, even though league top scorer Victor Osimhen was sidelined for the Azzurri.

But AC Milan simply blew away the side which still leads title race by 16 points with just 10 games remaining. Yes, the Scudetto is on its way to Naples and it’s just a matter of time, but Napoli’s celebrations have been delayed by a week by the rampant Rossoneri.

Stefano Pioli’s 2022 champions faced the league leaders without a victory in March, but they scored twice in each half as Rafael Leao bagged a goal either side of the halftime break with Brahim Diaz and Alexis Saelemaekers getting in on the Milan party.

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After bursting on to the scene last season, Leao has been gradually improving through this campaign, and he was back to his very best with a man-of-the-match performance against Napoli.

He was at the centre of Milan’s game, particularly in attack, while skipper Davide Calabria also had a brilliant game, assisting Saelemaeker’s goal and keeping Azzurri danger man Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in his pocket.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds say Napoli have this in the bag but it was a huge result for I Rossoneri. The result put AC Milan back in charge of their top four destiny, lifting them to third, and Champions League football remains the target.

And with that in mind, the club has moved to dismiss reports that Premier League leaders Arsenal are preparing a move for their French wing-back Theo Hernandez.

He scored a brilliant opener for his country in the 2022 World Cup semi-final win over Morocco and has been on the radar of a number of Milan’s European rivals, but the club views him as untouchable and reports in Italy say they would turn down offers in the region of €60 million. To do that, they need to hold on to a top four place as Hernandez is one of the most gifted players in Pioli’s squad.

Inzaghi feels the heat

third league loss on the bounce, this time to in-form Fiorentina, meant that Inter Milan fans had to watch I Rossoneri take their third place and Simone Inzaghi’s team is now fourth ahead of Roma on goal difference alone. And with Juventus, in seventh, now only six points behind, the race for the top four places will be frantic.

And there is already danger of panic setting in at the San Siro.

Inter Milan have lost three consecutive matches in Serie A
Simone Inzaghi coaching during their Serie A match against Fiorentina

Even though La Viola are the most in-form side in Italy, the pressure is surely mounting on Inzaghi, who took over a Scudetto winning team from Antonio Conte in 2021.

Nerves seem to be creeping in on the pitch, notably from striker Romelu Lukaku, who looks to be a shadow of the player he was in 2021 as he missed a glaring chance against Fiorentina.

Inzaghi is a cup specialist with two Coppa Italia’s and four Supercoppas on his CV, and now club bosses are asking him to bring an unlikely Champions League win to the club.

With teams like Manchester City, Napoli, and FC Bayern still in the competition, that would be some feat. And finishing in the top four is a must, but one win in five league games doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Rumours of a replacement are already surfacing should Inzaghi meet his end. We couldn’t see a return of Conte or could we?

Coppa Italia updates

Max Allegri’s Juventus have put a fine run of Serie A 2023 results together to lift them back into top four contention, and they have silverware in view when they meet Inter Milan in a Coppa Italia semi-final clash on Tuesday night at the Allianz Arena.

Angel Di Maria will look to provide the ammunition for Juve striker Dusan Vlahovic, while Inzaghi looks likely to pair Edin Dzeko alongside Lautaro Martinez up front.

Both teams have big Serie A games coming up and European quarter-finals in the Europa League for I Biancioneri, who are at SBOTOP odds of 2.21 to win this first leg.

In the other semi-final, bottom club Cremonese entertain Fiorentina on Wednesday.

La Viola is priced at 1.73 to win the first leg, but their hosts, who are 12 points from safety, will play with some freedom without the pressure of the league relegation grind.

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SBOTOP 08-Apr 2023 Saturday 10:40 AM (327 days ago)            #45
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Serie A: Sarri’s Lazio Look to Stop Juventus’ Top Four Surge

Lazio vs Juventus

Lazio are the in-form team in Serie A at the moment. They are unbeaten in their last six games – with wins over Napoli and rivals Roma – as they’ve moved four points clear in second place.

Maurizio Sarri’s men will now face another tough test as they host his old club, Juventus, at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Old Lady has been right up there with Lazio in terms of form in recent weeks as they’ve revived their hopes of reaching the top four and Champions League football.

But beating the Biancocelesti will be a big ask, especially since Lazio have now gone several hours without conceding a goal.

Talking Points

Lazio’s dominant defence powering unbeaten run

Lazio’s Serie A 2023 odds of finishing in second are looking quite good. They are now four points clear thanks to a six-game unbeaten run, with five wins and one draw.

Despite lacking any truly top-class defenders in their squad, Maurizio Sarri has constructed a magnificent defence that has kept a clean sheet in each of those six games, which is a sensational streak.

Lazio were without regular starting full-back Adam Marusic after he was sent off late in the Rome derby against Roma, but Manuel Lazzari filled in capably.

Lazio’s outstanding defence has more than made up for the fact that their attack is not all that prolific. To wit, they have scored just seven goals during their current six-game unbeaten run.

Reigning Capocannoniere Ciro Immobile has scored just 9 goals in 21 appearances amid injury setbacks, although he did make his return from a month out in their 2-0 win against Monza.

Even though he has not scored in Serie A since late January, Felipe Anderson has done a decent job as the false nine in Immobile’s absence. Meanwhile, they have gotten timely goals from the likes of Luis Alberto, Matias Veccino, and Mattia Zaccagni to claim crucial wins.

Juventus still in the hunt for fourth

Even with their 15-point deduction, Juventus are still right there in the race for the top four. They are currently in seventh spot, six points behind fourth-placed Inter.

The Bianconeri have won three in a row and seven of their last eight Serie A games to claw their way back to Champions League contention. They picked up a 1-0 victory against Verona last time out in the league thanks to a Moise Kean goal.

Can Moise Kean score again for Juventus in their upcoming Serie A game?
Juventus forward Moise Kean celebrates scoring against Verona during their recent Serie A clash

They are also coming off a fiery 1-1 draw against Inter in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg in midweek.

Like Lazio, Juve have continued to rack up the wins despite lacking goals from their main man in attack. Star striker Dusan Vlahovic, who scored three goals for Serbia during the international break, is still searching for his first Serie A goals since mid-February.

Meanwhile, Federico Chiesa has still been unable to provide too many Serie A 2023 highlights since returning from a serious knee injury. The Italian international has not started a Serie A match since before Valentine’s Day and remains without a goal in 11 Serie A appearances.

But the combination of strong defending – they have conceded just five goals and kept five clean sheets over their last eight games – and timely goals from the likes of Kean, Angel di Maria, Filip Kostic and Adrien Rabiot has led to their recent success.

History

Juventus have had Lazio’s number in Serie A over the years. The Bianconeri have a massive 21-2 advantage over the Biancocelesti in wins over their last 29 matches, with six draws.

Juve are currently on a six-match unbeaten run against Lazio in the league. They won their first meeting of the season 3-0 thanks to a brace by Moise Kean. And they also won their Coppa Italia tie in February 1-0 thanks to a goal by defender Bremer.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP odds have Lazio installed as very slight 2.60 favourites to get the home win. Juventus are priced at 2.77, while a draw is not far behind at 2.82.

Those tight odds indicate just how competitive this matchup figures to be, as both clubs are in-form and possess some impressive defences. That is why I foresee a draw as the dominant defences should win out over the middling attacks.

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SBOTOP 18-Apr 2023 Tuesday 8:24 PM (317 days ago)            #46
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Serie A: Bologna Aiming to Be Where AC Milan Are

Bologna vs AC Milan

Bologna have been one of the surprise packages in the 2022-23 Serie A campaign, as they’re in contention for a spot in European football next season.

I Rossoblu are eighth in the standings with 43 points, but they’re unbeaten in their last four games, and beating AC Milan would move them up to seventh.

Meanwhile, AC Milan’s recent Serie A 2023 results have been mixed. They are set to take on Napoli in the Champions League quarter-finals later, which means that they won’t have much time to recover against Bologna.

I Rossoneri have failed to defend last year’s Scudetto, so securing a top four berth is a priority this season. They’re in fourth place with 52 points, but with Inter and Atalanta lurking, they cannot afford to bottle this one against I Rossoblu.

