Goals Galore In The Stadio Olimpico
Lazio v Napoli
Third-placed Lazio host Napoli in fourth in a Serie A clash which will be crucial for both side’s chances of earning a Champions League spot next season.
Lazio are now unbeaten in eight games following their 3-1 victory away to Torino in the Coppa Italia in midweek, with five wins in the successful streak which has seen them rise to third in the table, a point ahead of their opponents on Sunday.
Boss Stefano Pioli will be disappointed that his side were pegged back after going into half-time with a two-goal lead in the Rome derby last weekend before succumbing to a Francesco Totti-inspired Roma in the second half and having to settle for a share of the spoils.
They’ve scored an impressive 18 goals in their last seven outings, with only champions Juventus scoring more goals in the Italian top flight this term.
Stefano Mauri and Filip Djordjevic lead the way in terms of Serie A goals for the Rome side this season, with seven apiece.
A 3-1 defeat at home to leaders Juventus looks to have all but ended Napoli’s hopes of lifting their first Scudetto since the days when Diego Maradona was strutting his stuff in southern Italy as they fell 13 points behind the Old Lady in the table. It was a second defeat in six, and only a third in 15 stretching across three competitions for Rafa Benitez’s side, although allied to their poor early season form they must now be seen as Champions League hopefuls at best.
Only the top two have conceded fewer goals on their travels than Benitez’s men, while only Juve have picked up more points away from home, although they’ve also won just two of their last eight games on the road.
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain and Spaniard Jose Callejon are level at the top of the club’s scoring charts on nine league goals for the season although the former leads the way with 13 goals overall, including four in his last three appearances.
Midfielder Felipe Anderson is expected to be out for a month with a knee injury the Brazilian picked up in training in midweek. He joins Senad Lulic, Alvaro Gonzalez, Edson Braafheid, Ederson and Mickael Ciani on a lengthy injury list for the hosts but Lorik Cana and Stefan de Vrij could both feature.
Manolo Gabbiadini could make his first start for Napoli since joining from Sampdoria just over a week ago having come off the bench in the defeat to Juventus. Croatian full-back Ivan Strinic may make his debut having remained on the bench last week but Napoli are still without Michu and Lorenzo Insigne while defenders Faouzi Ghoulam and Juan Zuniga are also expected to miss out.
Napoli won each of their three clashes with Lazio last season, on a 9-4 aggregate scoreline, with Higuain scoring five in their two Serie A meetings. The Naples club have won four and drawn one of the last five too with only one win in the last eight fixtures for Lazio.
On such a fine run it’s hard to ignore the hosts at the generous 6/4 on offer here, although their extensive injury problems are certainly a legitimate cause for caution.
The 21/20 on more than 2.5 goals looks the best of the bets here overall then, as has been the case in each of Lazio’s last seven, and the last three on the spin for Napoli. Mauri and Higuain seem the best selections in the goalscorer markets too at similar odds of 9/5 and 15/8 to score anytime with each at 6/1 to open the scoring.