Fresh from their last-minute defeat versus Juventus on Sunday evening, Napoli head to Florence knowing that they must win in order to keep the pressure on the Bianconeri as they remain one point behind in second place.
The Viola went down to disappointing defeats in their last two matches versus Lazio and Sassuolo, but were on the receiving end of some bad luck due to injuries, suspensions and poor refereeing decisions. Before that the Tuscan outfit had won six times and drawn twice in their previous eight matches, a run that brought them back into contention for a Europa League place.
That, plus a vociferous crowd at the Stadio Artemio Franchi means that the Partenopei will have to be at their very best in order to take a much-needed victory and according to reports in Il Mattino, Maurizio Sarri has made an impassioned plea to his players not to get carried away by their impressive win over Juve.
Fiorentina have a young side who pulled together after the tragic death of their Captain Davide Astori at the beginning of March, but it remains to be seen how this newly-assembled group will react to two defeats in a row. Meanwhile Napoli benefit from a more-experienced and quality lineup, and – combined with the impact of the fixture on the title race – look to be favourites to secure the win.
Aside from a 0-0 draw earlier in the season, traditional matchups between the pair have largely been high-scoring affairs, a 3-3 draw in Florence last season a particularly thrilling encounter. Yet Napoli have failed to lose in the last six games, notching up three wins and three draws in total as the Viola have given their all but still come up short. Blacktype offers odds of 8/15 for a Napoli win, something that should be considered given the magnitude of the match.
Fiorentina will have to be careful not to concede fouls to their title-chasing opponents in dangerous areas. Only Juventus (16) have scored more goals from set-pieces than Napoli (15) this season, and Stefano Pioli’s men have been particularly careless in giving them away.
The Viola have conceded thirteen times from a dead-ball situation, with only relegation candidates Chievo, Benevento, Udinese and Crotone having let in more in these circumstances. Redbet are offering odds of 16/1 for the first method of goalscoring to be a free-kick, an option certainly worth considering.
Furthermore, Napoli are particularly efficient at attacking down the wings, forwards Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik supplied by the dynamic duo of Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon. Insigne has achieved the second-highest rate of chances created in Serie A this term with an average of 2.8 per match, while Callejon is not too far behind him in 14th position having recorded a rate of 1.9.
The duo have also recorded 17 goals between them this term, Insigne with just one less than his team-mate with a tally of eight. The Viola are also one of the latter’s favourite opponents to score against, the 5’3” winger having only scored more versus Milan (6) than Fiorentina (5). Bet365 offer 5/1 odds on Insigne to score first or last, a bet that is well worth your time after taking this statistic into account.
Title-chasing Napoli are undefeated in their last 30 away matches in Serie A, a run that included their last-gasp victory over Juventus last weekend. Their prowess away from the Stadio San Paolo has also seen the Partenopei keep a clean sheet in seven of their last eight away fixtures, meaning that Fiorentina might find it hard to penetrate the Napoli backline.
There have also been less than 2.5 goals netted in seven of eight away matches for Maurizio Sarri’s men and the Viola have also witnessed less than this figure in five of their last six matches.
The fixtures between the two have been high-scoring in the past, however recent form – bearing in mind the last encounter between these two sides finished 0-0 – suggests there may not be too many goals on Sunday. A bet on a total of less than 2.5 goals is therefore surely worthwhile, with Bet365 providing odds of 2.04 for this outcome.
Fiorentina (3-5-1-1): Sportiello; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Vitor Hugo; Chiesa, Benassi, Cristoforo, Veretout, Biraghi; Saponara; Simeone
Napoli (4-3-3): Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne