In the clash of titans in Serie A on Sunday, Roma encounter Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli, with a packed Stadio Olimpico waiting to host the league leaders.
Napoli, still unbeaten across all competitions, have been firing on all cylinders offensively, having amassed 25 goals (the most in Serie A this season) thus far. But this time, the challenge will be different as they would be up against Jose Mourinho’s side.
Despite being the home team, Mourinho’s Roma will put emphasis on getting the job done defensively, making it a frustrating night for the Napoli forward, or are we making them look too pragmatic?
As they say, it could well be a battle of patience. Over the last three meetings between these two teams, Napoli have won once, while the last two have ended in a draw.
Results in the last five games in all competitions:
Roma have a long list of absentees. On Sunday, the Giallorossi will miss some important players, including Paulo Dybala, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Zeki Celik. Marash Kumbulla remains a doubt for the game. There is a possibility that Mourinho could field Nicolò Zaniolo and Tammy Abraham to create a two-man forward line.
Frank Anguissa is making recovery from his thigh injury and will surely miss the game against the Roman club this weekend. Salvatore Sirigu remains sidelined with his muscular issues, while Amir Rrahmani has also been ruled out of the game with a tear in the abductor’s muscle.
Roma predicted XI vs Napoli (3-5-2):
Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Pellegrini, Matic, Cristante, Spinazzola; Zaniolo, Abraham.
Napoli predicted XI vs Roma (4-3-3):
Meret, Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-Jae, Juan Jesus, Mario Rui; Lobotka, Zielinski, Ndombele; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.
While Roma have looked fragile at times, Napoli have not lost a game in Serie A this season. There might be a sense of desperation from Mourinho and his men to get the better of their counterparts on Sunday evening. Man times, these tight games end up in a stalemate. But even if it ends up in a stalemate, it would not be a goalless one, given the attacking prowess of either side.
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder