Roma to provide stiff test in Naples
Napoli host Roma on Sunday evening in aiming to maintain their cushion at the top of Serie A.
Luciano Spalletti’s men were hardly in the conversation for the Scudetto in pre-season following the departures of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Gli Azzurri are hunting down the league title for the first time since 1989/90, and Juventus’ 15-point deduction has only aided that bid.
Jose Mourinho will put together a plan to tame the league leaders in their own backyard, but despite an incredible defensive process, they face an uphill task.
Napoli have responded to their defeat to Inter Milan in their first match after the World Cup break, and they are 12 points clear at the summit heading into this weekend’s action.
Roma have scored the least goals in the top seven of the division, and there is a clear difference between their style and the other sides competing towards the top end.
Roma have conceded 16 goals from 19 league outings from 13.0 expected goals (xG) against, allowing chances at just an average of 0.68 xGF per game.
Going forward the visitors have suffered an underperformance in their finishing this season, scoring just 25 goals from 19 games, from chances equating to 34.3 xGF.
A continuation of Roma’s current process should see them safely into a top four berth, however, to have scored just 25 goals by this point while posting 1.81 xGF per game is a little concerning, and could scupper them in crunch moments.
Napoli have the best defensive record in the division, conceding just 14 goals in 19 outings from only 17.4 xGA, conceding shooting opportunities on their own goal at 0.92 xGA per game.
The hosts will be without Juan Jesus and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia while Ebrima Darboe and Georginio Wijnaldum are sidelined for the visitors.
Napoli away is one of the toughest fixtures in Europe and I am comfortable taking a goals angle ahead of Roma’s arrival.
Napoli have scored in eight of ten.
Napoli have conceded in six of ten.
Napoli have seen both teams score in four of ten.
Napoli have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
Roma have scored in nine of ten.
Roma have conceded in six of ten.
Roma have seen both teams score in five of ten.
Roma have seen over 2.5 goals in three of ten.