Attack is the best form of defence
At 5pm GMT on Saturday I predict we could have a real gem of a match at the San Paolo. Napoli have not lost at home this season. Sampdoria with Quagliarella up top have been a whirlwind of attacking, all out football. This could be the perfect storm.
The gap between The Old Lady and the Gli Azzurri has been too big to really challenge for the title this season. But just as Juve are clearly the league's best team, Napoli are clearly the second best.
Napoli are undefeated at home this season having won nine and drawn two with a goal difference of 25-7
They also have a goal difference of 2.27 scored and 0.64 conceded. At the start of the season Napoli barely conceded any goals, but this has changed of late. Their last game ended 2-1 against Lazio, before that it was 3-2 against Bologna.
Their offence with Mertens, Milik and Isigne are as good a guarantee of goals as you can find - they currently have 26 goals between them this season. At the back they also have some real quality, especially Koulibaly who is going from strength to strength. There are still some question-marks around their goalkeeper, and I don't think that their full-backs are quite good enough.
If we look at Napoli's expected goals, then they are pretty much in line with their actual results. Ruiz is injured, which could disturb the balance in central midfield.
- League position: 2
I Blucerchiati from Genoa are bloody exciting at the moment. Their cavalier attacking attitude and ageing Quagliarella up front have made them the neutral fan's favourite. He has now reached the record of successive goals in league games. He has now scored in eleven of Sampdoria's last games, and he leads the top scorers table with 16 goals. But it's not just Quagliarella who is dangerous up front, but also such as players Ramirez, Caprari and Defrel constitute a significant threat.
When Sampdoria play away from home, you can expect goals. In total, 64% of their games have ended with both teams scoring, including their last seven games. They can also score against the big teams; Juventus, Roma, Milan, Lazio and so on. Sampdoria's last away game ended 3-3 against Fiorentina.
Their goal difference is 1.82 goals scored and 1.64 conceded
They are over-performing a little according to expected goals, but Quagliarella is responsible for this, and he 's showing no signs of slowing down. But on the flip-side the awkward truth is that they are letting in far too many goals. The chance of them keeping a clean sheet against Napoli on the weekend is minimal. Caprari is currently down as injured but he is expected to be fit for this game.
- League position: 6
As I mentioned, this match screams goals. Both teams will be in full all-out attacking mode, and have real quality up front. At the same time, Napoli have been leaking goals at the back recently, something that Sampdoria have always done.
Napoli will try to take the game by the scruff of the neck early on, but despite this Sampdoria will refuse to park the bus.
I'm betting on both teams to score at odds of 23/25.