24th September 2011
Napoli ended the impressive run of results as they suffered a narrow defeat in Verona after Walter Mazzarri had decided to rest his key players and the Partenopei are now eager to return to winning ways. Fiorentina recorded the second home win of the season, but they will have to show some improvement on the travels if they want to fight for European places.
Napoli chiefs had a unique opportunity to cash in on their star players following an impressive season, but they managed to resist temptation and kept the entire squad together. On top of that, controversial president Aurelio de Laurentiis made sure the team remain competitive by overseeing the purchases of Dzemali, Inler, Pandev, Britos and Fernandez among others, so nobody was surprised to see Napoli in impressive form at the start of the season. Having beaten Cesena and Milan in their first two Serie A games, the Partenopei were expected to beat Chievo as well, but Walter Mazzarri decided to field a second string line-up and was punished for that when back-up defender Ignacio Fideleff made a shocking mistake to gift Chievo an undeserved win. Nonetheless, with Lavezzi, Cavani, Hamsik and co. back to the side, Napoli are expected to prove their title credentials yet again and continue the impressive home run. Miguel Britos and Christian Maggio are the only unavailable players.
Fiorentina have seen a major downtrend in fortunes over the last few years as they are no longer a side capable of upsetting the order at the top of the standings, but rather a team that don’t look capable of ever challenging for European places. Despite all the transfer talk surrounding Alberto Gilardino, Ricardo Montolivo and Juan Manuel Vargas, Viola entered the new season with virtually the same squad, although everybody at the club were happy to see Stevan Jovetic back from a serious injury. Attacking trio of Jovetic, Cerci and Gilardino played an important part in comfortable home wins over Bologna and Parma, but Viola could do nothing to avoid 2:0 defeat at Udine, thus showing that their travel sickness is still the order of the day. With Napoli in impressive form at their San Paolo and Alberto Gilardino missing out through injury, Fiorentina don’t have the quality or the character to avoid defeat in Naples.
Walter Mazzarri’s controversial decision to field a second string line-up in Verona should help Napoli a great deal against Fiorentina as key players will be fresh to work their magic at San Paolo. Viola are still unable to produce anything worth the mention on the travels and home win looks on the cards here.
Verdict: Home win Napoli (1)
Best Odds: 5/6
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler