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Serie A: Napoli Aim for Final European Spot


Serie A: Napoli Aim for Final European Spot

Napoli vs Sassuolo

As Serie A seasons go, this has been a disappointing campaign for Napoli.

In recent years, they have pushed the dominant force, Juventus, all the way to the title, and have also caused some Champions League shockwaves – a competition they have competed in the past four successive seasons.

Now, however, life is not as good in Naples.

Talking Points

The club’s foolish decision to part company with Carlo Ancelotti in December – for failing to follow the owner’s instructions – has backfired and while they will almost certainly be competing in Europe next term, it will be the much less vaunted Europa League

Furthermore, they are nowhere near the top four of Serie A – indeed are some 24 points behind leaders Juventus with three matches remaining.

Sassuolo, by contrast, have been a breath of fresh air and, after three consecutive mid-table finishes, continue to dream of a return to European football next season.

To stand any chance, mind, they will have to win this encounter.

We already know they can create Serie A highlights and have already shown a liking for upsetting more illustrious opponents.

But it really would upset the SBOBET Serie A betting odds if they win this one, let alone leapfrog their opponents between now and the end of the campaign.

While Napoli were going down to a late defeat at Parma in midweek, Sassuolo were losing at home to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired AC Milan to all but end their hopes of a top-seven finish.

Despite almost certainly missing out, the little club from the Emilia-Romagna region have been punching above their weight for some time now and have an ex-Napoli man masterminding their success.

For Roberto De Zerbi is the architect behind the rise of the Neroverdi this term, receiving plaudits from all corners for the attacking and entertaining style his side tries to play.

The 41-year-old ex-Napoli midfielder first came to prominence in the top flight when his Benevento side excited fans with a refreshingly open brand of football, despite being relegated in their maiden Serie A season.

Now some Italian media are asking what the future holds, given Sassuolo launched the careers of coaches like Eusebio Di Francesco and, most notably, former Juventus boss Max Allegri, so naturally wonder if De Zerbi can follow in their footsteps and take over at one of the established Italian giants.

His opposite number in the dugout this weekend is also being eagerly monitored.

Although it has been far from a vintage season, Gennaro Gattuso appears to have halted the reverse in fortunes of the crisis-stricken club since succeeding Ancelotti and eve guided them to a Coppa Italia success.

There is no question his immediate future seems to be with Napoli, however fans of Milan – who he graced for so long as a player – may now wonder what might have been had he stayed in charge of the Rossoneri.

They had a timely reminder in a recent encounter.

Putting the managers aside, Napoli’s biggest job this summer could be trying to keep hold of their star defender Kalidou Koulibaly with a reported €80 million price-tag supposedly putting his biggest suitors off.

He will almost certainly want to be playing Champions League football next term so will need to move for that to happen.

First, though, there is work to be done and a Europa League place to mathematically secure.

A draw in this game will do just that,

History

Earlier this season, it took a stoppage-time own goal to give Napoli the victory after Hamed Junior Traorè and Allan had traded goals.

Of their meetings, Sassuolo have only won once. That was in August 2015 since when they have been defeated five times with a further four draws in league and cup.

Last season, Napoli won this fixture 2-0, thanks to goals from Adam Ounas and Lorenzo Insigne.

Overall, Napoli have eight successes with five draws and that sole Sassuolo success. All of their games have taken place since the latter were promoted to the top flight in 2013.

Betting Tip

Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.56

A home win is clearly expected with Napoli available to back 1X2 @ 1.58, the draw 1X2 @ 4.20 and Sassuolo 1X2 @ 5.00.

Similarly, with Asian Handicap betting the odds are stacked in favour of the home side who can be tipped -1.25 @ 2.29 with the visitors +0.75 @ 2.25.

A repeat of the meeting from earlier this season – correct score 2-1 – is available @ 7.00.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 

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