Tight Affair Between Samp & Napoli
Sampdoria v Napoli
The side’s lying in third and fourth spot ahead of the weekend’s games go head to head in Serie A on Monday night when surprise package Sampdoria take on Napoli.
An excellent return of 21 points from 12 games has made Sampdoria arguably the most unexpected story of the Serie A season to date, as they sit only a point outside the Champions League places with just under a third of the league season played. Samp have proved a tough nut to crack with only one loss suffered and they also remain unbeaten at home with only the top two boasting a better defensive record. Former defender and renowned free-kick specialist Sinisa Mihalovic’s has watched his side struggle in recent matches though after picking up only one win in six.
Monolo Gabbiadini has top scored with four league goals for the club, although the Italian’s recent decline – he hasn’t found the net in four – reflects the team’s recent difficulties.
After a patchy start to the campaign, Napoli are now unbeaten in seven games, having lost just once in 13 in all competitions and have moved up to third in as a result. Rafa Benitez’s charges remain six points adrift of Roma and nine behind reigning champions Juventus however, in what already looks destined to be a two horse race for the Scudetto. They’ve kept four clean sheets in five, including in an impressive 2-0 victory over Roma at the beginning of November to kickstart their season, while only Juve have scored more than Napoli’s 23 league goals.
Former Real Madrid strikers Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain have scored 15 times between them in Serie A, the former has bagged eight of those but the latter has picked up the baton in recent weeks and has seven in his last seven games overall.
Mihailovic has doubts throughout the spine of his team with goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, defender Djamel Mesbah and midfielder Roberto Soriano all facing fitness battles to determine their involvement while Alesandro De Vitis remains out until the new year with a knee ligament injury.
Defender Juan Zuniga and forward Lorenzo Insigne are sidelined for the visitors through injury, while Benitez must also sweat on the fitness of former Swansea attacker Michu and Belgian midfielder Dries Martins with both rated doubtful.
Napoli ran out 5-2 winners in a remarkable game at the Luigi Ferraris to complete the double over the Genoa side last season, with seven different names on the scoresheet to boot. It was the first time in five that the both teams had scored in this fixture with the Naples side winning five of the past six and drawing the other.
Sampdoria have only beaten Napoli twice in 12 21st century meetings
Some will see plenty of value in the 9/4 available on a home win, but the price seems about right for a team lacking in conviction of late and with fitness doubts over some key performers. Benitez’s men are on a fine run and will hope to close the gap before the pacesetters get out of sight and will see this as a game they can pick up a vital win in so take them at 6/5 to return to southern Italy with all three points in the bag.
This looks set to be low-scoring affair with both sides tightening up of late too so Under 2.5 goals is worth a punt at 3/4 for those not taken by the match betting market.