Napoli – Sampdoria 17.02.2013
Napoli desperately need to make amends for the embarrassing Europa League defeat to Viktoria Plzen as well as attempt to close the gap behind title rivals Juventus.
After seeing off Roma at their Marassi, Sampdoria will be feeling confident ahead of the clash at San Paolo.
Even before the season started, Napoli were seen as the only serious title contenders to reigning champions Juventus, but it was definitely not easy to skip the likes of Roma, Fiorentina, Inter, Lazio and Milan in the overall standings. The reality is the Azzurri have played some great football along the way, mostly thanks to incredible attacking duo of Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani. However, the impressive run of results came to an abrupt end in midweek as Walter Mazzarri’s side suffered a 3-0 defeat to Viktoria Plzen, with everybody at the club now determined to help the team return to the right track. Napoli were obviously very unfortunate to concede three goals considering their opponents created almost nothing, but the match proved team’s back line is not as solid as some think it is. With their Europa League campaign virtually over, the Azzurri can fully focus on their league clash against Sampdoria and try to record a much needed morale-boosting win.
Match: Napoli – Sampdoria 15.00h
League: Serie A
Our prediction: over 2.5 goals Odds: 1.80
With two thirds of the league campaign already gone, we can safely say that Sampdoria are one of the biggest surprise packages of the season. The team from Genoa had no problems adapting to the standard of football in the top flight and they have not only created a big advantage over the relegation-threatened sides, but also promoted a number of talented footballers. Top European clubs are already lining up for the likes of Obiang, Krsticic and Poli, but it was Mauro Icardi who quickly became one of the hottest commodities in Italy. Everybody at the club was worried to see star striker Maxi Lopez pick up an injury in the opening exchanges, but that allowed Icardi to prove his worth at the highest level and score no less than eight Serie A goals. With Sampdoria scoring nine goals in last three league fixtures, they can be trusted to score a couple at San Paolo as well.