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Napoli v. Lazio: Fending Off The Eagles

If results go right this weekend, Napoli can all but secure third place. Let's look at the task they have ahead of themselves, and pray they don't screw it all up again.

Giuseppe Bellini

Oh. It's Lazio again. Yay. Or something.

Napoli v. Lazio:4/13/14 1500 CET, 0900 EST Stadio San PaoloNaples, Italy
Flightless Eagles

Eddy Reja's squad is decimated by injuries and suspensions right now, with seven important players out injured and another suspended. Napoli have tonked Lazio twice this season, and Lazio's odds of righting the ship away from home will be made much harder by those losses.

Reja will be missing Federico Marchetti, Andre Dias, Miroslav Klose, Keita Diao, Giuseppe Biava, Alvaro Gonzalez, Ederson, and Lucas Biglia, otherwise known as his starting goalkeeper and seven members of his primary squad rotation. Filling out his lineup card is going to be a tough task this weekend.

Reja has been preferring a 4-3-3 of late, as opposed to the 3-5-2 we saw last time out against them in the Coppa Italia. Generally he keeps it well balanced, but the injury crisis might force him to get creative. The toughest task for Napoli will be Antonio Candreva, Lazio's leading scorer and arguably best player, who has also scored in each of Lazio's last two matches. Fortunately Faouzi Ghoulam has been in fine form of late, and should be able to handle the right winger fairly well.

A Lesson On Sirens

In Greek mythology, the Sirens (Greek singular: Σειρήν Seirēn; Greek plural: Σειρῆνες Seirēnes) were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, portrayed as femme fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on some small islands called Sirenum scopuli. In some later, rationalised traditions, the literal geography of the "flowery" island of Anthemoessa, or Anthemusa, is fixed: sometimes on Cape Pelorum and at others in the islands known as the Sirenuse, near Paestum, or in Capreae. All such locations were surrounded by cliffs and rocks.

When the Sirens were given a name of their own, they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon (the Earth). In Euripides' play, Helen (167), Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged maidens, daughters of the Earth"). Although they lured mariners, the Greeks portrayed the Sirens in their "meadow starred with flowers" and not as sea deities. Roman writers linked the Sirens more closely to the sea, as daughters of Phorcys. Sirens are found in many Greek stories, particularly in Homer's Odyssey.

-Source: Wikipedia

Sometimes we all need some lessons on where the heraldry of the club comes from. Right before a match where nothing has really changed for Napoli in terms of situation, injuries, or really much of anything else seems like a good time.

Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong

Napoli: Reina; Reveillere, Fernandez, Henrique, Ghoulam; Behrami, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne; Zapata

Lazio: Berisha; Konko, Cana, Ciani, Radu; Ledesma, Mauri, Onazi; Candreva, Perea, Lulic

At a glance

Lazio: 7th; 13W 9D 10L; League Form: WWLDW

Napoli: 3rd; 19W 7D 6L; League Form: WLWWL

Reverse Fixture

A dominant second half performance from Napoli was more than enough to overcome an embarrassing Valon Behrami own goal and a disastrous appearance from Pablo Armero. Gonzalo Higuain bagged a brace with a goal in each half, and even Goran Pandev was useful, with a goal and an assist.

Also of note was the substitute appearance of Dries Mertens; while he was only on the pitch for a few minutes, his assist to Jose Callejon in extra time was a thing of beauty and he made an immense impact for such a late substitution. That was one of the loudest signs we'd seen of what Mertens could do for Napoli, and it wasn't long after that when he came in to a resoundingly good run of form.

Watch It

The match will start Sunday at 3:00 PM CET/9:00 AM EST. Television coverage will be on Sky Sports 1 HD Italia in Italy, ESPN UK HD in the UK, and RAI Internazionale 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.