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Atalanta v. Napoli Preview: Hoping For A Turnaround

Napoli head to Bergamo looking to improve on their recent form against the poorer teams in the league.

Giuseppe Bellini

After a dire draw in the league and an uninspiring win in the Coppa in the last week, Napoli need to turn their form around quickly to keep up with the clubs ahead of them in the league. Facing an Atalanta side that's won just three of their last ten matches and lost three of five could help them there, but the Nerazzuri's home form could make them a tough nut to crack.

Matchup: February 2nd 3 P.M. CET, 9 A.M. EST Stadio Atleti Azzurri D'Italia Bergamo
Fortezza di Atalanta

Stefano Colantuono's side has been one of the most mediocre in Serie A this season, but they still find themselves in 12th place thanks to remarkable home form. Six of their seven wins have been at home, and their only two losses there were to Juventus and Fiorentina.

Colantuono will be without Davide Brivio and Carlos Carmona through suspension, and Atalanta are still missing captain Gianpaolo Bellini and Lionel Scaloni through injury. He's favored a 4-4-1-1 of late with a lone striker up top and a playmaker just behind, and former Napoli man Luca Cigarini helping form a sturdy midfield base.

German Denis is their leading scorer with 7 goals in 20 matches, and Maxi Moralez is second with three. Atalanta have scored just 21 goals in 21 matches this season, but were unable to add quality in attack in January, instead bringing in a couple of younger players who will mostly sit the bench this season. Marcelo Estigarribia might give them some additional quality on the left wing, but we probably won't see much more than a substitute cameo from him tomorrow.

Be Better, Please

Napoli's squad has been remade a bit in the last week, with two arrivals and several loan departures since the midweek Coppa Italia match. You shouldn't expect a dramatic lineup change, however, and we'll likely see only a couple of changes at most to the squad that played Lazio.

New boy Faouzi Ghoulam has been made available by Rafa Benitez to take part in the match, but Henrique Buss has not. The Brazilian is coming out of Brazil's offseason and hasn't played since October, so that's an understandable decision. There's also apparently some red tape that needs to be finished off that requires his presence in Brazil before he can play for Napoli. Ghoulam will likely be on the bench as he'll only have had limited training with the first team so far.

Of interesting note is that apparently the reported loan move taking Bruno Uvini to Livorno yesterday fell through, as he's been included in the squad that Benitez will be choosing from and will likely be on the bench tomorrow.

Projected lineups

Atalanta (4-4-1-1): Consigli; Benalouane, Stendaro, Yepes, Del Grosso; Raimondi, Cigarini, Migliaccio, Bonaventura; Moralez; Denis

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Reveillere; Jorginho, Inler; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain

At a glance

Atalanta: 12th; 7W 3D 11L; 6W 2D 2L at home; Last 5: LWWLL

Napoli: 3rd; 13W 5D 3L; 6W 2D 2L on road; Last 5: DDWWD

Reverse fixture: Napoli won the third league match of the season 2-0 in a dominating performance, with goals coming from Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon. That was also the first of just two league starts for Paolo Cannavaro this season, in a match that also saw Giandomenico Mesto at right back.

Watch It

Television coverage will be on Sky Calcio in Italy and beIN Sports en Español 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.