Napoli need to win every match from here to the end of the season, but after their last two matches, that's actually starting to feel a little realistic. Now facing relegation-threatened Cagliari, can they keep that run going and start clawing their way towards their Serie A goals again?
A fast-sinking island
Cagliari are in 19th place, haven't won since January, and are eight points adrift of any hope of safety. Even with Zdenek Zeman bringing the madness of Zemanlandia back to the fore, it's shockingly unlikely that they find their way to safety. The Sardinians seem to be sinking without a trace, and Napoli fans will be hoping they'll be little more than a speed bump on their way up the table.
Don't expect Cagliari to make life quite that easy, though. The all-out blitz of Zemanlandia is not something Napoli deal with easily, as evidenced by their comeback draw against Napoli earlier this season. This definitely won't be a simple match, and Napoli can't assume they have a win in hand until the final whistle blows and they have the lead.
Vesuvius rises again
With Napoli suddenly rounding in to barnstorming form, winning their last two matches by a combined 7-1 scoreline, including a shock 4-1 shellacking of Wolfsburg in the Europa League. With their form surging at the right time, Napoli have a chance to start pulling away from the pack of clubs that have been troubling them in the table in recent weeks, and even maybe pull closer to Roma if Atalanta can pull off an upset.
Still, Napoli need to not get caught looking ahead if they want to achieve those goals, especially since Cagliari are a team set up well to punish those who look too far past the task at hand. Napoli must focus on the now, pull apart a weak defense for 90 minutes, and then they can start looking to next Thursday and the second leg against Wolfsburg. Just keep fighting until the final whistle, and things will almost certainly end well.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Cagliari: Brkic; Balzano, Ceppitelli, Rossettini, Avelar; Conti, Dessena, Ekdal; Pedro, Longo, Mpoku
Napoli: Andujar; Maggio, Henrique, Koulibaly, Strinic; Gargano, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne; Zapata
At A Glance
Cagliari: 19th; 4W 9D 17L; League Form: LLLDLL
Napoli: 4th; 14W 8D 8L; League Form: WLDLDL
When Last We Met: Napoli 3-3 Cagliari
Napoli took a lead and then suffered the wrath of Zemanlandia. It sucked. If you really want to relive it, the recap is here.
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