Monday, September 28, 2020

Prediction: Napoli vs Sassuolo

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, Serie A 24 Jul 2020

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Verdict: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

In desperate need of a return to winning ways this weekend, European chasers Napoli will welcome Sassuolo to an empty Stadio San Paolo on Saturday night.

Napoli

Starting with the hosts, watching a struggling Parma snatch a late victory at the Stadio Ennio Tardini earlier in the week amidst more VAR controversy, Napoli are a side in despearte need of stability. With their 2-1 defeat on the road in midweek seeing them drop out of the top-six, the Blues sit three points adrift of the European spots with just three Serie A contests remaining. Now winning just one of their previous four top-flight appearances and appearing to be slipping back to their old ways, Head Coach Gennaro Gattuso has seen his side continue to show some worrying issues at the back. Shipping a pair of strikes away at a Parma side who had previously failed to win any of their last eight outings, Napoli have failed to record a Serie A clean sheet in any of their last seven matchups on the bounce. Although Saturday’s hosts might be in an uphill battle to secure another European finish this summer, the former AC Milan boss will be boosted by his side’s recent displays on home soil. Including a 2-1 win over Udinese in their last contest at the Stadio San Paolo, the Blues have collected 13 points over their last five appearances in Naples.

Team News

After serving a one-match suspension, Napoli will be able to call upon a returning Arkadiusz Milik on Saturday night.

Elsewhere, settling for a place on the bench in midweek, Belgium international Dries Mertens is set for a recall by Head Coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Sassuolo

As for the visitors, much like Saturday’s hosts, Sassuolo are desperate to make a return to winning ways after an eye-catching second half of the campaign. While they might have seen a resurging AC Milan pick up a 2-1 victory on home soil, that was I Neroverdi’s only top-flight defeat in their previous nine appearances. Although Roberto De Zerbi’s men might have left it too late to mount a stunning European charge, the Green and Blacks have continued skyrocketing up the Serie A standings. Already picking up 3-1 and 2-1 victories against Fiorentina and Lazio since making a return from the enforced break, Sassuolo have gained a string of plaudits for their recent displays in the final third. Along with bagging three strikes away at the San Siro when facing off against Inter Milan last month, Saturday’s guests have recorded at least a pair of strikes in four of their last five contests on the road. If Sassuolo are to land a shock victory this weekend, De Zerbi will be calling on the red-hot Francesco Caputo to lead their charge. Converting from the spot against AC earlier in the week, the 32-year-old has now found the net in his last four Serie A appearances on the bounce.

Team News

Shown a straight red card against AC Milan earlier in the week, Sassuolo will be unable to call upon Mehdi Bourabia who will start a suspension this weekend.

Sassuolo are also still sweating over the fitness of both Pedro Obiang and former Napoli defender Vlad Chiriches.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Napoli have failed to record a clean sheet in any of their last Serie A contests on the bounce.
  • Saturday’s hosts have seen their last six Serie A contests on the bounce end with both teams finding the net.
  • Including a 2-1 win earlier in the season, Napoli are unbeaten in their last nine matchups against I Neroverdi.
  • Each of Sassuolo’s last 10 consecutive contests have finished with both teams finding the net.
  • Sassuolo’s Francesco Caputo has found the net in his last four appearances on the bounce.

Conclusion

On paper, it really is hard to see anything other than an extremely lively contest at the Stadio San Paolo this weekend. While Napoli might open Saturday’s meeting as a clear favourite with the bookmakers, the Blues have continued to show some worrying issues at the back and could still be reeling from their shock defeat away at a struggling Parma in midweek. Although Sassuolo might be coming off the back of their own 2-1 defeat earlier in the week, I Neroverdi have impressed throughout the second half of the campaign. With each of their last 10 straight appearances ending with both teams finding the net, including back-to-back 3-3 draws against Inter Milan and Verona last month, we’re backing a similar thriller this weekend.

Verdict: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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