Napoli v Inter: What to expect as Serie A’s top two face off

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Times are changing in Serie A. After winning six successive league titles, Juventus are down in fourth place as it stands, having taken a single point from their last two games.

As it stands, Napoli are top of the table, with a 100% winning record after eight games. They’re followed by Inter Milan two points behind, and the pair face off at Stadio San Paolo on Saturday.

So, what can we expect as the title-chasers face off?

Ignore brief drought…Mertens is unstoppable at home

As it stands, prolific Partneopei hitman Dries Mertens is enduring his first four-game stint without a goal for club or country since February. However, while that could appear a concern for the hosts, a closer look at the Belgian’s home form quickly puts those doubts to rest.

The 30-year-old has scored in 11 of the past 12 home games for the Naples club. That run has also included two doubles and a hat-trick. Having found the net in this fixture previously, Inter will know what to expect – but stopping him is another matter altogether.

While this fixture is arguably Napoli’s toughest test of the league campaign thus far, another Mertens goal looks likely. He’s 5/6 in the Anytime Scorer market, while 16/5 says the Leuven native bags two or more goals against Inter.

Inter continue to tear up the script late on

While Napoli have enjoyed victory in every game they’ve led in this term, that’s a tougher test against a Nerazzurri side with a remarkable knack for late goals.

Luciano Spalletti’s men have scored 11 goals beyond the 75-minute mark in their past nine games. That included a 90th-minute winner in the Milan derby on Sunday evening.

Their hosts did concede late on in the games against SPAL and Feyenoord in recent weeks.

However, while they held on for victory on each occasion, it shows the Partonepei backline are susceptible to conceding in the closing stages. We like the look of Half-Time/Full-Time: Napoli/Draw at odds of 14/1.

Goals are almost a certainty

Mertens’ home form and Inter’s dramatic late goals both point to plenty of goals here. But a closer look at the sides’ recent form is an even more convincing argument for this being a genuine goalfest.

Nerazzurri have scored in 11 games on the spin – including five in the past two games. As for Napoli, they’ve now found the net in an incredible 28 successive matches. Mauricio Sarri’s men have already scored five goals more than any other side in Serie A this term.

The 4/7 on offer for Both Teams to Score looks worth lumping on, while there’s 5/4 about this game producing Over 3.5 Goals.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.