To the untrained eye, Siena-Internazionale is just another bog-standard Serie A fixture.
It should be, in fact, but isn’t. Rather, it’s a tale of contrasting fortunes. Many will remember the last time these sides met at the Artemio Franchi on the last day of the 2010 season.
Diego Milito’s cool finish helped Inter clinch their 18th Scudetto, in a week where he also scored the winner against Roma in the Coppa Italia final and both goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
Few, however, will remember what it meant for the home crowd: though relegation had already been confirmed weeks before, the people of Siena must have been wondering if they’d ever see their side contest a Serie A game in the near future, seeing as the Robur had already staved off the inevitable for many years against mounting odds.
They certainly weren’t expecting to find themselves back in the mix so quickly, nor indeed so comfortable in the table, three points ahead of the Milanese giants, yet here they are.
Moreover, as things stand, Inter’s poor Serie A form means that although they are favourites, they barely pip Siena (5/4 v 43/20) in bwin’s 3way football betting market.
With the stunning performances they have put in over the last few weeks, Giuseppe Sannino’s men must fancy their chances, especially considering Internazionale’s awful start, not to mention their poor away record: so far, the Nerazzurri have racked up defeats in Palermo, Catania and Novara.
With all this mind, it might come as a surprise to find me backing Claudio Ranieri’s men to win a tight and hard-fought game. But things are looking up for his side – Champions League qualification is one positive, another is Ricky Alvarez’s second wind. This is, after all, a man many Inter fans thought had been confused with Maxi Moralez (more on him later), echoing an old urban myth about a case of mistaken identity regarding Luther Blissett (who went to Milan, and became a famous bidone) and John Barnes (who did not).
Siena are also troubled by their lack of quality up front. Whilst the Tuscans bombarded Atalanta’s goal with crosses in last week’s 2-2 draw, they never seemed to find that final ball, which Moralez ultimately got right at the second time of asking to provoke a penalty.
The man who took it, German Denis, indirectly provides another major fallibility which Sannino will have to address: a creaky defence. If Rossettini and Vitiello couldn’t out-jump Denis for his second of the match, how do they plan on facing Giampaolo Pazzini? Accordingly, a multiple correct score bet of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 to Inter fetches interesting odds of 9/2.
Notice how the home side will almost certainly score anyway, seeing as Inter haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last five encounters. Siena are 8/5 to net in the second half.
It looks like the guests, who have opened the scoring nine times over their last eleven games, are likely to do so again, so why not pick the 7/5 which sees them doing so in the first half?
Another interesting punt is going for Inter leading at half-time and coming away with all three points, an eventuality priced at 13/5. Backing this with the free £25 bet bwin are offering to new subscribers offers potential returns of £90.
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