Napoli vs Empoli Betting Preview – 02/11/2018

Napoli vs Empoli Betting Preview – 02/11/2018

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Napoli vs Empoli

Napoli has a chance to quickly retake second place outright when they host Empoli at the San Paolo on Friday evening. Inter’s win on Monday in the capital against Lazio meant that they joined the Partenopei on 22 points, but Carlo Ancelotti’s team will be expected to claim all three points against a struggling Empoli who currently reside in the relegation places.

Last weekend saw Napoli held 1-1 at home by Roma and it would have been worse, had Belgian international Dries Mertens not levelled on 90 minutes to save Ancelotti’s blushes. The 31-year-old is now closing in on a place in the top-five of the club’s all-time leading goalscorers and Betfair believe he will get on the scoresheet again on Friday, currently pricing him at 10/11 to be an anytime goalscorer.

Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik is going through a lean time of late, the big frontman has failed to score in his last 233 minutes of first-team action and reports from Italy suggest that he will make way for Mertens in Ancelotti’s starting XI on Friday.

Sampdoria are the only team to stop Napoli scoring this season and the Blucerchiati, along with champions Juventus, are the only clubs to have taken three points from Ancelotti’s side. These two clubs haven’t met since 2016 and Friday’s hosts have won the last three encounters against the Tuscan side, scoring ten goals in the process. It’s easy to see then, why Ladbrokes are offering 33/20 for the Partenopei to continue their good run against Empoli and for there to be over 3.5 goals in the game.

Empoli won promotion back to the top-flight last season coming up as Serie B champions at the first attempt, but Aurelio Andreazzoli’s team has found life tough going back in the big time. The Tuscan side has won only once so far this term (on the opening day against Cagliari) and they currently sit third-bottom with just six points having scored only nine goals in the process, the second worst record in Serie A.

The fact that striker Francesco Caputo, whose goals last season were an integral part of their promotion campaign, has four of them is an indicator that Andreazzoli needs someone else to step up to the plate. To make matters worse, Empoli has a pretty full infirmary with defender Lorenzo Polvani’s season already over and Levan Mchedlidze, Alejandro Rodriguez, Freddie Veseli and Lorenzo Lollo not expected to return until after the international break.

If Empoli fans are looking for any crumbs of comfort ahead of Friday’s game, then they can look back on last week’s 2-1 home defeat by Juventus as a moral victory, where for 45 minutes, it looked as though a huge shock was on the cards. Fans of a certain vintage will also be able to recall the last time they returned from the San Paolo with all three points; February 2008 when they ran out 3-1 winners.

RECOMMENDED BETS:

Dries Mertens, anytime goalscorer: 10/11 @ Betfair – BET HERE

Half-time/Full time, Napoli/Napoli: 17/20 @ Paddy Power – BET HERE

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