Napoli vs Genoa Preview: Napoli were in pole position to land the Scudetto this season, but a loss to Roma and stalemate with Inter Milan has shifted the tide of the title in the hands of favorites Juventus. Napoli’s only viable solution, for now, is to mind the gap until they take on Juventus on April 22, 2018.
Meanwhile, this Sunday will see Napoli host North-West side Genoa in Stadio San Paolo in Serie A. Napoli are sitting a point behind leaders Juventus having played a match more and will strongly look to return to winning ways so as not to let the gap with the leaders increase.
The Rossoblu, on the other hand, sit in 13th place in the league with just 6 points separating them from the relegation places. They have accumulated the magic mark of 30 points, but it may not be enough to save them from relegation come the end of the season. Genoa has to collect as many points they can muster and save themselves from the hassle to fight for points towards the end of May.
Considering their league position, the Genoese actually possess a relatively strong defense. They have conceded the fifth fewest goals in Serie A and have a better defensive record than top four candidates AC Milan and Lazio.
An inability to score goals has troubled Genoa this campaign. No player has scored more than three times for the Genoese and only struggling Benevento and Sassuolo have scored fewer times in Serie A than Genoa.
Napoli have won 10 of their last 12 games however lost against Roma and drew against Inter prior this match. The Partenopei Gli Azzurri are the third top scoring team in the league and has the second-best defense in the league this season. The home side averages 2.29 goals in Stadio San Paolo this season.
Genoa have won three of their last five matches and are in good spirit after wins against Lazio and Inter Milan. The results suggest the post side club are capable of upsetting the big teams on any given day. Genoa game plan is to sit deep in their defensive formation and put pressure on the opposition with long balls and set pieces.
Key Players To Watch
The Italian international has been a consistent contributor for the Sky Blues this season with 8 goals and 8 assists. Dries Mertens has been the stand out player for Napoli this season, but Insigne plays the core role in linking with attack and midfield with his pace on the right-hand side of the pitch. The trio of Mertens, Insigne, and Callejon has been surreal for Napoli’s attack this season.
Genoa have scored 21 league goals and conceded 28 goals this season. Amidst this, their top scorer remains striker Andrej Galabinov with 3 goals and 2 assists in 17 matches this season. His heavy presence is poised to be a threat in set plays and long balls in the box.
The most notable absentee for Napoli is of left-back Faouzi Ghoulam and center-back Vlad Chiriches. The return date for both of them are still unknown. All others squad players are fit for selection.
Genoa have two players who might return from injury prior this match. Defensive midfielder Miguel Veloso and center-back Armando Izzo are expected to return from injury on 17th March 2018 and may be considered for the lineup against Napoli.
In the 25 meetings between Napoli and Genoa, Napoli lead with 11 wins, Genoa has got the best of Napoli on 8 occasions, and 6 of the matches has ended in a draw. The latest match between the sides ended in a 2-3 victory for Napoli. The statistics and form suggest Napoli the clear favorite for the three points.
Napoli vs Genoa Lineups (Predicted XI)
Napoli Lineup (4-3-3)
Def: Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Rui
Mid: Allan, Jorginho, Zielinski
Genoa Lineup (3-5-2)
Def: Zukanovic, Spolli, Biraschi
Mid: Laxalt, Hiljemark, Bertolacci, Rigoni, Lazovic
Napoli vs Genoa Prediction
Napoli and Genoa both need the three points for their own sake. The home side need it to chase Juventus while the Red and Blues need points to distance themselves from the drop.
However, we expect goals in this match but only from Napoli. Keeping in mind the inability of the away side’s to score goals, we hope Reina and Napoli defenders not to be exposed from Genoa’s attack.
Thus, we expect Maurizio Sarri’s side to perform well on their home turf and record a win over the visitors. We predict the score to be 2-0 and a clean sheet for Pepe Reina.