European Football Tips: Napoli out to spoil Inter's party

Sarri keeps Napoli dream alive
Napoli's title bid isn't over
Join today View market

It's Inter's 110th birthday this week, but Napoli hope to spoil their party and get back on track in the title race, writes James Horncastle...

Maurizio Sarri’s team will be eager to make a statement and show that their title challenge is far from over.

Napoli need to bounce back

Last Saturday felt like a momentous shift in the title race in Italy. Juventus' stoppage time win against Lazio in Rome and the 4-2 defeat Napoli suffered at home to Roma shortly afterwards gives the impression everything has swung back now in the champions' favour.

The day's events left Juventus just a point behind with a game in hand which they'll play next midweek at the Allianz Stadium against Atalanta. Within this context, Napoli's visit to San Siro to play Inter on Sunday feels huge.

Maurizio Sarri's team will be eager to make a statement and show that their title challenge is far from over. Napoli went all of 2017 unbeaten on the road and haven't lost away from home in the league since in 26 matches.

As for Inter, their record in big games this season deserves respect. The Nerazzurri were the first team to make Napoli drop points in the current campaign, holding them to a stalemate at the San Paolo.

Since December though Inter's form has been a concern. It feels like groundhog day again. As was the case two years ago, when a promising start hinted at an unexpected title push, Inter have gone from top to outside the Champions League places in the blink of an eye. Luciano Spalletti's side should be fresh after the tragic circumstances of Davide Astori's death led Sunday's Derby della Madonnina and all the other games scheduled that day to be postponed. Mauro Icardi is due back as well.

But it's hard to look beyond Napoli, particularly with them trading on the Exchange @ [2.12].

Caen you believe it

Lately the Europa League has provided a welcome escape for Lyon. It's the only competition les Gones are winning games in at the moment. Since upsetting PSG in the league and knocking Monaco out of the cup in the space of three days in January, Bruno Genesio's side have been on a rotten run. It's now five games without a win in Ligue 1. Monaco and Marseille have left them for the dust.

On paper, Sunday's game against Caen at the Parc OL looks like the perfect opportunity to get back on the straight and narrow. Caen are 12th and could probably be forgiven for picking their battles. Games against Angers, Amiens, Troyes and Toulouse are more likely to have a greater bearing on their top flight survival than this one.

But SMC know they have what it takes to shock Lyon. Patrice Garande masterminded victory over them in the Coupe de France 10 days ago and has imposed a mentality on this team that should make anyone think twice before underestimating them. Evidence of the belief in this Caen side is to be found in how strongly they finish games. No fewer than 41% of their goals have come in the final quarter of an hour. A case in point is the 77th minute winner Ismael Diomande scored against Lyon at the Stade Michel d'Ornano.

Caen are [2.9] on Double Chance to leave the Parc OL with something to shout about.

The Bundesliga's revelation

Eintracht Frankfurt have been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season. Currently fourth, Niko Kovac's side have a genuine chance of qualifying for the Champions League with nine games of the campaign to go. Success hasn't been limited to the league either. The Eagles are also in the semi-finals of the DFB Pokal after knocking out Mainz in February.

Kovac is making a strong case for consideration as Manager of the Year. Frankfurt are an interesting project. The squad comprises 23 foreign players, the most in the Bundesliga. Famous for the number of Georgians on their books in the `90s, this team stands out for a sizeable Balkan contingent.

Flanked by his brother Robert, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt doppelganger takes Frankfurt to Dortmund this weekend. The Black and Yellows lost to RB Salzburg at Signal Iduna Park on Thursday throwing up the possibility of the Austrians meeting sister club RB Leipzig in the quarter-finals.

It was a disappointing result for Dortmund. For all Peter Stöger has stabilised the club it appears unlikely he will remain in charge next season. Dortmund's home record in the Bundesliga has held them back this year. Too many draws have acted like a brake on their progress. Frankfurt on the other hand travel well.

They rank fourth in the Bundesliga on the road and are worth a look on Double Chance @ [2.12].

Join today View market

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles