Travel-sick Sampdoria head out to high-flying Napoli on Saturday, looking for a potential surprise and an end to their eight-match winless run away from home. It will not be easy however, as Partenopei have become a rather lethal side over the period of last three months and will surely be looking to make an additional push towards the top of the table.
Maurizio Sarri is doing a wonderful job at Napoli, who are currently enjoying a 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions prior to winter break. It all started after the 2-1 defeat at Juventus, which sparked a reaction from the Partenopei, who went on to become one of the most feared teams in Serie A. Napoli scored no less than 18 goals in last five matches of the year 2016 and will surely look to continue with their impressive scoring exploits in the first match in 2017. In the absence of their first-choice striker Arkadiusz Milik, Napoli players stepped up to the plate with Dries Mertens taking centre stage with 11 Serie A goals to date. The Belgium forward bagged flour in a 5-3 win over Torino, while he also added one more last time out against Fiorentina and is expected to extend his impressive run. Napoli have added more firepower to their ranks last week with Genoa’s Leonardo Pavoletti becoming the first January signing which adds an extra option in attack for Maurizio Sarri.
Napoli will have to deal with a number of injuries ahead of the game with Sampdoria. Arkadiusz Milik remains unavailable, whereas Kalidou Koulibaly is also out due to his knee injury. Vlad Chiriches is struggling with a muscle problem, whereas Raul Albiol is suspended for the occasion.
Marco Giampaolo’s team has been struggling throughout the season and especially on the road and the trip to Napoli comes at a tough time for Sampdoria. Doriani are sitting in 13th place in the Serie A standings and are keen to make a push towards the top half of the table. It will be easier said than done however, as Giampaolo’s men are yet to register a win at Napoli since their return to Italy’s top tier in 2007. Sampdoria are lacking consistency this season and are now looking for ways to bounce back from a three-match winless run which saw them lose to Lazio and Chievo respectively, and finish the year with a goalless draw against Udinese. Sampdoria conceded 24 goals in 18 matches in Serie A and the club has made moves to solve the defensive issues by bringing Legia Warsaw defender Bartosz Bereszynski, who could be included despite only arriving this week. The trip to Napoli would be a good opportunity for Sampdoria to try and work out a deal for former player Manolo Gabbiadini who has been linked with Sampdoria in recent weeks.
Emiliano Viviano is recovering from a scaphoid fracture and will be absent from the trip to Napoli, whereas Carlos Carbonero is also unavailable through injury. Defender Stanley Amuzie is yet to make an appearance for the club this season, while Jacopo Sala is struggling with a calf injury.
Napoili have a good record against Sampdoria which is likely to be extended to 11 matches without a defeat against Doriani. The Partenopei have been scoring for fun lately and we are certain that hosts will look for another high-margin win and a spectacle for the home supporters.
Top pick: Napoli/Napoli 1.85 (17/20) @Coral
Alternative pick 1: Over 3.5 goals 2.10 (11/10) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Mertens to score anytime 1.83 (5/6) @Betfair