Napoli have returned in excellent form. In fact, the Partenopei won the Italian cup against Juventus, and they also won 4 from 5 league games. Even the 2-0 defeat against Atalanta was unfortunate, because if anything they had the better chances. One issue we could take with the hosts is they need many chances to score goals. With that said, they have improved under the guidance of Gennaro Gattuso, and team confidence has never been higher than at the moment! Napoli have just Llorente and Malcuit sidelined! AC Milan come into this having beaten Juventus 4-2. In that match the Old Lady seemed to think they had done enough when leading 0-2, but it was the Diavolo who hit 4 goals in the last 28 minutes to secure a remarkable win! The Devils won’t have Castillejo or Musacchio available. Duarte is still listed has needing to pass the doctor! Milan have been doing better since Ibrahimovic returned, but let´s keep things realistic. The hosts have been stupendous since returning, and we expect them to show who’s the boss today!
WOODHOUSE seems to have a good reputation, but she’s been a beaten favourite the last twice. While it can be argued Michael Stoute´s runner gets in here with a good h´cap mark, I’m reluctant to support such types! Rae Guest hasn’t sent out many runners, but he’s 4 from 7 over the past fortnight. That alone suggests he’s got his string where he wants them, and that speaks well for his beautifully bred ARRIVISTE. Track should suit, and if she settles stepping up in trip won’t be an issue!
Have this on us ---- Ground looks a bit rough at Newmarket, but they appear to be getting through it alright. Harry Bentley chose to come here instead of going to Ascot for a couple of rides, and FUTURE INVESTMENT could be one of the reasons. While the son of Mount Nelson was easily a beaten favourite last time out, the winner looks group class. Like last year he will come on for that first run, and that could be enough!
Based on his last round performance, it’s hard to believe Ciro Immobile is the Serie A top scorer. The 30 year old striker missed several good chances against Lecce, and by the time he had got a booking his frustration with himself and team mates was crystal clear. Following two defeats in succession the Eagles have something to prove, and they will have to do it without confirmed absentees Patric (suspended), Marusic, Lulic and Correa. Furthermore, Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto are doubts! Now Lazio are playing a team with some real self belief. Sassuolo come into this having won in Bologna, that means it’s three wins in a row for the Neroverdi and they are unbeaten in five. The visitors have also scored 9 goals in those last three games, and they will fancy themselves against a defence which is leaving itself exposed! With this Asian h´cap we have to go with the visitors +1
Juventus have already qualified for next seasons Champions league, they are now hoping to take another step towards retaining the Scudetto. The Old Lady won the last 8 titles, and they go into round 32 with a 5 point cushion over a weakening Lazio. Todays opponent Atalanta are currently third in the table, and a win here would take La Dea to within 6 points of the leaders. However, while the chances of catching Juventus are remote, Gasperini´s men could certainly get that 2nd spot! Atalanta have won their last 12 games of which 11 where competitive. Since returning the visitors have taken 18 from six games, and amongst the teams they beat where Napoli and Lazio. Earlier on in the campaign these sides played out a 2-2 draw, and if anything the visitors improved since then! The visitors have a full squad available, no player is injured or banned! Atalanta only just did enough in midweek, we expect them to be up for this game and at least share the points!
Sheffield United could be short on fully fit strikers, all of John Fleck, Ali McBurnie and David McGoldrick have niggling injuries. Luke Freeman and Leon Clarke are definite absentees for the Blades! Chelsea are still without N´Golo Kante, Fiyako Tomori, Billy Gilmore and Marco Van Ginkel. However, players have been returning since the enforced break, and the likes of Pulisic have made a big difference to the performance of the Blues! As it stands, the visitors are now third in the table. The last round win in Crystal Palace mean Chelsea have taken 12 points since returning to action, and they are also in the semi final of the FA cup. Frank Lampard team do need to tidy up defence, but we can’t imagine that being an issue today. In fact, we are expecting the visitors to lay down a marker by covering the Asian spread!
With just 4 matches of the main season remaining Watford have a 3 point cushion over Bournemouth. The last round win over Norwich was vital for Nigel Pearson´s team, and while the Hornets struggled for part of that match at least they delivered. That win will be in vain if Watford can’t build on that today against Newcastle, but we don’t imagine that happening! The Magpies have an ever growing injury list, and during the week they let their heads sink when got well and truly spanked by Manchester City. If that opponent had persisted, the scoreline could have been double digits! Lots of uncertainty at the club, and players seem to have lost focus! The visitors are without Andy Carroll, Isaac Hayden, Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark and Sean Longstaff for sure. Saint-Maximin was missing for that last fixture, maybe he’s wanting to leave. Miguel Almiron should be back, Lascalles and Krafth are still doubts! Hosts biggest miss will be Deulofeu, while long term injured Janmaat and Success remain out! The Hornets have plenty to play for, that extra motivation is key!
I’m pretty convinced that NORTHERN BOUND will win this. Ben Paulings’s lightly raced 6 year old is is better than we have seen to date, and a mark of 111 is a great starting point. Stable in form, and he ran well for a long way when last seen here. A look at the competition adds to confidence, because in my opinion nothing is especially well capped.
DOMAIN DES LÁUBE was half decent if France, but he hasn’t reached that same level in Ireland. Maybe he can bounce back, it’s just that I’m not joining that group. It augers well when they switch codes early, that’s the case with JERANDME. Nevertheless, stable have been expensive to follow, and ex flat horses going chasing are not my thing. 135 is a lofty mark, and that’s how Joseph O´Brien´s 5 year old STAR MAX is assessed over fences. Stay out of trouble and all should be good! DOMAIN DES LÁUBE was half decent if France, but he hasn’t reached that same level in Ireland. Maybe he can bounce back, it’s just that I’m not joining that group. It augers well when they switch codes early, that’s the case with JERANDME. Nevertheless, stable have been expensive to follow, and ex flat horses going chasing are not my thing. 135 is a lofty mark, and that’s how Joseph O´Brien´s 5 year old STAR MAX is assessed over fences. Stay out of trouble and all should be good!
Spal deserve a lot more than they are getting, and while their goalscorer haven’t been getting the rub of the green that could change tonight! While it’s probably too late for the hosts to survive the season, three points here would at least keep the chance alive. The Gli Spallini had a lot of the ball in Sampdoria, and it was against the run of play when that team scored. Still, Walter Mattioli´s team never gave in, and only some unfortunate finishing kept them off the scoresheet! The hosts are still without regular keeper Berisha. Zukanovic, Valoti and Fares are still out injured. Cionek is suspended for this match tonight, but Marco D´Alessandro is back. Udinese are 5 points clear of the relegation zone, and like Spal they have this game in hand. The visitors took 4 points from their last two matches, and one of them was a win in Roma (0-2). On paper those three points look great, but in the next round they failed to beat a relegation threatened Genoa (2-2). Sema is suspended for Udinese, while Jajalo and Mandragora are still injured! Spal deserve something, and these odds are out of line!
The Everton boys where pumped up for the draw against Liverpool, and by all intent and purpose they where the more deserving of the point. In the next round against Leicester, they won (2-1) despite not creating many chances. However, in the last round Tottenham beat them 1-0, and the game itself lacked any real quality. Everton defender Mason Holgate will miss the visit of Southampton because of a knock he sustained in Monday's defeat at Tottenham. Holgate's replacement at Spurs, Yerry Mina, is therefore set for his first start since February. Winger Theo Walcott is available again, having not featured since March after abdominal surgery, but midfielder Fabian Delph, out since February, is still absent with a muscle injury. Following back to back wins against Watford (1-3) and Manchester City (1-0), Southampton are in a good position to look at the teams who are ahead of them rather than the chasing pack. Since resuming Ralph Hasenhuttl´s players have looked much sharper, and that win over City was their best game of the season! Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is back in contention for Southampton but Moussa Djenepo is unavailable yet again. Reported Everton target Hojbjerg is able to return after missing the wins against Watford and Manchester City, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl suggesting the midfielder would be named on the bench at Goodison Park. Djenepo, who has only just returned from a three-game suspension, is out with a calf injury, joining Jannik Vestergaard (quad), Sofiane Boufal (thigh) and Yan Valery (muscle) on the sidelines. Nathan Tella also missed the City game through injury on Sunday, when Will Ferry was named on the bench for the first time. We like the Saints a lot in this one, especially with the draw included. After winning both away games travelling isn’t proving to be an issue!
After back to back wins for Sampdoria someone needs to kick their ass! In the last round, we actually felt for Spal in that recent 3-0 win for Claudio Ranieri´s team, the scoreline had nothing to do with what we had been watching. In fact, Spal made more effort, created better chances, and only incompetent finishing stopped them in their tracks. Over the last two games La Samp have been the beneficiary of the opponents inability to get the job done, todays visiting team Atalanta are unlikely to be has naive or generous! I Banshee´s won their last 10 competitive matches. At this stadium, they won all five recent matches against teams Napoli, Lazio, Sassuolo, Valencia and AS Roma. A 2-7 win in Lecce and 0-7 against Torino shows just how merciless this team can be, and so does the 5-0 over AC Milan. Only Palomino is suspended for the hosts, other than that they have a fully complete squad. The visitors won’t have injured trio Vieira, Ferrari or Tonelli! Atalanta are by the most prolific (83) goalscorer in Serie A. In fact, they scored 16 more than the next highest (Lazio), and they have this game in hand. With the likes of Illic (15), Muriel (15) and Zapata (14) it’s going to be hard to stop Gasperini´s men!