Talking Points

Bologna’s youngsters getting the job done

Thiago Motta has sparked a turnaround for Bologna, making the leap from 17th to eighth in the standings. In the 23 games under Motta, Bologna have averaged a healthy 1.6 points per game.

The key to Bologna’s success is the contributions that they’ve been getting from everyone. Before, their goals have come mostly from Marko Arnautovic, but that’s no longer the case.

Arnautovic is one of their top scorers with eight goals, but he hasn’t played recently due to injuries. But Bologna haven’t skipped a beat, thanks to their young guns.

Riccardo Orsolini is level with Arnautovic at eight goals, and he also has three assists. The 26-year-old winger is attracting interest in the transfer market, particularly from Bologna’s Serie A counterparts, Inter Milan and AS Roma.

Stefan Posch, who came on loan from Hoffenheim, is remarkably the team’s third-leading scorer with five goals, considering he is operating as the team’s starting right-back.

Musa Barrow is another player that AC Milan have to slow down, as he’s been playing inspired football recently. Since entering the starting lineup, the Gambian winger has recorded three goals and five assists.

I Rossoblu have shown that they can beat top-tier opponents this season, most recently against Inter Milan and Atalanta last Saturday. AC Milan can underestimate them at their own risk.

AC Milan trying to hold on

It’s been an up-and-down start to the month of April for I Rossoneri.

They got off to a fast start with a 4-0 rout of Napoli, but were let down when Empoli held them last Saturday at home.

AC Milan look to tighten their grip at the top 4 of Serie A when they face Bologna
AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli giving his tactical orders from the touchline during their match against Napoli

Against Empoli, Stefano Pioli made several changes to his starting lineup but was made aware of his squad’s lack of depth.

AC Milan had 23 shots to Empoli’s two, but only four of them were on target, and they couldn’t convert at all. Divock Origi received a rare start in this match from Pioli, who positioned him with Alexis Saelemaekers, Ante Rebic, and Ismael Bennacer up front.

Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud should return to the starting XI, and they’ll lead the way up front. They are the team’s top scorers so far this season, accounting for 23 goals and 14 assists. 

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History

Bologna are winless against AC Milan in their last 14 Serie A meetings (D2, L12), which is their second-longest winless streak in the competition behind Juventus (D4, L17).

AC Milan are undefeated in their last 16 Serie A road games at the Renato Dall’Ara Stadium (W12, D4), which is their second-longest unbeaten away run in the competition behind SPAL (19 games).

AC Milan beat Bologna 2-0 in their reverse fixture last August, as Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud scored one goal apiece in each half.

The hosts have won their last two Serie A matches without conceding goals. The last time they won three in a row without conceding was in February 1973.

At home, Bologna haven’t conceded a goal in their last three Serie A home games. They had a longer streak in January 2000, when they reached eight consecutive home clean sheets.

Betting Tip

The SBOTOP Serie A 2023 odds predict a close game between Bologna and AC Milan. AC Milan were given the slight advantage to win at 2.25, while Bologna are priced at 2.93, and a draw was installed at 3.20 in the 1X2 market.

AC Milan may have defeated Bologna in the reverse fixture, but Bologna have come a long way since then under the guidance of Thiago Motta, who joined the club last September. But in the end, Stefano Pioli and co. are more likely to win, although it’ll be earned the hard way.

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SBOTOP 18-Apr 2023 Tuesday 8:26 PM (317 days ago)            #47
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Serie A: Verona are Up First in Napoli’s Two-Game Homestand

Napoli vs Hellas Verona

Napoli are eager to return to winning ways when they host Hellas Verona at the Diego Maradona Stadium for the next Serie A match.

On paper, this feels like an easy victory for the hosts. However, this is their second game in four days, and fatigue is already seeping in for Luciano Spalletti’s side.

I Partenopei remain on top of the Serie A standings with 74 points, and the Scudetto is theirs to lose. They can take it easy on Saturday, but they’ll use this match to build momentum ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-finals tie against AC Milan.

Hellas Verona, meanwhile, are in the relegation zone and are desperate to get out of there. They’re in 18th with 22 points, and getting a seemingly improbable win here would really help.

Talking Points

Napoli need Osimhen back

With games coming in thick and fast, injury problems are piling up for Napoli. Victor Osimhen has missed their last three games, and Gio Simeone was also out against AC Milan yesterday. 

Osimhen sustained an injury while on international duty with Nigeria in March, while Simeone was pulled out of their game against Lecce just 17 minutes after coming off the bench due to a thigh knock.

In the last three games, Napoli lost 4-0 against AC Milan in Serie A, and they laboured in their 2-1 victory over Lecce. And then they were defeated once more by AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has scored 21 goals this season in Serie A
Napoli’s Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their third goal against Torino

With 25 goals this year, Osimhen is Napoli’s leading scorer, and he was greatly missed by the squad, particularly against AC Milan. Because he was unable to play and Eljif Elmas failed to make a huge impact, AC Milan were able to slow them down just enough to get the 1-0 win.

Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti confirmed that Osimhen will play in the second leg, and it is expected that the Nigerian forward will get a run-in against Hellas Verona, perhaps coming off the bench.

Other than Osimhen, Napoli have other weapons that Hellas Verona need to account for, such as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Piotr Zielinski, and Giovanni Di Lorenzo.

Kvaratskhelia has 14 goals and 14 assists, while Zielinski has seven goals and nine assists. Di Lorenzo is remarkably one of their top creative outlets with six assists, despite operating as their right-back.

Hellas Verona lacking firepower

Hellas Verona have fallen back to Earth after their fast start under Marco Zaffaroni, who took over from Salvatore Bocchetti last December.

After going undefeated in four of their five matches in January, Hellas Verona hit a rough patch, losing and drawing three times and winning only twice.

I Gialloblu are missing their influential midfielder, Antonin Barak, who was their second-leading scorer last season with five goals.

Right now, they’re relying on Darko Lazovic and Cyril Ngonge to deliver the goals, but the two of them have scored only five goals combined thus far.

Serie A
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JUVENTUS
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History

Saturday marks the 60th Serie A meeting between Napoli and Hellas Verona. The hosts have the edge in the head-to-heads so far with 32 wins, while the visitors have won 13 times along with 14 draws.

Napoli defeated Hellas Verona in their reverse fixture back in August with a 5-2 scoreline. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski, Stanislav Lobotka, and Matteo Politano scored for I Partenopei, while Kevin Lasagna and Thomas Henry tallied the consolation goals for I Gialloblu.

Hellas Verona have won only twice in Naples here in Serie A. The last time that they beat Napoli on the road was in January 1983, when Piero Fanna’s brace secured a 2-1 victory. Since then, Napoli have gone undefeated in their last 17 league home matches against Hellas Verona (W13, D4).

But Napoli have lost two of their last three home games in Serie A (W1), which is as many losses as in their previous 20 home league games (W15, D3).

Betting Tip

Despite their recent struggles, the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 odds have Napoli as the favourites to win this game. The hosts are installed at 1.45 to win, whereas Hellas Verona are the underdogs at 8.00, and a draw is at 3.50 in the 1X2 market.

Perhaps this game is what Napoli need to regain their bearings. Even with Osimhen and Simeone sidelined, they should still have enough to beat their relegation-threatened visitors. Goals and Serie A 2023 highlights will come in bunches for this fixture, making Over 2.50 at 2.04 your best alternative bet.

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SBOTOP 22-Apr 2023 Saturday 6:06 PM (313 days ago)            #48
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Serie A: Can Juve Delay the Napoli Party?

Juventus vs Napoli

With a 14-point lead at the top of Serie A, it is a matter of “when” not “if” Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli win the 2022/23 Scudetto.

Gli Azzurri can’t do it this weekend, but they can take another big stride when they meet Juventus on Sunday, but Bianconeri boss Max Allegri has other plans.

After taking a 15-point punishment in January, the Old Lady’s season looked to be fizzling out but her Serie A 2023 results held up. And when the penalty was overturned this week, Juventus landed in third place and six points clear of fifth-placed AC Milan.

So, with a Champions League place back on the table, the visitors have plenty to play for and it’s down to Napoli to take the initiative in Turin.

