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Napoli logo
Serie A | Gameweek 36
May 11, 2024 at 5pm UK
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Bologna logo

0 - 2

Kvaratskhelia (33'), Cajuste (47')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Ndoye (9'), Posch (12')
Lucumi (71')

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

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

One more win could confirm Bologna's place in next season's Champions League, as Serie A's surprise package tackle Napoli on Saturday evening.

While the Rossoblu are close to sealing a top-five finish, the hosts have won just one of their last eight league matches and may miss out on Europe altogether.

Match preview

Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on April 28, 2024© Reuters

Denied an overdue victory by Udinese's late leveller on Monday, Napoli last tasted success at the very start of March, and the 2022-23 Italian champions are limping to the finish line this time around.

Victor Osimhen had put the Partenopei ahead shortly after half time in Udine, but they then let that lead slip during stoppage time, against a side scrapping for Serie A survival.

Napoli have now conceded at least one goal in 14 successive league games, with their last clean sheet coming in a 0-0 draw against Lazio in January - that represents the Campanian club's second-worst streak in the top flight.

Just 12 months after the culmination of a superb Scudetto-winning campaign, they sit eighth in the Serie A standings, five points adrift of a guaranteed place in UEFA competition for next season.

Interim head coach Francesco Calzona has fared little better than his immediate predecessors, Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri, with only three wins from 11 league matches since stepping into the hotseat.

Before leading Slovakia into the upcoming Euro 2024 finals, Calzona must first try to end his brief reign on a high; however, fellow European contenders Bologna and Fiorentina await, before a last-day encounter with Lecce.

Napoli have taken just one point from their last four home fixtures, so despite winning eight of their last nine against Bologna at Stadio Maradona, recent form suggests continuing that trend will prove far from straightforward.

Bologna coach Thiago Motta talks to Victor Kristiansen and Sam Beukema on April 13, 2024© Reuters

A 0-0 draw in September's reverse match may have hinted at how the gap between these clubs could close this season, but few would have expected Bologna to be leading Napoli by 13 points with only three games left to play.

Occupying fourth spot in Serie A, and on track to claim a Champions League place by virtue of a top-five finish, Thiago Motta's men were held goalless again in last week's outing - a dull draw with Torino - yet they still sit above both Rome clubs and Atalanta BC.

One of several managers to inspire Motta during an impressive playing career, Jose Mourinho would be proud of the ex-Inter Milan midfielder's defensive organisation, which has underpinned Bologna's progress this season.

Since February, the Rossoblu have kept eight clean sheets - throughout Europe's top five leagues, only Arsenal have managed more - helping them avoid defeat in all but one of their last 14 Serie A matches.

Having also built on the foundations of an excellent home record by winning four of their last six away fixtures - and drawing the others - Bologna can travel south confident of claiming victory.

Winning in Naples would mean that if Roma fail to take at least one point from Sunday's crucial clash with Atalanta, Motta and co can officially celebrate their ascent to Europe's top table.

Napoli Serie A form:

Bologna Serie A form:

Team News

Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia celebrates scoring their first goal on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Although Giacomo Raspadori (ankle) and Piotr Zielinski (calf) are not expected to overcome the injuries that ruled them out of Napoli's trip to Udine, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (thigh) should be back in action this weekend.

If the latter is passed fit, he should replace Jesper Lindstrom in the hosts' front three, led by Victor Osimhen and also featuring right-winger Matteo Politano.

No Italian player has been directly involved in more Serie A goals this season than Politano (14, level with Gianluca Scamacca), following eight goals and six assists so far.

Meanwhile, Joshua Zirkzee will spearhead the visitors' attack, most likely supported by AC Milan loanee Alexis Saelemaekers: the Belgian scored on his most recent visit to Stadio Maradona - for Milan in April 2023 - and has also netted both of Bologna's two most recent goals in Serie A.

Recently named winner of the prestigious Bulgarelli Number 8 Award for his performances in midfield, Rossoblu captain Lewis Ferguson has been sidelined for several months by an ACL rupture, while another long-term absentee, Adama Soumaoro, has yet to return from a similarly serious knee injury.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Jesus, Rrahmani, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Cajuste; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Posch, Beukema, Calafiori, Kristiansen; Freuler; Orsolini, Aebischer, Fabbian, Saelemaekers; Zirkzee

SM words green background

We say: Napoli 1-1 Bologna

As Napoli rarely make the most of their ponderous possession, and Bologna have a reputation for being tough to beat either home or away, a low-scoring draw should be expected at Stadio Maradona this weekend.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their first goal on February 21, 2024
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