Napoli are in Sicily to face Palermo, and we’ll be seeing two players in the lineup for the first time this season: the first start for Piotr Zielinski since he signed with Napoli, and the season debut of one Christian Maggio.
The reason Maggio’s inclusion is fairly obvious: Elseid Hysaj had a couple of rough matches before the international break, and he just played 90 minutes for Albania a few days ago and had to travel back. Seeing Allan and Dries Mertens head for the bench is interesting, though, given that both players are rested and have been in excellent form.
In the case of Allan, it seems likely that Maurizio Sarri wants to come out swinging with a more aggressive attack in this match. If that’s the case, the more attacking outlook of Zielinski makes sense, who can play the same general role as Allan does, though with a more offensive mindset to it than Allan typically brings.
For Mertens it’s a bit tougher to figure out, though Napoli do need to get Lorenzo Insigne back in form and need to see how he pairs with Arkadiusz Milik over a longer spell of a match. If it doesn’t work, Mertens is on the bench and has a long history of providing a notable impact off it — we just have to hope Sarri doesn’t wait too long to pull the trigger if that needs to happen.
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Zielinski, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Milik, Insigne
Palermo: Posavec; Rispoli, Goldaniga, Rajkovic, Aleesami; Hiljemark, Gazzi, Jajalo; Embalo, Diamanti, Sallai
When: Saturday, 8:45 p.m. CET, 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: Stadio Renzo Barbera, Palermo, Italy
TV: BT Sport 3 (U.K.), Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Calcio 1, PremiumSport HD (Italy), RAI International
Online: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.), Sky Go Italia (Italy)
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