Match Day 35
Fiorentina vs Napoli
Monday, April 30th, 2018
01:00 am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Stadio Artemio Franchi
Last five matches form: W W D L L
Average goals per match: 1.38
Average goals against per match: 1.12
Top Scorer: Giovanni Simeone (10)
Last five matches form: D W D W W
Average goals per match: 2.09
Average goals against per match: 0.68
Top Scorer: Dries Mertens (17)
A match with huge implications for the top of the table takes place in Florence this weekend as Fiorentina play host to Napoli.
Four points adrift of Atlanta in the race for the final Europa League spot, Fiorentina won't have given up hope of reeling them in with four games still to play. They couldn't face a much tougher assignment here though.
Napoli arrive on a big high having beaten Juventus in Turin last week to bring themselves right into the Serie A title reckoning. Should Juve fail to win at Inter on Saturday evening, then a win for Napoli here would take them to the Serie A summit. They certainly won't be lacking in motivation.
Napoli's away form has been sensational this season. A run of 13 wins, four draws and zero defeats on their travels unsurprisingly gives them the best away record in the league.
Fiorentina in contrast would have hoped for better at the Stadio Artemio Franchi having won just seven of 17 at home in Serie A.
Both sides head into this contest just about at full strength. The suspended Bryan Dabo the only absentee for Fiorentina, with the injured Faouzi Ghoulam being Napoli's sole absentee.
Napoli are the better side, arrive in better form and will be massively motivated. If you can win at the Juventus Stadium then you can fancy your chances wherever you travel in this league. Take the visitors to come out on top.
Prediction: Fiorentina 1 - 2 Napoli
Half time: 1 - 0
Full time: 3 - 0
Shots: 28 - 4
Shots on target: 10 - 1
Corner Kicks: 2 - 3
Possession: 52% - 48%
A busy afternoon for referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni. His early intervention when showing a straight red to Kalidou Koulibaly being the single most influential factor on the outcome of this game. Raul Albiol, Jose Maria Callejon, Arkadiusz Milik, Lorenzo Insighe and Mario Rui were also booked for the visitors as their frustrations threatened to boil over. Vincent Laurini, Milan Badelj and Valentin Eysseric saw yellow for Fiorentina.
Unbeaten away from home in Serie ahead of this, Napoli were in trouble early at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Hero of the hour with that late winner at Juventus last week, it was Kalidou Koulibaly who was the villain of the piece this week. Bringing down Giovanni Simeone when the last man and receiving his marching orders in just the eighth minute.
Fiorentina took a while to make their man advantage pay, but did take the lead in the 34th minute, and it was route one stuff. A hit and hope clearance from Cristiano Biraghi sending Simeone racing into the box on the left-hand side. As Pepe Reine came out to meet him the striker slipped the ball through his legs and in. 1-0 at the break.
In truth Napoli never really looked like getting back into it.
The second came in the 62nd minute. Milan Badelj's defelected header from a corner being well saved by Reina, but Simeone reacting first to prod in the rebound.
Fiorentina added insult to injury in stoppage time as Simeone bagged his hattrick. Federico Chiesa cutting the Napoli defence open with a through ball from midfield and Simeone doing well to outmuscle his marker on the left-hand side of the area before firing into the bottom right corner.
It seems as though this is the day that Napoli's Serie A title dream finally died. Four points adrift of Juventus once again with only three games to play, it looks like the trophy will end up in Turin once again.
Fiorentina's effort to qualify for the Europa League also looks likely to fall short. They ae still four points behind sixth place Atalanta but this win at least gives them a chance, however slim.