Enzo’s Insights: Luckless Napoli to Lose Again
There's a fantastic set of Serie A fixtures this Thursday to kickstart the new year and Enzo returns to give us his insights
AC Milan v Roma Thu 6 Jan 17:30 BST
Milan start the new year in 2nd place, four points behind winter champions Inter. The Rossoneri kicked off the season with a 12 game unbeaten streak but stumbled their way into the Christmas break (W3 D2 L3). A home defeat to injury ravaged Napoli threatened to ruin Stefano Pioli’s Christmas but a comfortable win over Empoli on the final day ensured 2021 ended on a high.
There are plenty of contenders for the oddball team of the season award but Roma are definitely one of the favourites. To paraphrase Katy Perry, they’re hot then they’re cold, they’re up then they’re down. However, The Giallorossi did have a decent end to the year (W2 D1 L0) which included a surprise 4-1 trouncing of Atalanta in Bergamo.
Roma lost the reverse of this fixture 2-1 back in October but that was to a pre-wobble Milan. Since then, the Rossoneri have been a shadow of their early selves while Roma are beginning to look like a proper team. Stefano Pioli will also have to contend with a number of absentees. Franck Kessie and Bennacer have departed for AFCON and both Leao and Ibra are doubts. Because of this I am going to chance a Roma win @ 3/1. We have seen that the Giallorossi have the potential to cause upsets so at a big price against a rattled, weakened Milan they are definitely worth a shot.
Juventus v Napoli Thu 6 Jan 19:45 BST
Juventus cruised into crimbo with an impressive run consisting of (W6 D1 L1). To be fair, the fixtures did fall kindly for them and the lone defeat came against Atalanta, the only top 6 side they faced. But, you can only beat what’s in front of you and Juve did that comfortably, conceding just twice in the process.
Napoli’s rotten form (W2 D2 L4) continued right up to Christmas. The Partenopei looked to have turned a corner with a surprise triumph over Milan at the San Siro but promptly followed it up with a home loss to relegation contenders Spezia. The break also did nothing to ease the absentee list. Elmas, Fabian Ruiz, Osimhen and Lozano all have covid while Koulibaly, Anguissa and Ounas are at AFCON.
With almost a full squad to choose from, Juve should be too strong for a severely understrength Napoli so Juventus Win @ 10/11 looks like a fair price. I will also have a small punt on Juventus to win 2-0 @ 8/1. Despite dispatching teams with ease they have not been over exerting themselves and a low scoring affair seems likely.
Fiorentina v Udinese Thu 6 Jan 19:45 BST
My final Serie A bet of the week will be on a goalfest in Florence. Fiorentina and in particular Dusan Vlahovic have been in fine scoring form. 56% of the Viola’s games at the Franchi have seen more than 3.5 goals and prior to Christmas they treated the home fans to 4-3, 3-1, 4-0 and 2-2 thrillers.
Udinese have unjustly earned the nickname “boring Udinese” which is a tad unfair when you consider their recent results. Inspired by Beto suddenly bursting into life, they have gone 4-0, 3-1 and 4-4 in their most recent away matches. Overall, only 44% of the Friulani’s games on the road have exceeded the 3.5 mark but with such in-form strikers on show I fancy Over 3.5 goals @ 2/1.
Fiorentina v Udinese: Over 3.5 goals @ 2/1
AC Milan v Roma: Roma Win @ 3/1
Juventus v Napoli: Juventus Win @ 10/11