Two top seven teams meet on Sunday (2pm GMT) when fifth-placed Lazio face seventh-placed Parma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Lazio have started the season well under new coach Vladimir Petkovic, brushing aside suggestions that they would struggle in the wake of the departure of previous manager Edy Reja, who led the club to fourth place in Serie A last season.
The Biancocelesti are right up their in the chasing pack, six points shy of leaders Juventus with 26 points to their name from eight wins, two draws and four defeats. They are also safely through to the knockout rounds of the Europa League.
Lazio’s primary attacking threat comes down the flanks, from where Antonio Candreva and Stefano Mauri have laid on four assists apiece so far this season. They are often supplied by the smooth, passing midfielder Hernanes, who has also chipped in with six goals, and see their crosses finished by Miroslav Klose, scorer of eight goals to date.
Parma, too, have made an encouraging start to the season and are on course to equal or better last season’s eighth place finish despite the summer departure of pint-sized playmaker Sebastian Giovinco, who had a direct hand – scoring or assisting – in 48% of Parma’s 54 league goals last season.
No one player has been able to replicate all that Giovinco brought to the team, but collectively Parma’s forwards have been able to make a decent fist of covering his attributes. Five players have scored two or more goals this season, allowing the club to continue picking up points despite the absence of a star performer.
This Preview’s Betting Tip: Lazio have won five of their seven home matches this season, scoring three goals on three separate occasions. They look to overwhelm teams from the off and have led at half time, often by two goals, in all of their home victories to date.
Parma have won just once on the travels, losing four times and drawing twice, and are unlikely to be able to resist Lazio’s early barrage.
- We therefore suggest a bet on Lazio to win on a half time/full time double @ 2/1 with Blue Square.