When attack meets defence

INTER vs NAPOLISunday November 21st, 5:30pm

Inter @ 6/5
Napoli @ 11/5
Draw @ 12/5
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Inter Milan vs Napoli is undoubtedly one of the biggest games of the Serie A season thus far. The visitors remain unbeaten in 12 games with 32 points from a possible 36, and as such find themselves top of the table, albeit on goal difference.

Alternatively, Inter lie 3rd on 25 points having lost only once in the league in 2021/22, which came away at the hands of Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio. Sunday’s clash should prove fascinating from both a table and tactical point-of-view. Indeed, as well as representing two of Serie A’s top performers in terms of points, it also represents the league’s best attack meeting its best defence, which consequently opens up a whole host of interesting betting opportunities.

Luciano Spalleti’s men are shaping like the strongest Napoli side since Sarri’s 2017/18 outfit; a side which amassed a monstrous 91 league points whilst concurrently being widely earmarked as the most aesthetic team in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Despite their wealth of attacking options, which include the ever-present Lorenzo Insigne and mercurial Victor Osimhen, it is Napoli’s defence that has provided the foundation for their near faultless start to the domestic season. They’ve conceded only four league goals, which ranks them as the tightest defence in Europe’s top five leagues. Furthermore, they also have the lowest expected goals against (xGA) figure in Europe’s big five leagues; meaning that their defensive soundness is no coincidence. Although in the hosts, Napoli will be coming up against their stiffest defensive test to date and such marked solidity shouldn’t be sniffed at. Henceforth, odds of 9/2 for Napoli to keep a clean sheet look enticing.

Last season, Inter managed to make the zenith of Serie A their own with relative ease. However, having lost Antonio Conte, as well as two of their talismen in Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, their start to this season has been less straightforward. Nonetheless, Inter have filled a Romelu Lukaku shaped hole with a triumvirate of exciting attacking signings in the form of Edin Dzeko, Joaquin Correa and Hakan Calhnoglu. Edin Dzeko has rediscovered his goalscoring touch under Simone Inzaghi’s tutelage, whilst Joaquin Correa has added dynamism and unpredictability to Inter’s attacking unit. Inter therefore, have remained Italy’s most potent attack even in Lukaku’s absence.

However, in the context of this fixture, it is Hakan Calhanoglu who is of particular interest. Calhanoglu has been known for his ability to strike from distance since his Hamburg days, which means that throughout his career he has consistently outperformed his expected goals (xG) figures; a trend that has continued this season. Given Napoli’s ability to limit opponent chances, it is feasible that any Inter goals might come from outside the box, rather than the consistent creation of quality chances. Therefore, if you don’t fancy a Napoli clean sheet at 9/2, then odds of 9/2 for Calhanoglu to breach Napoli’s defence at any time might be more to your taste.

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