Soccer Italy Serie A Prediction
Atalanta vs Spezia - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 16:00 GMT +0
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini has assessed their next two games as “decisive” in their quest to qualify for European football. Back-to-back wins have left the Blacks and Blues in seventh place in the Serie A standings, and with only two points separating them and fourth-placed Inter Milan, some fans are even dreaming of qualifying for the Champions League for just the fourth time in the club’s history.
Gasperini is warning his players not to look too far ahead when they go in search of a third successive league victory for the first time since September. Atalanta should be confident of racking up another win on home soil, where they have registered five successes in their last eight outings across all competitions (D1, L2).
Hoping to end that run will be visitors Spezia, who are at risk of seeing their three-year stint in the Italian top-flight come to an end after a miserable run of one win from 14 league outings (D6, L7) following a 2-0 loss at home to Monza. That form saw them sink to 17th place in the table at the end of the last round, above the relegation zone owing to their superior H2H record with Hellas Verona, and even a change in manager has failed to spark an upturn in form so far.
Current boss Leonardo Semplici has been in place since the end of February and he confidently insisted his side “have the means to save ourselves.” However, the Little Eagles will have to create some history if they are to end a sequence of six fixtures on the road without a victory (D4, L2), as they have never beaten Atalanta away from home (D2, L7).
📋 Key battle: Atalanta captain Rafael Tolói is unbeaten in five previous clashes against Spezia (W3, D2), with four of those games including at least four total goals. Goals are the order of the day when visiting goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski faces Atalanta too, as he has conceded at least twice in four of his last five H2Hs (W1, D1, L3).
⚡ Hot stat: Atalanta’s league matches this season average a joint-high of 2.81 total goals per game.
Juventus vs Lecce - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 16:00 GMT +0
It proved a deeply disappointing afternoon for Juventus on Sunday, as their 1-1 draw at Bologna (1-1) saw them miss the chance to climb into Serie A’s (SA) top two following Lazio’s defeat earlier in the day. The Old Lady have now failed to win any of their last four SA matches (D1, L3), but club bosses insisted on Sunday that manager Massimiliano Allegri will not be removed as boss and instead reiterated that Allegri “returned to Juve for a four-year project, we're not even half done.”
Three of those winless clashes did come on the road, leaving Juventus hoping a return to the Allianz Stadium can help them get back on track, especially as they have only tasted defeat there once in their last ten competitive outings, which came against champions-elect Napoli. That impressive run has helped contribute to Juve securing the joint-best SA home record coming into the round (W11, D3, L2).
Juventus will hope to build on that record against a Lecce side who they’ve beaten ‘to nil’ in each of the last two H2H meetings, but Marco Baroni’s side will try to make it difficult as they arrive fresh from their first league win in nine SA games (D1, L7). Buoyed by that 1-0 victory against Udinese, they finished the last round four points clear of the drop zone, and encouragingly two points better off than at this stage of their last ill-fated SA campaign in 2019/20.
Lecce will now chase successive league wins for the first time since January, but to achieve that goal they will have to do something they’ve not done on the road in 376 minutes - score a goal! Failure to do so could see them suffer a fifth straight SA away defeat for the first time since losing six top-flight travelling games on the spin in December 2010.
📋 Players to watch: While Juventus’ Filip Kostić hasn’t registered an assist since the 4-2 win against Sampdoria here in March, he comes into the round with the joint second-highest Expected Assist total in the division (6.7). His Lecce midfield opponent Morten Hjulmand will be one of those trying to continue keeping him quiet, and his record coming into the round of committing more fouls (55) than any other SA player hints he might try to do that by any means he can.
⚡ Hot stat: Ten of Juventus’ last 11 competitive games produced under 2.5 goals.
AC Milan vs Cremonese - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Two goals in second-half stoppage time, culminating in a 97th-minute AC Milan equaliser, secured a 1-1 draw against Roma on Saturday. Although that result extended their unbeaten competitive run (W3, D4), the fact four teams from fourth to seventh are separated by just two points ahead of the round means it has had very little impact in Milan’s push for a Serie A (SA) top-four finish. Boss Stefano Pioli felt that the draw was “not the result” they wanted ahead of a crucial set of games that sees them come up against Lazio in SA and city rivals Inter in the Champions League semi-finals.
This could perhaps see Pioli rotate his squad against lowly Cremonese, against whom Milan has won each of their seven top-flight home H2Hs. The Rossoneri should be able to bank on their defensive strength to once again help extend that record, having kept four clean sheets across their last five SA home games (W3, D2).
Although Cremonese held onto a goalless draw in the reverse fixture, the last time they faced AC Milan at the San Siro in May 1996, it ended in one of their heaviest-ever defeats (7-1). That certainly won’t inspire confidence for a side that failed to make their lead count against fellow relegation strugglers Verona on Sunday (D 1-1). Although coach Davide Bellardini said they “played an excellent game”, Cremonese remained seven points adrift of safety at the end of the last round, but with the Coppa Italia no longer a distraction, there now aren’t any excuses for taking their eye off the ball.
Any hopes of a miraculous late surge to safety will need them to improve their away record, having won just six points on the road this calendar year (W1, D3, L4). But with four of those points secured despite conceding the match opener, Cremonese has proved they’ve got the stomach for the fight, however late in the season it may be.
📋 Players to watch: Milan’s Alexis Saelemaekers loves having the final say on proceedings, having scored the last goal with three of his four strikes this season. Cremonese will hope David Okereke can have a say prior to that and he’s scored the match opener with four of his last five club goals.
