Serie A match day 25 starts on Friday night as league leaders Napoli host Lazio at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
Luciano Spalletti’s side have an 18-point lead over second-placed Inter and Milan and are comfortably sailing to the club’s first Scudetto since 1990.
There have been eight consecutive wins in the league for the Partenopei, with the the last four coming without them even conceding a goal. If they can make it to five, it will be the first time since 2019 when the team was coached by Carlo Ancelotti.
It’s going to be an emotional night at the Maradona with fans preparing a warm welcome for beloved former coach Maurizio Sarri, the Lazio manager.
Sarri coached Napoli from 2015 and 2018 and during those years, Napoli became a sort of cult among football fans and journalists because of their style of play commonly known as Sarrissimo. It was then renamed Sarriball when the coach joined Chelsea in 2018.
Since he left the club, he has lost five of the six matches he has managed against his former side but Napoli’s record for most points in a single Serie A season came under Sarri himself. But it is a record likely to be beaten by this season’s Napoli, who are the third side to have obtained more than 65 points after 24 Serie A games.
During yesterday’s press conference, Luciano Spalletti has showed nothing but respect for his colleague: “When I had the chance, I’ve always watched Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli playing and sometimes I’ve found myself alone standing and applauding them”.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions:
W W W W W
W D W W L
Napoli are likely to play with their best line-up. This means that Victor Osimhen will start in the front three alongside Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and one between Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano.
Osimhen has scored in each of his last eight Serie A appearances. As reported by Opta, with a goal against Lazio, he could become the second player in the three points for a win era to score in nine in a row (excluding penalties), after David Trezeguet between October and December 2005.
Portuguese left-back Mario Rui is out suspended. He received a two-game ban after kicking Empoli’s Francesco Caputo last weekend. His replacement will be Mathias Olivera.
The big news for Lazio is that center back Alessio Romagnoli is back after missing the last two games due to a muscle injury. He’ll play next to Patric as Nicolò Casale is out suspended.
Mattia Zaccagni is likely to get his starting spot back as former Barcelona and Chelsea star Pedro is not 100% fit.
The Spaniard played against Sampdoria last Monday with a mask as he suffered a nose fracture and against Napoli, he’ll be forced to play with a cast as he suffered a second fracture.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret, Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.
Lazio (4-3-3): Provedel; Hysaj, Romagnoli, Patric, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Luis Alberto; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni.
Andrea Agostinelli | GIFN