It’s time for Serie A to begin anew, with Napoli heading to fair Verona* to take on Hellas Verona in the season opener, in a campaign where Napoli have everything on the line.
*And by fair Verona we mean “gosh it’s a lovely city but the fans sure act horrible every time Napoli are there.
Napoli beat Verona easily in this fixture when last they met before Verona’s relegation to Serie B two years ago, but that was two years ago. In the here and now, Napoli have a lot of pressure on them to succeed this season, and they haven’t always started the season well. Tonight, though, they need to be sharp and aggressive, and can afford to make no mistakes that will cost them points.
Now, Napoli should win easily, even with a squad that’s heavily rotated from the one that played mid-week. Dries Mertens, Allan, Jorginho, and Raul Albiol are all on the bench tonight in favor of Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zielinski, Amadou Diawara, and Vlad Chiriches, giving the squad some rest and leaving Napoli with a couple of potent weapons off the bench.
Add that to a Hellas Verona squad best described as “solid but not wildly impressive,” and Napoli should easily come away with all three points and a solid performance. But of course, there’s a very key word there: “should.” This is the exact kind of match we’ve seen Napoli sleepwalk through and drop points in far too many times — they need to start to prove that this season is different and special by putting an absolute beating on their opponents.
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Chiriches, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Zielinski, Diawara, Hamsik; Callejon, Milik, Insigne
Hellas Verona: Nicolas; Ferrari, Caceres, Heurtaux, Souprayen; Romulo, Buchel, Zaccagni; Cerci, Bessa, Verde
Match info, plus how to watch on TV and stream
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local
Venue: Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy
TV: beIN Sports, Rai Italia America (U.S.), Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD, PremiumSport HD (Italy), BT Sport 3 (U.K.)
Online: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), Premium Play, Sky Go Italia (Italy), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)
Listings for more countries can be found at LiveSoccerTV.