There’s a lot at stake for SPAL this Serie A season. The small club has one of the most colored histories of any team in Italy. SPAL have twice declared bankruptcy and twice risen from the ashes over the past 13 years, and their most recent return has been worthy of a Hollywood film. After being
dissolved at the end of the 2012-13 season, they were re-formed and sent down to Serie D. They won promotion in two straight years to make it to Serie B and after two years there, they miraculously made it to Serie A for the first time in 49 seasons. They were an odds-on favorite to go right back down, but they managed to stay up, and they are again looking to avoid relegation. Currently, they are 16th in the table and they are out to improve on that when they face last place Chievo Verona.
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SPAL vs. Chievo Verona
- Date and Time: December 16, 2018, 6:30 a.m. ET
- Location: Stadio Paolo Mazza, Ferrara, Italy
- US Television Coverage: ESPN2
- Betting Line: SPAL -0.5, O/U 2 and 2.5
It’s just about time to pack it in for Chievo. The club started the season in the hole after being penalized three points due to numerous accounting inconsistencies, and it only recently put points to its name. They are at the bottom of the table and don’t have a win yet, carrying an 0-6-9 record into the match. If you’re looking for a bright spot, the club has been playing much better lately though. Chievo have drawn each of their last four Serie A matches, and two of those ties were against Lazio and Napoli. SPAL were near the top of the table for the first month of the season, but their star has faded over the last two months. They have not won a match since knocking off Roma in late October, and they have taken just three points from their last seven matches. That has them just four points clear of the relegation zone coming into this match.
Right back Fabio Depaoli will be unavailable for this match on the side of Chievo. Depaoli has accumulated five yellow cards already, so he must sit out one match as a punishment. Center back Nenad Tomovic is also out, but he will be back soon as his thigh injury has nearly healed. Reserve goalkeeper Andrea Seculin is questionable to be available. Only reserve goalkeeper Demba Thiam is on the injury report of SPAL. The 6’8 youngster is a long-term project and unlikely to play much this season, but it would hurt if first-choice goalkeeper Alfred Gomis were to go down.
SPAL Player to Watch
Manuel Lazzari has assisted on five of SPAL’s goals this season, tying him for the second-most assists in Serie A. He has created numerous opportunities for his teammates, and it’s impressive that he has set up five of the team’s 14 total goals on the year. Lazzari has been with the team since its rise out of Group D, and he has been instrumental in helping with his play. He has impressive speed and flair.
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Chievo Verona Player to Watch
Mariusz Stepinski was expected to be a big difference for Chievo this season, but the team has collapsed around him. Stepinski has played well enough to tally four goals, yet this is not what he was expecting when he agreed to come over on a loan from France.
SPAL vs. Chievo Verona Free Picks
The over is the best bet here. Chievo is in a tough spot, and they must win any game they can against a beatable opponent after a dreadful start. That will lead to more open tactics, and SPAL will match as they go for the win themselves.
SPAL vs. Chievo Verona Prediction: SPAL 2, Chievo Verona 1
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