⚡ Hot streak: Milan’s last six SA matches have seen the half-time result replicated at full-time.
Lazio vs Sassuolo - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
After recording back-to-back league defeats for the first time since the festive period, second-placed Lazio’s mathematical best finish could be to level league-leading Napoli’s current 79-point haul. Consequently, anything short of victory here will send the Scudetto to Naples, but perhaps of more concern to Lazio, their grip on a top-four berth would come under threat.
That’s because coming into the round, just six points separate the sides between second and seventh, so the visit of a Sassuolo team with little to play for could come at an opportune time. Yet playing at home hasn’t been an indicator of success for Lazio this season, with Maurizio Sarri’s men one of just five Serie A (SA) sides averaging a lower point per game at home (1.88) than away (1.94).
Now sitting 16 points above the drop zone with just 18 left to play, Sassuolo can officially secure their safety with a victory here, although they’ve almost certainly already done enough. The Neroverdi came from behind to win after having Andrea Pinamonti sent off last time out against Sampdoria, with a stunning last-gasp penalty sending the Mapei Stadium into raptures.
Pleasing the travelling fans is next on the agenda for Sassuolo, although they enter this clash on the back of consecutive travelling defeats. Even so, they had put together a five-game unbeaten run of away games prior to that (W3, D2), which included an incredible 4-3 win at this very stadium against Lazio’s bitter rivals, Roma.
📋 Players to watch: Mattia Zaccagni has scored the decisive goal in Lazio’s last two home wins and his first-ever goal for Lazio came against none other than Sassuolo. Domenico Berardi was the hero in the previous round, scoring twice beyond the 80-minute mark to secure victory for his side. The 28-year-old marksman now has seven goals in his last seven appearances (G4, A3).
⚡ Hot stat: Lazio has won fewer than half of their home games as pre-match favourites this season (W5, D3, L3).
Monza vs AS Roma - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Monza’s comeback from 2-0 down to beat Fiorentina in their last home game saw them seal their status as the best Serie A (SA) debutants this century (44 points) with seven rounds to spare. And after following that up with a 2-0 win at Spezia, the Biancorossi remain on course to become only the eighth promoted side to hit 50 points in a 38-game season when awarded three points for a win.
If Raffaele Palladino’s men can have any complaints before kick-off, their recent lack of consistency at the Brianteo Stadium might be one. Each of their five latest home matches has produced a result different to the one before it (W2, D1, L2), and with both losses seeing them blank against other current top-six teams, they still have a lot to prove.
Monza can also expect a backlash from a frustrated Roma side still battling for Europa League glory. After a 1-1 draw against AC Milan on Saturday, La Lupa thought they had won it with a 94th-minute strike against the Rossoneri, only to drop points almost immediately after netting, keeping them looking over their shoulder at those still aiming to catch up with the top-six.
While expected to rally, Roma has been poor travellers lately, winning in just one of their previous nine competitive away battles (D2, L6). Amongst those are two failures to beat promoted opposition – including a 2-1 loss to bottom-three Cremonese – meaning that Roma could go a whole SA season winless away to such teams for the first time since 1998/99.
📋 Players to watch: Matteo Pessina struck late to complete Monza’s comeback in their last outing at the Brianteo Stadium, meaning that he netted the final goal via a penalty in two of the Biancorossi’s previous four home games won or drawn. As for Roma, Paulo Dybala remains their most recent away-day matchwinner, and curiously, his last nine goals on hostile turf have either acted as match openers or equalisers for 1-1.
⚡ Hot stat: Roma has won five (D1) of the prior SA road trips in which they’ve netted first this season.
Verona vs Inter - Match Preview
⚽ 3 May 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Verona’s Serie A (SA) renaissance continued on Sunday when they came back from one goal down to pick up a crucial point (1-1) against Cremonese. An unbeaten four-game run (W2, D2) has put them level on points with Spezia but still in the relegation zone – owing to an inferior H2H record - and coach Marco Zaffaroni warned “there’s no time to enjoy anything” as the season nears its end.
Goals remain a concern with only three clubs scoring fewer than Verona’s 27 ahead of this round, but a return home could be good news. Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi has witnessed the hosts win five of their last eight home matches (D2, L1) whilst scoring 11 goals during the sequence, insulating them from their overall dearth of goals.
Success here would be historic for the hosts as Inter Milan hasn’t lost a SA H2H since February 1992 (W19, D4) and are in the middle of their own top-four battle. Simone Inzaghi’s men may have picked up form at the right moment with three wins on the trot, extended by a 3-1 win over Lazio on Sunday that was hailed by Inzaghi as a “brilliant performance” that lifted them back into the top-four.
Continuing that winning momentum will be critical as Inter have big matches on the horizon against Roma in the league and bitter city rivals AC Milan in the Champions League. Improving their away form would be handy as the Nerazzurri have won just one of their last five league road trips (D2, L2). And with both those losses seeing the decisive goal conceded beyond the 75th minute, the visitors will have to guard against late complacency.
📋 Players to watch: Simone Verdi has scored each of Verona’s last three goals and has seen his last two personal H2H contributions (G1, A1) come in 1-1 draws. On a similar scale of improved form, Lautaro Martínez has scored three of Inter’s last four league goals and also netted in three of his last four H2Hs.
⚡ Hot stat: Verona has conceded 11 SA goals (24%) beyond the 80th minute.
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