Roma vs. NapoliBy: Neil | October 18th, 2013
Lots of mysteries surrounding Napoli’s starting lineup, especially in defence. Zuniga is injured and not in the squad, so look for Armero to play left defence. Britos is healthy and should complete Napoli’s left side, but the right is a total unknown. Maggio hasn’t played for weeks, but as a veteran if he is fit I’m sure he will start over Mesto. In the centre Albiol is another maybe, with Canna waiting for a chance if the Spaniard is unable to go. In midfield both Inler and Insigne played a full 90 minutes earlier in the week, but look for one or both of them to start. At least Napoli’s attack is well rested, with Higuain, Hamsik, and Callejon not playing any internationals the past two weeks. Roma is mostly healthy with Mattia Destro injured and Balzaretti suspended after his red card against Inter before the international break.
Both teams are claiming this match is not decisive, and while I agree with that it’s definitely a yardstick game where you can measure just how good your team is in a very meaningful, high pressure environment. Roma has had the best start to a season in their history, winning their first 7 matches all by two goals or more. That is simply not sustainable, and although Napoli hasn’t looked quite as dominant, week in week out you can argue their form is more sustainable over 38 matchdays.
My instinct tells me that Roma will run into their first problem game on the season, but I have no idea what that entails. Maybe they will settle for a draw, or pull out a nailbiting one goal win that doesn’t reflect the play. Either way Napoli have the weapons and the coaching to cause any team problems, and I think they will be able to ask questions of Roma that no other Serie A team has done so far.
You can’t win every game, especially on the road, but I would really love a Napoli win here. The situation kind of reminds me of Parma last season where Napoli went into the Stadio Tardini and handed Parma their first home loss of the year. Of course, that was in late January and this is much earlier in the season. Because of that, I would also be happy with a draw, as a 6-2-0 record after eight matches is still very impressive and right where Napoli want to be in the big picture.
Forza Napoli and enjoy the derby del sole!!
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