Surprise early Serie A pace setters Fiorentina, head to the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday afternoon to face a Napoli team re-invigorated under the guidance of new coach Maurizio Sarri.
SARRI GOES 4-3-3, NAPOLI GO GOAL CRAZY
After the opening weeks of the new campaign, it looked as though Napoli would be the first club to wield the axe with new coach Maurizio Sarri struggling to come to terms with the size of the job he’d just been given. Then a Europa League tie at home to Club Brugge changed all that, as he switched to a 4-3-3 system and saw his team hammer the Belgians 5-0. They rifled in another five only days later, putting title contenders Lazio to the sword in front of an ecstatic San Paolo crowd, before destroying Milan at the San Siro prior to the international break. The team has scored at least two goals in each of their last eight home games and with the best sports betting websites offering odds of *1.80 for there to be over 2.5 goals this weekend, Sunday’s encounter with the league leaders could be a match to savour.
FIORENTINA DELIGHT THE PURISTS AS THEY MOUNT TITLE CHALLENGE
The side from Tuscany are playing some of the best football around at the moment. New coach Paolo Sousa demands nothing but the best from his players and they have responded by setting the pace at the top of the Serie A standings. They laid down a true statement of their intent at the San Siro only just a few weeks ago demolishing title favourites Inter on their own patch, sending a message to the rest of the championship contenders that this team are ready to go the long haul to try to lift the trophy next May. With the betting exchanges currently pricing them at a competitive *10.00 to win their first domestic league title since 1969, Sousa’s team may turn out to be the surprise package this season.
Both sides come into this match without injuries or suspensions withNapoli lining up in their formidable 4-3-3 formation. Sarri however, may tweak his playing staff a little for the visit of the league leaders with FaouziGhoulam being preferred at left-back to Christian Maggio and Spain’s JoséCallejón supporting the in-form strike duo of Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne; Dries Mertens will therefore drop to the substitute’s bench.
Fiorentina have their own goal machine in the shape of 27-year-old Croatian Nikola Kalinić whose confrontation with his opposite number Higuain looks set to be one of the highlights of the afternoon at the San Paolo. Backed up by the supremely talented Spanish playmaker Borja Valero and Josip Iličić, Kalinić’s outstanding recent performances, will mean that fellow front men Giuseppe Rossi and KhoumaBabacar will once again start with a watching brief from the dug-out.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Napoli (4-3-3) Reina; Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj; Hamšík, Jorginho, Allan; Insigne, Higuain, Callejón
Fiorentina (3-4-2-1) Tătăruşanu; Astori, Rodriguez, Roncaglia; Alonso, Badelj, Vecino, Błaszczykowski; Valero, Iličić; Kalinić
HEAD TO HEAD
The hosts will feel confident ahead of visit of the league leaders, having won the last three meetings between the two in all competitions. Home comforts may also play a major factor in Sunday’s outcome, with Napoli having only lost one of their last 13 matches at the famous old venue. On the other hand, the visitors can also boast an impressive recent league record having won 11 of their last 12 Serie A outings.
Napoli 1.72 Draw 3.75 Fiorentina 5.00
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)