Sassuolo vs Napoli: Preview and Prediction

Napoli will be desperate to return to winning ways when they take on Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium on Wednesday.

Wednesday will bring us two Serie A encounters, with Atalanta, Inter Milan, Napoli, and Sassuolo catching up to the rest of the league. Atalanta and Inter Milan will lock horns in Bergamo, while Sassuolo and Napoli will lock horns at the Mapei Stadium.

2023/24 has been a season from hell for Sassuolo, with the team struggling to steer clear of the relegation zone. The Neroverdi had once been as high as ninth in the Serie A standings after Matchday 6. But they have won only two of their 19 games since then, dropping to 17th on the table, level on points with 18th and 19th-placed Hellas Verona and Cagliari.

As for Napoli, they have not fared much better either, considering their lofty standards. The Partenopei came into the 2023/24 season as the reigning Serie A champions. But soon, they will not even have a mathematical chance to defend their crown after falling 29 points behind the table-topping Inter Milan. So, it is hardly surprising that they have already sacked two managers this term.

The reverse fixture ended in a 2-0 win for Napoli, with Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo finding the back of the net, while Maxime Lopez saw red for Sassuolo. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Emiliano Bigica has a new roster issue hampering his preparations ahead of his first game in charge as caretaker boss. Against Napoli on Wednesday, Sassuolo’s interim manager will be without four first-team players.

Daniel Boloca is the latest absentee, as he serves a suspension due to an accumulation of bookings. Meanwhile, Domenico Berardi is the most notable absentee due to a knee injury. Meanwhile, Bigica is sweating over the fitness of Martin Erlic and Mattia Viti, with the duo unlikely to start.

Andrea Consigli will likely take his spot between the sticks, with Napoli lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him. Ruan Tressoldi and captain Gian Marco Ferrari should form the central defensive partnership, with Jeremy Toljan and Josh Doig being the two full-backs.

As for the midfield unit, Uros Racic should replace Boloca as Matheus Henrique’s partner in the double pivot. Kristian Thorstvedt will reprise the no. 10 role, looking to pull the strings in the final third, with Samu Castillejo and Armand Lauriente being the two wide attackers. Andrea Pinamonti should lead the line for Sassuolo against Napoli.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan, Tressoldi, Ferrari, Doig; Henrique, Racic; Castillejo, Thorstvedt, Lauriente; Pinamonti


Unlike his counterpart in the Sassuolo dugout, Francesco Calzona has greeted a positive update on the team news front ahead of the trip to the Mapei Stadium. The Napoli manager will be without only one first-team player.

Winter signing Cyril Ngonge is the only absentee for Napoli as he continues to recover from a muscle injury. But Calzona will greet the return of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who has served a one-match suspension.

The Napoli captain should return to the starting eleven against Sassuolo, joining Amir Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, and Mathias Olivera in the backline. The defensive quartet will protect Alex Meret, who will take his usual spot between the sticks.

As for the midfield unit, Stanislav Lobotka, Piotr Zielinski, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park while initiating quick transitions. Finally, Victor Osimhen will spearhead the Napoli attack, with Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia joining him in the offensive trifecta on Wednesday.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Key Stats

  • Sassuolo have won their joint-lowest percentage of matches in Serie A against Napoli (level with AS Roma) among teams they have faced at least five times: 10% (2 of 21).
  • Napoli are unbeaten in 15 of their last 16 Serie A games against Sassuolo (W9 D6), winning the most recent four outings. The only victory for the Neroverdi during this run came in November 2020.
  • Sassuolo have not found the back of the net in three Serie A matches against Napoli. They have never gone four successive games without scoring against the Partenopei in Serie A.
  • Sassuolo have won only one of their ten home league games against Napoli (D5 L4).
  • Napoli have earned 28 points fewer than they had done at this stage last season. This is the worst points difference for a Serie A champions after the first 25 games of the campaign where they have defended their title (three points for a win).

Player to Watch

Victor Osimhen

Embed from Getty Images

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia was another candidate for this section due to his inconsistencies thus far this season. But we have gone ahead with Osimhen as he is the best bet for Napoli to get anything out of any game as we approach the business end of the 2023/24 season.

All is not lost for the Partenopei, even though they are 11 points behind fourth-placed Bologna. But that deficit can go down to eight on Wednesday, giving Osimhen and Napoli the motivation to remain alive in the race to finish in the top four. Considering fifth place might also get UEFA Champions League qualification, they have another two-point buffer to Atalanta.


Sassuolo 1-2 Napoli

Wednesday’s match will feature two teams struggling to rack up a winning run. Emiliano Bigica will take charge of Sassuolo for the first time, looking to produce a shock win over Napoli. Meanwhile, Francesco Calzona is searching for his first win as the Napoli boss after overseeing two stalemates in his first two outings.

But Sassuolo’s dreadful record against Napoli should continue on Wednesday, with the home side not having the quality to topple even the struggling Partenopei. While the Neroverdi should find the back of the net once, that might be a consolation goal, with Calzona and his charges clinching a 2-1 win at the Mapei Stadium.

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