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Napoli will undoubtedly have this one marked down as a ‘must win’ as they seek to keep up with the Milan clubs in the Serie A title race.
Empoli are on a bit of a rotten run, but they are managing to keep their points total ticking over with draws. They’re in no danger of being involved in the relegation scrap either given they’re sitting in 14th place - twelve points above 18th placed Venezia.
The price available on a Napoli win looks a tad generous when you factor in the pairs’ form. The Serie A latest odds have the visitors at 5/7 (bet365) to pick up all three points here, with Empoli priced up at 19/4 (Sportnation).
Read on for our comprehensive match preview and the best football betting tips.
If you’re purely going by the formbook, you can cross off the likelihood of a home win here pretty confidently. Remarkably, you have to go back to the 12th of December for Empoli's last success in the league. They’re on a winless run across all competitions that stretches 17 games.
They haven’t exactly been getting heavily beaten for the last few months, and there’s several draws sprinkled in that form, but any side winless for that amount of time won’t exactly be high on confidence.
Napoli will be looking to add to Empoli’s woes and given they’re the outsider of the three in the race for the Scudetto, they’ll know they can’t afford to slip up here.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have won their last three games on their travels, and both teams have scored in all of their last five away games across all competitions.
Empoli have netted at least once in ten of their last eleven home matches, so the stats point towards both sides getting on the scoresheet.
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Empoli will be looking back at their decent start to the season much more fondly than they would like to have been at this stage of the season.
Aurelio Andreazzoli’s men have picked up just eight points from the last 48 on offer in Serie A.
It’s a pretty grim run of form for the hosts but their performances haven’t been quite as bad as that stretch suggests.
That can’t be said for their last game, though. A 4-1 loss to Udinese last weekend marked their third straight away defeat.
Given their current position in the table, Gli Azzurri only really have pride to play for at this stage of the season, but they’ll be eager to snap that winless run sooner rather than later.
Napoli are still in the mix as they seek to gain their first Scudetto since 1990. After winning three straight games in the league, though, defeat to Fiorentina, and a draw against Roma have followed. That’s seen them lose a bit of ground on the Milan sides at the top of the table, but the gap is still serviceable at this stage.
They’re unbeaten in their last ten away games in all competitions, and against a pretty toothless Empoli side they’ll feel confident they can get maximum points.
They’ll consider their 1-1 draw against Roma as two points dropped, however. In an enthralling game at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, Napoli conceded in the 91st minute. This was after manager Spalletti made several defensive-minded substitutions to try and shut up shop.
Empoli managed to come away from the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium with maximum points after a 1-0 win there in December, but they didn't exactly kick on after that, given that was their last Serie A success.
The Stadio Carlo Castellani has been the home of Empoli since 1965. It has two main grandstands, with additional stands on the curve of an athletics track that surrounds the pitch. Its maximum capacity is 16,284.
This starts a fairly favourable end-of-season run-in for Napoli, and for them to have any chance of winning the title, they might have to go perfect for the rest of the way in the league.