As mid-week fixtures arrive, particularly in England, now is the time to try and latch on to some gems that can potentially give us some good profit.
Everton take on Newcastle after some questionable performances as they have failed to win in any of their last five games. They have drawn 3 with the big boys Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea while losing to Swansea and Stoke City; which will be a real dent in the ambitions of Roberto Martinez as the team have slipped into the bottom half of the table. Everton will really need Lukaku, Deloefeu, Kone, Mirallas and Barkley to step up their game on the offensive end urgently as they have had occasional scoring opportunities missed which has taken them into trouble.
Newcastle come into this game still sitting int he relegation zone, but positive performances in recent weeks against West Ham, Man United and Arsenal will give McLaren some confidence that this team could still yet survive this relegation battle, even though they are languishing in the last spot. They have made 2 major signings with Andros Townsend & Seydou Doumbia in the last week while also signed Shelvey and Soviet. Townsend & Doumbia in particular are good offensive players; so one can expect Newcastle to start contributing there better. They will feel good that have conceded in 4 out of their last 5 games in the Premier League, while conceding 5 straight at home.
Both played out a tight 0-0 draw; but the time has come now for Newcastle to jump for points and for Everton to start pushing for the Europa League, or else you could see an exodus in the summer. I am backing both teams to score & over 2.5 goals.
Juventus are on a tear, and absolute tear winning 12 straight games in Serie A to take 36 points in a row, that has seen them jump from the bottom half of the table to within 2 points of Napoli, while also maintaining the goal scoring efforts during this time. Last time around Juventus absolutely demolished Chievo by a score of 4-0 with goals from Morata, Pogba and Sandro. Juventus have relied a lot on this season on Dybala to deliver the goods, who has netted 12 this season and is trying to chase Higuain for the top scorer in Italy. Juventus defence has been outstanding leaking only 6 goals in those 12 games, while scoring 31 goals during that duration; and one can expect them to continue with similar performances while looking forward to their match up with Napoli in 10 days time.
Genoa have been struggling and are barely afloat sitting 5 points above the relegation zone this campaign. They have failed to win any of their last 2 games, but prior to that managed 2 victories against Atalanta and Palermo who are above them, to get them out of the relegation zone. Genoa have been quiet defensively, leaking 27 goals all campaign; but their inability to push for more goals has hampered their progress. They have been absolutely horrible away from home winning just 1 in their 11 games played on the road this season; and one can expect them to possibly rotate the squad in this game to save energy for the game against Lazio at home, where they have a better chance to pick up points
I expect Juventus to continue their tearing run as they build up form towards the Napoli game, and they should win this game by a 2 goal margin.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Napoli to beat Lazio @ 1.95 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Higuain Anytime Scorer @ 1.95 (Bet365) – 2 points
Napoli along with Juventus have been the form team in Serie A, led by the goal machine Gonzalo Higuain who has netted 22 goals in 22 games this season. Napoli have only lost 2 goals this season, on opening night against Sassuolo and against Bologna in an epic 3-2 encounter. Since then Higuain, Hamsik, Martens, Insigne and Callejon have been delivering an outstanding performance in every single game that has seen Napoli sit at the top of the Serie A for a long time aiming to win their first championship since the Maradona days. Their offence has taken a new jig in recent times scoring 19 goals in 5 games during January, and this run of scoring will be expected to continue come February.
Lazio have been struggling on the other hand, as they were 3rd last season and are now sitting in 8th spot. Their biggest problem has been offensively where they have only scored 29 goals in 22 games, which has prevented them in saving games when they are down leading to 8 losses out of those 22 games. They have had a mixed bag in form but have not lost in their last 6 games in the Serie A; which will bring some measure of confidence to them.
When these 2 sides met in September, Napoli annihilated them by beating them 5-0; and one can expect this run of aggressive form from Napoli to continue as they travel to the capital and also backing Higuain to continue his scoring form.