Verdict: Napoli win
Best Odds: 4/11
After failing to secure their spot in the knockout stage of this years Champions League campaign, Napoli will be looking to get their season back on track this weekend. The Light Blues will play host to a Fiorentina side sat in seventh and with only one away win since September.
For Maurizio Sarri, he will be desperate to get his Napoli side back on track after a poor run of form since the start of December. In midweek the Light Blues slumped to a 2-1 defeat away at Feyenoord, meaning that Napoli could only secure a spot in the Europa League. Finishing third in Group F, Sarri’s side endured an abysmal run on European duty this year. Only securing two wins in their six group games, Napoli have also found themselves off the top spot in Serie A for the first time since early September.
Currently sat second in Italy’s top flight, last weekends 1-0 loss at home to Juventus has seen them fall a single point behind new league leaders Inter Millan. With Inter Millan set to face off with third-placed Juve this weekend, Napoli will know that a win on Sunday could see them bounce immediately back into pole position. Sarri’s side will be feeling confident given their form at Stadio San Paolo this year. Their defeat last weekend was the Light Blues first loss at home this year, aside from their minor blip, Napoli have been in ruthless form when playing in Naples. In their seven Serie A appearances at home this year, Napoli have found the net 17 times, they also boast the second best goal difference in the whole of Italy. For Napoli, their success in front of goal has been epitomised by the form of Belgium forward Dries Mertens, the 30-year-old has scored 10 times already this year assisting in a further three.
Maurizio Sarri will once again be unable to call upon the services of Italian international Lorenzo Insigne. After picking up an injury against Juventus last weekend, the midfielder missed Napoli’s 2-1 defeat against Feyenoord. Insigne had previously started each of Napoli’s 22 matches in all competitions.
Left-back Faouzi Ghoulam is also out Sunday’s match with a cruciate ligament injury sustained in his team’s Champions League defeat against City last month.
As for Fiorentina, although they might be considered somewhat of a feeder club to some of Europe’s more established sides, the Purples are still a solid outfit in Serie A. Currently sat seventh in the table, Stefano Pioli’s side are already 13 points adrift of the top four. Almost four decades on from the last time they were crowned Italian champions, inconsistency has been Fiorentina’s major problem this year.
After winning three consecutive games in October, Pioli’s team have only picked up a single win in their last six appearances. It will also be their form away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi that Fiorentina will be desperate to improve on. Aside from a 3-0 win away at rock bottom Benevento Calcio last month, the Purples have not won another game on the road since the middle of September.
Fiorentina will enter Sunday afternoon’s clash with a full-strength squad at Stefano Pioli’s disposal. The only notable team news is that both midfielder Federico Chiesa and defender Davide Astori. Both will be walking a disciplinary tightrope as they already have four bookings this year, one more will see the du0 receive a suspension.
Key Factors to Consider
- Napoli have beaten Fiorentina 46 times so far in Serie A – only against Lazio have they recorded as many wins in the top-flight.
- Fiorentina have drawn their last two away games – the last time they drew three in a row on the road was in September 2007.
- The Purpes have only won one game on the road since September.
- Napoli forward Dries Mertens has scored 10 goals in his last 15 appearances.
- Napoli have never conceded more than a single goal at the San Paolo against the Viola since March 2010.
After finishing their embarrassing Champions League campaign with a defeat away in Turkey, Napoli will be a side desperate to get back to winning ways. Given Fiorentina’s struggles on the road this year, Maurizio Sarri will be confident about reclaiming their spot at the top of the Seria A table. Backing Napoli to come away with three points at 4/11 seems like the most logical bet here.
Verdict: Napoli win
Best Odds: 4/11
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