After some relatively poor performances from Juventus, the top of the table in Italy has suddenly begun to look much more interesting.
Over the past week, the Bianconeri have crashed out of the Coppa Italia – a competition they had won in each of the previous four campaigns – and suffered a somewhat humiliating 3-3 draw at home against Parma.
Of course, both those results are very much a case of #FirstWorldProblems for a side with a genuine chance of winning both the Serie A title and the Champions League this term, but it has unquestionably dented their previous aura of invincibility.
Sitting in second and now nine points behind Juve, Napoli certainly haven’t given up hope, with their Coach insisting they simply have to concentrate on their performances rather than worrying about what the Old Lady is up to.
"It's still very open,” Carlo Ancelotti told broadcaster DAZN. “We have to do our own job and there are lots of matches left.”
That starts with Saturday’s encounter away to Fiorentina, the same stadium where last season’s Scudetto push fell apart for Napoli, losing 3-0 to the Viola just a week after beating Juventus in Turin.
Then-boss Maurizio Sarri insisted the damage was done the night before, allowing his side to watch the Bianconeri beat Inter on TV before lamenting that they “lost the championship in a hotel and not on the pitch.”
Ancelotti is unlikely to make the same mistake, but Juve will need to improve from their recent subpar displays if they are to earn a result at Sassuolo this weekend, while Parma will look to carry their own good form over into Saturday’s clash with Inter.
It is somewhat ironic that the aforementioned win for Fiorentina in this fixture was their first victory in nine meetings with Napoli, losing four and drawing four of their previous eight encounters.
The Viola have endured an inconsistent 2018/19 season, with results in the past week – a 7-1 thrashing of AS Roma and a 1-1 draw at Udinese – only serving to underline how unpredictable Stefano Pioli’s men have been.
That makes picking the final result here extremely difficult, but there is still value to be found in this fixture nonetheless. Fiorentina have found themselves hitting the back of the net frequently in recent weeks, that victory over Roma coming immediately after a 4-3 win over Chievo and a 3-3 draw with Sampdoria.
Only Atalanta (48) and Juve (46) have scored more times than Napoli this term, suggesting this could be another high scoring affair.
Therefore it is well worth taking a look at Over 2.5 goals, available at 10/11 with RedZone, while their odds of 23/10 on over 3.5 goals is hugely tempting given the previous form of both sides.
A Juventus team that has spent all week reading about how bad they have been is a dangerous opponent, particularly when remembering that they are unbeaten in their last 23 away games in Serie A.
Given that Sunday’s opponents Sassuolo have only won twice in their last 11 league games, this fixture could not have come at a worse time for Roberto De Zerbi’s men who could be in for a torrid time here.
Noting that the Bianconeri have spent more time (1052 minutes) ahead in matches this term than any other side in the division, backing them to be winning at half-time and full-time here – a result available at 13/10 with Bet365 – adds some real value to what should be a straightforward outing for Juventus.
Arguably no team in Serie A has been as wildly inconsistent as Inter this term, Luciano Spalletti looking on forlornly as his side lurch from superb to substandard almost without warning.
Winless in their last four games in all competitions, it would be no surprise to see them bounce back with a win over their mid-table hosts here, but there would also be no shock value in seeing them capitulate either.
Buoyed by that draw at Juventus Stadium, Parma too are capable of anything, that point in Turin coming immediately after a 3-2 loss away to SPAL.
Such unpredictability should make this clash tough to predict, but there is value to be found in the goals market as Parma have scored at least twice in each of their last three games.
Even as Inter have struggled, they have struck nine times in their last six outings, making RedZone’s offer of 20/23 on both teams to score well worth considering.
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