Italy v Azerbaijan | Betting Preview

Date: October 10, 2014
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Kick-off time: 19:45 hours BST

Italy will face Azerbaijan in the Group H encounter in the European Championship qualifier. After one game, Italy sit top of the group with three points after defeating Norway while Azerbaijan lost to Bulgaria at home.

Italy will look to win at home and extend their lead at the top while Azerbaijan have a huge task ahead of them; a point will be no less than a great result for them.

Italy form: W-L-L-W-W

The hosts looked good in their first Euro qualifier match against Norway, sweeping aside the Norwegian team. Their first victory on Norwegian soil after a long time was due to goals by Simone Zaza and Leonardo Bonnuci. Coach Antonio Conte was full of praise for the team, but also mentioned that there is room for improvement.

Conte chose to ignore striker Mario Balotelli this time too and instead, Southampton’s Graziano Pelle will take his place in the squad.

Azerbaijan form: W-L-D-L-L

Azerbaijan succumbed to a 2-1 defeat against Bulgaria in a closely fought contest. Azerbaijan were close to getting a point till the dying moments, only for Bulgarian substitute Ventsislav Hristov to head a winner.

Azerbaijan’s match against Italy is an important one and if they pull off a surprise here, it will be a very big upset.

Key Players

Italy: Graziano Pelle

The Southamption forward has maintained his earlier Erdesvie goal scoring record in the Premier League and has been chosen ahead of the mercurial Balotelli by Conte. A 50+ goal record in two seasons is a phenomenal record by any standard and if selected to play, he’ll certainly impress.

Azerbaijan: Dmitri Nazarov

The Karlsruhe striker was on target in the first match against Bulgaria, which was incidentally his first in the Bulgarian shirt. As young player, Nazarov has played all of his club football in Germany and has the cultured German approach to his game.

Betting Advice

Italy are the favourites (as short as 1.09 with bet365) and should win comfortably against a very weak opposition in Azerbaijan. I see a lot of value in bet365’s offer of 1.8 for under 3.5 goals to be scored in this game.