Napoli v Roma – Stadio San Paolo at 20:30 live at Eleven Sports
Angel Di Maria broke Neapolitans hearts on Wednesday night when curling in a stoppage-time equaliser for Paris Saint-Germain as they twice came from behind to force a 2-2 draw against Napoli in a pulsating Champions League tie.
Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens had twice given the Partenopei the lead in the French capital as Carlo Ancelotti’s charges looked to follow up their excellent 1-0 win over Liverpool with back-to-back triumphs. However, Di Maria’s beauty in the third minute of stoppage time denied the Serie A side.
Nevertheless, Napoli should be capable of bouncing back to winning ways on Sunday night when they welcome Roma to the Stadio San Paolo for the highlight of the weekend’s Serie A action. The hosts can be supported at 1.78 with a -0.50 Asian Handicap, a price that is well worth taking.
The Partenopei eased to a 3-0 success away at Udinese last weekend to make it seven victories from their first nine matches under Ancelotti’s watch. In four of those fixtures, the Neapolitans struck at least three times, and although Insigne is rated doubtful this weekend, Mertens is not a bad standby striker.
Elsewhere, Faouzi Ghoulam could get some playing time having returned to full fitness from his serious injury, and Ancelotti’s outfit will be keen to continue their positive performances that have seen Napoli post a 64% Expected Goals from open play ratio despite a devilishly difficult fixture schedule.
Roma boss under pressure
Roma appears to exist in a permanent state of discomfort these days – shorn of the familiarity of Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman in midfield. They are the third-most prolific team in Serie A this season, but after a 2-0 defeat at home to Spal they have conceded 12 times in nine games.
Head coach Eusebio Di Francesco is hanging onto his position by a thread. The Giallorossi eased the pressure slightly by putting CSKA Moscow away with ease in midweek on Champions League duty but with Javier Pastore, Diego Perotti and Justin Kluivert are likely to be unavailable here, it’s hard to find the faith in Roma collecting a positive result on the road.
The visitors are giving up over eight shots-per-game from inside their own penalty box and are already languishing seven points adrift of second-placed Napoli, as well as a whopping 11 points off table-topping Juventus despite playing only nine matches this term.
Napoli have W18-D3-L2 at the San Paolo since the start of last season in Serie A, scoring two goals or more in 17 (74%) matches. Roma have already fallen to defeats at Bologna and Milan and look easily opposed in their current state.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Napoli -0.50 at 1.780
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.