Napoli vs Empoli
Midweek Serie A action kicks off at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as pacesetters Napoli meet bottom-half minnows Empoli in a seemingly routine task for the home side.
Napoli bounced back from a 1-0 at Liverpool in last week’s Champions League action with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Atalanta at the weekend, maintaining a 100% unbeaten start to the 2022/23 Serie A season (W11, D2). Indeed, Luciano Spalletti’s high-flyers have racked up an eye-catching nine-game winning streak in the Italian top flight and are looking to make it ten wins in a row for only the third time in the club’s history. Playing in Naples comes in handy, with ‘I Partenopei’ going undefeated across their last nine home league outings (W7, D2), including victories in four preceding this clash. Another success would see them win five straight Serie A home games for the first time since October 2021, meaning a motivation shouldn’t be in short supply.
In stark contrast to Napoli’s outrageous domestic start, visiting Empoli are staring down the barrel of another season-long battle in the bottom half of the standings. But Paolo Zanetti’s men claimed a hard-earned 1-0 home triumph over Sassuolo at the weekend to arrest a two-game losing league run and bolster their spirits ahead of this encounter. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against ‘Gli Azzurri’ in this fixture, their impressive three-match winning Serie A form against Napoli in the competition suggests this won’t be a walk in the park for their hosts. Adding to this sentiment, the visitors have only lost one of their last five away league contests (W1, D3), albeit it was on their most recent travel, courtesy of a 4-0 demolition at the hands of Juventus.