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Napoli v. Cagliari: Marking Time

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After an insanely short turnaround from the Coppa final, it's time for the partenopei to take the field again, coming home to the San Paolo to face Cagliari.

I think this should be shown off. A lot.
I think this should be shown off. A lot.
Giuseppe Bellini

I'd imagine some of you are still hung over from your Coppa celebrations, yeah? Well, sober up, because it's match time again.

Napoli v. Cagliari:5/6/14 2100 CET, 1500 EST Stadio San PaoloNaples, Italy
Does Anyone Care About Cagliari?

Seriously, do they matter to much of anyone outside of their fans?

Anyways. They're safe. They're boring. They've won two straight, but haven't really played very well since beating Udinese back in March. They haven't had quite the same dynamism since selling Radja Nainggolan to Roma, and it's hurt them as a result. Fortunately for them they had a pretty decent first half of the season, as they're not far above relegation form in the second half.

Still, they're fresh, they're spoiling for an upset, and we just watched Catania thrash a Roma side with nothing to play for on Sunday. Napoli will have to shake off the cobwebs from the last couple of days and treat the match seriously so they don't suffer a similar fate as their Roman counterparts.

Time For The Best Hangover Remedies You Have

Not much to be said here. A two-day turn around from a Cup final is pretty brutal, especially since Cagliari haven't played since April 27th. Expect tired legs and lots of rotation.

It was apparently considered a minor miracle that Gonzalo Higuain even played on Saturday, much less played as big a role as he did, so Duvan Zapata looks in line for another start. Also expect Marek Hamsik to miss out as he was noticeably limping before being subbed out. Unfortunately that means a start for Goran Pandev, so... yay.

As for other names in and out, well, as I mentioned, expect plenty of other rotation. Napoli have achieved all they're going to this season, and these last three matches will be an opportunity to give some less frequently used players some playing time. That might mean some ugly play over the next few weeks, but it will be good to evaluate the lower reaches of the depth chart.

Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong

Napoli: Reina; Mesto, Henrique, Britos, Reveillere; Behrami, Dzemaili; Mertens, Pandev, Insigne; Zapata

Cagliari: Avramov; Pisano, Rossettini, Astori, Murru; Dessena, Conti, Eriksson; Ibraima; Ibarbo, Sau

At a glance

Cagliari: 15th; 9W 12D 14L; League Form: WWDLL

Napoli: 3rd; 20W 9D 6L; League Form: DDWLW

Reverse Fixture

The last time these two clubs met was just before the winter break, and frankly it seemed an awful lot like both sides wanted to hurry up and get to their vacations. Nene was very active in the opening minutes, repeatedly terrorizing Napoli's back line, scoring one goal that was called off for offsides, earning a yellow card, scoring the opener minutes later on a horrible defensive breakdown, then injuring himself defending a corner and having to come out of the match. All of that happened in a ten-minute spell between the fifth and fourteenth minute. Certainly an active boy.

The rest of the match was much less eventful. Higuain scored on a penalty after Davide Astori hauled Goran Pandev down in the box. Napoli had a second half goal ruled out under dubious circumstances, but otherwise there weren't many good chances for either side in a mostly dull affair.

Watch It

The match will start Tuesday at 9:00 PM CET/3:00 PM EST. Television coverage will be on Sky Sport 1 Italia in Italy, ESPN UK in the UK, and beIN Sports 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.