After two Serie A winners prior to the international break, and TEN straight during it, Jake Pearson returns to run the rule over Italy's top flight this weekend, with Lazio v Italy and Juventus v Roma the focus.
1pt Inter to beat Lazio at 5/4 (William Hill)
1pt Juventus to beat Roma at 10/11 (Betfred)
Simone Inzaghi returns to the Stadio Olimpico for the first time as Inter Milan manager, having overseen procedures at Lazio for four seasons.
Lazio have made a decent enough start to life post-Inzaghi, with Maurizio Sarri’s side sitting sixth in Serie A, but they are already ten points off top spot in the division, and six points behind Inzaghi’s new side Inter, who are unbeaten in the league.
Already words have been traded, making this an even more intriguing contest, with Lazio player Luis Alberto claiming Sarri is “mentally stronger” than Inzaghi, and stating that the Lazio faithful will have “fun” watching Sarri’s version of the Biancocelesti.
In fairness though, it will be difficult to put on a better show than Inter have been doing this season. For all that Inzaghi was drafted into Milan because of the similarities in his managerial and coaching style to that of Antonio Conte, Inter currently lead the way in terms of goals scored in Serie A this term, netting 22 times. They also top the charts in terms of chances created, averaging 2.47 Expected Goals For (xGF) per game.
Though Lazio may be fun, it is difficult to see this Inter side not outscoring them, and an away win looks the way to go in this match-up - at a generous 5/4 too.
Generous because Inter were priced up around the 4/5 mark to beat Fiorentina – who currently have a point more than Lazio – in Florence last month, and if the sample size from this season is too small to be comparing teams, then Inter were also 4/6 to beat Sassuolo away before the international break – a side who finished just four points behind Lazio last season.
There is a lot of conjecture here, but the overriding reasoning is that Inter have been odds-on to win away against teams that can be categorised as being on a similar level to Lazio, and the fact that they are odds-against here makes INTER MILAN TO WIN the bet.
Score prediction: Lazio 1-2 Inter (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
After a shaky start to the season, failing to win in their opening four Serie A matches, Juventus have steadied the ship and are beginning to look like a force to be reckoned with once again.
A transition away from Andrea Pirlo’s philosophical football and back towards Massimiliano Allegri’s tried and tested methods was always going to have a few teething problems, particularly after the departure of Juventus’ top scorer for the previous three seasons, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Allegri has been criticised for his lack of flexibility when it comes to shifting away from his preferred 4-4-2 formation, particularly as it tends to restrict the attacking propensity of Federico Chiesa. But with Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala both injured - though both could potentially make the bench for this match - Chiesa has been freed to play in a more advanced role, and with the shackles off, he is one of the most dangerous players in Italian football at present.
Juventus’ poor start to the season means they remain ten points behind league-leaders Napoli, and five behind Jose Mourinho’s Roma, who have made a more than satisfactory start to the campaign.
As might be expected from a Mourinho side, Roma have been imperious at home this season, winning all four of their home matches at the Stadio Olimpico.
Away from Rome however, Jose’s men have been less convincing, losing twice and winning just once, and that was just two games into the season against newly-promoted Salernitana.
Defensively, there isn’t much to chose between the two, but Juventus are building up a real head of steam at the minute, and though their last four victories have all come by a single goal, backing them to win a fifth successive match in all competitions looks the way to go here.
Anywhere close to even money for a JUVENTUS WIN, particularly when at home, is usually worth taking, and with the Old Lady currently a top price of 10/11 to claim all three points here, they are worth getting on side.
Score prediction: Juventus 2-1 Roma (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
Odds correct at 0850 BST (14/10/21)
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