MX23RW : Tuesday, January 18 07:43:59| >> :600:116943:116943:
Nov 28, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Zielinski (7'), Mertens (10', 29'), Fabian (85')
Di Lorenzo (78'), Demme (88')
FT(HT: 3-0)

Felipe (13'), Patric (35'), Cataldi (59'), Zaccagni (79')

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

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

Following back-to-back defeats during the past week, Serie A leaders Napoli return to domestic action with the visit of southern rivals Lazio on Sunday, at Stadio Maradona.

A first league loss at the hands of Inter was followed by a shock Europa League reverse for Luciano Spalletti's side, while their Roman counterparts fared better on the continent after they were beaten by Juventus.

Match preview

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti gives instructions to his players on October 17, 2021© Reuters

Defeat to Spartak Moscow in the Europa League on Wednesday was Napoli's second in the space of three days; a spell which represents their first significant bump in the road since the start of the season.

Still leading the way in Serie A on goal difference from Milan - who also suffered their first league reverse at the weekend - the Azzurri had previously come away pointless from a dramatic encounter with last season's champions on Saturday evening.

Star striker Victor Osimhen came off following a sickening clash of heads with Inter defender Milan Skriniar, as Napoli saw a lead secured by Piotr Zielinski's early goal evaporate before half-time, and they ultimately ended up leaving San Siro with a 3-2 loss.

While their ongoing participation in Europe may now be in jeopardy - they will host Leicester City in a winner-takes-all clash next month - Napoli remain unbeaten at home in Serie A since January.

Since being beaten by Spezia at the start of the year, they have posted 13 wins and four draws in their subsequent league fixtures at the Maradona, including five victories for the concession of just two goals there so far this season. Only three times have the Partenopei conceded fewer goals in their first six home matches of a top-flight campaign, and never since 1982.

Indeed, despite Inter's triple strike last Sunday, Napoli have still conceded the fewest times in the division this term, and just a third of the goals leaked by Lazio.

Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri during the match on November 25, 2021© Reuters

While Napoli have kept a clean sheet in eight games so far, Maurizio Sarri's new-look Lazio side have managed only two, indicating their difficulties in transitioning from the methods of Simone Inzaghi to the former Chelsea coach.

Of course, Sarri managed Lazio's latest opponents for over 100 Serie A games and almost led them to the Scudetto in 2017-18, when they accumulated a club record 91 points only to fall frustratingly short of the title.

Their conquerors on that occasion, Juventus, ran out 2-0 winners in last Saturday's Serie A encounter with Sarri's current club, after a pair of Leonardo Bonucci penalties saw off the toothless hosts in Rome - though a 3-0 win at Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday then put the Biancocelesti through in the Europa League.

Having finally lost their long unbeaten record at the Olimpico, now Lazio once more hit the road, but they have taken only five points from a possible 18 outside of their Roman stronghold this season, and have also won just once in their last 10 away matches in the league. Conceding goals in each makes that their worst such run for over five years.

They will be up against precedent too, this weekend, as the Aquile have lost 12 of their last 16 games against Napoli in Serie A, and a four-game losing sequence - in which they have conceded at least twice on each occasion - does not bode well for Sarri's return to Naples.

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

Napoli form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L

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

Lazio form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Napoli's Matteo Politano celebrates scoring their first goal with Lorenzo Insigne on September 11, 2021© Reuters

After a difficult week at home and abroad, Napoli have at least been boosted by news that both captain Lorenzo Insigne and influential midfielder Fabian Ruiz are back in training ahead of Lazio's visit. Luciano Spalletti was without the duo in the defeat to Spartak Moscow on Wednesday, but they have since rejoined training and could even start.

However, Andre-Frank Anguissa (muscular), Matteo Politano (COVID-19) and Adam Ounas (thigh) all remain out of contention for the home side, joining centre-forward Victor Osimhen on the sidelines - the Nigerian striker faces up to three months out due to facial fractures sustained against Inter.

Andrea Petagna started in their top scorer's absence during midweek, but Dries Mertens - with four goals and nine assists in previous matches versus Lazio - could feature as Napoli's 'false nine' on Sunday; supported by Insigne and Hirving Lozano, who continues to cover for Politano.

Though their hosts will have to adapt to life without their attacking focal point in the coming weeks, Lazio were delighted to welcome Capocannoniere co-leader Ciro Immobile back from a calf injury in Moscow. Therefore, only Adam Marusic is absent, due to COVID-19 infection.

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina and fellow first-team regulars Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Manuel Lazzari and Pedro should all return after being rested on Thursday. That would mean Thomas Strakosha, Patric, Toma Basic and Mattia Zaccagni dropping out of Maurizio Sarri's first XI.

Immobile starts up front, having previously scored in each of his first eight Serie A appearances against Napoli, and the Italy international is currently on a similar run of six against this week's opponents.

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

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Reina; Lazzari, Felipe, Acerbi, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Pedro

SM words green background

We say: Napoli 2-1 Lazio

Napoli, who will pay an emotional tribute to club icon Diego Maradona to mark the anniversary of his death last year, have unquestionably been rocked by recent results, but can bounce back quickly to beat the Biancocelesti.

Their supremacy in this fixture and on home soil, allied to Lazio's porous rearguard, means that they can come out on top in a battle of Serie A's southern giants; paying appropriate tribute to their eternal number 10.

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