Serie A Tips: Viola soar, Roma crash and goals in Naples
Dave Farrar predicts Fiorentina will clamber clear of the drop zone, Roma will continue their slide and there's always entertainment with Napoli...
Bologna v Fiorentina
Live on Betfair Live Video
The last time that Bologna beat Fiorentina in Serie A was 8 years ago, and since then they have scored just four goals in 13 matches against La Viola. With Fiorentina improving, and Bologna perhaps starting to look towards the beach, I think that Giuseppe Iachini's team are a decent proposition at 2.56 to come away from the Dall'Ara with a win.
Fiorentina know that, with the season's denouement on the horizon, they remain a long way from safety. They are three points clear of the relegation zone, Cagliari are charging, and there is a real chance that a team which had previously looked untouchable could find themselves in Serie B next season. Benevento are now the favourites to join Crotone and Parma, but I recommended Spezia in this column at 20/1 a couple of weeks ago, and I'm sticking with that theory.
Either way, I believe that Fiorentina have it in them to get away from trouble. They followed up that monumental win in Verona with a draw at home against Juventus, and with the outstanding Dusan Vlahovic continuing to lead them impressively, they look strong enough to beat a Bologna side who were thrashed by Atalanta last time, and who have lost three of their last five Serie A games.
And, let's face it, Bologna are just about safe, but are only four points clear of La Viola. That gap could be down to one after this weekend.
Napoli v Cagliari
Live on Two of Napoli's last three home games have featured seven goals, and the reverse fixture finished 4-1 in favour of the Neapolitans. I think it will be closer this time, but either way, it seems certain to have goals.
Roma not at the races
Sampdoria v Roma
Live on Premier Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
Sports 1 and Betfair Live Video
So the Cagliari charge continued last weekend against Roma, and now Leonardo Semplici takes his team to Naples for a game against a Napoli side who are locked with Juventus and Milan, and just behind Atalanta, in what is turning into a thrilling race for the Champions League places. Lazio are not finished in that argument either, and so every point suddenly matters, which is why I don't think Gennaro Gattuso's team will slip up here.
Cagliari look set to cause problems though, and I could see this being a free scoring game. It was Cagliari's loss of goalscoring form that got them into this mess in the first place, but they seem to have put that right, grabbing eight in their last three games, and they certainly look likely to score here against a Napoli defence that is still prone to mistakes, for all the brilliance of Kalidou Koulibaly.
I hate to plough the same furrow that I did last week, but I can't resist Sampdoria at 2.88 to beat Roma on Sunday. Cagliari found a way to beat Paulo Fonseca's side last week, and with this game coming in between two legs of a Europa League semi-final, and with Roma out of Champions League contention, Samp look a decent bet to give Fonseca another bloody nose.
Claudio Ranieri's team have won two of their last three and are a perfectly respectable side. There's nothing too glamorous or sparkling about them, but they are efficient and with Roma having now lost half of their 16 away games this season, and seriously distracted by their European challenge, Samp look the bet at the prices.
Ranieri's team don't have the best recent record against Roma, or indeed the teams in the top six, but that shouldn't matter too much on Sunday. Roma's minds are elsewhere, their confidence is shot after a 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford with yet more injuries, and the League became an afterthought several weeks ago.
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