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Apr 4, 2015 at 11.30am UK at Stadio Olimpico
Roma
1-0
Napoli
Pjanic (25')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Roma vs. Napoli

Sports Mole looks ahead to the vital Serie A clash between Champions League hopefuls Roma and Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico.

Two of Italian football's biggest clubs will go head to head on Saturday in a vital clash as Roma welcome Napoli to the Stadio Olimpico.

They were both expected to be in the hunt for the Serie A title, but now the main focus for each team is securing a place in next season's Champions League.



Roma

AS Roma French coach Rudi Garcia gestures during their Italian Serie A football match against Sampdoria in Rome's Olympic stadium on February 16, 2014© Getty Images

At the start of the season, there were many people who were tipping Roma to end the three-year stranglehold that Juventus have held over the rest of the country.

They had a strong start to the campaign and by the start of January a 1-0 win over Udinese had drawn them level with the Bianconeri at the top of the table.

However, in the 11 league games following that victory at the Stadio Friuli, they have won just twice, with both of those victories coming against clubs in the bottom three.

Roma may have suffered only one defeat since the turn of the year, but a huge number of draws has seen them slip 14 points behind league leaders Juventus.

It is not just their title aspirations that have taken a blow, as their firm grip on second place is under threat from city rivals Lazio, who now sit just a point behind them.

A big worry for Rudi Garcia will be his team's recent home record, as they have not won in the league at the Stadio Olimpico since last November.

Their last two games in Rome have ended in defeat, with a 3-0 hammering by Fiorentina knocking them out of the Europa League shortly before the international break, which has heightened the discontent of the supporters even further.

Recent form in Serie A: DDDDLW
Recent form (all competitions): DDDLLW



Napoli

Rafael Benitez of Napoli looks on during the Emirates Cup match between Napoli and FC Porto at the Emirates Stadium on August 4, 2013© Getty Images

Napoli have also been going through a difficult spell and they went through the whole of March without recording a league win.

Things could have been a lot worse for them in their previous outing before the international break, as a late goal from Duvan Zapata rescued a point against 10-man Atalanta.

That result saw them fall to fifth place in the table and five points away from the final Champions League qualification spot.

Manager Rafael Benitez has come under a huge amount of pressure in recent weeks and speculation is beginning to mount over his future with the club.

Although their league form has taken a dip, they are well placed to reach the Coppa Italia final after earning a 1-1 draw away to Lazio in their semi-final first leg and they are also in the last eight of the Europe League, where they will take on Bundesliga high-fliers Wolfsburg.

Recent form in Serie A: LWLDLD
Recent form (all competitions): DDWLDD



Team News

AS Roma's forward of Ivory Coast Gervinho controls the ball against Juventus during their Coppa Italia football match, on January 21 , 2014 © Getty Images

Roma will be unable to call on the services of Gervinho, who has been ruled out for the next three weeks after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty.

There are also doubts surrounding the fitness of captain Francesco Totti. He has not appeared in the Giallorossi's last two games and has been unable to train this week due to a flexor tendon injury.

Victor Ibarbo has been heavily tipped to start and he will be battling fellow January arrival Seydou Doumbia for a place in the attack.

Napoli have no fresh injury worries, but long-term absentee Michu is still ruled out after ankle surgery and Gokhan Inler will sit the game out through suspension.

Lorenzo Insigne has recovered from the cruciate ligament injury that he suffered last November and he could make an appearance, having been named on the bench in recent weeks.

Roma possible starting lineup:
De Sanctis, Florenzi, Manolas, Astori, Holebas, Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Ljajic, Iturbe, Ibarbo

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Andujar, Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam, Gargano, Lopez, Hamsik, Gabbiadini, Callejon, Higuain



Head To Head

In the reverse fixture last November, it was Napoli who claimed the points as goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon helped them to a 2-0 win.

The Azzurri have actually won the three previous meetings between the teams and Callejon has found the net on each occasion.

However, it is Roma who have the best overall record against their opponents, with 52 wins from their previous clashes, compared to Napoli's 41 victories.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Roma 1-1 Napoli

With so much at stake for each club, a defeat for either team could be disastrous. They are both in poor form and are now clinging on to their hopes of reaching the Champions League. It should be a tight match and with very little to separate the teams we think that this one could end in a draw.



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Anthony Reveillere of Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AC Chievo Verona at Stadio San Paolo on January 25, 2014
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
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> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atalanta BCAtalanta00000000
2Bologna00000000
3CagliariCagliari00000000
4Empoli00000000
5Fiorentina00000000
6Genoa00000000
7Hellas VeronaHellas Verona00000000
8Inter Milan00000000
9Juventus00000000
10Lazio00000000
11AC Milan00000000
12Napoli00000000
13Roma00000000
14Salernitana00000000
15Sampdoria00000000
16SassuoloSassuolo00000000
17SpeziaSpezia00000000
18Torino00000000
19Udinese00000000
20VeneziaVenezia00000000

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