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Napoli vs. Empoli: Serie A confirmed lineups, match discussion, and theatrics

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Napoli will have to chase down Juventus and AS Roma without Gonzalo Higuain today, as the Argentina international is on the bench thanks to muscular issues that held him out of training part of the week. Fortunately, Duvan Zapata has generally been up to the task when called upon as a starter, and should have some positive momentum in his form after he scored as a substitute on Monday.

Also in the lineup is Dries Mertens, making his first start since his concussion almost a month ago. He played as a sub last week and looked rusty, but it was good just to see him play again. Henrique Buss also starts in defense in place of the suspended Kalidou Koulibaly.

For Empoli, Napoli loanee Luigi Sepe starts in goal, and among their outfielders, it looks as though they've put out a very attack-minded lineup. They're lined up in their typical 4-diamond-2 formation, but expect the middle two midfielders to be more aggressive in joining the attack than you sometimes see from such a formation.

Napoli: Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Henrique, Ghoulam; Lopez, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Zapata

Empoli: Sepe; Hysaj, Rugani, Tonelli, Mario Rui; Croce, Valdifiori, Vecino; Verd;, Tavano, Maccarone