I have not discussed Serie A much in the blog this season, but am sure to do so on a regular basis in the coming months and am very keen on Cagliari today, getting a big handicap start away to champions elect Inter, who are heading for a fifth straight title.
IMO the hosts tend to raise their game domestically just for the bigger fixtures and in the more bread and butter games, seem happy to grind out a result. That is a shame, as they are the best that Italy has to offer by some way and it would be nice to see that on a more regular basis. The recent 2-0 win over Milan aside, it is eleven domestic games since they won by more than a single goal and that has become a definite trend in the last couple of seasons.
Cagliari have impressed me whenever I have seen them in the last 12 months and often and surprisingly, for this traditionally strong home side, they look ideally suited to playing on the road, especially playing the bigger teams, who take the game to them. Coach Massimiliano Allegri looks destined for the very top and will surely move to one of the bigger clubs sooner rather than later. He has now established The Rossoblu as a top ten side and one looking to push for a european place, actually they are only six points adrift of a Champions League spot with a game in hand.
His side play with a great deal of confidence and will not fear coming to the Giuseppe Meazza after a 1-1 draw in this fixture last year and a very unlucky 4-3 defeat to Milan earlier this campaign. They have forgotten what it is like to suffer a "good hiding" as it is 19 games and ten on the road, since anyone has beaten them by more than a single goal.
Now for the bad news, they will be without diminutive suspended playmaker Andrea Cossu and will also have third choice keeper Michael Agazzi, who is known only by his mother and a few close friends, between the sticks. On the plus side Inter are lacking some creative influence in midfield today and might already be planning for the Champions League restart later in the month, which will doubtless take centre stage and priority for the rest of the season, or at least until Chelsea knock them out !
Pretty sure that the visitors will score today and that will make it very difficult for Inter to cover this handicap.
6.5 points Cagliari +1.25 goals asian line.