Lazio vs Napoli
2018/19 Italian Serie A.
Date: Saturday, 18 August 2018
Kick-Off: 19:30 UK,
Venue: Stadio Olimpico (Rome).
Napoli desperately chased Juventus all the way last season, but it was in vain as the Partenopei ended up empty handed.
The Southern Italian side, then under Maurizio Sarri opted to throw everything into trying to win the Scudetto and ultimately paid the price for that approach as they ended up giving up chances to win the Coppa Italia and perhaps even go far in the Europa League.
Sarri has now moved on to Chelsea, and Napoli have brought in Carlo Ancelotti in a bid to freshen things up and try again to make a serious bid for silverware.
Jorginho, one of the team’s standout players in the middle of the park decided to follow his manager to Chelsea, but fortunately, that’s where the exodus ended, as captain Marek Hamsik is still at the Stadio San Paolo along with other notable faces like Dries Mertens, who has been excellent over the past few seasons and Italy’s Lorenzo Insigne.
However, Ancelotti has opted to drop Mertens to the bench in favor of Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik, who has struggled with injuries since arriving back in 2016. And this will arguably be the time for the former Ajax man to show why he deserves a chance to be re-instated as the first choice center-forward.
Mertens has really burst to life as a false no. 9, but Milik is a true no. 9 and finally could develop under Ancelotti’s tenure, so he will be one to keep an eye on – should he manage to finally avoid the bad luck with injuries that has plagued him since arriving in Italy two seasons ago.
Napoli face a goalkeeping crisis as they spent a massive €22m on Alex Meret only for him to break his arm early on in training. They then opted to sign David Ospina on loan from Arsenal later, but as he only just joined this past week, expect Orestis Karnezis to be the man in between the posts for the visitors this weekend.
Meanwhile, Lazio failed to qualify for the Champions League after losing to Inter on the final matchday, much to their fans’ disappointment. The team has seen Keita Balde Diao leave for Inter, but has managed to hang on to key players like Ciro Immobile and Serbian talent Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
Immobile curiously seems to have an issue in scoring past Napoli – he’s only scored one goal against the Partenopei and that was back in 2012. That could be because he actually hails from Naples, perhaps, but Lazio fans will be hoping he could put his hometown affections aside as Lazio will be hoping to get off to a roaring start this weekend.
Lazio vs Napoli: Head-to-head (h2h)
- Napoli are undefeated in 35 of their last 38 matches in Serie A
- The Partenopei have won 5 of their last 6 away matches against Lazio in all competitions
- Napoli have kept a clean sheet in 8 of their last 10 away matches
- Napoli have scored a whopping 30 goals in their last 10 games against Lazio
- But Lazio have won four of their last six Serie A openers (L1 D1)
Lazio vs Napoli: Prediction
This will be the second of two intriguing games this weekend, and expect goals at both ends in this one as last season, both teams were among the highest scoring sides in Serie A.
Napoli have managed eight of their last ten away, but this is the first game of the season. Furthermore, the Partenopei haven’t impressed in their friendlies, losing 5-0 to Liverpool and 3-1 to Wolfsburg, so it’s clear they haven’t shaken off some of that summer holiday rust just yet.
Get ready for entertainment in the Eternal City on Saturday evening.
Lazio vs Napoli: Betting tips
Over 2.5 goals at 8/11 (1.73)
Napoli to WIN at 3/2 (2.50).