Dave Farrar predicts the Derby della Lanterna will go to the Blucerchiati, SPAL to trip Atalanta and excitement for the neutrals at the Olimpico...
Samp back on track
Sampdoria v Genoa Saturday, 19:45 Live on BT Sport 1 and Betfair Live Video
Sampdoria bounced back to form this week (against the better judgement of this column) with an unexpected victory at Atalanta, and yet they're trading as if that game didn't happen, as they prepare for a derby match against Genoa.
Fabio Quagliarella is playing through pain at the moment and that might be one reason why you can back Samp at2.88 to win on Saturday night, but I can't think of too many others. I appreciate that Genoa aren't "away" in this fixture, but you can't underestimate just how good Samp are at home, and now that their confidence is back, I expect them to win this.
Samp have won each of the last three derbies, and for all that they've plateaued a little, they've still lost only one of their last seven here in Serie A (5-0 against Inter) and that win against Atalanta will send them here confident that they can get the job done.
Genoa have looked a little fragile in recent weeks: they put in an immense effort to get out of the relegation picture and maybe they're now paying the price. They'll stay up, but could have a run in to forget, starting with the Derby Della Lanterna on Saturday night.
No stopping SPAL
SPAL v Atalanta Saturday, 17:00 Live on Betfair Live Video
This column has been stung before by underestimating Atalanta against some of the lower lights in Serie A, but SPAL are far too big to beat them this weekend, and edge closer to safety.
SPAL are now unbeaten in their last five games, including a draw here against Juventus, and they take on a team whose European ambitions suffered a huge blow after they lost in midweek against Sampdoria.
SPAL drew at Genoa last time with 10 men, have hit form at the right time, and will throw everything into this. They're just two points away from the relegation zone, but even to be in that position has taken a huge effort.
They might have won just three times at the Stadio Paolo Mazza this season, but much of that failure came before this good run, and we have to judge Leonardo Semplici's team on current form, rather than anything that went before, and that gives them a big chance here.
There's the added bonus that SPAL have had all week to prepare for this, while Atalanta were losing to Samp, and I give the home team a big chance at odds of around the 4.80 mark.
The policy this season, though, has been to keep the draw onside, and I'm not going to change that, so I'll be laying Atalanta to get the win that they need to give them a European boost, at around1.96.
Overs at the Olimpico
Roma v Fiorentina Saturday, 17:00 Live on BT Sport 3 and Betfair Live Video
After their rather unfortunate defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League, Roma will have to rapidly focus on a tough League game at the Olimpico in Saturday's early kick off.
Fiorentina come into this after five successive wins, a squad galvanised by tragedy and playing some impressive football. They've scored twice in their last three games, and will head for Rome confident that they can come away with something.
These two produced six goals when they met earlier on the campaign, and I think that we might be in for something similar here. La Viola will be confident enough to attack Roma, and we know just how good the home team are in front of goal (as Barcelona nearly discovered), especially at home, and especially against teams that over-commit.
Roma have scored four goals in three of their last four meetings with Fiorentina, and while that history must be given its appropriate place when considering a bet, they are clearly comfortable playing against La Viola, and this should be the perfect opportunity for them to keep up their push for third place in Serie A.
I can see the visitors scoring, but Roma will relish the challenge, and I just think that this is one of those occasions when they'll outgun their opposition. I expect Roma to win a high scoring game.