Napoli vs Sassuolo
2018/19 Italian Serie A.
Date: Sunday 7 October 2018
Kick-Off: 17:00 UK,
Venue: Stadio San Paolo (Naples)
Napoli are hoping to add to their midweek UEFA Champions League victory over Liverpool when they host Sassuolo in the league at the San Paolo on Sunday. Lorenzo Insigne’s strike was the difference against the Reds, and helped the Partenopei earn their first three points of their European campaign. The Neapolitans are six points behind leaders Juventus in Serie A and are looking to get back to winning ways, following their defeat to the Bianconeri, which saw the Old Lady come from behind to win 3-1. Sassuolo lie in fifth, two points behind Napoli and know that a victory over Carlo Ancelotti’s men could potentially see them move into second if results go their way. The Neroverdi, like Napoli, were also beaten in their last league encounter – a 4-1 defeat at home to Milan – but have scored in each of their league matches this season and will be hoping to do so at the San Paolo.
Napoli 3-1 Sassuolo- October 2017- Serie A
Last season’s fixture between the two clubs promised much. Coming into the match, Napoli were at the top of the league while Sassuolo were hovering two points above the relegation zone. The Neapolitans started in the ascendancy and went in front through Allan in the 22nd minute, but Diego Falcinelli’s strike in the 41st minute gave the visitors hope and looked to have taken the Neroverdi level going into half-time. However, José Callejón’s 44th minute effort gave the Azzurri the lead at the interval. Nine minutes into the second-half, Raúl Albiol found Dries Mertens, who made it three to put Maurizio Sarri’s men in charge and they held on for all three points.
Lorenzo Insigne vs. Gian Marco Ferrari
Insigne scored the winner against Liverpool in the Champions League to maintain his side’s unbeaten start to the competition. He already has five Serie A goals to his name this season and will be hoping to add to his tally against Sassuolo, who he has scored against only twice. Insigne will come up against defender Ferrari, who unlike his name, isn’t the quickest and may struggle with the pace and trickery of the forward. He is tall, however, and at 6′ 2” he’ll be able to deal with any sort of aerial threat that Insigne may pose from set-pieces and crosses into the box. Ferrari has helped keep two clean sheets for Sassuolo this season: including against Inter – demonstrating he is no slouch in the big games and the Neroverdi will be hoping he can have another impressive match against the likes of Insigne.
Napoli will be without Portuguese international full-back Mário Rui, who was sent off against Juventus after picking up two yellow cards. This could see Kévin Malcuit come into the starting line-up, with Elseid Hysaj swapping flanks and operating as a left-back instead. Sassuolo have no significant absentees for the match against Napoli.
Napoli (4-4-2): Ospina; Malcuit, Albiol, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Callejon, Allan, Zielinski, Verdi; Mertens, Insigne
Sassuolo (4-3-3): Consigli; Rogerio, Ferrari, Marlon, Lirola; Sensi, Bourabia, Magnanelli; Berardi, Boateng, Di Francesco
Napoli should win this one quite convincingly after their confidence-boost against Liverpool. The fire power of both Arkadiusz Milik and Insigne up front may be too much for Sassuolo to handle, even with the defensive capabilities of Ferrari and co. Sassuolo conceded four against Milan last time out and will seek for a better defensive display in Naples. On the other hand, the Neroverdi have scored in each of their last three trips in the league to the San Paolo and may have some fire power themselves. Top-scorer Kevin Prince-Boateng has three league goals this season but hasn’t found the net away from home since August, and what better stage to do it. Although Sassuolo have never won there, Roberto De Zerbi will ensure his side put in a spirited display but there’s surely only going to be one winner.