In Serie A, a lot can change in a few weeks. Just a little over a month ago, AS Roma’s joga bonito project seemed to have been jeopardised by a humiliating 3-0 defeat at the hands of Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi.
Few would have predicted that Roma could come away from Napoli with a point, let alone the 3-1 win they eventually snatched at the San Paolo, a result which seems to have turned their season around.
Two games on, Roma have netted a further four goals without conceding and are now a mere three points behind bitter rivals Lazio, who currently occupy fourth place.
That said, this summer’s mass investments demand silverware, or at least evidence that the team has progressed enough to challenge for a major title next season.
As Serie A seems to be out of boss Luis Enrique’s grasp, the Coppa Italia is a viable alternative for a side that has won it a record number of times (nine, alongside Juventus).
However, the very team that humiliated the Giallorossi at the Franchi now stand in their way in the last 16, hoping to make good on the progress they have made over the past few weeks.
Expect Fiorentina to hold steady in the first half: all of Roma’s goals in last year’s Coppa Italia came in the second half (over two ties), so expect them to score more after the break than they do before it, an eventuality which is priced at 2/1.
Though both sides are likely to play some of their reserves, expect Roma to take the game slightly more seriously.
The latest news has Daniele de Rossi (who is probably going to renew his contract following negotiations with Roma partner James Pallotta) starting, as well as Simon Kjaer – who was excellent in his time at Palermo – and home-grown stars such as Aleandro Rosi and Leandro Greco.
Roma will certainly fancy their chances at home, and not merely because Fiorentina have yet to truly express their potential on the road under Delio Rossi.
History also shows that reaching the final is in Roma’s DNA, since the club has done so six times over the last nine seasons, facing Inter on five occasions and winning two of them.
The Giallorossi are 77/100 to grab the win, with the draw priced at 49/20 and a Fiorentina victory available at betting odds of 18/5.
I fancy Enrique’s men to get their revenge and the best value appears to be a 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 Roma triumph, which is priced at a very tempting 15/4. For those willing to cash in on the free £25 bet bwin offers to new subscribers, this particular punt would see a return of £118.75.
While ignoring Fiorentina’s 3Way odds might seem like a good idea, don’t bet on them to go down without a fight. La Viola have improved under Rossi, with their 3-0 win over Novara at the weekend showing that they can shut up shop and make Roma work hard.
The aforementioned multiple correct score bet sees the visitors scoring once (quoted at 7/5), while two goals are at 4/1. Is that such an unlikely scenario?
Rossi has more or less confirmed that a certain Alessio Cerci will be present. Though inconsistent under Sinisa Mihajlovic, the striker has occasionally shown flashes of brilliance, especially in the Coppa Italia, where he has netted three goals over Fiorentina’s last two ties.
He’ll be further incentivised by the opportunity to put one over on Roma, who rarely gave him a chance in all the years he was there. Though goalscorer odds are unavailable for this tie, he can be counted on to perform at the Olimpico.
Whatever the outcome, expect Fiorentina to hold steady in the first half: all of Roma’s goals in last year’s Coppa Italia came in the second half (over two ties), so expect them to score more after the break than they do before it, an eventuality which is priced at 2/1.
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