Serie A’s early Saturday evening kick off looks set to thrill the neutral as early high-flyers Fiorentina travel South to Naples in order to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli. The Viola have only played two fixtures so far this term, the first a 6-1 home win versus Chievo Verona and the second a 1-0 win over a determined Udinese side.
Stefano Pioli’s men join Juventus as the only two sides to have won all of their matches so far this season, and the Tuscans will catch up to the rest of the teams as they play their postponed fixture versus Sampdoria next Wednesday.
Two tough fixtures in quick succession will provide a test of what this side – the youngest on average in any of Europe’s top five leagues – is really made of, and the Coach will have to make sound tactical plans versus a Napoli team that could be described as Jekyll and Hyde.
Of course, Ancelotti is still in a transition period as his players adapt to a new way of working after the rigid philosophies of former boss Maurizio Sarri. His main concern is in defence as the Partenopei have shipped seven goals with their first seven shots on target faced.
In the opening duo of matches, his attack was of course able to counteract such weakness, Napoli winning 2-1 after having first conceded versus Lazio and mounting an incredible comeback to win 3-2 after going 2-0 down to AC Milan.
Yet versus Sampdoria, Ancelotti’s men had no reply to their opponent’s attack-minded display, losing 3-0 to a team that took the initiative to be on the front foot from the start. Pioli will surely study how his counterpart Marco Giampaolo masterminded that win, and therefore a fascinating tactical battle is set to emerge.
The previous six results from these two sides are a real mixed bag. Fiorentina put the final nail in Napoli’s title hopes at the end of the season with a 3-0 thrashing at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, and there have been three draws and two wins for the Partenopei to accompany that result.
However, Maurizio Sarri’s side failed to beat Fiorentina home or away last term and – given the Viola’s flying start and the home side’s well-documented defensive struggles under Ancelotti – a draw could be the most sensible outcome to back on this occasion.
William Hill are among those bookmakers to offer the best odds on a draw at 16/5, but if you fancy Fiorentina to carry on their winning streak, BetVictor is the place to go. There, you can bet on the young team from Tuscany to heap misery on Ancelotti’s men at 5/1, another good option considering their impressive form and 100% winning record.
While Fiorentina have netted seven times in two matches, Napoli have also scored four times in their three outings, and the record between them suggests goals will be plentiful this time around. There have been 19 goals in total during their last six matches, and the home side certainly look much stronger going forward than in defence.
Napoli have also scored over 2.5 goals in their last five consecutive home matches, a stat that lends itself to believe that this game will be no different. Bet365 offer 3/5 on over 2.5 goals, a good option considering past form. If you fancy going a bit higher, the same site also provide odds of 6/4 on over 3.5 and 10/4 on over 4.5, none of which seem far-fetched on this occasion.
Sometimes a match just lends itself for certain players to score, and this weekend the stage seems set for Giovanni Simeone to find the back of the net. Not only did he score a hat-trick in Fiorentina’s last meeting with Napoli at the end of April, but the young striker celebrated his first start for Argentina with a goal last weekend.
The-23-year-old is hungry and full of confidence, already having notched up a goal and an assist in their first two matches and will be ready to put Saturday’s opponents to the sword.
Sportnation offer 2/1 for the son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego to score at anytime in the match, 15/2 to fire in first or last and if you fancy him to repeat April’s feat, you could back him at 40/1 for three goals or more.