11th January, £10 to £500 Builder Challenge – Bet 4
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Spezia vs Sampdoria
It’s off to Italy again tonight, after a successful trip on Sunday morning it’s a quick return as two of the league’s great entertainers meet for the ‘Ligurian derby’ at the Stadio Alberto Picco.
On the whole, Serie A has been superb for goals this season. Only two sides in the league average less than 2.5 per game with 15 of the 20 sides putting up 3+ per game.
In a league full of goals, these two really do excel in that department. Both adept at scoring but with seriously leaky defences. Both sides have recorded 13 games to have 3+ goals this season, no side in the league can top that.
Let’s start with the hosts – Spezia. They’ve seen over 2.5 goals land in 7 of their last 8, the only anomaly was against the league’s most ‘boring’ side: Hellas Verona.
They’ve been on a terrible run and are embroiled in a relegation scrap, however they’ve still been finding the net very consistently. Aside from that game with Verona they’ve failed to score in just 2 other games, not bad for a side flirting with the drop. Their win against Napoli could just be the turning point, down to 10
men at 1-1, they went on to claim a tremendous 3 points.
Although scoring goals, they’ve kept just 3 clean sheets this campaign. Their hopes of keeping one here also won’t be helped by the suspension of Adrian Ismajli who was ejected against Napoli. Although not a ‘key’ player, his inclusion in the starting 11 was a result of several injuries to defenders. His suspension only further stretches their resources in that department.
No doubt the man to watch out for in the hosts line up is French forward M’Bala Nzola. He’s been fantastic in the step up from Serie B and has already surpassed his goal haul from last season. He’s got 8 in 12 for Spezia. He bagged the equaliser in Naples, that was his 6th goal in 7 outings which is understandably garnering the attention of some big hitters.
Now on to Sampdoria, they’re only 6 points ahead of Spezia so they’re not out of the woods yet. 3 wins in their last 5 has given them some breathing room but a result here would still be massive. The visitors impressively dispatched of Inter last time out, running out 2-1 winners. They’ve scored 2 or more in 4 of their last 5, only failing to do so against Roma.
No doubt they come in to this one full of confidence after beating Antonio Conte’s title contenders. They’ll be further buoyed by the news that 37 year old Fabio Quagliarella has committed to staying with the club.
The evergreen hitman was linked with a move to former employers Juventus in January but has said the relationships he’s built with Sampdoria are too strong to leave behind. A touching sentiment from such a key player. He’s still got the ability even at such an age, it’s no surprise Juve were keen to get him. He’s got 7 in 14 this season. He didn’t take part in the game against Inter but I’d factor in his age to that decision, 2 games in 3 days might be pushing it. Expect him to feature here though having had an 8 day break.
Overall this game looks exceptional for goals and both sides could really benefit from 3 points. Plenty of attacking talent and some lacklustre defences should lead to an entertaining derby clash.
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