Gli Azzurri drew 0-0 with Hellas Verona last week, while Juventus lost 1-0 away to Sassuolo. But the two teams had different fortunes in midweek.

While Napoli went out of the Champions League to AC Milan on Tuesday, Juventus navigated a Europa League tie away to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Juventus cannot stop Napoli winning the title, but they might put the celebrations back another week.

Talking Points

Reinvented Rabiot is Juventus’ heartbeat

Allegri has plenty of top class players in his side, but the one who has stood out as “most improved” has to be France midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

Four years ago, he refused to be called up by his national side as a reserve for the 2018 World Cup, but at Qatar 2022 he was one of Les Bleus’ standout performers with his all-action displays and he has brought this form back to Turin.

Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot is expected to score more goals against Napoli in Serie A
Adrien Rabiot scored the opening goal in Juventus’ Europa League second-leg match against Sporting Lisbon

With eight goals in the league, Rabiot has been one of the Old Lady’s best attacking threats behind the front two of Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa, and he scored the goal which gave Juve a two-goal cushion against Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.

Marcus Edwards pulled one back for the Portuguese side, but I Bianconeri saw the game out to book a semi-final place against Sevilla.

Rabiot did give a penalty away, but you can excuse a box-to-box midfielder the odd mistake if he keeps up his energetic persona.

Striker Vlahovic also has eight league goals and he will feed off the supply from wing-back Juan Cuadrado and winger Filip Kostic, who has provided eight assists this term.

Juventus have not had the best of seasons, but they always carry a threat and will be right up for this blockbuster clash. They are in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, and the latest Serie A 2023 betting odds say they will finish in the top four.

It could still be a fine campaign for the Old Lady.

Napoli’s focus is crystal clear

While Juve are fighting on three fronts, Napoli are out of the Champions League and the Coppa Italia and have a seemingly unassailable lead at the top of the league. So they have one very clear objective: to win the Scudetto as soon as possible.

Napoli may be able to channel their disappointment at their unexpected exit from the Champions League to AC Milan. And if they do, they can beat Juventus and potentially be one step away.

Serie A
AC MILAN
US LECCE
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And the two men most likely to deliver are top scorer Victor Osimhen and winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Kvaratskhelia has stunned Serie A with his electrifying runs, ball skills, and shooting ability. He’s been likened to the legendary George Best and that is some accolade.

Napoli just need one bit of magic from either of these two players to win a game though they both drew a blank in last week’s match at home to Hellas Verona starting on the bench. They will take the field from the off against Juventus, while Giovanni Simeone will sit this one out through injury.

Any title-winning team needs top quality from one to 11 and Napoli have that in abundance. Midfielder ace Piotr Zielinski will have a fascinating tussle with Rabiot, backed up by the excellent Stanislav Lobotka, while keeper Alex Meret is one of the standout stoppers in Europe and wing-back Giovanni Di Lorenzo will continue to lead the team by example.

Napoli are so nearly there.

History

Juventus have won 27 of the last 55 encounters with Napoli who have picked up 17 victories and there have been 11 draws. In the most recent meeting, a league match in Naples in January, Gli Azzurri thrashed the Old Lady 5-1 as Osimhen scored a double.

Are Napoli stuttering towards the finish line? Well, with two wins, two draws, and two defeats from the last six games, they are not the unbeatable side which romped to such a big lead, though two of those games were in the Champions League.

Juventus have been impressive at home this season with 11 wins, three draws, and one defeat, but Napoli have been even better away, with 13 wins, one draw, and one defeat.

Betting Tip

Juventus are priced at 2.75 to win with SBOTOP and 2.80 to draw, with the champions-elect at 2.44 to pick up all three points. This will be a brilliant game for the neutrals and one which, I suspect, will take Napoli a little closer to their destiny.

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SBOTOP 25-Apr 2023 Tuesday 12:03 PM (310 days ago)            #49
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Serie A: Atalanta Need to Make a Statement in Bergamo

Atalanta vs AS Roma

When Juventus got their 15 points back after the Italian football federation suspended their penalty, the Old Lady moved into third place in the Serie A standings. As a result, AS Roma and Atalanta slipped to fourth and seventh place, respectively.

So, this game between Atalanta and AS Roma is going to be crucial because the race for Europe is getting tighter and valuable points are up for grabs when these two sides go head-to-head at Bergamo on Monday.

Prior to this match, AS Roma had won three consecutive league games after losing back-to-back last March. Meanwhile, Atalanta hit a rough patch, with just two victories in their last eight league outings.

SBOTOP football fans are going to look forward to Monday, so we are here for the preview of this battle between two top-four hopefuls.

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Talking Points

Hojlund’s baptism of fire

Gian Piero Gasperini has a knack for producing great young attacking talent. With the likes of Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel both in their 30s, Gasperini has relied more on his younger stars to produce goals.

Ademola Lookman, 25, leads La Dea in scoring with 13 goals, and he has four assists. And right behind him is a precocious talent named Rasmus Hojlund, who has seven goals and two assists this season.

Hojlund joined La Dea last summer, and he has notched 28 appearances across all competitions. He has also emerged as the next big thing for Denmark, scoring five goals in just two games during the last international break.

Being dubbed the “Danish Haaland”, Hojlund is desired by some of the top clubs in Europe, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, due to his distinctive profile. He’s valued at £31 million by Transfermarkt.

With Lookman doubtful to play on Monday, Hojlund will continue to start in his place. These next few games will gauge Hojlund’s ability to perform in high-pressure situations since he’ll lead Atalanta’s charge to qualifying for European football next season.

Defence wins games for AS Roma

Jose Mourinho is no longer in a bad mood following AS Roma’s recent run of Serie A 2023 results. AS Roma’s recent success can be attributed to their much improved defence, which has tallied nine clean sheets across 2023 thus far.

During their three-game winning streak, AS Roma haven’t conceded a single goal against Udinese, Torino, or Sampdoria. I Giallorossi have not won four straight Serie A matches since the end of the 2019-20 season, while they haven’t won four matches in a row without conceding since October 2013, seven under Rudi Garcia.

AS Roma sit at the 4th spot in the Serie A table with 56 points
AS Roma coach Jose Mourinho celebrates their victory over Feyenoord in the quarter-final of the Europa League

Leeds loanee Diego Llorente has adapted well under Mourinho, establishing a strong back three partnership with Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling. The Spaniard barely played a minute during his first six Serie A matches, but he’s now a regular in the starting lineup.

This development has convinced AS Roma to try and sign Llorente for good. And reports claim that Leeds are willing to accept £13 million for him, which sounds like a bargain.

Because AS Roma had a busy run of games, Mourinho is likely to rotate his squad against Atalanta. With Paulo Dybala still out of action, the 20-year-old Edoardo Bove should get a start up front alongside Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini.

History

Recent form favours AS Roma, but they haven’t fared well against Atalanta in Serie A lately, winning only three of their last 16 league meetings (D6, L7).

AS Roma lost 1-0 to Atalanta in the reverse fixture earlier this season, as Giorgio Scalvini scored the only goal during the 35th minute. It was a heated affair because seven Atalanta players were booked with yellow cards, while Jose Mourinho was ejected for a red card.

Atalanta haven’t kept two consecutive clean sheets against AS Roma in the Italian top-flight since 1965.

I Giallorossi have won their last Serie A away match against La Dea (4-1 on December 2021), but they haven’t won two in a row against them at Bergamo in Serie A since 2001, although they’ve scored in each of their last 12 visits.

Betting Tip

The Serie A 2023 odds expect a tight battle between Atalanta and AS Roma on Monday. Atalanta have the edge at 2.26 to win, whereas AS Roma are priced at 2.95, and a draw offers a good payout of 3.15. This match is a tough call because it can go either way, but we’re sure that this is going to be another low-scoring affair, hence our recommendation of Under 2.50 at 1.69.

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SBOTOP 25-Apr 2023 Tuesday 12:05 PM (310 days ago)            #50
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Serie A Set for 2023 Summer Shakeup

The summer is shaping up to be quite an eventful one in Serie A, with potential shakeups in store among the top clubs. Several of the league’s top stars – including a trio of young strikers – are being linked with big moves outside Italy.

