Inter Milan v Lazio
I can’t remember a set of Serie A fixtures quite as unappetising as this midweek round. That means stakes will be at a minimum as, to a certain extent, will interest. There aren’t too many Serie A issues to be decided now and eyes are starting to look towards that Rome derby Coppa Italia final which will at least give the season a spectacular send-off.
Andrea Stramaccioni’s Inter surely can’t wait to see the season end. Inter could have been managed better but their injury crisis has now become almost comical. Tommaso Rocchi’s knock against Napoli meaning they ended that match without a fit striker.
He is likely to return here and even Antonio Cassano could be on the bench so normality might just be resuming just as the season reaches its end. That tends to be the way of things with Inter.
I’m not at all surprised to see Lazio trading as favourites – they are fresh from a 6-0 win over Bologna when Miroslav Klose was in sensational form with five goals but 2.54 for the away win looks a bit skinny. Inter are in poor form but played relatively well in Naples and Lazio looked so poor in the matches prior to that Bologna game I couldn’t have any faith in them at such a short price.
Inter won’t exactly be chasing down Udinese for that final Europa League spot as the club will be happy to concentrate on the league next season but there’s still a sense of pride around San Siro and the players won’t want to be remembered as the team that lost more games in a single campaign than any other Inter side. That’s what will happen should they lose once more this season.
Lazio still have two routes into the Europa League, via Serie A or the Cup Final, and Vladimir Petkovic’s team deserves at least that honour although it’s European involvement which has hurt them this season. The Europa League has really taken its toll. It robbed them for a while of Klose and we were reminded at the weekend just how important he is to them.
I think there will be goals at San Siro but for a side that can be so dour away from home (Lazio have only one goal in their last six away) I’m not interested in the idea of over 2.5 goals at a price of 1.82.
By process of elimination and in the interest of value I will have a small bet on Inter for the first time this season. I know they are frustrating and have been overrated for much of this season but a price of 3.0 for a home win against an equally inconsistent side is a little insulting. Inter have won their last seven home games against Lazio and I’ll be cautiously supporting them to make it eight in a row.
Back Inter to beat Lazio @ 3.0
Elsewhere, I think Juventus could be a little overpriced to win in Bergamo against Atalanta at 2.22 but I haven’t been privvy to just how hard they’ve been celebrating their Serie A win and so I’ll swerve them.
Milan are a near certainty to win in Pescara but are also prohibitively short at 1.18. The draw in Torino against Genoa is currently trading at 1.84 which tells you pretty much everything about what will happen there and even I’d normally fancy Bologna at home against Napoli at a price as big as 5.3 I’m never ever backing Bologna again after their disgraceful display at the Olimpico on Sunday.
I’d also normally like the idea of Catania winning at Sampdoria at 4.9 but they have so little to play for I can’t be sure of their motivation either. So you see what I mean. Not the most appetising set of fixtures from a punting point of view. However, we can have an interest in another game.
Siena v Fiorentina
I was cursing myself for tipping the draw rather than the Roma win against Fiorentina on Saturday night. I felt sure Roma would out-perform their price but didn’t quite have the conviction they’d win. I was right until Pablo Osvaldo scored in the last minute.
This week Fiorentina play the Tuscan derby against Siena knowing they really must win to keep their chances of finishing fourth on track. I think that third place has pretty much gone but Vincenzo Montella will want as high a finish as possible as reward for the excellent season that La Viola have enjoyed.
Fiorentina are 1.71 for the win on Wednesday night and given the way both teams have been playing lately I think that’s more than a fair price. Siena have failed to win any of their last four home games and have failed to score in each of those games. They’ve lost their last three without scoring and bear in mind Fiorentina have scored in 10 of their last 11 games and won three of their last four away games. They suffered a blip against Roma but it hasn’t suddenly made them a poor side.
Fiorentina have a suffocatingly good record against their Tuscan rivals and should extend it here despite a couple of absentees. Fiorentina are simply a class above and will make that tell.
If you’re worried about a local derby atmosphere unsettling the visitors then don’t. Siena’s ground has a strange, temporary feel to it, and the feeling of the crowd is a long way from oppressive in a parkland setting. And this should be a walk in the parkland for the team in purple.
Back Fiorentina to beat Siena @ 1.71