With an incredible 18-point lead atop Serie A, Napoli can take another step closer to sealing the inevitable Scudetto when they face Torino at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Sunday.

Having secured their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a comprehensive win against Eintracht Frankfurt, Napoli now looks to make it six straight Serie A away wins against Torino, who have lost just one of their last seven on home turf.

Napoli have been the best and most entertaining team in Serie A so far this season, or, dare we say, in Europe. They have a legitimate chance of making history on two fronts in this campaign.

Having built a whopping 18-point lead at the top of Serie A, they are now pretty much certain to win their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era. And a 5-0 aggregate win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League Last 16 has led to suggestions they could do an unprecedented double and lift the trophy.

The Partenopei are playing with quality and consistency and are riding hot momentum at the moment. And it is no surprise that they will enter as heavy favourites at Torino, despite the latter’s fine form in recent months.

The Granata will be fired up when they welcome Napoli to Piedmont, as they themselves are on the hunt for European football next season. With seventh place effectively offering a place in Europe, Torino have a solid chance of qualifying as they presently sit eighth in Serie A, one point adrift of rivals Juventus.

Yet, they will also have Atalanta in their clutches, as they are only five points behind La Dea after 26 games. Torino come into this game having won successive matches, beating Bologna and Lecce since suffering a 4-2 setback at rival Juventus. Ivan Juric’s men have also been scoring goals of late, scoring seven times in their last four outings, while remaining defensively solid.

Though Torino will look to make life difficult for the league leaders and hope to give a good account of themselves after going three home games unbeaten, the visitors are on a roll and hard to stop. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics


Torino will be boosted by the early return of attacker Nikola Vlasic, who has missed the last four matches due to injury. He could be in line to come off the bench against the Azzurri on Sunday. Otherwise, Torino’s injury list is unchanged going into this game, with Ronaldo Vieira and Valentino Lazaro all ruled out.

0Ivan Juric will keep changes to a minimum on the back of a win last weekend. Only limited changes will be in store, with Ola Aina and Samuele Ricci pushing to start. Torino will likely set up in a variant of the 3-4-3 formation. The hosts will need defensive stability if they are to win this game. And they have the fifth-best defensive record in Serie A, surrendering 29 goals.

So far this season, only Lazio, AS Roma, Juventus, and Napoli have done better. And the likes of goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, Ola Aina, and the ever-present Perr Schuurs have established a formidable partnership at the back. Alessandro Buongiorno will also join as the right-sided defender in the back three, with Ricardo Rodriguez and Wilfried Singo operating as wing-backs in the setup.

Karol Linetty is set to partner Ivan Ilic in midfield this weekend. Nemanja Radonjic and Aleksey Miranchuk will act as dual attacking midfielders and will take turns dropping back into central midfield to outnumber Milan.

Antonio Sanabria has scored three goals in his last four matches and will be looking to maintain his fine run of form up top here. He will be the main offensive threat for the hosts at the weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Milinkovic-Savic; Buongiorno, Schuurs, Rodriguez; Aina, Ilic, Linetty, Singo; Radonjic, Miranchuk; Sanabria


Giacomo Raspadori has been missing since the beginning of last month due to a thigh problem and remains sidelined. On the bright side, central defender Kim Min-jae has overcome a slight calf issue to start against Eintracht Frankfurt and will be ready to go for this one.

Alex Meret sustained a sprained wrist in the warm-up prior to the Atalanta fixture. But he recovered in time to feature in the midweek and is expected to continue between the sticks ahead of backup Pierluigi Gollini.

Luciano Spalletti is also boosted by the return of key defender Mario Rui from suspension. And the Portuguese international should come straight back into the starting XI in Turin, with Mathias Olivera dropping out. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Amir Rrahmani will also retain their places in the back four.

There should be no changes in midfield from the midweek game, with Stanislav Lobotka the obvious choice to sit at the base of midfield. Piotr Zielinski and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa on either side will join him.

Matteo Politano could well be restored to the starting lineup after Hirving Lozano featured on the right wing in Germany following the Mexican’s return from injury. Victor Osimhen has been a talisman for Napoli so far this term, leading the way atop the Serie A goalscoring charts with 19 goals.

The Nigerian attacking powerhouse will continue his deadly partnership with the in-demand Khvicha Kvaratskhelia up front for Napoli.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Rui; Zielinksi, Lobotka, Anguissa; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Key Stats

  • Napoli have won 20 of their last 22 Serie A matches.
  • Napoli have found the back of net at least twice in nine of their last ten Serie A matches.
  • Napoli have won their last four successive meetings with Torino, keeping three clean sheets during that stretch.
  •  Napoli have preserved seven clean sheets in their last ten league outings, including each of their last five away games in Serie A. They have never kept six clean sheets in a row on the road before.
  • Torino have won their last two Serie A matches without conceding. They haven’t won three in a row without conceding since March 2019.

Player to Watch

Stanislav Lobotka

While Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen usually grab the spotlight, Stanislav Lobotka is something of an unsung hero for Napoli. The 28-year-old was at his influential best again on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, where he provided a pin-point pass out to the right flank for Matteo Politano in the build-up to Osimhen’s opener.

Embed from Getty Images

A super-intelligent metronome and ball progressor, he provides an excellent base to the Partenopei midfield and defensive assurance, which enables teammates around him to maraud forward without any fear.

So much so that you can easily find central midfielders Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski roaming around the opposition box, leaving acres of midfield space for Lobotka to patrol. He will look to set the tempo for the visitors here as Napoli look to continue their Scudetto march.


Torino 0-1 Napoli

This could be a much more closely-contested affair than many expect. Napoli made light work of Torino in the reverse fixture at Stadio Armando Maradona back in October. Victor Osimhen and co. had proven too hot to handle for the Turin outfit as they suffered a 3-1 thrashing.

As they inch closer to the title, Napoli’s output has dipped slightly from their incredible form at the start of 2023, at least domestically. Meanwhile, Torino are enjoying a strong season and could still gatecrash into European places in the final phase of the campaign. They will be hoping for at least a point against Napoli at home.

Still, Napoli’s tally of five clean sheets in their last six league matches demonstrates their defensive sturdiness and the difficult job Torino will face in breaking them down. Thus, The Hard Tackle expects a narrow but dominant 1-0 victory in favour of the visitors.

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