And while a number of Serie A’s shining stars are being touted with moves to the Premier League, a couple of big-name veterans defenders could be headed the other way.

Read on below as SBOTOP rounds up the latest Serie A 2023 news and rumours surrounding Serie A as the summer transfer window nears.

PSG look to outbid Premier League giants for Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen is without a doubt the hottest striker on this summer’s transfer market. The 24-year-old is set to win the Scudetto with Napoli, as well as the Capocannoiere as Serie A’s top scorer.

Osimhen’s performances have attracted the attention of the top Premier League clubs, with Chelsea and Manchester United reportedly at the front of the queue.

However, Paris Saint-Germain are apparently poised to outbid the Blues and Reds as they are ready to offer €150 million to Napoli for Osimhen.

Current PSG manager Christophe Galtier is quite familiar with Osimhen as he coached the Nigerian during his lone season in Ligue 1 with Lille. However, Galtier’s position as PSG manager past this season remains in some doubt.

Similarly, the futures of top PSG stars such as Lionel Messi and Neymar are also quite cloudy, so the French giants could very well be in need of a new strike partner for Kylian Mbappe come the summer.

Nicolo Barella linked with Liverpool

After dropping out of the race to sign Borussia Dortmund wunderkind Jude Bellingham, Liverpool have been linked with a new top midfielder in Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella.

Liverpool are in need of a major rebuild in midfield this summer, and while Trent Alexander-Arnold is excelling in a hybrid midfield role of late, Barella would be a welcome addition to that unit, which needs an infusion of youth and energy as the likes of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, and Fabinho age.

Barella has been instrumental in Inter’s run to the Champions League semi-finals as he scored in both legs of their quarter-final win over Benfica. He has also contributed 5 goals and 6 assists in their Serie A campaign.

Rasmus Hojlund, Dusan Vlahovic attracting Premier League interest

Aside from Osimhen, a couple of other young strikers in Atalanta’s Rasmus Hojlund and Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic are on the radar of top Premier League sides.

The 20-year-old Hojlund has had a fine debut season at Atalanta with 7 goals in 26 matches, and has reportedly drawn the interest of Manchester United and Real Madrid, among other top clubs.

Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic has been linked with a move away from Serie A this summer
Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic looks dejected after missing a chance to score in Coppa Italia clash against Inter Milan

Meanwhile, Juventus are reportedly considering cashing in on Dusan Vlahovic just over a year after spending €70 million to sign him from Fiorentina. The 23-year-old has had a disappointing full season with the Old Lady, scoring just 8 goals in 22 appearances.

But despite his struggles, Vlahovic still has no shortage of suitors. Premier League leaders Arsenal, who missed out on Vlahovic, are a potential destination, while Chelsea and Bayern Munich have also been mentioned.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Harry Maguire headed to Italy?

Amid the speculation surrounding many Serie A stars potentially leaving the league, there are a couple of big names who could be coming to Italy.

In Kalidou Koulibaly’s case, he could be returning after one disastrous season in Chelsea, with Juventus reportedly planning to bring the 31-year-old back to Italy.

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Over 3.00 @ 2.01
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Koulibaly spent eight largely successful seasons at Napoli, where he made the Serie A Team of the Year four times and was named Serie A Best Defender in 2018-19.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s Harry Maguire is reportedly open to moving to Serie A as his playing time with the Premier League giants has shrunk significantly this season.

Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan have reportedly shown interest in the 30-year-old, although due to his high wages, those teams may only be able to afford to sign the Manchester United defender on loan.


 

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SBOTOP 25-Apr 2023 Tuesday 5:45 PM (310 days ago)            #51
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Coppa Italia: Final Place Up for Grabs in Derby D’Italia

Inter Milan vs Juventus

Whatever the competition, whatever the scenario, I get the impression the Derby d’Italia always matters.

I have been able to report on this clash in the past, most recently a league encounter nearly two years ago when Inter had already ensured Juve had relinquished their league crown, and it clearly means a lot to both clubs.

I expect nothing less in this Coppa Italia semi-final second leg.

In fact, if it’s anything like as dramatic as the first leg of a chaotic semi-final a few weeks back, we will be in for Coppa Italia highlights and talking points aplenty.

Talking Points

This is the last chance for domestic glory this term for both cup holders Inter and Juventus.

With Fiorentina or surprise outfit Cremonese awaiting in the final, the winners of this tie will start the showpiece of the Italian season as favourites.

Both clubs still have hopes of silverware elsewhere too.

Maxi Allegri’s team will face Sevilla next month in the semi-finals of the Europa League, while Inter will meet city rivals Milan at the same stage in the Champions League.

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There will likely be a tension after the conclusion to the drawn first leg earlier this month.

Since them, 171 Juventus supporters have been sanctioned under the Daspo measure which is implemented by Italian authorities with the intention to prevent violence and anti-social behaviour surrounding sporting events.

The result of an investigation into incidents surrounding the cup clash found that 250 Juventus fans were identified to have hurled racist abuse at Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.

The supporters who have been recognised as instigators of the racist chanting will be hit with fines for violating the regulations surrounding orderly behaviour in football stadiums.

That just adds another level of antipathy between two sides who have become even bigger rivals in recent seasons.

Team news wise, first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana will provide the hosts’ last line of defence at San Siro.

His fellow custodian Mattia Perin will also replace Wojciech Szczesny after deputising for the Poland international during his recent absence due to a heart scare.

Also for Juve, after being left on the bench in the league at the weekend, Federico Chiesa, Angel Di Maria and Dusan Vlahovic are likely to be handed starting berths.

History

Coppa Italia: Juventus will visit Inter Milan at San Siro Stadium
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri during their Serie A match against Napoli

Juventus have had a distinct edge historically.

The ‘old lady’ of Turin have 92 successes to their name compared to 56 Inter triumphs and a further 53 draws in all competitions.

That includes in both league matches this season as Juve ran out 2-0 winners at home, courtesy of second half goals from Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli, before edging victory in the San Siro last month through a solitary Filip Kostic strike midway through the first half.

Of course, it was honours even a few months ago in the first leg of this semi-final as Juan Cuadrado struck the opener seven minutes from the end before a handball from Gleison Bremer in stoppage time led to a chaotic climax.

Lukaku equalised with the last kick of the game before being sent off as he celebrated provocatively in front of the home fans, (the ban now overturned).

The drama continued after the full-time whistle had blown as Cuadrado and Inter captain Samir Handanovic also received red cards as scuffles broke out between the two sets of players.

Inter have only defeated Juve once in their past 13 meetings.

That came in Serie A two years ago when Arturo Vidal and Nicolo Barella were on target in a 2-0 home league success.

Betting Tip

Inter are favourites with the SBOTOP Coppa Italia betting odds and, after the weekend’s Serie A results, when Inter won convincingly at Empoli and Juve lost to a last-gasp goal to champions elect Napoli, it is easy to nudge towards Inter.

There again, Juventus rested key men for that fixture.

I am going to edge towards I Nerazzurri, although I think it will be close.

Inter can be backed 1X2 @ 2.02 with Juventus on offer @ 3.40.

Likewise with Asian Handicap, you may wish to consider Inter -0.50 @ 2.03 and Juventus +0.25 @ 2.17.

Another 1-1 Draw will pay out @ 5.80 with Correct Score and, with plenty of firepower on display, you could realistically expect goals with Total Goal 0-1 @ 2.76, 2-3 @ 1.82, 4-6 @ 3.95 and Over 2.50 @ 2.16 among the options.

The 1X2 Draw @ 3.20 is a strong consideration.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 02-May 2023 Tuesday 2:30 PM (303 days ago)            #52
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Serie A: Major Top Four Battle in Rome

AS Roma vs AC Milan

With Napoli running away with the 2022-23 Serie A title, the fight for a place in the Champions League is turning into an interesting sub-plot as we head into the final weeks of the season.

Napoli, Lazio, and Juventus occupy the first three spots, and AC Milan are in fourth place right now. However, I Rossoneri are level with the fifth-seeded I Giallorossi at 56 points and a +14 goal difference, and these two clubs are going to duel at the Stadio Olimpico this Saturday.

