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Napoli are leading the way in Serie A as Italian soccer resumes on Wednesday
Inter are unlikely to finish on top of the pile this season and instead target the top four
Expect goals - and maybe fireworks - when Inter take on Napoli in midweek
The odds for Inter vs Napoli are brought to you by the FanDuel sportsbook, where signing up will get you a $1000 no-sweat first bet.
These are the two best attacks in Serie A and that means we should be in store for an entertaining encounter.
Back over 3.5 goals when Inter take on Napoli on Wednesday. (+166)
After 15 rounds of Serie A fixtures, Inter are yet to draw a game. That is telling. Their season to date has been one of boom and bust. That might be acceptable for a mid-table team but that is not what the Nerazzurri are. Indeed, they began the campaign as the favorites to win the Serie A title with the best online sportsbooks.
Ten wins and five defeats later, Inter are almost certainly out of the race already. A failure to win here would definitively end their slim hopes of finishing at the summit of the standings. They go into this game 11 points adrift of top spot, which has been occupied by their upcoming opponents since the first half of September.
Pazza Inter (‘Crazy Inter’) are back. The club had shed that reputation under Antonio Conte, who led them to title glory in 2020/21. But a glance at their results so far this season make the old nickname fitting. Inter have won 6-1 and 4-3, lost 3-2 to arch-rivals AC Milan and twice been beaten 3-1.
All of which means the title remains in the thoughts of only the most optimistic of Interisti. More likely is a fight for the top four. Simone Inzaghi’s side start 2023 in fifth place, but they are behind Lazio in fourth on goal difference alone. Just three points separate them from AC Milan up in the second.
Inter ended the first part of the season with a battling 3-2 victory over Atalanta away from home. They need to show similar grit - and quality - if they are to overcome the Serie A’s pace-setters on Wednesday.
In those pre-season odds that had Inter down as title favorites, Napoli were considered the fourth-most likely team to claim the Scudetto. How times have changed. After a blistering run of form before World Cup 2022, Luciano Spaletti’s side have opened up an eight-point lead at the top of the table.
It is hard to overstate just how good Napoli were before the break for the tournament in Qatar. They did not lose any of their first 15 matches and failed to emerge victorious just twice. They scored 37 goals at an average of almost 2.5 per game and conceded only 12. Perhaps only Premier League leaders Arsenal were as impressive in Europe before the World Cup.
Napoli’s exploits up to now are even more remarkable when you consider what went on in the summer at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. This was supposed to be a transition season at best.
Napoli waved goodbye to stalwarts like Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne, and Kalidou Koulibaly at the end of the last term. Many fans were critical of the club’s hierarchy for losing so many key players at the same time, with Koulibaly’s departure particularly painful.
Many of the replacements did not immediately set pulses racing, but it did not take long for Napoli fans to fall in love with the likes of Kim Min-jae and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Spalletti has molded the pieces together expertly, guiding Napoli to the top spot in Serie A and the knockout phase of the Champions League. A first league title since the days of Maradona himself no longer seems like the stuff of dreams - it really might happen.
Sometimes in a round of fixtures, it is not clear what the highlight is. That is not the case for matchday 16 in Serie A: Inter vs Napoli is the match that the eyes of all neutrals will be drawn towards.
That is not just because these are two of the best teams in Serie A. It is also because they are probably the two most entertaining. We have already touched on Inter’s propensity to thrill, for better or for worse. They are the second-highest scorers in Italy’s top flight and have found the back of the net in 14 of their 15 games this term.
That is a record matched by Napoli, who are the only team in Serie A that can better Inter’s scoring record. Remarkably, the Partenopei have scored two or more goals in 11 of their encounters so far. And they have already won at Atalanta, Roma and AC Milan, evidencing their willingness to take the game to opponents no matter where they are playing.
All of that suggests we should be in store for a fun, high-scoring match on Wednesday. Soccer does not follow a script and anyone who is a seasoned follower of the sport knows to expect the unexpected. Even so, we are reasonably confident that over 3.5 goals in Inter vs Napoli represents fantastic value at +166.
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Teams: Inter vs Napoli
Location: San Siro, Milan, Italy
Time: Wednesday 4 January 2023, 2:45 PM EDT
How to Watch: Paramount+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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