It's finally time for Serie A action to resume after the too-long winter break -- OK it's not that long, it just feels like an eternity -- and Napoli fans will be hoping the partenopei kick off 2016 in style with a successful outing at home against struggling Torino.
Historically, this isn't a particularly compelling rivalry -- in the last 20 times these two have faced off in league action, they've drawn nine times with Napoli only winning six of the other matches. But in recent years it's been a bit more one-sided, with Napoli winning four of the six matches between the two since Torino returned to Serie A in 2012, though Torino did emerge victorious the last time they faced off.
That was a very different Napoli side, though, coming on the downside of the ill-fated Rafa Benitez "era" -- who interestingly enough was just relieved of his duties at Real Madrid this week. Now, Napoli are a much tougher side and one that's been tougher on Serie A opponents to play against, while Torino have taken a fairly large step back from the side that did so well in the league the last two years and impressed in the Europa League a year ago.
Of course, that's no guarantee of victory, but what will help Napoli is that Maurizio Sarri's team is very healthy, with only Manolo Gabbiadini at all in doubt. Torino are much more beat up, with several important players having missed time before the break, and the news on their health coming out of it looking mixed at best. Even Napoli transfer rumor target Nikola Maksimovic is at best a doubt to make a return from the broken foot that's kept him out since August.
This is a match that Napoli should win, and they've typically done better in those matches this season -- but should and will are two different things, and no Napoli fan is comfortable with should. Regardless, this should be an exciting match, and one that presents an interesting tactical challenge, and Napoli's results against the kind of 3-5-2 that Giampiero Ventura will be deploying have been pretty mixed this season. We'll soon see how well they've learned from their previous mistakes.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Torino: Padelli; Bovo, Glik, Moretti; Peres, Vives, Baselli, Acquah, Molinaro; Quagliarella, Belotti
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Higuain, Insigne
At A Glance
Torino: 12th; 6W 4D 6L; League Form: LDWWL
Napoli: 3rd; 10W 5D 2L; League Form: WDLWW
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy), BT Sport Europe (U.K.)
Online: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), Sky Go Italia (Italy), BT Sports Live Streaming (U.K.)
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