AS Roma could’ve been solo fourth if they won against Atalanta on Monday, but they didn’t, while AC Milan extended their unbeaten run to four straight league games when they defeated Lecce.

Talking Points

Who will be available for Mourinho?

AS Roma are hoping for a 100-per cent fit Paulo Dybala in their upcoming Serie A match against AC Milan
AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring their second goal against Feyenoord in the Europa League

Jose Mourinho is looking to field his best starting XI after rotating his squad against Atalanta last time out, but he is still dealing with injuries to key players.

Paulo Dybala came off the bench on Monday, but he limped off the pitch after being hurt in a tackle by Atalanta’s Jose Luis Palomino. Fortunately for AS Roma, the Argentine forward’s ankle didn’t have sprained ligaments, although he was listed as questionable for Saturday given his injury history.

I Giallorossi are hoping that Dybala is 100-per cent fit because they need his goals. He is the team’s only double-digit scorer so far this season with 15 goals, and he has also dished out seven assists.

Should Mourinho decide not to start Dybala, Stephan El Shaarawy or Andrea Belotti will take his place alongside Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham up front. El Shaarawy feels like the better choice since he has recorded six goals this year.

Bryan Cristante should return to the starting lineup with fellow defenders Diego Llorente and Chris Smalling out for a few weeks due to injuries. Cristante has played mostly in central midfield this year, but he can play in the back three too.

Leao auditions for his next big payday

AC Milan aren’t immune to the injury bug either, as Olivier Giroud and Tommaso Pobega are doubtful for Saturday. However, they still have enough firepower on the frontline.

Rafael Leao, a hot commodity in the transfer market today, will have a prominent role up front for I Rossoneri. This season, the 23-year-old has recorded 13 goals and nine assists thus far. I Rossoneri will need more from the Portuguese winger if they are to hold on to the final top four spot.

Much has been said about AC Milan’s need to freshen up their attacking corps this summer, but the club will try to hold on to Rafael Leao, although their extension talks have stalled.

Because his current contract expires in 2024, Leao has several suitors lined up for him, but he has yet to reveal his next move on whether he stays or leaves Italy.

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History

AC Milan have won four of their last six Serie A games against AS Roma (D2), which is as many victories as in their previous 16 encounters (D5, L7). Should they win or draw this weekend, AC Milan could go undefeated in seven consecutive league matches against AS Roma for the first time since 1996 (17 straight matches).

They have also won their last two away Serie A games against AS Roma, although they haven’t won three straight matches at the Stadio Olimpico since 1990 (four straight matches).

However, AC Milan’s recent road form in Serie A is poor because they’ve lost four of their last seven away matches (W2, D1), which is as many losses as in their previous 53 such games in the competition (W38, D12).

These two teams met earlier this year in San Siro, where the game ended in a 2-2 draw as Roger Ibanez and Tammy Abraham scored within the last six minutes to salvage a point after Pierre Kalulu and Tommaso Pobega gave AC Milan a two-goal lead.

Betting Tip

With so much on the line, we’d expect nothing less than a tight affair, and the SBOTOP Serie A 2023 odds agree. Because they’re playing at home, AS Roma have a slight edge at 2.62, but AC Milan are at 2.71 in the 1X2 market. We believe that going for a draw at 2.86 is your best bet, which is a replay of their reverse fixture last January. Moreover, we can expect several Serie A 2023 highlights to emerge from this particular fixture, so going for either Over 2.00 at 1.87 is not a bad idea.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 02-May 2023 Tuesday 2:41 PM (303 days ago)            #53
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Serie A: Can Inter Spoil Lazio’s Second-Place Hopes at San Siro?

Inter Milan vs Lazio

After yet more cup success in midweek, Inter Milan must now turn their attention back to Serie A, where they will have a huge showdown against second-place Lazio coming up this weekend.

Aside from beating Benfica to set up the all-Milan Champions League semi-finals, the Nerazzurri are also through to the Coppa Italia final after defeating rivals Juventus.

Simone Inzaghi will now face off against his old side Lazio, who are hoping to finish second in Serie A this season. But with Juventus’ 15-point deduction overturned, the Biancocelesti only have a two-point lead and cannot afford to slip up at the San Siro.

Talking Points

Inter on a high after cup successes

It has been a disappointing Serie A campaign for Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri are down in sixth in the table, two points adrift in the top-four race.

But Simone Inzaghi is making up for that underwhelming domestic season by leading Inter to two deep cup runs. After they sealed their spot in the Champions League semi-finals – where they will meet city rivals AC Milan – the Nerazzurri defeated Juventus 1-0 in midweek to reach the Coppa Italia final.

Romelu Lukaku surprisingly didn’t get the start against Juve despite his excellent performance in their 3-0 win over Empoli, which snapped their five-game winless run. The Belgian bagged a brace in that match and set up Lautaro Martinez’s late third goal.

But Lukaku has been a regular starter in Serie A over the last few weeks, so he should return to the first XI this weekend against Lazio. Lukaku will likely partner Lautaro Martinez, who has also rediscovered some form, with two goals and an assist in his last three games.

Aside from centre-back Milan Skriniar, Inter don’t have any other glaring injury issues at the moment. But Inter’s defence doesn’t seem to be missing Skriniar, though, as they’ve kept four clean sheets in their last four games.

Lazio look to bounce back after shock loss

Lazio’s Serie A 2023 odds to finish second – their highest finish since their last Scudetto in 1999-2000 – hit a snag as they lost 1-0 at home to Torino last weekend. A costly error from Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel led to the lone goal. The loss snapped their four-game winning streak and eight-game unbeaten run in Serie A.

And to make matters worse for the Biancocelesti, Juventus are now just two points back after the Old Lady’s 15-point penalty was overturned.

Ciro Immobile won't be playing ahead of Serie A clash between Lazio and Inter Milan
Lazio captain Ciro Immobile looks disappointed following their 0-1 defeat in Serie A match against Torino

Lazio captain Ciro Immobile played against his old club just days after being involved in a car crash. However, the 33-year-old – who has only scored once from open play in Serie A since early-January – did not make too many Serie A 2023 highlights.

Lazio have fared surprisingly well despite their talisman no longer providing goals on a consistent basis. Felipe Anderson has been outstanding playing as the team’s centre-forward with Mattia Zaccagni and Pedro on either side.

The defence has been a massive reason for Lazio’s success this season. They are tied with Napoli for the best defence in Serie A with just 21 goals conceded. Starting defensive midfielder Danilo Cataldi missed the Torino match due to suspension, which was a big loss. But the Italian will be back to replace Matias Vecino, who had a disappointing game in the heart of the midfield against Torino.

History

The Lazio-Inter matchup has been as competitve as any between two top teams in Italy in recent years. In their last 28 Serie A matches, Inter hold a slight 14-11 advantage in wins, with three draws.

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Although, Lazio have had the upper hand in the cups, winning all three of their meetings (two in the Coppa Italia, one in the Italian Super Cup).

Speaking of upper hands, the home team has made their advantage count in recent years; the home team has won each of the last six meetings between the two.

Lazio kept that trend going earlier this season when they won 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. Felipe Anderson, Luis Alberton, and Pedro all got on the scoresheet.

Betting Tip

SBOTOP odds have Inter Milan installed as 1.84 favourites to get the home win at San Siro. Lazio are priced at 3.75, while a draw is 3.45.

Inter will be at a disadvantage after playing in midweek, but their confidence will be high after beating Juventus and will have their sights set on finishing in the top four.

Lazio will obviously be a tough opponent to break down, but with Lukaku in fine form, the Nerazzurri should have enough to come out on top in this big showdown at the San Siro.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 02-May 2023 Tuesday 2:54 PM (303 days ago)            #54
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Serie A: Can Inter Spoil Lazio’s Second-Place Hopes at San Siro?

Bologna vs Juventus 

Juventus will make the 200-mile trip across North Italy to Bologna on Sunday, hoping to get back to winning ways and keep control of their Champions League destiny.

Bianconeri are currently in third place with a three-point cushion over AC Milan and Roma, in fourth and fifth, and Bologna vs. Juventus is the last fixture in a fascinating weekend of Serie A.

