Serie A leaders Napoli host this season’s surprise package Sampdoria in what promises to be an entertaining affair. The Partenopei have rediscovered their spark following the deflating loss to champions Juventus and the subsequent goalless draw with Fiorentina and Maurizio Sarri’s men are back on track and perfectly poised as the winter break looms.
Where and when: San Paolo – 23 December, kick-off 14:00
Where you can see Napoli vs. Sampdoria: BT Sport, bet365 live streaming
Last time: Napoli escaped with the three points with a 95th minute winner through debutant Lorenzo Tonelli. The final scoreline was 2-1.
Napoli v Sampdoria Predictions and Preview
Napoli are boosted by the return to fitness of star winger Lorenzo Insigne, who was a real miss as his side struggled to break down the Viola and even more so against Feyenoord in their make or break final Champions League group tie. Consequently, the Neapolitans find themselves out of Europe’s elite competition and Sarri will have a Thursday-Sunday fixture list to contend with in February.
The former Empoli boss reluctantly rotates beyond his first choice XI and must be mindful of an injury reoccurrence to one third of his star trio. Nevertheless, with the wicked right foot he possesses, Insigne is a reliable choice to find the back of the net on his return to the team.
The hosts have been heavily backed at 1/4 which lacks value as the contest is by no means a foregone conclusion. Sarri’s opposite number Marco Giampaolo has also earned the plaudits this campaign and has quietly put together an impressive outfit. Giampaolo’s side have already beaten Juventus this year and will not be in awe of the league leaders which bodes well for the occasion.
Doria are in European contention and at 10/1 are an appealing proposition particularly if Uruguayan sensation Lucas Torreira can find his range. The defensive midfielder has hit the headlines for his thunderous strikes from distance against the champions and Chievo. Napoli cannot afford to give him the time or space because he is capable of punishing them.
One to watch for Napoli: Captain Marek Hamsik is tied with legend Diego Maradona on 115 goals for the club. The Slovakia international is 4/1 to score first and clinch the record in the process.
One to watch for Sampdoria: Fabio Quagliarella has enjoyed a renaissance at the Blucerchiati since his arrival in 2016 and is 6/1 to notch the game’s final goal against one of his former clubs.
Long shot: Historically this matchup promises goals, with 13 struck in the last three games. Both teams to score in both halves is an attractive 45/1 and in Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon, the home side have a constant threat from the first whistle to the last while Quagliarella will be ably supported by Torreira.