Monday, September 24, 2018

Prediction: Fiorentina vs Napoli

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: William Hill

Despite losing their last two league fixtures, Fiorentina will not be lacking motivation when they take on title-chasing Napoli on Sunday afternoon, as Viola are still within touching distance of Europa League positions. The Azzurri, on the other hand, kept their title hopes alive with an impressive triumph over Juventus in Turin and they will fancy their chances of winning at Artemio Franchi.

Fiorentina

With the squad having undergone major changes in the summer, former Lazio and Inter Milan boss Stefano Pioli needed some time to get his ideas across, and just few months ago it looked as though this would turn into a largely disappointing campaign for Fiorentina. However, things clicked into place near the end of February and Viola went on to six straight Serie A wins, climbing to seventh in the overall standings.

The impressive run of results eventually came to an end as Fiorentina shared spoils with SPAL, before going on to suffer back to back defeats to Lazio and Sassuolo. Viola fought bravely in the first of those losses despite having goalkeeper Marco Sportiello sent off after just 7 minutes, but despite twice taking the lead with ten men, they eventually had to settle for a 4-3 defeat. Fiorentina then had Bryan Dabo sent off after half an hour in the 1-0 loss to Sassuolo, so the first task in the high-profile clash with Napoli will be to finish the match with 11 men on the pitch.

Team News

The French midfielder is obviously banned for the Napoli game, while Vitor Hugo and Cyril Thereau are rated doubtful.

Napoli

Even though Juventus are by far the best supported club in Italy, chances are many neutral fans from around the world are cheering Napoli on in an attempt to clinch their third Serie A trophy and the first since 1990. The Azzurri have been playing the best football in the elite division, they have incredible fans and many agree that they deserve to end Juventus’ domestic domination.

While several unexpected slip ups in recent weeks threatened to end their title bid, Napoli did really well to kick-start their campaign, as they first defeated Udinese at home, coming from a goal behind, before beating Juventus in Turin thanks to a last-gasp goal from Kalidou Koulibaly. The valuable triumph was exactly what Maurizio Sarri’s men deserved for a commanding performance against the reigning champions and with Juventus set to play Inter and Roma away, Napoli could seriously improve their title chances by winning at Artemio Franchi.

Team News

Apart from long-term casualty Faouzi Ghoulam, head coach Maurizio Sarri has no other selection worries at the moment.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Fiorentina suffered back to back defeats, finishing both games with ten men
  • Napoli won six of last nine meetings with Viola (D3)
  • The Azzurri scored in ten successive games at Artemio Franchi (W5 D4 L1)
  • Napoli unbeaten on last 30 Serie A travels (W24 D6)
  • The Azzurri conceded just once in last eight of those

Conclusion

Napoli didn’t come this far only to suffer a major blow to their title hopes and with Fiorentina on a downtrend of late, the Azzurri can be backed to continue the trend of strong performances on both domestic travels and Artemio Franchi.

Verdict: Away win

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: William Hill

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