By 90Min
October 13, 2017

Highflying Napoli will battle it out with fifth placed Roma on Saturday in the pick of the weekend's Serie A matches, alongside the Milan derby.

Napoli, who have won all of their seven league games so far, are the surprise package of the league this season.

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Meanwhile, Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco has had a decent start to the season as head coach since taken over from Luciano Spalletti in the summer.


Winning five from six has been a healthy return, especially for a boss with limited experience with big teams in Italy.


Now, he faces the daunting task of stopping Napoli, who are scoring at will in Serie A, bagging three goals or more in the majority of their matches so far this campaign.


Classic Encounter

Last season, both teams did the business away from home, with the best match being an impressive 3-1 win for Spalletti's side at Stadio San Paolo.

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Familiar faces were on the scoresheet for the visitors as ex-Manchester City man Edin Dzeko bagged a brace in the second half to sweep aside a team that was still hurting from the summer departure of Gonzalo Higuain to rivals Juventus.

Another current Premier League star, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, grabbed the other goal as Roma climbed up the table to second place, overtaking Napoli.


Form


The visitors have been lethal in Serie A and in the Champions League this season, sweeping aside all before them with an attack first approach, outscoring the opposition by being clinical in front of goal and uncompromising at the back.

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Led by Kalidou Koulibaly, the defence has been sturdy, only letting in five goals while their attack has managed 25, and the 26-year-old centre-back has even managed to get on the scoresheet twice himself.


By winning the first seven games of the season, Napoli have done the unexpected while sending a powerful message to their rivals.

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Roma have also been excellent. Despite trailing the league leaders in fourth place by six points, albeit with a game in hand, they have done well to win five from six with only one loss so far.


Team News

For the hosts, absentee Kevin Strootman, who was injured before international duty, will be a big miss.

Also doubtful is former AC Milan winger Stephan El Shaarawy, who will be touch and go up to kick off.

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A major negative for Napoli, not that it matters too much at the moment with the current form between the front three, is the long-term injury of Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik, who will be out for at least four months with a knee injury. 


The club expects him to return sometime after January.


Milik aside, the Serie A league leaders have no major injury concerns following the international break, and will hope they can hit the ground running to consolidate their lead at the top.

Predicted Roma XI: Alisson; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov, Nainggolan, Rossi, Gonalons, El Shaarawy, Dzeko, Perotti.

Predicted Napoli XI: Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Jorginho, Allan, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne


Prediction

With key man Strootman missing after an unfortunate knock, the home side will miss the important midfielder, who ties the team together in the middle of the park.

As Napoli are flying high in the league, it will take some stopping from Roma to limit the deadly trio up front, who are smashing in the goals.

Even though it will be a tricky away tie as it always is at the Stadio Olimpico, an away win is the likely outcome.

Prediction: Roma 1-2 Napoli

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