Napoli take on Sampdoria in Round 25 of the Italian Serie A this Sunday at the Stadio San Paolo in Napoli. Napoli are coming off a tough away match in which they drew with Lazio. Sampdoria on the other hand battled at home against Roma for a 3-1 victory.
Napoli’s Probable Lineup: 3-4-1-2
Sampdoria Probable Lineup: 3-5-2
In their last match, Napoli were granted with a late goal from Hugo Campagnaro after displaying a dismal first half performance. Further questions will be asked of the Vesuvian side after an embarrassing first leg 3-0 home defeat in Europa League competition versus Viktoria Plzen. Everyone’s focus now will be on how Napoli will react from these poor displays and start Sunday’s match. If Napoli do not start strong, I can foresee them struggling throughout the match.
Sampdoria have been impressive in their most recent matches, beating Juventus and Roma and drawing with Milan. All eyes will be on Napoli’s missed January transfer window target, Mauro Icardi, as he has been in great form recently and has recently declared that he will choose to play for Argentina and not Italy at the senior level.
Napoli’s Trident vs. Sampordia Defense
One key matchup to pay attention to will be that of Napoli’s trident against Sampdoria’s defense. Hamsik will be playing behind Pandev and Cavani in a trequartista role. Hamsik has found space in the new formation to play as a trequartista just this season. In this role he really gets to demonstrate his vision and distributive qualities and as well as long range attempts. He will attempt to slip balls to Cavani and Pandev behind the defense, but they will be tightly marked. A key matchup to note in this area will be Gastadello’s marking of Cavani. In the first fixture of this match, Cavani was kept quiet except for slotting home a match winning penalty kick.
Wing Attack plus Icardi and Sansone vs. Napoli Defense
Over the past few seasons Napoli’s back line of defense has been shaky. In this season there is not much of a difference. A speedy opposition usually renders Cannavaro and Campagnaro into some difficulty and defensive mistakes are made. Estigarribia and De Silvestri, Sampdoria’s wing midfielders, will look to find themselves in advanced positions on their respective wings and serve in balls to Icardi and Sansone to finish off.
The midfield battle between Napoli’s Inler and Dzemaili against Sampdoria’s young center midfield trio of Poli, Obiang and Kristicic will be a crucial one. If Inler pushes up too high, as he sometime does, the resulting emptiness in the midfield will be accessible for Sampdoria’s midfield to dominate some possession. Likewise, if Sampdoria’s wingers surge forward for an attack and lose possession, Napoli could hit them hard on the break with Cavani looking to add to his Serie A goal tally of 18 for the season.
Final Thoughts and Predictions:
This fixture’s first match in Genoa saw plenty of possession for il Doria but mainly squandered chances. If enough crosses are driven in the box to Icardi, Napoli may commit some defensive errors. If Napoli are capable of putting past results behind them and starting aggressively, they will have a chance of winning this match. With Napoli playing at home and eager to bounce back into good form in front of their fans, they should emerge victorious.
Prediction: Napoli 2-1 Sampdoria
*Stats and formations provided by whoscored.com