Lazio v Napoli – Stadio Olimpico at 17:00 GMT Live at Premier Sports
Saturday night’s showdown in the capital between Lazio and Napoli promises to be a fascinating affair in Serie A. Inter Milan and Juventus are locked on 45 points at the top of the table but it’s Lazio who are generating plenty of headlines, sitting just six points behind the pace-setting pair with a game in-hand.
Why? Well, Lazio are the form side in Italy. The Biancocelesti have bagged nine successive Serie A victories and took Super Cup honours over the festive period when overcoming Juventus. Simone Inzaghi’s side are also the division’s second- top scorers – with 40 goals– with Ciro Immobile bagging 19 of that tally already.
Le Aquile have been fabulous to follow, built around the strengths of Immobile. Inzaghi’s first Lazio sides largely employed a counter-attacking system, sitting deep and drawing opponents forward before releasing the Azzurri hitman into space. However, the capital club now have more strings to their attacking bow.
Lazio’s excellent attacking efforts
Lazio are now capable of unpicking more cautious opponents, thanks to a wealth of creative talents behind Immobile, from Alberto – whose nine assists lead the division – to Joaquín Correa and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. All three offer alternative threats and have consistently generated goalscoring chances.
The Biancocelesti’s offensive blend and ability is born out in the underlying metrics. Only Atalanta can better Inzaghi’s team for Expected Goals (xG) output, xG from open play, or shots attempted from inside the penalty area and so Lazio should be confident of putting under-performing Napoli under pressure here.
The hosts have scored at least twice in each of their past 12 Serie A showdowns – the longest streak ever apart from Il Grande Torino’s 13 in 1948 – and their current winning run was only ever matched by Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Le Aquile team in 1998-99. This team are breaking records and difficult to oppose.
Napoli likely to fall short
Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso admitted his side made numerous “avoidable mistakes” in their 3-1 home defeat to Inter on Monday night. The Partenopei were without the injured Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic in defence and were easily exposed to the counter-attack and in transitions.
Since taking over from Carlo Ancelotti in December, Gattuso has overseen two Serie A home defeats and a stoppage-time win at Sassuolo. The Partenopei are now joint eighth in the table, already 10 adrift of the Champions League places, piling more pressure on the side to arrest their worrying decline.
The visitors have W0-D2-L6 against top half opposition this term, shipping two goals or more in six of those contests. With that in mind, plus Lazio’s flying form, it’s easy to support the home side at odds-against quotes with a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle on Saturday evening.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendations: Lazio -0.50 at 2.150
Preview by: @MarkOHaire