Palermo v Napoli – Saturday 19:45, BT Sport Europe
Palermo will hope that the international break can kick-start their season after picking up just one point from their opening two games. Their spluttering start has confirmed fears by many that they’re serious relegation candidates. They host a Napoli side who defeated AC Milan 4-2 at home in an entertaining encounter last time out.
A farcical nine managers took charge of Palermo last season, and their off-field troubles can’t have helped matters as they were fortunate to survive the drop by just a single point. The root cause of their struggles was their haphazard defence which shipped 65 goals, the second most in the division. To make matters worse, it wasn’t as if they were frequent scorers either, as they found the target on just 38 occasions. Incredibly, their top two scorers, Gilardino and Vasquez have left and their departures appear to have left a massive hole with no ready-made replacements.
Departures were also Napoli’s major talking point over the summer, with the sale of the league’s top scorer, Higuain to title rivals Juventus. Of the impressive 80 goals that Napoli managed last term (only bettered by Roma), 36 were scored by Higuain and he will surely be missed. His replacement Milik has started well though, netting a brace against Milan and as a result he looks like a decent bet to be the first goalscorer.
While Palermo were very poor defensively last term, Napoli were the opposite as they conceded just 32 times. Their record against bottom-six sides was also very impressive (W9-D2-L1), in which they kept eight clean sheets and scored 26 times. Against top-six sides Palermo really struggled (W0-D3-L9) as they managed to find the net on just five occasions. As such, we are backing Napoli to win to nil as has been the case in their last five wins over Palermo.