Torino v. Napoli: Grab The Bull By The Horns

Valerio Pennicino

Napoli head in to their twenty-eighth league match of the season needing a win to keep hanging with Roma in the race for second, especially with their rivals facing a tough match against a slowly reviving Udinese.

Napoli travel to Turin hoping to undo poor recent form against Torino, a club that has performed well above expectations this season. Beating Il Toro at home will be no easy task, but Napoli will have to do it in order to keep them in the battle for second place and Italy's second guaranteed spot in the Champions League group stage.

Torino v. Napoli:3/17/14 1900 CET, 1400 EST Stadio OlimpicoTurin, Italy
Raging Bulls

Torino have put together a perfectly respectable season so far, standing in ninth place with nine wins, draws, and losses, thirty-nine goals scored and thirty-five conceded. They haven't been flashy, but they also haven't been near as dull as they were to watch last season. A lot of the responsibility for that improvement lies on the shoulders of Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci; the two forwards have run rampant on Serie A defenses this season, scoring twenty-four of Torino's league goals between them, with the Juventus product Immobile standing as the club's leading scorer with 13 of those goals.

Behind them in Giampero Ventura's 3-5-2, about the most interesting thing from a Napoli perspective is Omar El Kaddouri, who's served as a rotational part of their midfield as a more advanced creator. He's on loan with Torino for the season after Rafa Benitez couldn't find a place for the Moroccan playmaker in his squad often enough to justify keeping him around and stunting his development. El Kaddouri has had a fairly successful campaign with Torino, starting 14 league matches so far and appearing as a sub in a further four, bagging three goals and sitting joint second on the squad with three assists.

Torino will be without Giuseppe Vives via suspension and Giovanni Pasquale via injury, as well as injured reserves Marcelo Larrondo and Salvatore Masiello. Vives has been the anchor of Torino's midfield, and while Alexander Farnerud and Jasmin Kurtic are capable midfielders, they don't quite have Vives'... gumption in the middle of the pitch. That could be something for Napoli to look to exploit throughout the match.

Facts About Mermaids

A mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia. The first stories appeared in ancient Assyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same tradition), they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

Mermaids are associated with the mythological Greek sirens. [...] Some of the historical sightings by sailors may have been misunderstood encounters with these aquatic mammals. Christopher Columbus reported seeing mermaids while exploring the Caribbean, and sightings have been reported in the 20th and 21st centuries in Canada, Israel and Zimbabwe. The U.S. National Ocean Service stated in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.

-Source: Wikipedia

There's really not much to be said about this match from Napoli's perspective that hasn't been said a dozen other times. It's happening. They really really need to win. They can't afford to screw this up if they want to stay in the hunt for second. They can't overlook their opponent. This record is so broken at this point it passed "not even funny" about two months ago. So I thought you all might enjoy some information on mermaids instead.*

No surprises on the injury front, though there's actually good news for a change. Christian Maggio is out as expected after his lung surgery on Friday. Taking his place on the gameday squad, though, is Giandomenico Mesto, who has finally been declared fit and healthy and ready to play after tearing a knee ligament in November. Now the Knee Injury Trio is just a Knee Injury Duo, which seems somehow much more boring.

*Thanks Dave

Projected lineups

Torino: Padelli; Bovo, Glik, Masiminovic; Darmian, El Kaddouri, Farnerud, Kurtic, Moretti; Immobile, Cerci

Napoli: Reina; Reveillere, Fernandez, Henrique, Ghoulam; Behrami, Dzemaili; Callejon, Pandev, Insigne; Henrique

At a glance

Torino: 9th; 9W 9D 9L, +4 GD; League Form: LLLWL

Napoli: 3rd; 16W 7D 4L, +23 GD; League Form: WDDWW

Reverse fixture

A first half brace for Gonzalo Higuain was all Napoli needed to beat Torino in Ocotber, with the match finishing at 2-0 after a fairly dull second half. Migjen Basha's sending off for a whip-downarm tackle on Goran Pandev was about the most exciting thing to happen in that match after Higuain's second goal.

Watch it

The match will start Monday at 7 PM CET/2 PM EST. Television coverage will be on Sky Supercalcio HD in Italy, BT Sport 2 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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