Elsewhere in the Italian top-flight, champions elect Napoli host Salernitana, sixth-placed Inter Milan welcome second-placed, Lazio and Roma clash with Milan on Saturday.

The Serie A 2023 betting odds back the Old Lady for a win in Bologna, but the hosts have a slim chance of qualifying for Europe because they’re currently in eighth place, and head coach Thiago Motta is a man in demand.

He has won 12 of his 26 games in charge and a Bologna director has issued a “hands off” statement to admirers including Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, saying: “He has a year left on his contract.” 

In the other dugout at the Stadio Dall’ Ara, Juventus coach Max Allegri has had a positive impact in Turin since his return to the club in 2021. But it has been a turbulent campaign for the Old Lady and the boss was furious when his side went down to a 1-0 Coppa Italia semi final defeat to Inter Milan in midweek.

He will demand a big performance from his players to keep their top four aim on track, while Motta too will push for a turnaround after his side lost 2-1 away to Hellas Verona in the league.

Talking Points

Bologna sweat on Arnautovic

Can Marko Arnautovic be fit enough to face Juventus in their Serie A clash?
Bologna forward Marko Arnautovic celebrates with Lorenzo De Silvestri after scoring against Inter Milan on April 27, 2022

The hosts are hoping for a return of star striker Marko Arnautovic for the visit of Juventus in Sunday.

The former Stoke City and West Ham United hitman suffered a muscular injury in his foot over a month ago and Nicola Sansone and Joshua Zirkzee have led the attack in his absence. But Motta needs his main man back for the run in and Arnautovic is still ‘”touch and go”.

Sansone will start either way as he scored an early goal in Bologna’s last home game, a 1-1 draw with AC Milan, and wide-man Musa Barrow will also be on show. Barrow is the Rossoblu’s best assist-maker and has pace to burn, one to watch for the Bianconeri defence and in the Serie A 2023 highlights reel.

Juventus in a rage

It’s been a funny old season for I Bianconeri though not many people are laughing at the Juventus Stadium at the moment, and Bologna might be about to meet a team with a fierce desire to take their anger out on someone.

Without a win in four games, the Old Lady has gone off the boil in recent weeks and they suffered a Coppa Italia semi-final exit at the hands of Inter Milan in a grumpy affair at the San Siro.

Centre-back Leonardo Bonucci fumed as he was substituted, insisting he wasn’t injured, and he had a heated discussion with Allegri. And the Juve boss also had words with Inter Milan CEO after the game saying: “You’re all a bunch of s**ts, but you’ll finish sixth anyway!”

Juventus have had a difficult campaign off the field with a 15-point deduction which took the wind out of their sails, only to be reversed a couple of weeks ago. They had a chance to grab second place last week but were beaten by a 93rd minute winner for runaway leaders Napoli.

Second placed Lazio have that tough assignment away to Inter Milan on Sunday, so Juventus may well have another chance when they take on Bologna.

Allegri needs his big players to maintain their focus and perform. Bonucci is a leader and, in Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot, Juventus have a world-class midfield pairing. While up front, Federico Chiesa is a serious talent, but he will likely be without his strike partner Dusan Vlahovic, who has picked up an ankle strain and the Serbian was not in training early in the week.

Vlahovic has attracted Premier League interest with his all action displays and impressive scoring record, so Allegri will hope to get him back on the pitch soon.

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History

The head-to-heads have been very one sided over the past 20 years or so, with I Bianconeri winning 37 of the 49 encounters and drawing 10, while Bologna have eked out two victories in this meeting since 1996.

Juventus won the return fixture 3-0 as Vlahovic was on target, but in terms of recent for, the hosts have a slight edge.

Bologna have two wins, three draws, and a single defeat over the past six games, while Juventus have won just once, drawn once, and lost four. 

Betting Tip

Neither Bologna nor Juventus have produced much in the way of high-scoring games in recent weeks, and have conceded just five and four goals respectively over the past five games. So, there is mileage in a bet on 2-3 goals at a SBOTOP price of 1.89.

For a winner, the Old Lady is the front runner with Bologna at 2.98 and the draw at 3.06. It will be tight, but I think Allegri will have something to smile about on Sunday.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 02-May 2023 Tuesday 2:57 PM (303 days ago)            #55
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Serie A: Napoli Frustrated by Salernitana

Napoli missed the chance to win the Serie A title on Sunday when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Salernitana and the wait for a first Scudetto in 33 years goes on. 

With such a big lead at the top of the table the Azzurri have gone slightly off the boil recently, but last week Napoli faced Juventus and came up with a 93rd minute winner. This time around they went ahead on 62 minutes after totally dominating the game; but they just couldn’t hold on.

In the first half top scorer Victor Osimhen came close to opening the scoring when he headed down a cross from Piotr Zielinski but Guillermo Ochoa, the veteran Salernitana keeper made a fine stop in the bottom corner. Early in the second half the ever lively Khvicha Kvaratskhelia fired a shot inches over but the Napoli fans didn’t have long to wait. Giacomo Raspadori swung over a corner and wing back Olivera met it with a firm header into the bottom corner.

Napoli pushed for a second with both Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen going close while keeper Alex Meret had to be alert to keep out Grigoris Kastanos but the Azzurri’s wastefulness came back to bite them when Bulaye Dia popped up with an 84th minute equaliser.

Ochoa made a string of great saves to win his team a point on another day of frustration for the champions elect. Napoli are just one win away from the Scudetto and, when it happens, you can catch up with all the action right here at SBOTOP.

Martinez is so sharp for Inter

Lautaro Martinez scored a brace in Inter Milan's Serie A match against Lazio
Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring Inter Milan’s third goal against Lazio

Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan climbed back into the top four after a staging a late comeback against Lazio, inspired by star striker Lautaro Martinez. The 25 year old Argentine has scored 75 goals in 167 games for the Nerazzurri and he made it 17 for the campaign with a late brace at the San Siro as Inter ran out 3-1 winners.

Lazio have had a tricky run of fixtures which they have negotiated pretty well, winning a recent clash with Juventus and also triumphing in the Rome Derby. And they started well enough against Inter on Sunday when Felipe Anderson latched onto a ball from Luis Alberto and swept his shot low into the bottom left corner. The Romans held out until the 77th minute when Romelu Lukaku held off a tackle and slid the ball through to Martinez who beat the Inter defence to it and poked home the leveller.

Inter went ahead in spectacular and painful fashion as Lukaku floated the ball across to the far post where Robin Gosens fired home an acrobatic volley but he dislocated his shoulder as he fell. And the third came when Lautaro intercepted a poor back pass from Matias Vecino and beat the Lazio keeper again.

Big, big win for Inter.

Late Drama in Rome

Roma and AC Milan cancelled each other out for 90 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico and then again in a blistering seven minutes of injury time as Roma’s Tammy Abraham and Milan’s Alexis Saelemaekers scored on 94 and 97. Neither side registered a shot on target in a stop-start first half but I Rossoneri had a golden chance to open the scoring soon after the break when Rafael Leao found Saelemaekers at the back post but the forward blasted over.

La Liga
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1X2 Draw @ 3.15
Under 2.50 @ 2.06
First Half Over 1.25 @ 2.26
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham (and how the Blues need a goal scorer right now) thought he’d won the game when he controlled the ball superbly and smashed it past Mike Maignan to make it 1-0. But, just three minutes later, and with whistles ringing around the stadium, Leao found Saelemaekers again and this time the Belgian didn’t miss.

The 1-1 draw left Milan and Roma  fifth and sixth in the Serie A table but if the hosts had held out they would have finished the weekend in fourth place.

Zapata stunner keeps Atalanta in the hunt

In other Serie A 2023 news, Colombian striker Duvan Zapata scored his first goal in five months to give Atalanta a hard fought win away to Torino. The 2-1 victory kept La Dea in contention for a Champions League place, just two points behind Inter Milan. Former Torino star Davide Zappacosta gave the visitors a lead but Torino fought back as Nikola Vlasic brought a strong save from Atalanta stopper Marco Sportiello, but when the keeper later parried a shot from Aleksei Miranchuk he couldn’t stop Antonio Sanabria from steering home the leveller. But Torino’s parity was short lived and when Zapata picked up the ball on the left, he made an electrifying run, cut back inside and fired home at the near post to send the travelling fans wild. It was only Zapata’s second goal of the campaign but it might turn out to be priceless. The Serie A 2023 betting odds reckon there is a six way battle for three Champions League places and La Dea are still in the race.


