MX23RW : Saturday, December 4 05:43:47| >> :120:57451:57451:
Sep 20, 2020 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Ennio Tardini

Darmian (36'), Alves (59'), Pezzella (73'), Kucka (75')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Mertens (63'), Insigne (77')
Demme (35')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Parma and Napoli, including team news and predicted lineups.

Napoli will be looking to start their 2020-21 Serie A campaign with a victory when they travel to Stadio Ennio Tardini on Sunday to take on Parma.

A disappointing 2019-20 season saw Napoli finish down in seventh spot - their worst placing in Italy's top flight for 11 years - while Parma claimed 11th in the table.

Match preview

Parma players, including Antonino Barilla, in action against Atalanta BC in Serie A on July 28, 2020© Reuters

Parma finished 14th on their return to Serie A in 2018-19 and improved on that position last term, ending up in 11th, winning 14 of their 38 league games during a relatively successful campaign.

Roberto D'Aversa was relieved of his managerial duties at the end of August, though, with Fabio Liverani appointed on a two-year contract, and the former Lecce boss will be determined to start with a positive result.

The Crusaders have won three of their four friendlies since beating Lecce on the final weekend of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign, while they recorded a 2-1 victory over Napoli in the reverse game last season.

Somewhat surprisingly, Parma actually did a league double over Napoli last term, and the hosts will be looking to Roberto Inglese this weekend to fire against his former club.

The 28-year-old spent last season on loan with Parma before completing a permanent move at the start of September after a strong 2019-20 campaign saw him manage 13 goals in all competitions.

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

Napoli, meanwhile, struggled for consistency in 2019-20, suffering 12 defeats from their 38 league matches to finish down in seventh position in the table.

The Blues have finished second in three of the last five Serie A campaigns, while seventh represented their lowest placing in Italy's top flight since 2008-09.

Gennaro Gattuso's side did beat Juventus on penalties to win the Coppa Italia, while they reached the last-16 stage of the Champions League before losing to Barcelona.

Napoli will not be present in next season's European Cup but will go straight into the group stage of the Europa League courtesy of their Coppa Italia success and that is the competition that the team will be looking to win.

The club's major signing this summer has been Victor Osimhen from Lille, and it will be fascinating to see how the 21-year-old, who was also linked with Manchester United and Liverpool, performs for Gattuso's side.

Parma pre-season form: WLWW

Napoli pre-season form: WW

Team News

Fabian Ruiz in Coppa Italia action for Napoli on February 12, 2020© Reuters

Parma have no major injury concerns ahead of this weekend's contest, but they will not be able to call upon Dejan Kulusevski this season as the attacker has officially linked up with new club Juventus.

The XI is expected to have a familiar look to the one that finished last season with a 4-3 victory at Lecce, although Inglese is likely to come into the starting side.

Gervinho is also pushing for a spot in the selection, but Andreas Cornelius, who is still on loan at Parma from Atalanta BC, will retain his position at the tip of the attack.

As for Napoli, Osimhen is expected to come straight in for his debut, while Manchester City-linked Kalidou Koulibaly should start in central defence despite the transfer speculation surrounding his future.

There will have to be a change at left-back as Mario Rui has undergone knee surgery, meaning that Elseid Hysaj should come into the XI.

Napoli were expected to find it difficult to keep hold of Fabian Ruiz this summer amid interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid, but the Spain international is still at the club and will start this weekend, while Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne should also feature in the final third of the field.

Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Laurini, Alves, Gagliolo, Darmian; Grassi, Kurtic; Hernani, Inglese, Karamoh; Cornelius

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Fabian, Demme, Zielinski; Osimhen, Mertens, Insigne

SM words green background

We say: Parma 1-2 Napoli

Napoli will be desperate to start their campaign with a positive result, and we fancy the visitors to triumph this weekend. Parma are capable of making it a difficult 90 minutes for Gattuso's side, but Napoli's superior quality should eventually shine through to allow them to pick up all three points.

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Sevilla's Jules Kounde pictured in action in November 2019
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