Napoli could secure the Serie A title should results go their way this weekend when they take on Salernitana at home.
League leaders SSC Napoli could secure their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era this weekend when they take on 14th-placed Salernitana at home on Friday.
The Gli Azzurri will play the early game this weekend, laying the gauntlet down for the chasing pack. Should Napoli secure all three points and Lazio fail to follow suit, they will be unable to mathematically knock off the top of the Serie A league standings.
Having been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, Luciano Spalletti will be keen to give the home crowd something to cheer about. The visitors are comfortable in mid-table and should prove to be pliable opponents. They arrive in Naples on the back of an eight-game unbeaten streak in the league but will have their work cut out against Napoli.
The home side have been the standout side in the Italian top flight this season but have struggled to finish off sides of late. Giacomo Raspadori scored the winner last time around against Juventus and they will be keen to repeat the trick on Friday.
Should Napoli win the title this weekend, it will be the earliest any side has won the Italian top flight in terms of goals. For context, Napoli are just one point off their last season’s tally with seven games to go. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) April 28, 2023
Mario Rui is still ruled out for the night with an injury but Matteo Politano is in contention to feature. Spalletti is further emboldened by the return of Giovanni Simeone and Amir Rrahmani. Watching Giacomo Raspadori score the winner last time around will also do the Italian’s confidence the world of good.
The home side are expected to go full strength on the night. Spalletti will be keen to secure his first Italian league title and will want to wrap it up soon enough. He has, after all, waited for it for 553 top-flight games.
The trademark 4-3-3 is likely to be used again with Alex Meret in goal. The showstopper is attracting attention from the Premier League, and a strong showing on the night will only boost his prospects ahead of the summer transfer window.
Meret will be protected by the back four of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, star defender Kim Min-jae, Amir Rrahmani and Mathias Olivera. Stanislav Lobotka should hold the fort in central midfield, with Piotr Zielinski and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa flanking him in the middle of the park.
The front three for Napoli more or less chooses itself. Victor Osimhen will lead the line with Hirving Lozano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia providing the width. Surely, Napoli cannot go three games at home without scoring in the Serie A for the first time since 2010.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia
The minnows are currently on an eight-game unbeaten streak in the Italian top flight, their longest such run in the competition’s history,
While Paulo Sousa has made them difficult to beat, they have issues finding a way over the line. In fact, the visitors have won just seven games in Serie A this season, drawing 12 others. They should prove to be a dogged side to break down for Napoli but go into the clash comfortably as the underdogs.
Salernitana will welcome back Pasquale Mazzocchi but will have to do so without Domen Crnigoj and Federico Fazio. Sousa has an otherwise full-strength side to choose from. A 3-4-2-1 formation is the solution for the day with Guillermo Ochoa starting in goal. The Mexican is a superhuman on his day and will need to be at his best on the night to keep Napoli’s attack at bay.
🇱🇻 Training session with our people 💪#macteanimo #forzagranata pic.twitter.com/Pbap9VUXMO
— US Salernitana 1919 (@OfficialUSS1919) April 27, 2023
A three-man backline will protect him with full-backs also dropping back to form a back five if needed. Flavius Daniliuc, Norbert Gyomber and Lorenzo Pirola will form the rearguard with Pasquale Mazzocchi and Domagoj Bradaric serving as the full-backs.
Tonny Vilhena and Lassana Coulibaly should hold the fort in the middle of the park, aiming to disrupt Napoli’s ability to set the tone for the game. Doing so will enable Antonio Candreva and Grigoris Kastanos to flourish upfield, behind an inform Boulaye Dia.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Ochoa; Daniliuc, Gyomber, Pirola; Mazzocchi, Vilhena, Coulibaly, Bradaric; Candreva, Kastanos; Dia
- Napoli have faced off five times against Salernitana in Serie A and are yet to lose a single time.
- Napoli are currently only one point off their seasonal points tally from the 2021-22 season.
- Napoli have never failed to score in three consecutive Serie A home games since February 2010.
- Salernitana are unbeaten in their last eight league games, their longest streak in the competition’s history.
Player to Watch
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) April 28, 2023
It is a fact that Napoli plays well when Osimhen plays well. The Nigerian is one of Europe’s most in-demand players and leading the club to a Serie A crown will further his value. His return has been a boon for Napoli who have struggled to break down teams in recent weeks.
Salernitana should find it difficult to keep Osimhen quiet and it will come as a surprise should he fail to find the net on the night.
SSC Napoli 3-0 Salernitana
The champions-elect already have one hand on the Scudetto and can more or less assure themselves of the trophy with a win. Keen to get the job done early, Napoli will look for a fast start, seeking that early goal. Given the difference in quality between both teams, it should be a straightforward win for the Gli Azzurri.
Leave a Reply