SSC Napoli vs Genoa: Preview and Prediction

Faltering reigning champions Napoli and newly promoted Genoa will meet at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday, only three places apart in the Serie A standings.

Defending champions Napoli have largely been all over the place in Serie A so far this season, as they sit firmly in mid-table obscurity after 23 games with just ten wins, five draws, and eight defeats so far. The Neapolitans have been poor even in victory so far this season, with the pressure mounting on Walter Mazzarri.

Mazzarri, who returned to take over the managerial reins from Rudi Garcia during the November international break, most recently oversaw his Napoli side suffer a 1-0 defeat at San Siro against AC Milan on Sunday.

The Naples-based outfit have won just four of their last 11 matches across all competitions, with three 2-1 wins coming against the bottom three and another win in the semi-final of the Supercoppa Italiana.

Genoa have enjoyed a very impressive campaign in Serie A so far this season after they gained promotion from Serie B last season. Alberto Gilardino is working wonders and leading the Genovese to a comfortable mid-table finish, with the 777 Partners-owned side aiming to propel themselves into the top half.

The visitors, though, saw an impressive eight-match unbeaten streak abruptly snapped last week as they were humbled 4-1 by the in-form Atalanta. They were level after 54 minutes, but late goals from Davide Zappacosta and El Bilal Toure took the game away from them.

Team News and Tactics

SSC Napoli

Napoli are sweating over the fitness of star striker Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian international made it all the way to the final with the Super Eagles, but they were defeated 1-0 by hosts Cote d’Ivoire. However, SkySport in Italy reports that he has returned from international duty, struggling for fitness.

While first-choice custodian Alex Meret returns to the bench after an injury layoff and Mario Rui back from a one-match ban, Juan Jesus is now suspended; Natan, the latter’s fellow Brazilian, should replace him in the starting lineup.

If Osimhen cannot go from the start, then it will likely be one of Giovanni Simeone or Giacomo Raspadori who comes into the side for him. Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will complete the attacking triad and will be keen to find some form in front of goal.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Gollini; Ostigard, Rrahmani, Natan; Di Lorenzo, Anguissa, Lobotka, Rui; Politano, Simeone, Kvaratskhelia


Genoa boss Alberto Gilardino has an almost full-strength squad at his disposal with no fresh injury concerns, though Ridgeciano Haps remains sidelined by a knee issue.

Gilardino is unlikely to make any major tweaks to the 3-5-1-1 formation or to his preferred personnel when they travel to Napoli on Saturday. Koni De Winter, who was suspended for the Grifone’s 4-1 loss to Atalanta, is expected to return to the back three alongside Mattia Bani and Johan Vasquez, putting Alessandro Vogliacco’s place in danger.

Josep Martínez should continue between the sticks for Genoa. Stefano Sabelli will take up the wing-back slot on the right-hand side, while Morten Frendrup is expected to line up on the opposite flank. Ruslan Malinovskyi is always present in the middle of the park and is likely to be paired up with Milan Badelj and Kevin Strootman.

Albert Gudmundsson has scored more goals this season than any other Genoa player in Serie A, proving to be one of the most decisive players on the Rossoblu team. He will take up the playmaking duties for Il Grifone, operating in the No. 10 role. Mateo Retegui is expected to pounce upon the Icelandic playmaker’s service at the top of the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Martinez; De Winter, Bani, Vasquez; Sabelli, Badelj, Malinovskyi, Strootman, Frendrup; Gudmundsson; Retegui

Key Stats

  • Napoli have one clean sheet in their last five league matches.
  • Napoli have won three and drew one of the last four home fixtures in the Serie A.
  • Seven of Napoli’s last 10 home league games had both teams scoring.
  • The two sides shared spoils in a 2-2 draw in the return game played in mid-September last year at Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris.
  • Four of the past five games Napoli played at home produced at least three goals.

Player to Watch

Albert Gudmundsson

The 26-year-old winger has been in fine form this season, scoring 11 goals and picking up three assists across all competitions. His performances have attracted the attention of several Premier League clubs, including Tottenham. His pace, flair, and goals in the final third have been a real driving force behind Genoa’s impressive attack.


SSC Napoli 1-1 Genoa

Napoli are not only failing their own standards and expectations, but they also have the added distraction of facing Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounter in a few days.

They will face a confident Genoa team despite their 4-1 setback to Atalanta, so Genoa should be well-equipped of bloodying the Neapolitans’ noses and earn a deserved point.

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