Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Serie A clash between Monza and Hellas Verona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The gameweek 24 encounter could see the home side secure back-to-back wins on their turf for the third time since gaining promotion to the big time last season, while the visitors hope to avoid slipping into the bottom three.
After keeping one clean sheet in six — a run that included just one victory for the Biancorossi — Monza have consecutive shutouts in Serie A, defeating Sassuolo 1-0 and playing out a goalless encounter with Udinese last time out.
Raffaele Palladino‘s men have benefitted from facing the struggling sides in the last two gameweeks, and they hope to inflict further damage to relegation-threatened Verona by securing maximum points.
Winning sees the Biancorossi pick up consecutive home victories for the third time in Serie A — September-October 2022 and November 2022 — which extends their undefeated run against the Mastiffs to four since gaining promotion last season.
Given that Palladino’s 12th-placed side are unlikely to be involved in a relegation scrap, the Biancorossi could take advantage of the congestion in the middle of the table in Serie A by securing a win that gives them an outside chance of making Europe next season — they are seven points shy of Bologna in sixth.
While the number of sides they have to supplant means it is a challenging ambition, stranger things have happened, and they could give themselves a chance by winning games like Sunday’s.
Indeed, supporters at the U-Power Stadium will demand a home victory due to Verona’s road blues and broader tendency to lose games.
Marco Baroni‘s side have been defeated 13 times in Serie A this term — only Salernitana (14) have lost more — with the majority of those losses (nine) coming away from the Bentegodi.
The Mastiffs have not secured a positive road result since the goal-laden 3-3 draw with Udinese on December 3, with that draw followed by four straight losses on their travels, albeit against Fiorentina (1-0), Inter Milan (2-1), Roma (2-1) and Napoli (2-1).
Despite the defeats, the marginal final score suggests that Baroni’s men competed commendably against superior opponents, possibly giving them an iota of confidence heading into Sunday’s fixture in Lombardy.
Having lost the reverse fixture 3-1 at the Bentegodi, Verona seek to avoid a third defeat to Monza in four Serie A meetings to prevent the club in 17th from slipping into the bottom three — both Cagliari and Empoli are level with Baroni’s side on 18 points.
Monza Serie A form:
Hellas Verona Serie A form:
Papu Gomez‘s two-year ban for failing an anti-doping test means the diminutive attacking midfielder is still unavailable for selection.
Lorenzo Colombo, despite not scoring since netting twice in the reverse fixture in November, should back himself again on Sunday if he plays in any capacity.
Tomas Suslov picked up his fifth yellow card in Verona’s defeat in Naples, thus ruling out the suspended Slovak this weekend.
Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; D’Ambrosio, Mari, Caldirola; Ciurria, Gagliardini, Pessina, Birindelli; Mota, Colpani; Djuric
Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Tchatchoua, Coppola, Dawidowicz, Cabal; Duda, Serdar; Noslin, Folorunsho, Lazovic; Swiderski
We say: Monza 1-1 Hellas Verona
Only Juventus, Fiorentina and Inter have defeated Palladino’s team at home this season, signifying that Monza are expected to avoid a loss on Sunday, even if victory over Verona cannot be guaranteed despite the latter’s awful road record.
Palladino’s men have tended to draw games on their turf this season, and while they could nick a victory, erring on the side of caution seems the safer bet.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.