MX23RW : Friday, December 4 18:02:50| >> :600:248447:248447:
Oct 17, 2020 at 2pm UK at Stadio San Paolo
NapoliNapoli
4-1
AtalantaAtalanta BC
Lozano (23', 27'), Politano (30'), Osimhen (43')
Lozano (79')
FT(HT: 4-0)
Lammers (69')
Toloi (38'), Gosens (45+1'), Djimsiti (81')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A encounter between Napoli and Atalanta, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Record-breaking Atalanta BC tackle the first of seven games in 23 days, which could underscore their challenge for honours this season, as they visit Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli at Stadio San Paolo on Saturday afternoon.

Looking for a fourth Serie A win on the spin, the buoyant Bergamo side will encounter a Partenopei who themselves had scored an impressive eight goals in their opening two matches - before controversy struck.


Match preview

Dries Mertens in action for Napoli on October 2, 2019© Reuters

Two of the most entertaining teams on the peninsula last met at the beginning of July, with Atalanta claiming the three points after a 2-0 win. Napoli have, in fact, failed to win any of their last three head-to-head clashes, managing only one draw in the process.

There is no doubt that both sides will see the other as a significant threat in the long race for a top four place and are committed to taking all three points from this edition.

Atalanta dismantled Cagliari 5-2 last time out to surge alongside leaders AC Milan on maximum points from their first trio of games, while their Neapolitan hosts' hotly-anticipated fixture with Juventus was called off amid bizarre circumstances.

Napoli failed to make the journey to Turin - due to two positive COVID-19 tests at the club - leaving Juve jilted and waiting pitchside for an opposition that never arrived.

Though Serie A administrators have since harshly punished them with a 0-3 'defeat' and a one point deduction as a result, Napoli's on-field start to the campaign will still have offered renewed hope to a passionate fanbase of their first scudetto since 1990.

That non-game aside, a run of four straight victories - scoring 16 goals in the process and keeping a clean sheet in all four - supports such ambitions for the success-hungry southern side.

Post-international break, all squad members came through a rigorous local testing regime in Naples to be ready for this early-season crunch clash. It remains to be seen how time inside their secure 'bubble' at Castel Volturno, where they remain until Saturday, will affect Gattuso's preparations.

Atalanta, meanwhile, are on a four-game winning streak, scoring 17 goals, though have not yet kept a clean sheet. La Dea have lost just two of their last 20 games in all competitions and recorded 15 victories during a golden period for the club.

Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini pictured on August 25, 2019© Reuters

In fact, Gian Piero Gasperini's charges are the first team in Serie A history to score at least four goals in each of their opening three games of the season.

The latest on a long list of relatively obscure signings, Dutch forward Sam Lammers, impressed from the bench last time out - scoring his first Serie A goal against Cagliari after a flurry of stepovers.

However, the striker - sometimes compared to Netherlands great Ruud van Nistelrooy during his PSV youth career - will be expected to once again play back-up to Duvan Zapata on Saturday.

With such firepower at the disposal of two wildly contrasting managers, there will surely by a glut of goals to enjoy. With Napoli's home power negated by the continued absence of fans in Italian stadia, the points are very much up for grabs.

Napoli Serie A form: WW

Atalanta Serie A form: WWW


Team News

Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Gattuso is expected to employ a 4-2-3-1 set-up, to accommodate both Victor Osimhen and Dries Mertens, with Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano on the flanks.

Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko is in contention for a first start, though the ex-Monaco man must compete with Stanislav Lobotka for a place alongside Fabian Ruiz in the Napoli engine room.

The tried and tested central defensive pairing of Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas should start in front of David Ospina, preferred to Alex Meret in goal.

Lorenzo Insigne continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, while Elif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski are all still observing quarantine rules and will be unavailable for selection.

Similarly, Atalanta's Rafael Toloi has registered a positive COVID-19 test (though has since tested negative) and could be replaced by Cristian Romero, on loan from Juventus.

Injured goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini is absent again, with Marco Sportiello once more deputising between the posts. Defenders Mattia Caldara and Cristiano Piccini also miss out.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Fabian Ruiz, Lobotka; Politano, Lozano, Mertens; Osimhen

Atalanta possible starting lineup:
Sportiello; Romero, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Gomez; Muriel, Zapata


SM words green background

We say: Napoli 2-2 Atalanta

Gasperini's commitment to attack knows no bounds, so it should be expected that La Dea will bring their sparkling brand of football to one of the grandest stages in Italian football.

Napoli boast a rich abundance of attacking talent themselves and this could be the time for expensive new recruit Victor Osimhen to really establish his credentials as their number one no. 9 by bagging at least one goal in an end-to-end encounter.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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

ID:418045:cQx

Who will win Saturday's Serie A clash between Napoli and Atalanta?

Napoli
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Atalanta
0.0%
0
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Napoli players celebrate winning the Coppa Italia on June 17, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan97202181323
2Inter Milan953123131018
3SassuoloSassuolo95312012818
4Juventus94501871117
5Napoli960320101017
6Roma95221915417
7Hellas VeronaHellas Verona9432127515
8Atalanta BCAtalanta94231816214
9Lazio94231416-214
10Bologna94051414012
11CagliariCagliari93241619-311
12Sampdoria93241415-111
13SpeziaSpezia92431317-410
14Udinese93151012-210
15BeneventoBenevento93151221-910
16Parma92341017-79
17Fiorentina92251015-58
18Torino91351622-66
19Genoa9126818-105
20Crotone9027620-142

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