Napoli v. Genoa: Slicing Up Some Salami

Valerio Pennicino

Genoa are coming in to the Stadio San Paolo, hoping that Napoli will be distracted and vulnerable enough that they can steal some points. Let's not have that happen please.

While Napoli and Swansea take a break from their Europa League tie, the partenopei have the task of seeing off Genoa in the league. Hopefully that won't be too tough a task, but you never know with this team.

Napoli v. Genoa:2/24/14 9 P.M CET, 3 P.M. EST Stadio San PaoloNaples, Italy
Singing of Salami

Despite a change in manager after the last time these two sides faced off, Genoa still play fairly similarly. The formation is a bit more of a 3-4-3 than the 3-5-2 that we saw last time, but they still play fairly directly and look to create and build up play when they can rather than just sitting back and playing off the counter.

Gian Piero Gasperini doesn't have Genoa playing sexy football, but he's given them a lot of stability since taking the reins, something that his predecessor Fabio Liverani had not. Alberto Gilardino has played well as the focus of the attack, bagging eleven goals so far this season. The problem Genoa have faced is that no one else is scoring much, with several players getting two goals apiece, but no one other than Gilardino scoring any more than that.

With Napoli unlikely to deploy a full strength back line, Genoa will be hoping the movement of Gilardino plus Paolo De Ceglie and Moussa Konate on the wings will be enough to cause problems for the hosts. Former fan favorite Emanuele Calaio will be available as well, though lately he's only been a sub. Still, if he plays a part in this match it wouldn't be the first time of late that a former Napoli player has bitten them hard.

Don't Fall Asleep

It would be easy to wind up overlooking this match for Napoli. They have a vital Europa tie in just a few days, and Genoa aren't exactly an intimidating opponent. However, with both Roma and Juve winning this weekend, securing all three points is still incredibly important. Fortunately, Rafa Benitez seems well aware, and has spoken about keeping his side focused on the task at hand.

In terms of the squad, Rafa has some tough choices to make. He'll need a full-strength squad against Swansea, but he still needs to put out a strong enough squad to see off the visitors. The problem is that with such a short turnaround to the next Swansea match and some tired legs in the squad, it's going to be a tough balancing act to pull off.

Starting out with a B team of sorts, with Goran Pandev and Duvan Zapata in the side and a partially rotated back line, seems like the best bet, with Marek Hamsik and Gonzalo Higuain coming on early in the second half if needed. A similar tactic worked well against Genoa last time around, and hopefully it can again.

Projected lineups

Napoli: Reina; Reveillere, Henrique, Albiol, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Behrami; Callejon, Pandev, Mertens; Zapata

Genoa: Perin; Burdisso, Portanova, De Maio; Motta, Matzulatem, Bertolacci, Antonelli; Konate, Gilardino, De Ceglie

At a glance

Napoli: 3rd; 15W 5D 4L +22 GD; Last 5: W-W-D-L-L

Genoa: 11th; 8W 7D 9L, -4 GD; Last 5 D-W-L-D-W

Reverse fixture

Way back in September, Napoli bounced back off the disappointment of their first dropped points of the season with an easy 2-0 win against Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Napoli played a rotated side, as we'll probably see to some extent tomorrow, with Goran Pandev and Duvan Zapata leading the line, with Pandev bagging a brace to put the match away. That match was the end of Fabio Liverani as Genoa's manager, as he was sacked the very next day and replaced with Gian Pero Gasperini.

Watch it

The match will start Monday at 9:00 PM CET/3:00 PM EST. Television coverage will be on Sky Sport 1 HD Italia in Italy, BT Sport 1 in the UK, and beIN Sports in America. Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter.

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