Soccer Italy Serie A Prediction
Bologna vs AC Milan - Match Preview
⚽ 15 April 2023 - 13:00 GMT +0
Only a handful of teams have done better than eighth-placed Bologna over the last ten Serie A (SA) matches (W6, D2, L2), giving hope to their European dreams as even a seventh-place finish could potentially open up the door to continental qualification. An impressive 2-0 home win over Atalanta last weekend, which coach Thiago Motta described as Bologna’s “best game”, was part of that good form, and the manager now wants to face AC Milan “at our best” so his side can stay firmly in the European hunt.
The hosts are actually in line to win three top-flight games in a row ‘to nil’ for the first time since February 1973, and hopes will be high they can achieve that, especially as they are on a run of three straight shutouts at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara which includes a win against Inter and a draw with Lazio! Milan presents a huge obstacle in achieving that considering Bologna has not won a top-flight H2H since January 2016 (D2, L12).
Milan sees this match sandwiched between their Champions League quarter-final commitments against Napoli, whom they defeated 1-0 during the first leg on Wednesday. That slender lead keeps the “tie wide open” according to coach Stefano Pioli, who may have to juggle his priorities as the fourth-placed visitors aren’t guaranteed a top-four league finish yet.
Part of the blame for that predicament lies in Milan’s poor recent five-game league form (W1, D2, L2) where they dropped crucial points in every game bar a stunning 4-0 win over Napoli. That victory came on the road, albeit once again it was an exception as Milan have lost four of their last six SA road trips (W2) casting doubts over their ability to hold on to a proud record of having not lost an away SA H2H since March 2002 (W12, D4).
📋 Key battle: Nicola Sansone scored Bologna’s opener in their last match and has six goal involvements (G4, A2) in 13 SA H2Hs. Stopping him could be Theo Hernández’s main task, although the Milan defender also boasts three goal involvements (G1, A2) in six SA H2Hs.
⚡ Hot stat: Only Udinese have won more league points than Bologna (14 – W4, D2, L6) this season after conceding the match opener.
Napoli vs Verona - Match Preview
⚽ 15 April 2023 - 16:00 GMT +0
Runaway league leaders Napoli maintained their 16-point cushion over second-placed Lazio with their 2-1 victory against Lecce in their last Serie A (SA) match, but it was followed up by a disappointing 1-0 defeat in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Milan on Wednesday, which only highlighted the absence of striker Victor Osimhen.
Napoli are returning home with a clear goal in their minds – to make up for their last performance on their own turf, a crushing 4-0 SA defeat against Milan, which was unusually their second league defeat in three matches here (W1). That match also saw a protest by Napoli’s fans, but coach Luciano Spalletti hopes it doesn’t happen again as his side heads towards a first title after 33 years, with Spalletti saying he ’will go home’ should the atmosphere be the same for this game.
Hellas Verona celebrated the 120th anniversary of the club’s foundation in style, ending a six-match winless run (D2, L4) with a 2-1 turnaround victory against Sassuolo. That was a crucial result for the Gialloblu, keeping them within four points of safety ahead of this round and still in with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation.
One of the toughest away trips in Europe lies ahead of them though, and Verona remains the only SA side yet to win an away league match this term (D5, L9). The club’s birthday celebrations could therefore be brought to a screeching halt here, especially as Marco Zaffaroni’s men have scored a league-low seven goals on the road, while they were beaten 5-2 in this season’s reverse fixture.
📋 Players to watch: Partenopei captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo opened the scoring for Napoli in the 18th minute in their last SA match and curiously netted in the same minute in the last season’s H2H here. Verona’s Adolfo Gaich appears to prefer the latter stages to find the net, as he scored his first Verona goal in the 95th minute to secure victory over Sassuolo's last time out.
⚡ Hot stat: Napoli have failed to win just one league match after scoring first this season (W20, D1).
Inter vs Monza - Match Preview
⚽ 15 April 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
A 2-0 win over Benfica in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals first leg on Tuesday came at the perfect time for Inter Milan, as they halted a miserable six-match winless run. Boss Simone Inzaghi minced no words in blasting the “insane schedule” that had them playing four games in 11 days, but they will have to quickly regroup if the fifth-placed Nerazzurri hope to revive their top-four push.
Playing Monza is certainly a good omen they can do just that as Inter are unbeaten in their last 28 league matches against newly promoted clubs (W24, D4) including a 2-2 draw in the reverse H2H. Continuing that would certainly be a welcome relief, as back-to-back 1-0 defeats at the San Siro put the Nerazzurri in danger of losing three straight home league matches for the first time since April 2013.
Monza start this round 13 points above the relegation zone following a 2-2 draw with Udinese in their last match, after conceding a late penalty denied them all three points and extended their winless run (D3, L1). With club owner Silvio Berlusconi hospitalised, coach Raffaele Palladino wants to treat every match as “a final” especially as three of their next six matches starting with Inter are against current top-five sides.
That may not be an insurmountable challenge for Monza who have shown they can rub shoulders with the big clubs this term, boasting wins at Juventus and Bologna since the turn of this year. Any repeat of those heroics would need them to halt a three-game away winless run (D2, L1) where they conceded the match opener each time.
📋 Players to watch: Leading the line for the club, Romelu Lukaku has directly contributed to goals in Inter’s last three matches (G2, A1), while Monza will hope that Gianluca Caprari can find the net as his side on the day remain unbeaten in his last 12 scoring games (W9, D3).
⚡ Hot stat: Ahead of this round, Inter has scored the joint-highest number of goals (17) within the first 30 minutes in SA this season.
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