Serie A leaders Napoli head to Sardinia to face Cagliari on Monday night, as one of the most exciting title battles in Italy for years really hots up. The Azzurri could find themselves usurped at the top of the table when the game gets underway though, providing Juventus avoid defeat at home to Atalanta on Sunday.
Where and when: Sardegna Arena – 26 February, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Cagliari vs. Napoli: BT Sport, William Hill live streaming
Last time: An early goal from Marek Hamsik set Napoli on their way when the teams met at the Stadio San Paolo at the start of October. A Dries Mertens penalty and a strike from Kalidou Koulibaly sealed a comfortable 3-0 win for the hosts.
Cagliari v Napoli Predictions and Preview
Napoli will go into this game full of confidence, not only on the back of their excellent season to date, but also their superb record against Cagliari. The Azzurri are looking for their fifth straight victory over the Sardinians.
The Naples club have won their last two away games at the Rossoblu, scoring eight goals without conceding any. However this is their first trip to Cagliari’s temporary home, the Sardegna Arena, so Luis Diego Lopez will hope his side give a better account of themselves in new surroundings on Monday.
The Cagliari boss will be without Luca Cigarini and Filippo Romagna for the visit of the league leaders, who have Vlad Chiriches and Faouzi Ghoulam missing through injury. Arkadiusz Milik could be available for selection though after returning to training following a knee problem.
There’s little surprise that Napoli start the game as heavy favourites in the betting against a team 14th in the Serie A table. Maurizio Sarri’s side are priced at 3/8, while the hosts are available as long as 10/1. A draw would be a decent result for Cagliari, and the bookmakers are offering odds of 23/5 for this.
Considering Napoli’s recent dominance over the Islanders, another big away win could be on the cards. In the last four meetings between the sides, the Azzurri have outscored Cagliari by 14 goals to one. Predicting the correct score boosts the relatively unattractive odds on Napoli outright, with a 3-0 win for the visitors priced at 9/1. If you go to 4-0, the odds increase to 19/1.
One to watch for Cagliari: Joao Pedro has contributed five goals from midfield for Cagliari, which is only one fewer than top scorer Leonardo Pavoletti. The Brazilian is 14/1 to open the scoring in this one, and 4/1 to find the back of the net anytime.
One to watch for Napoli: Dries Mertens is the Azzurri’s top scorer with 15 goals in 24 Serie A games, and he’s the 10/3 favourite to break the deadlock on Monday. He bagged a hat-trick on his last visit to Cagliari, and with six in his last three against the Rossoblu, is 16/1 to net another treble.
Long shot: Napoli put five past Cagliari without reply the last time they were in Sardinia. Another 5-0 away win is priced at 50/1, while if you add in Mertens as the first scorer the odds increase to 90/1.