Sunday, February 17, 2019

Prediction: Napoli vs Lazio

Milos Markovic in Free Soccer Predictions, Serie A 18 Jan 2019

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Verdict: Draw and Both Teams to Score

Best Odds: 7/2

Bookmaker: bet365

Napoli lock horns with Lazio on Sunday night in what’s widely described as this week’s highlight fixture in Serie A. Hosts will be looking to close the gap behind leaders Juventus whereas Lazio also have an agenda of their own – strengthening a grip on their top-four chances.

Napoli

Sitting huge nine points behind Serie A title holders Juventus, the second-placed Napoli will have a difficult time throwing a more serious Scudetto challenge. The Old Lady remain the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues and look well-poised to defend their crown with ease.

As things stand, all Napoli will be left with is to make sure they place a lock on the second place in the standings and see off the likes of Inter Milan and their Sunday’s rivals Lazio in their attempts to knock them off their perch. It’s going to be games like these that hold vital importance in Napoli’s efforts to remain up top and Carlo Ancelotti’s men are certain to give their absolute best to keep Lazio at bay despite being faced with plenty of issues ahead of this weekend’s match. Napoli restart the Serie A season following the winter break on a high, having only lost 2 of their last 18 matches but maintaining the positive streak will be easier said than done knowing that Ancelotti will have a long list of first-team absentees to deal with.

Team News

Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Allan are suspended for the weekend’s clash, whereas the team leader Marek Hamsik is out through injury.

Hosts are likely to turn to Fabian Ruiz and Simone Verdi who could be given respective nods, while Kevin Malcuit will also be in contention for the Lazio match.

Lazio

Lack of consistency has been Lazio’s biggest problem throughout the season. Biancocelesti are coming off from a disappointing season which saw them miss out on the Champions League football by an inch and such a result seemed to have left its mark on the team.

Lazio lost no less than five Serie A matches thus far, failing to win in further five and currently sit in fourth place in the standings with 32 points to their name. Inzaghi’s side endured a difficult month prior to the winter break but still managed to recover from the seven-match winless run with back-to-back victories over Cagliari and Bologna, before drawing with Torino. A 4-1 Coppa Italia win over Novara from last week will have been a nice little warm-up for the trip to Napoli. Lazio will have extra motivation to do good on Sunday knowing they lost four successive matches against Napoli. Despite the most recent head-to-head history suggesting otherwise, Lazio have plenty about them to trouble the favoured – but injury-troubled – hosts.

Team News

Influential winger Adam Marusic misses out through suspension and Senad Lulic might be pushed to the right to cover him.

Martin Caceres, Joaquin Correa and Wallace are all fitness doubts, whereas Jordan Lukaku is also pushing for a starting place after a fine performance against Novara.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Napoli won 6 of their last 7 Serie A games against Lazio
  • Lazio last won at Napoli in May 2015
  • Napoli won 7 of their last 9 matches in all competition
  • Lazio kept only 1 clean sheet in last 15 games across all competitions
  • Immobile and Milik have both scored 10 goals apiece in the Serie A

Conclusion

With Serie A returning from the winter break, both Napoli and Lazio will be eager to kick-start the campaign with a win. Napoli boast a more favourable head-to-head record and appear to be firm favourites to grab a win but the absence of several key players in Ancelotti’s team could provide Lazio with a fighting chance.

Verdict: Draw and Both Teams to Score

Best Odds: 7/2

Bookmaker: bet365

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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