Napoli christened the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona with a draw against Real Sociedad in Europe on Thursday, but they will be hoping to mark their first Serie A match at the newly-named arena with a win against Sampdoria on Sunday (2pm kick-off).
Gennaro Gattuso’s side were held to a point against Real Sociedad earlier in the week but it was enough to see them top Group F in the Europa League. They now turn their attention to domestic matters, hoping to get back to winning ways and strengthen their position in the top four.
The Parthenopeans welcome a misfiring Sampdoria to Naples, with Claudio Ranieri’s side winless in six across all competitions. The club have also clinched just one victory in their last nine Serie A games against Napoli, but can the former Leicester manager stop the rot?
Where to watch Napoli vs Sampdoria on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: ESPN+
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Scoreline prediction: Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria
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Napoli vs Sampdoria build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Napoli are in a rich vein of form this season with Gattuso catapulting his side up to fourth in the table (with a game in hand over second-placed Sassuolo) and cruising to the Europa League last-32. The former midfield hatchet man will be aiming to improve upon last season’s seventh-placed finish and guide the club back into the top four.
On paper his task this weekend seems straightforward enough. Sampdoria have not won any of their last 12 Serie A trips to Napoli and have conceded goals in each of their last 15 Serie A away games. However, Ranieri is a sagacious coach who has the capacity to turn around the club’s fortunes, and Gattuso must be wary of that threat.
- Napoli (vs Real Sociedad): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui; Fabian, Bakayoko, Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Mertens.
- Sampdoria (vs AC Milan): Audero; Bereszynski*, Ferrari, Tonelli, Augello; Jankto, Thorsby, Silva, Candreva; Gabbiadini*, Quagliarella.
Victor Osimhen returned to training this week after suffering a shoulder injury while on international duty but was not risked for the Europa League tie against Real Sociedad, though he is expected to at least make the bench this Sunday.
For the visitors, Manolo Gabbiadini, Nik Prelec and Lorenzo Tonelli all had individual sessions away from first-team training this week and are not expected to be match fit for Sunday’s encounter. Keita Balde and Bartosz Bereszynski are also currently sidelined for Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Players to watch:
- Napoli: The hosts have had the most different scorers in Serie A this campaign (10), but it is one man in particular that Gattuso will look to this weekend in order to get the job done. Dries Mertens may not top the scoring charts for Napoli this term, that honour is reserved for Hirving Lozano on five Serie A goals, but the diminutive Belgian loves playing against Sampdoria. He has scored on seven occasions against the club, only finding the back of the net more times against Cagliari (10) and Bologna (11) in the Italian top-flight.
- Sampdoria: If Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s exploits this season have taught us anything in football: it’s that age is just a number. The 39-year-old Swede has helped himself to double digits this term, but his case in not unique. Fabio Quagliarella is also proving resourceful in the final third at the age of 37. The veteran marksman has five goals in just nine appearances and will be relishing the chance to showcase his worth against a former club. Since the Italian left Napoli in 2010, he has scored seven goals against them; more than any other player in that period.
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Napoli: WWLWL
- Sampdoria: LDLLL
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