Napoli vs Udinese – Hosts to maintain title charge
Inter’s shock loss to struggling Parma has left Napoli as the only realistic challengers to AC Milan in the Serie A title race and, having fallen six points behind, they have to beat fifth-placed Udinese on Sunday night.
Napoli’s desperate need for three points is shared by visitors Udinese, who start matchday 33 a point shy of the Champions League pace, having surrendered the initiative with successive losses to Lecce and Roma.
They were 3-1 winners in the reverse fixture in Udine in November and have avoided defeat on their last two trips to the intimidating Stadio San Paolo, and can be backed to triumph at 4/1, while the draw is 11/4.
Napoli have been fantastic at home though, winning ten of their last dozen league games as hosts and drawing the other two, so that form and the momentum of four straight victories means they provide huge appeal at 4/6.
Another factor in the Azzurri’s record in front of their fans is their defensive efficiency. They have kept eight clean sheets in ten in Naples and though they leaked three against Lazio last time out, they responded with a clean sheet in Bologna.
Their three centre backs are set for a stern test against Italy’s most prolific travellers but Udinese’s chief goal threats Antonio Di Natale and Alexis Sanchez are out, so the Napoli win to nil is an intriguing prospect at 5/2.
Edinson Cavani is the man Napoli will be expecting to deliver after his hat-trick against Lazio in his last appearance, his fourth treble of the season. The Uruguayan striker is 4/1 to grab the opener this evening.
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