Catania slipped to tenth in the Serie A standings as they couldn’t beat Torino at home, but their impressive home run should keep them in good stead ahead of the clash with Roma. The Giallorossi will be at pain to explain how they suffered a heavy defeat to Napoli after largely dominating the proceedings, but a match against out-of-form Elephants could be a good opportunity to make amends for the embarrassing loss.
Catania going through a rough patch
Even if many believed Catania would crumble after talented manager Vincenzo Montella left the club in the summer, new boss Rolando Maran has done just as well to keep his side in the top half of the Serie A standings. Team’s outstanding showings at their Stadio Angelo Massimino are the main reason for the good league position, although it is fair to say the hosts cannot be too optimistic ahead of the clash with Roma. While doing really well against mid table sides and relegation strugglers at home, Catania could only win one of four home fixtures against top 7 sides, beating Lazio, while losing to Juventus and Milan, and sharing spoils with Napoli. This is enough to suggest the Elephants lack some quality to match the best sides in the league, while the fact they are currently going through a very rough patch is unlikely to help. Following defeats to Pescara and Lazio, and just a goalless draw at home against Torino, the hosts are bound to be in low spirits when they take on Roma.
Key midfielder Francesco Lodi misses out through suspension, while Pablo Alvarez and Marco Biagianti are injury doubts.
20 goals in 10 away games
Nobody expected Roma to hit the ground running early on after boss Zdenek Zeman and a number of new players arrived in the summer, but the Giallorossi were, nonetheless, showing glimpses of quality from the very start of the league campaign. Inconsistency was order of the day as Zeman was trying to find a real balance in the side, but following a poor start to the league campaign, things finally fell into place in mid November. As a result, Roma went on to record five straight victories, but the outstanding run came to an end as they suffered an unlucky defeat away to Chievo. The Giallorossi then impressed to record a 4-2 win over Milan before losing 4-1 to Napoli at San Paolo. The mere fact Roma had 24 shots on goal as opposed to Azzurri’s 8 should give you a clear picture of how the game unfolded, so you can imagine the players will be very motivated to make things right and triumph in Catania.
Miralem Pjanic is suspended, whereas Pablo Daniel Osvaldo is doubtful through injury. Taddei and Nico Lopez are definitely out of contention.
Catania are struggling for form at the moment and there are no doubts playmaker Francesco Lodi will be sorely missed. Roma, on the other hand, have not only won 5 of 10 away fixtures this season, but also impressed in most of the other five and have already bagged 20 goals on the travels. Taking all this into account, I have no choice but to back the Giallorossi here.
Top pick: Away win 2.25 (5/4) @ Betfred
Alternative pick 1: Roma to score two or more 1.67 (2/3) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 2: Roma/Roma 3.75 (11/4) @ 888sport
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