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Napoli v. Fiorentina, Serie A Match Preview: A rematch and a test of truth

The rematch of last season's Coppa Italia final is finally here. With both sides struggling to overcome a slow start to the season, what does this match hold?

Paolo Bruno

The last time these two teams faces off, Napoli lifted the Coppa Italia trophy. While nothing nearly so important is on the line in this match, both Napoli and Fiorentina are looking to improve their positions in Serie A, as neither club are happy with how this season has started.

Fiorentina v. Napoli:November 9th, 2014 5:00 PM CET, 12:00 PM EST Stadio Artemio FranchiFlorence, Italy
Violets Torn Asunder

Fiorentina have had a season not at all like Napoli's: they came in with high expectations, but a combination of injuries and lack of form from key players has left them  adrift. Unlike Napoli, however, they've yet to get things stabilized with a run of solid play in the league.

Even with Napoli's stronger form, though, Fiorentina aren't a pushover at home. They've lost just once at the Stadio Franchi this season, and have given up just three goals in eight matches between Serie A and the Europa League. Fiorentina have been curiously flat of late, though, struggling to a home draw on Thursday against Greek side PAOK, and falling 3-1 to Sampdoria last weekend, a side that had scored just nine total league goals before that.

No matter what though, Napoli will be facing an organized side that lethally exploits mistakes that you make. That's a potential recipe for disaster for Napoli, so being on top of their game is a must.

Keep The Pedal Down

For Napoli, a win is all-important. Not only will it continue to help improve the club's overall form and standing, it will give them a much-needed road win against quality opposition; while Napoli beat Genoa in the season opener, Genoa didn't play as well as they are now until in to October. Fiorentina are a talented squad that match up against Napoli well, and beating them even when they're not on their best form will be a good sign that Napoli's recent form is a true improvement, not just an illusion.

As such, we should be seeing as close to a full-strength Napoli side as possible. The only real doubt is Marek Hamsik, who missed the Europa League match on Thursday with a fever and is apparently still not back to his full luster. Otherwise, all the usual suspects in attack and defense should be present, as well as the growingly-effective Jorginho-David Lopez double pivot in midfield.

With the international break calling and a not-so-easy stretch of matches on the other side of it, one more win now could help immensely towards Napoli consolidating their improving league position by the winter break. There's a big opportunity here for Napoli to help themselves, they just need to reach out and take it.

Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong

Fiorentina: Neto; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Savic, Alonso; Valero, Aquilani; Cuadrado, Ilicic, Mati; Babacar

Napoli: Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Lopez; Callejon, De Guzman, Insigne; Higuain

At a glance

Fiorentina: 10th; 3W 4D 3L; League Form: LWDLW

Napoli: 5th; 5W 3D 2L; League Form: WDWDW

Watch It

TV: beIN Sports USA (U.S.), RAI International (U.S.), Premium Calcio/HD (Italy), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)

Online: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), SKY Go Italia (Italy)

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.