WE'VE sealed another stellar signing for the new campaign with Serie A don Paolo Bandini bringing his expertise to the site thanks to our partner Unibet.
Paolo is an Anglo-Italian sportswriter who pens a superb weekly Serie A column for the Guardian and his other credits include ESPN, the BBC and TalkSport as well as making regular appearances on the Football Weekly podcast.
He's a Trevi Fountain of knowledge and we're delighted to have him on board.
Chievo v Verona (Sun, 11.30am)
After a one-year hiatus the Derby della Scala returns to Serie A. It might be the most balanced rivalry in all of Italy. These sides have met 16 times in total, winning six each, and drawing the remaining four. Chievo have scored 19 goals across those matches while Verona have 20.
And yet this edition threatens to be a mismatch. Chievo, enjoying a club-record 10th consecutive season in the top flight, are unbeaten in five games. Their only defeats have come against Lazio and Juventus. Although traditionally the bigger club Verona have struggled since returning to this level after a year in Serie B.
They finally grabbed their first win of the season on Monday but it was against another newly-promoted side Benevento who had a man sent off before half-time.
On top of all that Verona are likely to be without centre-back Thomas Heurtaux who missed the Benevento game with an ankle injury. Samuel Souprayen moved in from left-back to replace him in that match and played well but the circumstances were favourable.
These teams have scored just 13 goals between them so we should not expect an end-to-end encounter. Chievo though are experts at getting what they need from games against lesser teams.
- Chievo 1, Verona 0 (6-1, Unibet)
- Inglese to score first (43-10, Unibet)
- Chievo to win (9-10, Unibet)
Milan v Genoa (Sun, 2pm)
Not even the Europa League could provide its usual succour to Vincenzo Montella, the Milan manager forced to settle for a goalless draw at home to AEK Athens. This was not a priority fixture and the Rossoneri remain top of their group but after three consecutive league defeats a win could have provided a timely boost to morale.
Milan’s chief executive, Marco Fassone, had voiced his support for the manager at the start of the week but sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli struck a more ambiguous note when he told reporters on Thursday “every one of us has our time – not just him.” A further setback on Sunday would be disastrous, regardless of what it meant for Montella’s future. Genoa are 17th with five points from eight games.
Nikola Kalinic is expected back in the starting XI, despite failing to score in any of his last four appearances, while Alessio Romagnoli’s return at left centre-back will allow Ricardo Rodriguez to move back out to wing-back, and Giacomo Bonaventura back into his regular midfield role. But how much is this constant re-shuffling preventing Milan from finding the consistency they need?
Genoa have a dilemma of their own up front now Gianluca Lapadula has recovered from the knee injury that slowed his start to the season. Is it too much of a stretch to imagine a forward who Milan loaned out in the summer coming back to haunt them at a time when they are struggling to pick the best combination out of the group of players who replaced him?
Torino v Roma (Sun, 2pm)
Losing Andrea Belotti to injury was supposed to hinder Torino’s attack. Instead it was the defence that went to pieces in a 2-2 draw with Crotone and which has now shipped 12 goals in five games. Those numbers do not bode well before a meeting with a Roma side who just put three past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The Giallorossi should arrive here with their tails up and with plenty of options for refreshing their team, too, since none of Daniele de Rossi, Stephan El Shaarawy or Alessandro Florenzi started in London. The latter two have the legs to exploit Torino’s veteran full-back pairing of Lorenzo de Silvestri and Cristian Molinaro.
Torino will meet fire with fire as is their way under Sinisa Mihajlovic. And if the “immutable law of the ex” is in effect then they will find themselves in excellent shape since three out of the four players expected to start atop their 4-2-3-1 – Adem Ljajic, Iago Falqué and Umar Sadiq – used to play for Roma.
The Granata will draw additional encouragement from the knowledge they have not lost at home to these opponents since 2013. But Roma’s away form in this calendar year has been spectacular. They are seeking an 11th-straight road win in Serie A.
- Torino 1, Roma 3 (13-1, Unibet)
- Dzeko to score first (43-10, Unibet)
- Over 2.5 match goals (1-2, Unibet)
Anglo-Italian Paolo Bandini writes about Italian football for the Guardian and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.