Morally battered Napoli and midfielder Sassuolo are set to lock horns in a handsome Serie A game at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. The home side’s dreams of a first Scudetto since the glory days of Maradona were dashed after last weekend’s defeat at Empoli.
Despite leading 2-0 after 80 minutes, Luciano Spalletti’s side suffered a disastrous 3-2 defeat in Tuscany, falling seven points adrift of leaders Milan. Nothing short of a miracle would do for Napoli for the rest of the season, but this Partenopei Fans have already resigned themselves to another trophy-less season.
Sassuolo fell apart after an inspiring 2-1 home win over Atalanta and lost the following two Serie A games by a single goal. However, another top-half finish is apparently on the horizon Neroverdias they have a two-point lead over eleventh-placed Torino going into the last four games of the season.
Napoli begin proceedings desperate to end a streak of three Serie A winless games (D1, N2) and avoid a streak of four winless games in the league for the first time since December 2019. Although a return to Napoli would be encouraging under normal circumstances, Spalletti’s men have recently faltered at the Stadio Diego Maradona.
All competitions included, Napoli have won just one of their last six home games (U2, W3). Moreover, since beating Sampdoria 1-0 in their first home game in Serie A in 2022, they have not kept clean sheets in their eight home games to date. With that in mind, they have the second-best defensive record in the league this season, conceding just 30 goals.
Worryingly, Napoli have been without a win against Sassuolo (U2, L1) in their last three Serie A encounters, conceding more than 2 goals each time, including a 2-2 draw at Mapei earlier this season. A slow start would significantly daunt the hosts’ hopes of recovering from their recent defeat as they have lost 50% of their Serie A games in which they opened this season (W3, W2, W5 ).
Sassuolo lived up to their reputation as ‘entertainment specialists’, losing 2-1 at home to Juventus last time out. Seven of their eight Serie A games to date have both sides netting in 3-plus matches, suggesting that Naples crowds could be in for a treat this weekend.
However, Sassuolo have suffered three defeats in their last four Serie A (W1) games, losing the last two. Another reversal here would see that Neroverdi collapsed under Alessio Dionisi for the second time in three consecutive Serie A games. Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism in the traveling troupe.
After Sassuolo were without a win against Napoli in their first seven Serie A games (D2, D5), Sassuolo won 2-0 in exactly that game last season. That could inspire the guests to record their very first triumph in the top division over the Partenopei in the second half of the season (U4, U4).
Napoli are without Stanislav Lobotka, who has recovered from injury, but Spalletti remains hopeful that Kalidou Koulibaly and Giovanni Di Lorenzo are fit and will fire for Saturday’s game.
Long-term absentees Jeremy Toljan and Abdou Harroui will miss Sassuolo through injury, while Giorgios Kyriakopoulos remains unavailable for selection through suspension.
Napoli Potential Starting XI (4-2-3-1): David Ospina; Alessandro Zanoli, Amir Rrahmani, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Zambo Anguissa, Fabian Ruiz; Matteo Politano, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne; Victor Osimhen.
Sassuolo Potential starting XI (4-2-3-1): Andrea Consigli; Mert Muldur, Vlad Chiriches, Gian Marco Ferrari, Rogerio; Maxime Lopez, Davide Frattesi; Domenico Berardi, Giacomo Raspadori, Hamed Traore; Gianluca Scamacca.
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