Faltering defending champions Napoli will be looking to put an end to their three-game winless run across all competitions when they face second-from-bottom Cagliari on Sunday afternoon.

Cagliari, who were promoted to the top flight last season after coming out on top in the Serie B playoffs against Bari, begin the latest matchday of the 2023/24 Serie A season in the bottom three and relegation zone ahead of the visit of Napoli. With only four victories in 25 games this season, the pressure is mounting on former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri.

The Sardinians are coming off a 1-1 draw in Friuli against Udinese last weekend, with Gianluca Gaetano’s 44th-minute goal cancelling out Jordan Zemura’s opener for Udinese. While not exactly the desired result, that draw at least snapped a four-game losing streak in Serie A.

Reigning Serie A champions Napoli, meanwhile, have endured an extremely disappointing campaign as they begin this weekend’s round of fixtures in the bottom half of the table.

Their disappointing draw with Genoa on Sunday ultimately cost Walter Mazzarri his job, with former assistant manager to Luciano Spalletti, Francesco Calzona, appointed as an interim manager for the rest of the season before leading Slovakia into UEFA Euro 2024.

They put on a much-improved display to secure a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in his first game in charge in midweek in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie as Victor Osimhen cancelled out Robert Lewandowski’s opener.

Team News & Tactics


Simone Aresti will be back in contention this weekend to face Napoli after missing the draw with Udinese last time out due to a suspension. Marco Mancosu (knee), Eldor Shomurodov, and Gaetano Oristanio (both metatarsal fractures), and Pantelis Hatzidiakos (knee) are all sidelined through injuries. Leonardo Pavoletti and Alberto Dossena are just one yellow card each away from a suspension. But there are no other pressing issues.

Ranieri will set out to frustrate Napoli in Sardinia with his resilient 4-4-1-1 formation on Sunday, although they have not shown much solidity or ability to compete defensively this season, with 46 goals conceded, the second most in the league.

Ranieri likes to shuffle his frontline. But Napoli loanee Gianluca Gaetano is certain to play a major role, having scored two goals in three appearances since making his debut earlier this month.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Scuffet; Zappa, Mina, Dossena, Augello; Nandez, Makoumbou, Jankto, Luvumbo; Gaetano; Lapadula

SSC Napoli

Club captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo will miss Sunday’s game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign in the draw with Genoa last weekend, whilst attacker Cyril Ngonge is a doubt due to a muscle injury.

Piotr Zielinski, who was left off the UEFA squad list after failing to negotiate a new contract in Naples, might return to contention. After experimenting with a three-man defence numerous times at the end of Walter Mazzarri’s dismal second tenure as Napoli coach, Francesco Calzona returned to the Campanian club’s typical 4-3-3 system in midweek.

Victor Osimhen featured for Napoli against Barcelona for the first time since the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring his ninth goal of the season, and will almost certainly keep his place in the final third.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Mazzocchi, Rrahmani, Jesus, Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Traore; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Key Stats

  • Napoli are undefeated in their last 12 away matches against Cagliari in all competitions.
  • Cagliari have failed to win nine of their last 10 Serie A matches.
  • Six of the last seven meetings between these two sides at this venue were won by Napoli.
  • Napoli lost five and drew one of the previous six away outings across competitions.
  • Cagliari lost just two of the previous eight home affairs in the Serie A.

Player to Watch

Victor Osimhen

Embed from Getty Images

The Super Eagles star returned from AFCON 2023 with a goal for Napoli against Barcelona in the UCL. The Napoli striker’s rampant scoring form in the Serie A last season put him on the target lists of many top European outfits.

Although the Nigerian striker has struggled to replicate last season’s performance for the Partenopei and also struggled to score at the Africa Cup of Nations, he is still regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe, and will once again be the key man for the visitors’ here.


Cagliari 0-2 SSC Napoli

Napoli are way short of last season’s scintillating form, but Francesco Calzona has started his tenure with a positive result in midweek despite being in charge for less than two days, and they should have enough gas left in the tank to finally return to the win column by beating Cagliari, who are one of the favourites to be relegated from Italy’s top-flight this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.