15 winners from his last 16 selections on this column! What price are two more winners this weekend as we head to Switzerland and Serie A?
Serie A Tip: GOALS FORECAST FOR FLORENCE
Fiorentina consolidated their fifth-placed position in Serie A last weekend with a 4-0 thrashing of rock-bottom Salernitana at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Giacomo Bonaventura scored from outside the box before top goalscorer Dusan Vlahovic bagged a brace to put La Viola in complete control, with Youssef Maleh completing the rout in stoppage-time.
Vlahovic’s double means the Serbian star has now equalled Luca Toni’s tally of 31 Serie A goals in a calendar year, with the 21-year-old closing in on Cristiano Ronaldo’s record-breaking total of 33. The Fiorentina hitman will be hungry for more goals when Fiorentina return to action on Sunday for a mouthwatering match-up against Sassuolo.
The Florence club have proven particularly eye-catching on home soil, winning each of their last five at the Franchi and notching up two goals or more in six of eight encounters.
The hosts have gotten on the scoresheet in all eight outings – racking up 21 goals in the process – and are flourishing under the attacking freedom from head coach Vincenzo Italiano.
Italiano worked minor miracles at Spezia in his previous role and has enhanced his reputation since making the move to Tuscany in the summer.
The German-born boss has brought enthusiasm, energy, offensive expression, impetus and no shortage of tactical intelligence to a side previously lacking in all five of those factors.
Whether Fiorentina can sustain their current Serie A form until May remains questionable, with Roma, Juventus and Lazio all looking to close the gap. Still, La Viola should continue to provide plenty of entertainment under Italiano’s stewardship. After all, 13/17 (76%) of their league fixtures have produced at least three goals this season.
The hosts tally of four clean sheets were secured against bottom-six opposition, with nine of 11 meetings against teams in the top-15 rewarding Both Teams To Score backers.
Meanwhile, in Florence, the Tuscans have seen a huge 3.88 goals-per-game average, with all eight fixtures featuring successful Over 2.5 Goals selections – four of which went Over 3.5.
There’s plenty of encouragement in backing another goal-filled game when Sassuolo pitch up.
The Neroverdi came from behind to beat Lazio last weekend with Alessio Dionisi’s outfit enhancing their prominent goal records – the visitors have fired just two blanks this term, recording two shutouts of their own – 14 (82%) fixtures returning Over 2.5 Goals.
The visitors have seen a minimum of three goals in all eight away trips – five of which banked in both the Over 3.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score markets – as Sassuolo’s games as guests have averaged a hefty 3.88 goals.
Meanwhile, the Neroverdi have provided 11 consecutive pay-outs for Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score backers across all venues.
It, therefore, makes sense to focus attention on the attractive Over 2.5/3.0 Goals option at 1.76 when Fiorentina face-off against Sassuolo this weekend.
Swiss Super League Tip: TABLE-TOPPING ZURICH TO PREVAIL
Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw between Swiss giants Young Boys and Basel means FC Zurich hold a five-point advantage at the summit of the Super League standings as we approach the final round of action before the winter break.
Andre Breitenreiter’s boys have been the surprise pacesetters, taking over at the top following a nine-game unbeaten streak (W7-D2-L0) that includes five successive victories.
Chasing their first league title since 2009, FCZ have been good value for their lead with a strong home record providing an excellent foundation to work from this term.
Zurich have posted W6-D2-L0 at their Letzigrund base, smashing 22 goals in eight home outings.
FCZ have won the non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG) count in seven of those showdowns, a feat they’ve also achieved in 13 of their overall 17 fixtures, to sit prominently amongst the top-three in the division for Expected Goals (xG) ratio.
So it’s a surprise to see FC Zurich available at odds as big as 1.95 at home to St Gallen on Saturday.
The visitors are 21 points behind FCZ coming into this clash and sit just above the relegation play-off place following nine defeats in their opening 17 matches. Espen have also been beaten in six of eight road trips.
Peter Zeidler’s posse did pinch an undeserved point in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Zurich on home soil back in August. But that remains one of the club’s few high points this season, with St Gallen posting eight losses in their following 12 Super League contests, recording a sole shutout in 2021/22 and conceding over two goals-per-game on average.
Espen have lost the npxG battle in 11 of 17 tussles this term and are allowing 2.00 xG per-game when playing away, a worrying return when preparing to take on free-scoring table-toppers Zurich.
I’d be surprised if this price doesn’t contract come kick-off.
Recommended Bets From Serie A & Switzerland
- Over 2.5/3.0 Goals in Fiorentina vs Sassuolo 2 units (1.76)
- Zurich to beat St Gallen – 2 units (1.95)
Watch Mark On Our Weekend Football Preview:
Subscribe to the Matchbook Betting Podcast here
Subscribe to the Matchbook Youtube channel here