MX23RW : Tuesday, June 22 12:27:06| >> :600:409315:409315:
May 16, 2021 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Artemio Franchi

Milenkovic (31'), Ribery (43'), Caceres (49'), Castrovilli (61'), Pezzella (80')
Dragowski (56')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Insigne (56'), Venuti (67' og.)
Rrahmani (22'), Contini (68')

Preview: Fiorentina vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Fiorentina and Napoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

As their season reaches its climax amid a fierce fight for European qualification, top-four contenders Napoli visit mid-table Fiorentina on Sunday.

While the fourth-placed Partenopei must win to keep pace with several others in pursuit of Champions League football, their hosts have only just secured a Serie A spot for next season following a forgettable campaign.

Match preview

Napoli's Hirving Lozano celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 24, 2021© Reuters

After previously falling two points behind fellow top-four contestants Atalanta, Juventus and Milan, over the past week Napoli have returned to winning ways at just the right time.

Back-to-back victories over Spezia and Udinese - the latter of which ultimately turned into a 5-1 canter on Tuesday night - have kept the Azzurri in the thick of the battle for Champions League places.

By the final whistle at the Maradona, five different names had found the scoresheet, with in-form forward Hirving Lozano following up his late strike in La Spezia by adding the third after midfielders Piotr Zielinski and Fabian Ruiz had given Napoli a two-goal advantage.

The speedy Mexico international has been just one of several attacking stars to hit top form in recent weeks, as Gennaro Gattuso's buoyant side now travel to Tuscany having racked up nine goals in their last two outings.

Amid continuing rumours that Gattuso may in fact have Florence as his next destination on the managerial merry-go-round, the former Milan coach has at least proven his worth in Naples, after a troubling spell when his team crashed out of Europe and wobbled in the league.

In all, Napoli have comfortably earned more points, scored more goals and conceded fewer times in Serie A than at this stage of last season and - coming into the penultimate round - they could yet finish second, as they sit only two points behind Milan and Atalanta, having also surpassed old rivals Juventus.

Fiorentina head coach Giuseppe Iachini pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Unbeaten in five, after following up a fine 2-0 win over Lazio last week with Wednesday's goalless draw at Cagliari, a disappointing season for Fiorentina will at least conclude in mid-table mediocrity rather than a desperate scrap for survival.

Returning coach Beppe Iachini has been indebted to young striker Dusan Vlahovic for engineering the Viola's revival, as the in-demand frontman netted his 20th and 21st goals of the season to sink Lazio last time out at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Although Vlahovic drew a blank in Sardinia during the week, four goals in draws against Juventus and Bologna and a victory against Verona have not only ensured his side's safety, but also further increased the Serbian's value ahead of a likely post-season auction for his services.

Though they will aim to retain their top scorer for at least one more season, the 13th-placed Viola are now playing primarily for pride as the season draws to a close, with a top-half finish looking virtually unobtainable.

Now preparing for two fixtures of contrasting nature - against high-flying Napoli and then relegated Crotone - in their final two fixtures, on Sunday, Iachini will certainly hope to fare better than predecessor Cesare Prandelli managed in the reverse fixture against the Neapolitan giants: a 6-0 thrashing at Stadio Maradona in January.

Fiorentina Serie A form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Napoli Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Defensive pair Kalidou Koulibaly (thigh) and Nikola Maksimovic (COVID-19) have been out of action since last week for Napoli and remain unlikely to return to the squad for Sunday's trip to Florence. Therefore, Kostas Manolas and Amir Rrahmani will once more pair up at the heart of the visitors' back four.

Stanislav Lobotka and Faouzi Ghoulam - both out until next season - are expected to be Gennaro Gattuso's only other absentees.

Back-to-back goals should help Hirving Lozano secure his place in the XI ahead of Matteo Politano, while Victor Osimhen will retain the centre-forward's role, as club record scorer Dries Mertens must make do with a likely second-half cameo.

Fiorentina coach Beppe Iachini, meanwhile, may be without both highly-rated goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski - due to a thigh problem - and veteran midfielder Borja Valero for Napoli's visit.

Should Dragowski miss out, then Pietro Terracciano would be offered a rare start, having come on as a substitute in midweek.

In midfield, Gaetano Castrovilli and Lorenzo Venuti are poised to return to the Viola's first XI, while Lucas Martinez Quarta and Franck Ribery could also feature after being rested in the draw with Cagliari - with the latter a potential replacement for Christian Kouame up front.

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:
Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Venuti, Bonaventura, Castrovilli, Pulgar, Biraghi; Ribery, Vlahovic

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Rrahmani, Rui; Demme, Ruiz; Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Osimhen

SM words green background

We say: Fiorentina 1-3 Napoli

With a return to Europe's top table now in sight, Gennaro Gattuso has got his Napoli squad operating at maximum capacity. So, with Victor Osimhen and Lorenzo Insigne - who loves to score against Fiorentina - in fine form up front, the Azzurri should post an 11th win in 15 league games.

Fiorentina, meanwhile, have nothing left to play for beside pride and possible future employment, with Gattuso a potential candidate to take the helm at the underperforming club next season. Their five-game unbeaten run is therefore set to end on Sunday.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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