Napoli won’t lack any motivation knowing a win over Crotone will see them finish the year as the league leaders of Serie A.
Crotone have been struggling right after they were promoted to Serie A last year, as they finished 17th just two points clear off the drop zone. This year has been no different for them as they sit in 18th position collecting just 15 points after 18 matchdays. The visitors, however, have lost only one of 18 matches played in Serie A this season, which came against champions Juventus at the start of this month. Unbeaten in the last 22 Serie A away games (W19 D3), Napoli have won eight out of last nine, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
A win will see Napoli reach 48 points; only Juventus have done better (52 points) in the last 10 Serie A campaigns after arriving halfway through the season. Crotone have lost five of their previous six league games, winning the last one against Chievo at home. The 17th placed freshly promoted side Spal 2013 travel to Sampdoria on Saturday and given they lose in Stadio Luigi Ferraris, even a point on Friday can see Crotone stepping out of the relegation zone for the first time this year.
Crotone are yet to score in the last 15 minutes of the play and have also conceded the joint-most goals in the same period. Marek Hamsik has a chance to score in three consecutive Serie A games, the last time he achieved this feat was in January 2016. The former Real Madrid forward Jose Callejon has failed to score in his previous 12 Serie A appearances.
Napoli have won both of their previous Serie A matches against Crotone after they got promoted last year. They scored five goals and conceded one in those encounters. In their last meeting on March 2017, Napoli kept a stunning 81.2% possession – a Serie A record. The match finished 3-0 thanks to two goals from Lorenzo Insigne.
For Crotone, the young Italian attacker Marco Tumminello is set to miss this match with a Cruciate ligament injury and is expected to be back only by March 2018. Other than him, Walter Zenga has a full squad at his disposal going into this match.
The 23-year-old Arkadiusz Milik would be unavailable for this match due to a knee injury. Maurizio Sarri has one starter out of this game as the Algerian defender Faouzi Ghoulam is out injured with a Cruciate ligament injury. Mario Rui picked up a Red Card during the 3-2 win over Sampdoria and won’t be available for this match.
Crotone Vs Napoli Predicted Lineups
Crotone Probable XI (4-3-3)
Defenders: Martella, Ceccherini, Ajeti, Sampirisi
Midfielders: Mandragora, Barberis, Rohden
Forwards: Stoian, Budimir, Trotta
Napoli Probable XI (4-3-3)
Defenders: Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Maggio
Midfielders: Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik
Forwards: Callejon, Mertens, Insigne
It’s been 27 years since Napoli last won the league. The Partenopei have a great squad and are in a position from where they can win the Scudetto and end Juventus’ six years long streak. They still have a long way to go and Crotone, with their poor run of form, should be no more than a hurdle which they can jump past with ease.
On paper, Crotone have no match over the two times league champion. But if Napoli are to win the Serie A this season, these games should be no more than a routine one, a walk in the park for them.