Udinese boss Julio Velazquez makes a fair point about the fixture list being unkind to his side, the Friulian outfit having been defeated 2-0 by Juventus before the International break - and now facing the prospect of a match versus second-place Napoli.
“We did our best, but unfortunately we couldn’t stop Juventus,” the Spanish Coach told Sky Italia. “They practically have two first teams in one squad, as well as a player like [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who can help them win the Champions League too."
"Napoli? That’s the way the fixture list is, it’s up to us to try and get points against everyone. So far the team has done well despite being young, and the fact the fixture list has not been kind to us.”
With eight points from eight matches in Serie A, Udinese will take little comfort from the fact that Napoli also suffered defeat to Juve at the end of September.
“A defeat can happen, just as Juventus could lose in Naples,” the former Bayern boss confessed after a 3-1 loss in Turin. “We have to keep improving under many aspects, but I am convinced we’ll be competitive right to the end and I think tonight’s performance proved that.”
As if to prove the point, Carlo Ancelotti’s men bounced back with a 1-0 win over Liverpool, followed by a straightforward 2-0 victory versus Sassuolo before the break. Indeed, after a shaky start to the campaign, the experienced boss has got his side firing on all cylinders, as they set their sights on yet another attempt at stopping Juventus from lifting the Scudetto.
This side understand that they cannot allow any failures versus sides like Udinese if they wish to mount a credible challenge, especially as the Old Lady remain unbeaten in any competition this term.
History has been unkind to the Zebrette, the Friulians having won just once in their last six encounters with Napoli. That was back in 2016, when Maurizio Sarri’s men suffered a total collapse when gunning for the title, Gonzalo Higuain sent off in a high-tempered affair.
Since then, the Partenopei have been victorious in every fixture between the pair, and it’s highly unlikely to be any different here.
888Sport offer 4/7 on an away win, an outcome well worth backing, considering all the aforementioned factors. Another great option with the same football betting site is a bet on Napoli to win both halves at 7/5, especially considering Napoli are the team with the most goals inside the first 15 minutes in the division.
They like to hit teams early, having fired in an average rate of 0.5 goals in that opening period. If you fancy backing a goal in the first 15 minutes based on that stat, 888 Sport offer odds of 21/10.
A look at current form favours the away team even more here, with a number of betting options to reflect this. While Napoli have won eight from their last ten matches in Serie A, Udinese have been defeated in each of their last three, conceding at least two goals in all of those encounters.
Furthermore, each of the last four away games under Ancelotti have seen over 2.5 goals, a factor that is likely to be repeated here. Odds of 7/5 on a Napoli victory with the net bulging over 2.5 times are available via BetHard, or if you feel confident in a comprehensive win, you can back the Partenopei to win by two goals or more at 6/4 with the same site.
Now deployed as a second striker rather than a winger by Ancelotti, Lorenzo Insigne is in superb goal-scoring form this season. In just seven starting appearances, the pint-sized star has already fired in six times - last season’s tally was eight in 36 Serie A appearances in the starting XI.
“I always had faith in myself, but this time the Coach put me a bit closer to the goal,” the forward revealed to Sky Italia recently. “That saves me a little effort in defence, but in return he asked me to be more precise and determined in my finishing. I am enjoying it more, I get to focus on one aspect and the fans love goals."