Serie A leaders Napoli host Atalanta at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, hoping to bounce back from last week’s 0-1 defeat against Lazio.
That was only their second defeat in the league this season and the first at home since April.
Nevertheless, it left a bittersweet taste in the mouths of fans and journalists who saw the loss as the first signal of a major crisis rather than a minor inconvenience.
Napoli still sit comfortably at the top of the table and thanks to Inter’s loss against Spezia, they can increase their 15-points gap over the second place with only 12 games left.
In order to do so they have to beat Atalanta, a side that have not won any of their last three Serie A matches and have not scored in their last two matches against Milan and Udinese.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
L W W W W
D L L W L
No major changes are expected in Napoli’s line-up despite the upcoming clash against Eintracht Frankfurt in Champions League.
With Hirving Lozano out injured, Matteo Politano is likely to start the game in the front three alongside Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen.
Left back Mario Rui is still suspended with Mathias Olivera getting his second consecutive start.
As for the midfield, Tanguy Ndombele and Elif Elmas are both in contention for a starting spot but Zambo Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski are still the favourites to play with Stanislav Lobotka.
Duvan Zapata is back for Atalanta but the Colombian striker will start the game from the bench as coach Gian Piero Gasperini is likely to start Rasmus Højlund.
Giorgio Scalvini and Davide Zappacosta have recovered from their respective injuries and they both have chances to start the game with Scalvini likely to play in midfield as La Dea miss Teun Koopmeiners due to injury.
Atalanta (3-4-1-2): Musso; Toloi, Djimsiti, Palomino; Maehle, de Roon, Scalvini, Zappacosta; Ederson; Lookman, Hojlund.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN