It’s derby day in Milan and Enzo gives us his selection for the big game along with two more bets that involve both Roman clubs.
Roma v Empoli
Sat 4th Feb 17:00
Roma were dumped out of the Coppa Italia after a surprise 2-1 loss to Cremonese on Wednesday night. Following the defeat, Mourinho publicly lamented the lack of depth in the Giallorossi ranks and how being unable to rotate the squad is effecting results. It was the second defeat in a row for Roma who succumbed to Napoli in the league the previous weekend.
Empoli are one of the sides who have been going about their business quietly and efficiently. If you have ever watched an Empoli game you will understand why they haven’t attracted much attention but their workmanlike approach is paying dividends. A six game unbeaten run (W3 D3 L0), which includes a victory over Inter at the San Siro, means that European football next season is not out of the question.
An away victory here is not outside the realms of possibility and at 6/1, I would not discourage anyone from hopping aboard. Personally, I will play it safe and back Double chance Empoli/Draw @ 13/8 which itself is not without merit.
Inter Milan v AC Milan
Sun 5th Feb 19:45
Milan emerged victorious in the first Derby della Madonina of the season but the Rossoneri seem like a completely different team since the restart. Pioli’s side are on a dismal run of form (W1 D2 L2) which has seen them slide down the table into 5th place. A title defence appears to be well and truly out of the question now with a 15 point gap between them and Napoli.
Inter too are not without their own tribulations but are nowhere near the type of rut Milan find themselves in. A surprise loss to Empoli and a stuttering draw with Monza means that the Nerazzurri’s scudetto dreams are also just that, dreams. However, they have progressed to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia which will offer some consolation.
Like all derbies this one is particularly difficult to call, especially with both sides having such patchy form. Inter are clear favorites and if I was forced to pick a winner I would go with Inzghi’s men but at odds on I don’t feel there is any value to be had. Instead, I’m backing the big man for the big occasion, Olivier Giroud, to get on the scoresheet. The Frenchman was on target twice in last year’s edition and has scored numerous important goals since. Olivier Giroud Anytime scorer @ 3/1 looks like an excellent price for him to continue his run of scoring in the high stakes occasions.
Verona v Lazio
Mon 6th Feb 17:30
Unlike Milan, Verona have emerged from the break motivated and hungry for survival. Hellas have picked up eight points in 2023 (W2 D2 L1) which has propelled them from the foot of the table up to 18th, just five points away from safety. Their sole defeat came at the hands of Inter who were made to work hard for the 1-0 victory.
Following Juve’s penalty for inflated transfer fees, Lazio now find themselves in 3rd with 38 points alongside Milan and Atalanta. Since the restart they have an identical record to their hosts with a stunning 4-0 thrashing of Milan at the Olimpico being the highlight.
Despite that fantastic performance the Biancocelesti are prone to dropping points when they shouldn’t, the loss to Lecce and draw with Empoli at the beginning of January spring to mind. Taking that and a Coppa Italia quarter final on Thursday into consideration, I feel Double chance Verona/Draw @ 5/6 is well worth a shout.
Roma v Empoli: Double chance Empoli/Draw @ 13/8
Inter Milan v AC Milan: Olivier Giroud Anytime scorer @ 3/1
Verona v Lazio: Double chance Verona/Draw @ 5/6