The league leaders Napoli take on the bottom club Benevento at Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Sunday for the round 23 of Serie A. The kick-off is scheduled for 07:45 pm GMT on 4 February.
Benevento are twentieth in the league standings, and survival looks improbable for them, as they stand 12 points adrift the seventeenth placed Crotone.
It has been a great year for the Naples-based side, as they are the league leaders of Serie A after 22 matches. However, Juventus are second in the standings and trail them by just a point, so they can’t afford to lose any points if they are to win the Scudetto this season.
The hosts are coming off a 3-0 loss in the hands of Torino in their last league fixture. It took just three minutes for the Granata to take the lead from Iago Falque. Mbaye Niang and Joel Obi scored in quick succession in the dying minutes of the first period to make the score 3-0 for the visitors.
No team could find the back of the net in the second half, and Benevento added yet another loss in their already disappointing set of results.
The league leaders Napoli defeated Bologna at home in the round 22 of Serie A. They came from back to win the match 3-1, thanks to some brilliant football from their striker Dries Mertens.
The Argentine striker Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring for Bologna in the first minute of the game. In the fifth minute; while trying to clear the ball from the goal line, Mbaye accidentally put the ball into his own net, and the score was leveled.
Mertens converted from the spot to give the home side a 2-1 lead just before halftime. The Belgian curled a fantastic shot into the top corner of the net to ensure the victory for the Partenopei, as they maintained their first position at the top of the league table.
Benevento have collected just seven points from 22 league fixtures, the only team to gain fewer points at this stage was Ancona in 2003/04 (six).
Napoli, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last 24 Serie A games on the road (W21 D3). On top of that, they have conceded only once in their previous five league outings.
The only meeting between these teams in Serie A came in the reverse fixture of this tie, which ended with Napoli registering a huge 6-0 win.
Dries Mertens produced a brilliant display in that match, scoring a hat-trick to take the game ball home. Allan, Insigne, and Callejon also got their names on the scoresheet.
That 6-0 win remains the game with the biggest goal difference in Serie A this season.
Roberto De Zerbi will be without Luca Antei who is out with an Achilles tendon injury. The Italian is the only player missing this match with an injury for the hosts.
Raul Albiol remains a doubt for Maurizio Sarri’s men heading into this match. Milik and Ghoulam are back in training and will be available for selection.
Benevento vs Napoli Lineup (Predicted XI)
Benevento Lineup (4-3-3)
Letizia (RB), Djimsiti (CB), Billong (CB), Venuti (LB)
Viola (CM), Cataldi (CDM), Memushaj (CM)
Napoli Lineup (4-3-3)
Hysaj (RB), Koulibaly (CB), Albiol (CB), Rui (LB)
Allan (CM), Jorginho (CDM), Hamsik (CM)
Benevento vs Napoli Prediction
Benevento should be no match for the might of Napoli. The Partenopei last won the league title back in 1990, and if they are to win it this year, these games should be no more than a cakewalk for them.
If Benevento somehow managed to pull-off a win against Napoli, then it might be the biggest upset in the history of Italian football.
Our Prediction: 3-0 to Napoli