Napoli will be keen to get their Scudetto title defence back on track when they travel to Genoa on Saturday.
Defending champions Napoli travel to Genoa keen to put behind their loss to Lazio just before the international break. The Partenopei lost their keen edge after winning the Serie A title last season and have admittedly been below par since. The arrival of Rudi Garcia has done little to improve matters, and Napoli appear to have shed their cloak of invincibility.
With Inter Milan and AC Milan set to face off this weekend, Napoli are primed to get closer to the top of the table if they secure all three points on the night. Genoa, for their part, go into the clash as underdogs having lost two of their opening three games in the league this season.
Napoli have lacked conviction so far this season, and it showed in their home loss to Lazio. The international break could not have come at a better time for the visitors, who will have had time to assess their shortcomings and come up with solutions to remedy it.
Genoa are no pushovers, however, and Lazio cannot take the result for granted. After all, the Grifone defeated Lazioe earlier in the season for their lone win in the campaign so far. Another setback could also see Napoli play catch up in their bid to regain the Scudetto this season.
The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
— Genoa CFC (@GenoaCFC) September 15, 2023
While the defeat of Lazio was a high point, the losses to Torino and Fiorentina put a damper on things. An inconsistent team, they could spring a surprise, especially if Napoli fail to turn up.
With relegation a distinct possibility this season, it is imperative that Genoa put up points on the board, especially at home. Napoli will be one of Genoa’s biggest challenges this season but could be put under pressure especially if their attack can be marked out.
Alberto Gilardino’s men have tightened up at the back since their opening-day thrashing to Fiorentina and should prove to be dogged opponents. A strong rearguard effort will certainly help them retain hopes of getting something from the game.
Alessandro Vogliacco and Alan Matturro are unlikely to feature on the night as they continue to recover from injury. Meanwhile, Uruguayan centre-back Alan Matturro faces a race against time to prove his fitness.
Gilardino should continue with the 4-3-2-1 formation that can double down as a 4-5-1 when needed. This will be key as Genoa attempts to cut off passing lanes to the Napoli frontline. Josep Martinez should start in goal behind the back four of Stefano Sabelli, Bani, Radu Dragusin and Johan Vasquez.
Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman should partner Milan Badelj and Morten Frendrup in an anchoring role, largely aiming to stop the Napoli midfield in its ranks. The impressive Ruslan Malinovskyi and Albert Gudmundsson will provide the attacking edge with Mateo Retegui, the hero against Lazio to lead the line.
Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Martinez; Sabelli, Bani, Dragusin, Vasquez; Strootman, Badelj, Frendrup; Malinovskyi, Gudmundsson; Retegui
The Rudi Garcia era will always be compared to the success Napoli experienced under Luciano Spalletti last time around. This gives the Frenchman little leeway when it comes to [poor results and he can ill afford another one this weekend.
The loss to Lazio underlined some key weaknesses such as the overdependence on Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to score goals. Both had an off day against Lazio and the defending champions visibly struggled. This could become a common theme this season unless Garcia can offer alternative solutions.
The visitors will be without Atalanta loanee Pierluigi Gollini while winger Matteo Politano, who picked up an injury during the international break is likely to have to settle for a spot on the bench. Garcia is still likely to stick with his 4-3-3 formation on the night with just personnel shifted around.
📃 I convocati di #GenoaNapoli
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) September 15, 2023
Alex Meret should start in goal behind a back four of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Amir Rrahmani, Juan Jesus and Mathias Olivera. The trio of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka and Piotr Zielinski will form the midfield with Giacomo Raspadori replacing Politano upfront.
Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will complete the attacking triad and will be keen to reignite the flame that saw them lead Napolti to much glory.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Raspadori
- Since 2010, Napoli have defeated Genoa 17 times in Serie A. Napoli have only defeated Sampdoria more times (210 in the same time frame.
- Napoli have won more games at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium since their return to the top flight in 2007 than any other venue in Serie A bar the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
- In six of the last seven Serie A campaigns, Napoli have won at least three of their first four games.
- Napoli are undefeated in 19 of their last 20 matches against Genoa in all competitions.
Player to Watch
The Nigerian fired blanks against Lazio but has used the international break to get himself back to speed. He scored a hat-trick for Nigeria and will be keen to see that form translate to the club level.
With Khvicha Kvaratskhelia struggling to replicate last season’s numbers, the pressure is on Osimhen to make the difference up front. As long as he is in to[p form don’t he night, Genoa could find themselves struggling to contain his goalscoring instincts.
Genoa 0-2 SSC Napoli
Napoli have a historically strong record against Genoa and also have the better players on paper. The international break will have helped Ruci Garcia iron out new plans and he will be emboldened by Osimhen’s return to form. Anything less than a win for Napoli by at least two goals will be surprising indeed.