AC Milan v Udinese
Under 2.5 goals – 11/10 (2.10)
The reigning Serie A champions AC Milan will hope for a fast start when they kick off the campaign against Udinese on Saturday evening, with the San Siro set to be full of expectant supporters cheering them on to victory. However, while the Rossoneri recorded impressive 5-0 and 6-1 wins over Wolfsberger and Vicenza, the Zebrette will offer a much stiffer test for the Milan attack. Even with a new coach in Andrea Sottil taking the reins.
Last season Udinese recorded a pair of 1-1 draws against Stefano Pioli’s side and will also take confidence in being the last team to defeat the Milanese giants on the opening day of the season back in 2019/20. Albeit at the Dacia Arena through a solitary Rodrigo Becão goal. The fixture has averaged just 2.25 goals a game since that match in Udine.
New arrival, attacker Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge), could feature from the bench, as he has done so far during pre-season, but Milan are still likely to be under strength at the top end of the pitch. With fellow new signing, Divock Origi out with a muscle injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic unavailable through a long-term knee complaint. Whereas, last term’s joint top scorer Olivier Giroud and Junior Messias are also doubtful. Leaving the goal scoring burden to Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic.
The visitors will have Portuguese striker Beto looking to better last season’s tally of 11 Serie A goals and 2021/22 top scorer Gerard Deulofeu leading the front line, but Udinese averaged just 1.60 goals per game during the last 12 months. Therefore, should the Rossoneri struggle to find the back of the net, the Bianconeri are unlikely to make this encounter a high-scoring spectacle.
Monza v Torino
Monza to Win – 5/4 (2.25)
Serie A survival is often the primary objective of newly promoted teams, but not for the ambitions of Monza owner Silvio Berlusconi. Who has invested heavily in new recruits Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Matteo Pessina (Atalanta), Gianluca Caprari (Hellas Verona) and more.
Bringing a wealth of top flight experience and a significant increase in quality at the Lombardia based club. Caprari contributed to the most open play sequences that resulted in a goal during 2021/22.
Therefore, conditions look perfect for a winning, maybe stunning, start to the campaign when the two sides step out at the Stadio Brianteo on Saturday night.
Visitors Torino have won only one of their last six opening day fixtures and the Biancorossi achieved an impressive 19 home wins in Serie B last term. A second tier record. The Granata may take confidence from ending the previous campaign unbeaten in their last five away matches, but are now missing key components of that side.
Former captain and top scorer for six of the last seven seasons, Andrea Belotti, left the club in the summer at the end of his contract with the Turin club and they also lost defensive rock Gleison Bremer to city neighbours Juventus recently.
Although a 3-0 win over Palermo in the Coppa Italia last weekend suggests that those departures have not dealt Torino a massive blow, a partisan crowd and a club full of confidence will be a different proposition.
Verona v Napoli
Both Teams To Score – 4/7 (1.57)
Two of the most entertaining teams of last term will meet at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on the first weekend of the 2022/23 campaign, in what promises to be a compelling fixture. With little causing, either Verona or Napoli to rest on their attacking laurels, after both averaging more than a goal a game last season.
The Neapolitan club might have lost attackers Lorenzo Insigne (Toronto FC) and Dries Mertens (Galatasaray) during the summer, but striker Victor Osimhen continues to offer a significant threat and registered a brace against the Gialloblu when the sides last faced off.
It is also a fixture that has historically delivered goals for both sides. With just one of the last six encounters, seeing either side draw a blank. When Verona failed to find the net at home in June 2020, as Italian sides played out the season spectator less, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
For this encounter, the departure of defensive lynchpin Kalidou Koulibaly and goalkeeper David Ospina has certainly weakened Napoli, and more Serie A teams, will now believe that their chances of victory have improved.
Reported Napoli target Giovanni Simeone scored a career high 17 goals for the Mastini last season and might still look to convince the visitors of his talents. Whereas fellow striker Kevin Lasagna has netted three times against the side from Naples. Although all in an Udinese shirt.Last season no side scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches than the Gialloblu (15) and Napoli (12), so expect the goals to come early when the whistle to start the game blows in Verona on Monday evening.