Italian Serie A - Sampdoria vs Napoli Preview

Friday, August 31st, 2018

By Jonathan Willis
Italian Serie A Sampdoria vs Napoli Preview

There’s plenty of reason for optimism at Napoli, even though everyone just assumes Juventus will claim their eighth straight Serie A title. Napoli finished with 91 points last season, a total that would have been good enough to win the league in most years. They finished just four points behind the eventual champions and were well ahead of the rest of the pack.

Napoli was 14 points clear of third-place Roma and 19 points clear of fourth-place Inter Milan and Lazio by the conclusion of the season, giving credence to the claim that they have the second-best chance of knocking off Juventus this year.

This week Napoli will take on Sampdoria, a mid table team that has been a mainstay in Serie A over the last few decades.

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Sampdoria vs. Napoli

Date and Time: September 2, 2018, 2:30 p.m. ET

Location: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy

US Television Coverage: ESPN News

Betting Line: Napoli -1, O/U 2.5 and 3

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Sampdoria have only played one match so far this season while most of Serie A have played two. They had the first week of the season off, instead kicking off their campaign last week on the road against Udinese. In that match, Sampdoria played well but eventually lost 1-0.

In the loss, they were relatively listless in the first half. They failed to create good chances despite winning the possession battle, but that changed in the second half. Gregoire Defrel and others continually pushed forward and made good opportunities for themselves, but in the end, they were unable to score. Sampdoria controlled the ball for two-thirds of the match in the defeat.

Meanwhile, Napoli have had two come from behind victories against two of the best teams in Italy to start their season in thrilling fashion. The first win was a 2-1 victory on the road against Lazio. Ciro Immobile scored a fantastic opener for the home side, but Arkadiusz Milik was able to level Napoli just before the break. Lorenzo Insigne scored in the 58th minute to put Napoli ahead, and they controlled the match from there.

Napoli’s victory over AC Milan in their home opener last week was even more impressive. Milan were up 2-0 early in the second half when Napoli came all the way back to pick up a 3-2 win. Piotr Zielinski notched a brace with goals in the 53rd and 67th minutes to get Napoli back to even, and then Belgium hero Dries Mertens scored in the 80th minute to give Napoli all three points.

Key Absences

Sampdoria will not have two players for this match. Vasco Regini is still recovering from an ACL injury and is not expected to return until December. Dennis Praet is dealing with a knee issue, and he may be back two weeks from now. The good news is that Emiliano Viviano has been cleared and may return to action for the first time this year, and Junior Tavares is alright to play after a shoulder issue had him sidelined against Udinese.

Three Napoli players are out for extended periods of time. Alex Meret will return in September after recovering from a broken arm, while Faouzi Ghoulam is slated to come back from a knee injury in October. Amin Younes will be sidelined for considerably longer after tearing his Achilles tendon though. He is expected to return in February 2019. The biggest concern is Fabian Ruiz though. Napoli’s prize acquisition this summer has yet to suit up for the club due to a muscle strain. They would love to have him back in action here.

Sampdoria vs. Napoli Free Picks

This is a great time to bet the draw. Sampdoria played well in their loss to Udinese, and Napoli are due for a letdown after the two prior weeks.

Sampdoria vs. Napoli Prediction: Sampdoria 1, Napoli 1

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