Torino v Sassuolo – Olympic Grande Torino Stadium at 19:45 GMT+1
The new Serie A season gets underway this weekend and Sunday night’s showdown in Turin has caught my attention with Sassuolo travelling to the Stadio Olimpico for a tricky opening test.
The hosts finished seventh last season and have been admitted into Europa League qualification due to Milan’s Financial Fair Play woes. That means Walter Mazzarri’s men have already enjoyed five competitive matches coming into this clash, including a testing tie against Wolves here on Thursday night.
The Granata boasted the division’s fifth-best defensive record in Serie A last season – and whilst the attack failed to completely function – Torino proved tough operators in their own backyard, taking top honours on 12 occasions (W12-D2-L5) with 12 triumphs from 17 when excluding the top-two.
Skipper and star striker Andrea Belotti has looked sharp in pre-season and the early rounds of the Europa League should give Torino a head-start in the early rounds of action. Having a fit and available Iago Falque has bolstered Il Toro’s attack, with Kevin Bonifazi impressing in defence following a loan spell at Spal.
Mazzarri has turned Torino into a solid and compact side who are physical and difficult to break down. The Granata have kept all of their leading lights from last year at the club and the hosts should be backed to deliver when handed a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle here for Sunday evening’s encounter.
Sassuolo to fall short
Sassuolo registered a respectable mid-table finish in 2018/19, and could have broken into the top-half had the Neroverdi not downed tools for their final four fixtures of the campaign as they concluded only five points above the drop-zone. Nevertheless, Roberto De Zerbi’s outfit were hugely reliant on their home form.
The Emilia-Romagna club collected only four victories on their travels and they came at Spal, Chievo, Frosinone, and a floundering Fiorentina side in April. Sassuolo also found scoring difficult after the winter break and this summer has seen the departure of key players, such as Merih Demiral and Stefano Sensi.
Ciccio Caputo, Pedro Obiang, Jeremy Tolja and Hamed Junior Traore are the headline arrivals as the Neroverdi continue to remodel their squad. This season’s roster appears to be a bit more physical and imposing than the previous few collections. There’s certainly competition in midfield and potential in attack.
However, it might take time for Sassuolo to find their rhythm, especially with De Zerbi’s famed attack-minded approach. The guests picked up just four points from trips to 12th and above last term – conceding at least twice in seven of those outings – and Torino look well capable of justifying 1.90 quotes here on Sunday.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Torino -0.50 at 1.900
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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