COURTESYFOOTBALL FORM LABS
AC Milan v Napoli - Saturday 19:45, BT Sport Europe
Milan rescued an unlikely point on Monday night as Adam Llajic had a penalty to put Torino 3-0 up after only 32 minutes. Donnarumma stayed where he was, however, to save Llajic’s attempt down the middle and second-half goals from Bertolacci and Bacca mean Milan remain in touch with the leaders. In fact a win here would bring them to within one point of Napoli but with a game in hand.
Napoli have won five of their last six matches and are unbeaten in nine so they should also approach this game in a confident mood. That recent run has seen them record impressive wins over Torino and Inter, and it’s their attack that has most impressed as they’ve netted 21 times in their last six matches. At the other end they are vulnerable though, and have conceded in eight of their last 10 including each of their last four. That is exacerbated right now as they are missing two key players from their back four with Koulibaly and Ghoulam away at the African Cup of Nations.
Milan will certainly fancy their chances of taking advantage of that weakness. Despite it being a couple of lean years for the Rossoneri they’ve still won half their 12 home games against top-six finishers and this term they’ve beaten Juve, Lazio and Torino here as well as draws against in-form Atalanta and in the derby. Furthermore, when they score, which we expect them to do, their home record is an impressive W16-D5-L2 since the start of last season as only Juve and Roma have been able to outscore them. However, Napoli aren’t the only side with selection issues. Alessio Romagnoli and Manuel Locatelli are both suspended and while Locatelli has only established himself recently in the absence of the longtime injured Montolivo, Romagnoli is unquestionably their best centre-back. He’s only failed to start seven times since the start of last season and despite five of those being at home they’ve conceded 13 times without him.
Napoli picked up just one point from their five trips to the rest of the top six last season and have already lost at Juve and Atalanta this term in their toughest two away matches. Therefore, despite Milan’s absences they look a huge price for this clash and we have to back them at 3.8. However, we can’t see them shutting out this Napoli attack and the 6.5 on Milan/Both Teams to Score is certainly worth a small investment. Alternatively, eight of Napoli’s last 10 away games have had at least three goals, as have 13 of their 18 since the start of last season when conceding, so sticking to the Over 2.5 Goals market at 1.75 is certainly an option with both defences missing key players.
Weekend Team News Analysis
AFCON has really taken its toll on some of the squads in action over the next three days, so who’s in and who’s out this weekend? Using Form Lab Black’s player analysis capacity we’ve identified the players in Europe’s major leagues who will be most sorely missed by their teams. Get your Form Lab Black subscription today to conduct your own player analysis or see more from our experts.
N.B. Appearances mentioned below relate to starting and completing an hour unless otherwise specified.
West Brom v Sunderland
Lamine Kone (CB) and Didier Ndong (DM), Sunderland
Kone’s missed six games since arriving a year ago and Sunderland have conceded 15 times in those matches, including at least twice in every one. They also have a consistently bad record without Ndong – they’ve lost all five games he’s missed this season and conceded at least three times in four. With Rodwell, Cattermole, Khazri, Kirchhoff, McNair and Gooch all also absent their midfield (particularly defensively) looks down to the bare bones.
Sunderland's last four away defeats have all been by more than one goal, while West Brom’s five home wins have all been by at least two goals.
The Baggies are 3.0 to cover the -1 handicap
Mainz v Koln
Yunus Malli (AM) and Jhon Cordoba (FW), Mainz
Malli is Mainz’s leading scorer and assist provider this season. He’s also now a Wolfsburg player, while across all competitions Cordoba has their joint second most goals and third most assists but is suspended. In their last seven matches without Malli, Mainz have picked up just one point while scoring four times and conceding 17. Cordoba has missed 21 of 45 games since joining Mainz and they’ve scored half a goal less per game when he’s been missing (1.65 gpg for with him but 1.14 without).
Since Koln have scored just five in their last six on the road, Under 2.5 Goals looks a great price at 1.89
Osasuna v Sevilla
David Garcia (CB) and Miguel Flano (CB), Osasuna
Garcia has missed just four games this season and Osasuna have conceded exactly three goals every time. With Miguel Flano and first choice keeper Nauzet Perez also still injured their defence looks very weak right now.
Osasuna have in fact picked up more points on the road than at home as they’ve lost six of nine winless home matches, while Sevilla have recorded 0-3 and 0-4 wins at Celta Vigo and Real Sociedad respectively in their last two on the road
Sevilla are 4.5 to cover the -2 handicap
Fancy the three bets above? It's a 22/1 treble that they all come in!
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