Hellas Verona will be looking to return to winning ways and pour more misery on relegation rivals Sassuolo following the 3-0 defeat to Roma at Stadio Olimpico. Meanwhile, Neroverdi are hoping to escape the bottom of the standings and win their first Serie A points after losing to Torino and Livorno.
Luca Toni likely to miss out
One-time Serie A champions returned to the elite division after 11 years and they are obviously determined to make the most of this opportunity. Proper summer reinforcement was always going to be key to survival, and it looks as though Hellas Verona have done much better in this department than other promoted sides. Gialloblu opted to sign players with Serie A experience, such as Luca Toni, Bosko Jankovic, Romulo, Matteo Rubin and Marco Donadel, while also adding several very talented youngsters in the view of Juan Manuel Iturbe and Ezequiel Cirigliano. After boss Andrea Mandorlini did well to incorporate new players into the squad, Verona enjoyed a perfect start to the season, coming from behind to defeat Milan at home, although they were no match for in-form Roma at Stadio Olimpico ahead of the international break. The club have since added Donadel, Rubin and Iturbe to their ranks, further increasing competition for places, and no doubt they will see home game against rock-bottom Sassuolo as an excellent opportunity to gain early advantage over their relegation rivals. The likely absence of Luca Toni is likely to be a problem, but the team have got more than enough quality up front to compensate.
Luca Toni is a major doubt with an ankle problem, while Michelangelo Albertazzi is definitely out as he lacks match fitness.
No light at the end of tunnel
Sassuolo ensured their first ever promotion to Serie A in style as they won the Serie B title, finishing three points above Hellas Verona, but they have found it hard to cope with the level of football in Italy’s top flight. Unlike their next opponents, Neroverdi have failed to attract high-profile players, signing only Simone Zaza and Antonio Rosati in July, but they are hoping late deals for Reto Ziegler, Ezequiel Schelotto, Antonio Floro Flores and Luca Marrone will give them a fair chance of surviving their first ever Serie A campaign. However, the first signs have been far from positive as Sassuolo first lost 2-0 away to Torino, before being hammered at home by Livorno. The 4-1 defeat saw them slip to the bottom of the standings and no doubt Neroverdi will have to produce a major effort if they want to improve their position after this round. And while the aforementioned late arrivals are likely to improve the quality of the squad, new players will certainly need some time to gel and I seriously doubt they can make some sort of an impact against Verona. That is one of the reasons why Sassuolo are unlikely to get anything from Stadio Bentegodi.
Key attacker Domenico Berardi serves the final match of his three-game ban, whereas Carl Valeri is out with an ankle sprain.
Hellas Verona have shown much more than their next opponents in the first two rounds and boss Andrea Mandorlini already seems to have found his strongest starting 11. Meanwhile, Sassuolo are still a work in progress and the lack of Serie A experience is likely to prove a major issue in their attempt to leave the bottom of the standings.
Top pick: Home win 2.20 (6/5) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Sassuolo not to score 2.62 (13/8) @ Coral
Alternative pick 2: Verona to win to nil 3.60 (13/5) @ Paddy Power
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