SPAL will look to continue their fantastic run when they host Napoli at Stadio Paolo Mazza in the Serie A on Sunday.
Leonardo Semplici’s side are coming off the back of a superb 4-0 win at Chievo and are enjoying a solid 2019 season. The home side are currently 11th in the league table with 42 points from 35 games. They are level on points with Sassuolo in 10th and trail 9th-placed Sampdoria by 9 points.Embed from Getty Images
Thus, a top-half finish is likely if SPAL continue in the same vein. However, they do need to be wary of Fiorentina and Cagliari in 12th and 13th respectively, with both on 40 points. However, the club will be happy with their season, considering they finished 17th last time around.
Coming to their visitors, Napoli are once again set to finish 2nd in the Serie A, behind the unstoppable Juventus juggernaut. Carlo Ancelotti did a decent job after taking over from Maurizio Sarri as the Partenopei continue to prove that they are the second-best team in the country.Embed from Getty Images
The Neapolitans have picked up 73 points from 35 games, 16 points less than champions Juventus. Behind them are Inter and Atalanta with 63 and 62 points respectively, highlighting the good and bad of Napoli’s season.
Thus, Ancelotti will want his side to pick up as many points as possible in the remaining games and build momentum for a better title assault in the coming season.
Coming to team news, Semplici has no injury concerns heading into the big match and has a fully-fit squad at his disposal. Francesco Vicari’s suspension is complete and is expected to slot back in defense.
Meanwhile, Ancelotti is expected to be without midfielder Amadou Diawara as he recovers from a foot injury. Centre-back Vlad Chiriches is another likely absentee with a dislocated shoulder. Finally, defender Nikola Maksimovic is a doubt for the game.
SPAL vs Napoli Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, Napoli have won each of the last four meetings between the two, including the last match at this ground. Further, the Partenopei picked up all 3 points in the reverse fixture with a 1-0 win in Naples.
However, SPAL are in great form at the moment, with just a single defeat in their last eight games and have won 3 of their last four games in the league. Further, they have scored in each of their last eight games and have failed to find the back of the net at home just once in 2019.
Napoli have a good away record this season, winning ten games on the road in the Serie A. Ancelotti’s side have won 3 of their last four away games, scoring ten goals in the process. The visitors have found the back of the net in all but one of their matches away to the teams from the bottom half of the table.
However, the home side will take encouragement from the fact that they have won 3 out of 4 games against top 5 teams at the Stadio Paolo Mazza.
Thus, the game is evenly poised and the better team on the day will pick up all 3 points, but expect both teams to score at-least one goal.
Predicted SPAL XI: Viviano; Cionek, Vicari, Felipe; Lazzari, MIssiroli, Murgia, Kurtic, Fares; Petagna, Floccari
Predicted Napoli XI: Meret; Malcuit, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski; Mertens, Insigne