Three matches to discuss today ....
US LECCE - SSC NAPOLI
We have covered Lecce quite a bit recently and a little like Wigan in the EPL and despite their lowly position, there are few teams playing better than them in Italy. I felt they were very unlucky not to score again and possibly take all three points at Lazio over the weekend, hiting the woodwork and missing an open goal, before conceding late, but then showing huge battling qualities to force an even later equaliser. Teams with less about them and not as confident as the Giallorossi are at the moment, would have folded at that point. Blasi was suspended on Sunday, but will return this afternoon.
Huge week for Lecce, a point today might well be enough for them to pass Genoa, who visit Milan later in the day ( see below) and climb out of the bottom three, for the first time since coach Serse Cosmi was last taller than he was wide ( or at least Matchday 5). On Sunday, they then host Parma ahead of a trip to champions elect Juventus and will therefore ,be very focused on collecing a minimum four points from these next two fixtures. They have lost just once in ten starts (away to Milan) and are unbeaten in eight home games. Napoli have probably not yet given up on a Champions League spot for next season . but it is looking increasingly unlikely and will be even less so, were Lazio to win the morning kick off with Novara, the result of which will be known before this game starts. The strain of a long season and intense competition of a first CL campaign in recent history is catching up on them, they have won just twice in eight, conceding 21 goals in ten starts, including two or more in their last four on the road.
Lecce, who have scored two or more in five of their last ten and it should really have been seven, can make that five in a row, they scored twice in the reverse fixture a 4-2 defeat in Naples and again here last season in a 2-1 win, a repeat of which would do very nicely. The visitors will once again be without Ezequiel Lavezzi and the suspended Goran Pandev , so Edinson Cavani and Eduardo Vargas are the only available first team strikers, youth team player Massimiliano Ammendola has been added to the squad, which is also missing defender Gianluca Grava. It should be Cavani upfront on his own, with Marek Hamsik in support, not much wrong with that pairing of course, but not a lot in reserve, or for Plan B and given their lack of options and we have covered Napoli and playing twice in a week previously, the hosts are probably better suited by the quick turnaround in games. Lecce off level ball @ 2.31 in asia, or +0.25 ball 1.92 are both too big for me, the odds bear no reflection on how these two have played recently, the hosts are 2.50 + to score twice, I have seen 2.60 in a place and that is hugely tempting, given that they have done that in the last two meetings with Napoli and are playing far better now, also that the visitors have conceded that number in their last four road starts. I guess if you forced me to pick, I would opt for the hosts to score twice and take that for 1.25 units.
Napoli squad:De Sanctis, Colombo; Aronica, Britos, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Fernandez; Dossena, Dzemaili, Gargano, Hamsik, Inler, Maggio, Zuniga; Cavani, Vargas, Ammendola
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