Napoli come back from the international break to play host to Fiorentina, who come into this tilt on top of Serie A. Of course, Napoli won't be the least bit intimidated -- their form against Fiorentina in recent years is good, and you know what they say: the higher you are, the farther you fall. Time to make La Viola lose their balance, eh?
Racing back up
Napoli's form has been ridiculous in the league of late, with huge wins over Milan, Juventus, and Lazio in their three of their last four league matches -- to the tune of a combined 11-1 scoreline -- as well as two dominant performances in the Europa League to boot. Their early-season struggles look well and truly over, and the timing couldn't be better given the importance of this match.
Fortunately for Napoli, they're coming into this match in excellent health. Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly were slight doubts after injury woes on international duty, but both have been fully involved in training and are expected to start. That means Maurizio Sarri will have his first-choice side available to him -- and that first-choice side has been incredibly hard to beat of late. Good freakin' times.
On top, but for how long?
Fiorentina come into this match on top of the league, but some would say that's been a matter of luck as much as skill -- after all, they've only faced two teams currently in the top five in Serie A, and one of them beat the Viola. Their other wins came against the teams in 10th, 11th, 15th, 17th, and 20th in the league -- not exactly inspiring stuff.
Rival Q&A with Fiorentina blog Viola Nation
Another big match is coming up, so we have another question and answer session with a writer in the know.
In a way, though, Fiorentina and Napoli have very similar stories this season -- both replaced their managers and had significant squad turnover this summer after disappointing a year ago, and now look and play like very different sides than we'd grown used to seeing. The key difference has been that Fiorentina's luck at the start of the season was much better than Napoli's, but now Napoli's luck has come around and the Viola are sweating bullets over their form seeming to slow a bit recently, at least up until they thrashed Inter in their last match.
Fiorentina are also a bit more beat up at the moment, with two defenders key to their rotation hurt, and two forwards in doubt, including starlet Khouma Babacar. Star summer signing Nikola Kalinic is at less than 100% as well, but if the Croatian striker gets rolling in this match, Napoli's defense could be in for a world of hurt. Fiorentina need a win here in order to prove their legitimacy as a Serie A contender, and that edge of desperation could be what they need to overcome a streaking Napoli side -- or it could prove to be their undoing.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Higuain, Insigne
Fiorentina: Tatarusanu; Roncaglia, Astori, Rodriguez; Blaszczykowski, Vecino, Badelj, Alonso; Valero, Ilicic; Kalinic
At A Glance
Fiorentina: 1st; 6W 0D 1L; League Form: WWWWW
Napoli: 6th; 3W 3D 1L; League Form: WWDWD
TV: beIN Sports (U.S. & Canada), Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Premium Calcio (Italy), BT Sport 1 (U.K.), RAI International
Online: Funo TV, beIN Sports Connect (U.S. & Canada), Sky Go Italia (Italy)
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