 

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SBOTOP 10-May 2023 Wednesday 12:28 PM (295 days ago)            #56
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Serie A: Milan and Lazio Set to Collide at the San Siro

AC Milan vs Lazio

The top-four race in Serie A gathers pace on Saturday when Lazio head to the San Siro to take on AC Milan. At the time of writing the Romans have a four-point advantage over their hosts, but that could all change pretty quickly. 

Both teams are in action in midweek and expected to win; AC Milan are at home to 19th placed Cremonese on Wednesday and priced at 1.28 to win, while Lazio host Sassuolo who are currently in 11th and I Biancoceleste can be backed at 1.66. But as the battle for Champions League places heats up, neither of these teams have hit top form in recent weeks. Indeed, Lazio suffered a second successive defeat last Saturday while Milan have won just once in four games.

Lazio have been second, in pursuit of runaway leaders Napoli, for much of the campaign and they will be desperate to avoid a late slide down the table, while AC Milan, Champions League semi-finalists this season, will be determined to improve on their current fifth place.

The San Siro will be rocking on Saturday as these two giants collide.

Talking Points

Milan set to rest players for the big game 

Rossoneri head coach Stefano Pioli will be shuffling his pack this week in the midst of a packed schedule of high-pressure football. Milan drew 1-1 away to top-four challengers Roma last week and, after they play Cremonese and then Lazio, I Rossoneri have a Champions League semi-final against Inter Milan to look forward to.

Defender Fikayo Tomori is suspended and Pierre Kaluhu is set to step in, and Pioli is also likely to rest centre-back Simon Kjaer. Some of the most welcome Serie A 2023 newsin Milan has been the return of Kjaer, who ruptured his cruciate ligament last year and was out for over six months. He missed 29 games and, at the age of 33, may have been thinking his career at the top was coming to an end. But the great Dane has returned and has been back to his imperious best in the centre of defence in recent weeks.

He was in great form in Milan’s stunning Champions League and Pioli will want Kjaer to face Lazio.

The other player Milan will be desperate to keep fit is star attacker Rafael Leao, who has scored 12 goals and made seven assists this season but, at 23 years old he can take the workload! 

Milinkovic-Savic is Lazio’s heartbeat 

While the Milan clubs have blown hot and cold this season and Juventus have had a nightmare off the field, I Biancoceleste have ticked along nicely for much of the campaign, though they will be keen to get over the small blip they have just encountered.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic eyes for another Lazio win as they aim to keep their place in the Serie A table
Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic celebrates as he scores a goal in Serie A match against Juventus

Striker Ciro Immobile has led the line well again, though his tally is lower than usual on ten goals, while midfielder Mattia Zaccagni has enjoyed a superb campaign, scoring ten and contributing five assists. But the man who has held the Lazio challenge together more than any other is midfield general Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. He has made eight assists and contributed some vital goals this season, including the opener in a recent victory over Juventus, and his domination of the middle of the park has enabled Lazio’s creative players to thrive while giving protection to his defence.

At 28 years of age the 6ft 4in Serb is in his prime, an imposing figure and the near perfect box-to-box player. Premier League title chasers Arsenal have identified Milinkovic-Savic as a potential summer recruit and will have competition from big spenders Newcastle United, and Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri knows it will be difficult to keep hold of his midfield general.

That discussion is for another day, albeit pretty soon, but Lazio’s main man will have a big say in their destiny this season, wherever he ends up.

History

Milan have won 31 of the 70 meetings with Lazio over the past 30 years while I Biancoceleste have won 15 and there have been 24 draws.

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I Rossoneri have a point to make though, having been royally thumped 4-0 when the two teams met in Rome in January as both Milinkovic-Savic and Zaccagni were on target.

But both teams are struggling to maintain the very best form. Sarri’s Lazio met Inter Milan last week and stumbled to a second successive loss; but before that they won four on the bounce. Meanwhile, Milan are hard to beat but have drawn four of their last five.

Betting Tip

The Serie A 2023 betting odds say this race for Champions League places is going down to the wire and these two teams will be right there to the very last kick. 

AC Milan are odds on at 1.96 to win this clash, with Lazio at SBOTOP odds of 3.30 and the draw at 3.16. It’s going to be very, very tight I suspect.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

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⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

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SBOTOP 10-May 2023 Wednesday 12:30 PM (295 days ago)            #57
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Serie A: Inter Surging to the Top Four But Roma Want to Have a Word

AS Roma vs Inter Milan

The upcoming match between AS Roma and Inter Milan is one to look forward to as the battle for the top four here in Serie A continues to intensify.

Between AS Roma and Inter Milan, the latter has the upper hand in the standings. Because they’re on a three-game winning streak, I Nerazzurri moved up to fourth place with 60 points.

But right below them is a three-way tie at 58 points between Atalanta, AC Milan, and AS Roma. I Giallorossi are in seventh place due to a lower goal difference, but a home victory this weekend would bring them back to fourth place.

Who do you think will win in this crucial top four battle? Without further ado, read on below as SBOTOP shares a preview of this match.

Talking Points

Abraham on the radar again

Tammy Abraham will try to score goals for AS Roma against Inter Milan at Stadio Olimpico in Serie A
AS Roma’s Tammy Abraham during their home match against AC Milan

AS Roma could make a case for having an in-form striker, as Tammy Abraham is back at his best. The 25-year-old forward is one of the team’s best players this season, as he is their second-leading scorer with nine goals and five assists.

Abraham recently scored a crucial goal to earn a 1-1 draw against AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico, and his efforts in the said match didn’t go unnoticed as scouts from several top European teams were there to see him live in action.

Manchester United are one of those teams eyeing Abraham because they’re in dire need of attacking reinforcements, but so as the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle United, PSG, Bayern Munich, and even Aston Villa.

Reports claim that AS Roma won’t let Tammy Abraham go for anything less than €40 million, which might be a bargain if he continues his upward trajectory.

And with Paulo Dybala questionable to play on Saturday, there’s a big possibility that Abraham will continue to lead AS Roma’s frontline.

Jose Mourinho is not in a good mood as his team couldn’t eke out a victory against Monza last time out (1-1 draw). He might not be on the touchline against Inter Milan because of his contentious behaviour toward the referees in the said game.

Lukaku’s time to shine at Inter Milan

Because his loan will expire soon, Romelu Lukaku will return to Chelsea next season, and he’s looking to make the most of his remaining time with I Nerazzurri.

The Belgian centre-forward has been up and down this season, but he still put up eight goals and five assists, making him the fourth-best attacker for Simone Inzaghi.

Serie A
AC MILAN
LAZIO
TO SEE UPDATED ODDS

Romelu Lukaku hasn’t scored in a while, but he remains instrumental for the squad in the final third. In their 3-1 win over Lazio, Lukaku provided two assists to give I Nerazzurri the edge.

Inter Milan are still on the fence about whether they would like to extend Lukaku’s loan spell here in Italy, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll be keen to keep him longer if he continues to put up new Serie A 2023 highlights.

History

AS Roma and Inter Milan last faced off in October, where the former won 2-1. Federico Dimarco scored first for Inter Milan, but Paulo Dybala and Chris Smalling overturned their one-goal deficit by scoring two of their own.

That result was AS Roma’s first Serie A victory over Inter Milan since February 2017. Before this, they were winless in 10 straight league matches (W4, D6).

Inter Milan have won more Serie A games (75) and scored more Serie A goals (291) against AS Roma than they have against any other side in their league history.

In terms of recent form, Inter Milan have a slight advantage with three straight wins, one draw, and one loss in their last five, while AS Roma have won twice, drawn twice, and lost once in the same stretch.

Betting Tip

The Serie A 2023 odds expect a close fight between these two top four hopefuls on Saturday. Considering their recent form, Inter Milan were given the edge at 2.37, while AS Roma aren’t far behind at 2.91 in the 1X2 market.

