An eight-point gap behind safety means that Cagliari will almost certainly be relegated come end of the season, although Isolani will give their best to keep the slim survival hopes alive by defeating Napoli. However, this is clearly not the right time to be facing the Azzurri, who recorded two big wins to prove the dismal run is behind them now.
Serie B return on the cards after 11 years
Cagliari have enjoyed some good times since returning to the elite division in 2004, and having finished the previous campaign seven points above the bottom three in spite of the poor finish, Isolani were not expected to be involved in the relegation tussle this season. However, while they enjoyed a decent start to the 2014/2015 campaign, the Sant’Elia outfit struggled to live up to the billing and the disappointing run that started on the first day of February all but ended their survival hopes. Cagliari are winless in last ten Serie A matches, taking mere three points in the process, so it is hardly surprising they sit eight points adrift of safety with eight games to go. The spirits appear to be at an all time low after three comfortable defeats, where Isolani didn’t even come close to getting something from those games. And with revived Napoli now arriving at Sant’Elia, everything suggests the dismal run is going to continue. Judging by team’s latest performances, it appears that even the players themselves no longer believe that the team can avoid the drop.
Playmaker Lorenzo Crisetig misses out through suspension, while top scorer Marco Sau is carrying a back injury. Godfred Donsah, Andrea Cossu and Francesco Pisano return.
Napoli is back
Nobody knows why exactly did Napoli start struggling ahead of the business end to the season, but the reality is the Azzurri played well below their potential over the last couple of months. Hectic schedule can be seen as one of the reasons, but with Rafa Benitez deploying a rotation policy from the very start, that cannot be considered an excuse. Following a five-match winless run in the league that nearly ended team’s Champions League hopes and a Coppa Italia semi-final defeat to Lazio, everything suggested this would turn into one of the most disappointing seasons in recent years. However, it appears that chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis’ threats were taken seriously by the players as they first hammered Fiorentina 3-0 in Serie A, before enjoying a remarkable 4-1 away win over Wolfsburg, one of Europe’s in-form sides. This is enough to suggest that Napoli are back in business and a couple of morale-boosting wins should prove just what the team needed to turn things around. And with the Azzurri still having time to revive their top 3 hopes, there are no doubts they will be very motivated to put the last nail in the coffin of Cagliari and keep their Champions League dream alive.
David Lopez is banned, whilst Michu remains on the sidelines. Rafa Benitez is widely expected to make some changes to his side in order to keep all his players fresh.
Cagliari seem to have lost all hope of beating the drop and having lost last three matches by a two-goal margin, they cannot be trusted to stop revived Napoli in their tracks. The Azzurri will be buoyed by impressive wins over Viola and Wolfsburg, and they shouldn’t have too many problems defeating Isolani on the road.
Top pick: Away win 1.95 (19/20) @ William Hill
Alternative pick 1: Napoli/Napoli 3.10 (21/10) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Napoli -1.5 AH 3.40 (12/5) @ 888sport