kicked off 2014 with a victory over Sampdoria, but a win over Siniša Mihajlović's men at the San Paolo should really have been a given. Now it's time for the first true challenge of the year: trying to beat Verona at the Bentegodi.
And, in this match that the partenopei must win, in which they must be capable of making a statement, of showing the league that they're still fighting for a Champions League spot, Rafa Benítez selects...Goran Pandev as a starter.
No matter that we've all figured out that putting Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and José Callejón behind Gonzalo Higuaín makes for the best Napoli attack, at least in the absence of Marek Hamšík. Nope. Rafa is determined to stick with Pandev.
Speaking of Marek, he's on the bench. So that's something, right?
HELLAS VERONA (4-3-3): 1 Rafael; 29 Cacciatore, 22 Maietta, 18 Moras, 33 Agostini; 10 Hallfredsson, 19 Jorginho, 2 Romulo; 15 Iturbe, 9 Toni, 21 Gomez Taleb.
A disposizione: 12 Nicolas, 98 Borra, 3 Albertazzi, 4 Laner, 5 Donati, 6 Martinho, 8 Cacia, 11 Jankovic, 14 Cirigliano, 23 Gonzalez, 25 Marques, 30 Donadel.
All.: Andrea Mandorlini.
NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): 1 Rafael; 11 Maggio, 21 Fernandez, 33 Albiol, 27 Armero; 88 Inler, 20 Dezemaili; 7 Callejon, 19 Pandev, 14 Mertens; 9 Higuain.
A disposizione: 12 Contini, 15 Colombo, 2 Reveillere, 3 Uvini, 5 Britos, 13 Bariti, 17 Hamsik, 22 Radosevic, 24 Insigne, 91 Zapata.
All.: Rafael Benitez.