Neither side would want to risk losing this game, so we feel that going for a draw at 2.99 is your best bet. A defeat for either team could spell the end of their Champions League ambitions, whereas a point apiece would allow both to stay in the tightening race.

My guess is that Simone Inzaghi and Jose Mourinho will have a pragmatic approach this weekend, making Under 2.50 at 2.25 your top alternative bet.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (⭐) BETS ARE WORTH:

⭐⭐⭐= €20 (HIGHLY CONFIDENT)

⭐⭐= €10 (CONFIDENT)

⭐= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.


 

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SBOTOP 10-May 2023 Wednesday 12:31 PM (295 days ago)            #58
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Serie A: The Scudetto Has Landed in Naples

Napoli are the 2023 Serie A champions and the celebrations in the city of Naples will carry on for days after their heroes won a first Scudetto in 33 years.

A 1-1 draw away to Udinese was enough to seal the title, and it was that man Victor Osimhen who scored the vital second half equaliser to spark bedlam in the away end at the Stadio Friuli. After their celebrations were delayed by Salernitana last week when they conceded a late equaliser, I Partenopei did the job at the second attempt.

Napoli just needed a point, but even that looked in doubt when Sandi Lovric gave the hosts a 13th minute lead, which they held on to until half time. But cometh the hour, cometh the man and Osimhen was on hand to fire in a rebound on 53 minutes to make it 22 for the campaign.

And that was the moment when is seemed, after all, that this would be Napoli’s night. The Serie A 2023 betting odds gave the title to Luciano Spalletti’s team a few weeks ago, but now it’s a reality as Napoli sit proudly, a full 16 points clear of the chasing pack with just five games to play.

Naples won’t sleep for days after seeing their team win a first Scudetto since 1990 and preparations are underway for another celebration on 4th June when I Partenopei host Sampdoria on the final day of the season.

No club south of Rome has won the Serie A title since those heady days when Diego Maradona lit up the city of Naples alongside legendary Napoli stars Ciro Ferrara, Gianfranco Zola, and Careca, and now the Class of 2023 has done it.

Serie A
UDINESE
SAMPDORIA
1X2 Udinese @ 1.53
Over 2.50 @ 1.86
Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.92
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

Big week in Milan

While Naples enjoys the “party to end all parties” there is serious business to be done in the north of the country. AC Milan and Inter Milan are set to meet in the Champions League semi-final next Wednesday, and we’ll be all over that game here at SBOTOP with the best Asian Handicap Betting odds, previews, and reports.

And it seems that I Nerazzurri have emerged from a temporary slump, while I Rossoneri may are enduring their own stumble. The race for a Champions League 2023/24 place is reaching a dramatic climax with six teams hunting for three places, only six points separating Lazio in second from Roma in seventh.

Either of the Milan clubs could rejoin Europe’s elite by winning the 2023 competition but, with Manchester City or Real Madrid to face in the Champions League final, I wouldn’t count on that.

Of all the Serie A 2023 results this week, the one that stood out was Inter’s 6-0 destruction of Hellas Verona. Lautaro Martinez scored twice to move up to 19 for the campaign and only three behind Osimhen in the race for the Capocannoniere.

Serie A: Lautaro Martinez led Inter Milan to a win against Hellas Verona
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring their third goal against Hellas Verona

And the result meant Inter are in the priceless fourth place after AC Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at home to relegation candidates Cremonese on Wednesday. I Rossoneri host Lazio at home on Saturday before the Champions League semi-final, and the pressure is mounting on head coach Stefano Pioli.

His team has earned just 23 points in 2023 and that would place them in 11th position if the campaign had started in January. They have won just two of their last nine league games despite seeing off Napoli in the Champions League and reaching a first semi-final since 2007.

He has signed a contract to stay at the San Siro until 2025, but angry Milan fans are using the hashtag #PioliOut on Twitter. The boss needs his players to deliver against both Lazio and Inter. Fail in both and pressure will just increase.

Is Zlatan off to Monza?

According to the Italian sports press, one huge figure who is on his way out of the San Siro is Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, at the grand old age of 41, is set to leave AC Milan. He is a physical phenomenon, still playing at the highest level, but Zlatan has struggled with injuries this term, making just 11 starts.

That has led to rumours of his departure, and there have been reports that he has made a verbal agreement with new boys Monza, the top league’s underdogs who currently sit in 10th place. With a 15,000-capacity stadium and four Serie C titles as their best achievement, Monza is a humble club which is punching away above its weight since promotion in 2022.

The Stadio Brianteo is just 20 km north of Milan, and some speculators have said the former PSG man’s move to Monza is 90-per cent likely to happen. The club is owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is a big friend of Ibrahimovic.


 

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SBOTOP 18-May 2023 Thursday 3:04 PM (287 days ago)            #59
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Serie A: Games to Look Out for on Matchday 35

There are four matches to go in what has been an absorbing Serie A campaign with the Scudetto already in Naples after Luciano Spalletti led I Partenopei to a first title since the days of the great Diego Maradona.

But there’s plenty more to play for with a fierce race for Champions League places and a dog-eat-dog battle to avoid relegation. Juventus are in second place with 66 points, then we have Lazio on 64, Inter Milan 63, AC Milan 61 and Atalanta and Roma both in the hunt on 58.

At the bottom Sampdoria are already doomed and then it’s two from four. Cremonese are in serious trouble on 24 points while Spezia, on 27 has Hellas Verona (30) and Lecce (31) in their sights. The Serie A 2023 results on Matchday 35 will have a huge impact on the outcomes at the top and bottom of the league, so let’s look at the fixtures to watch out for.

Lazio host Lecce on Friday night in the weekend’s curtain raiser and it’s a game the Romans will expect to win, which would be good news for Spezia in particular. Lazio had a setback last week, losing to AC Milan while Lecce lost at home to Hellas Verona. All eyes will be on I Biancoceleste midfield ace Sergej Milinkovic-Savic who has had a tremendous season and is admired by Premier League title hopefuls Arsenal.

Serie A
INTER MILAN
SASSUOLO
1X2 Sassuolo @ 6.00
Inter Milan Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.17
Under 2.75 @ 2.12
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

On Saturday, Salernitana vs Atalanta will see a clash between two red hot strikers, Boulaye Dia of Salernitana comes up against Atalanta hot shot Ademola Lookman. They have 15 and 13 goals respectively and sit third and fourth in the top scorers list. Salernitana aren’t mathematically safe yet so they will give La Dea a stiff test.

Spezia vs AC Milan is another clash which involves two teams with plenty to play for. I Rossoneri have a Champions League semi-final clash with Inter on Wednesday night, a mega match which we are reporting on here at SBOTOP,and then they only have three days to prepare for their trip to Liguria. Spezia’s tight ground with a 11,500 capacity is a far cry from the San Siro and this is another potential banana skin for a big hitter.

Inter Milan have made a recent surge into the top four and the latest Serie A 2023 betting odds reckon they will stay there. They can further cement their place with a win over mid-table Sassuolo but, like Milan they have limited preparation time. Star striker Lautaro Martinez has 19 goals and is four behind Napoli’s Victor Osimhen in the race for the Capocannoniere, while Sassuolo’s Azzurri star Domenico Berardi made it nine goals for the campaign when he scored in a 1-1 draw with Bologna last week and, with six assists this season he is Sassuolo’s most dangerous player.

Can Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez score once again in their upcoming Serie A match?
Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez scores their first goal vs Lazio

On Sunday Title winners Napoli are away to the over-achievers Monza who are sitting pretty in 12th place and already looking forward to another campaign among the elite of Italy. Rumours are circulating that some of Europe’s biggest clubs are considering a move for Osimhen, but a price tag of £150m will rule plenty out, and I Partenopei are still hopeful they can keep hold of their crown jewel. He has recently become the highest African scorer in Serie A with 47, having beaten a record long held by AC Milan legend George Weah and Osimhen seems happy in Naples.

But it will be a long summer for Napoli fans.

Juventus can cement their second place with a match at home to Cremonese, while deepening the relegation mire their visitors find themselves in. But Cre