You probably weren’t expecting your focus to be on Serie A tonight, but the one positive about the restrictions placed upon us that renewed sense of interest in football leagues that we generally don’t care about.
And while Thursday won’t decide absolutely everything from a mathematical perspective, both Udinese v Juventus and Lazio v Cagliari are worth watching for very different reasons.
And if Italian football isn’t necessarily your bag, it’s worth remembering that this influx of football that we’ve now craved and taken for granted in the space about six weeks will be gone again shortly and we’d be paying a pretty penny for Lazio and Cagliari of a Thursday night.
All about perspective, isn’t it? So let’s have a look at a few punts while we’re here, folks.
I’m quite happy to take value here with some odds-against about Udinese and Juventus producing fewer than three goals.
The logic for it isn’t speculative either. It’s always going to be your initial instinct to back overs with Juventus, which is very well advisable in most circumstance. But going to Udinese is a bit different and I’ll explain why.
Despite the fact that each of Juve’s last seven Serie A clashes have gone over 2.5 goals, these games have been against relatively open sides. Udinese? Not so much.
Despite being just seven points off the relegation zone, Udinese have coughed up just 20 goals at home all season – boasting the fifth-best record in the division. Only Juve themselves, Lazio and both Milan clubs can claim more superior numbers.
But of course there’s two sides to every story in that they’ve only found the net themselves on 15 occasions, which, as you can imagine, puts them second-bottom in terms of home goals scored all season.
Only bottom-placed SPAL have a worse record with 13.
The psychology of this game isn’t definitive, but Juve know if they win here, it’s only one more point to being crowned champions yet again. With that in mind, this could very easily turn into a slog, as Udinese surely have slightly more winnable matches in mind for their road to Serie A security for yet another season.
Expect a snorefest between these two and Under 2.5 goals.
Perhaps the story of the season for outsiders is the form of Ciro Immobile.
While Lazio’s title challenge petered out, Immobile’s form really didn’t and after his goal against Juventus last week has him back on the scoring trail after going five gameweeks without bagging, it’s hard not to fancy him, with penalty duties in his back pocket, to open the scoring here.
Lazio are averaging an outrageous 2.5 goals per home game in Serie A this season and it’ll come as no surprise to see them pile on once more against a Cagliari defence who are in the bottom half when it comes to away results this season.
Oh, I can almost spell the espresso from here and will be backing Ciro Immobile to score first.
These two selections in a double will give you odds of just over 5/1 with Paddy Power.
Tips for Thursday’s Serie A matches
- Man Utd deliver fax machines to Europe’s top clubs amid poor David de Gea form
- Peter Crouch’s guide to celebrating safely – in your bubble