Lazio is in the mix for a Champions League place, while Napoli is fending off Juventus at the top of the table.

By 90Min
February 09, 2018

This weekend pits Serie A's league leaders against Lazio - a side currently looking very capable of Champions League qualification next season.

While many of Napoli's opponents this term have been swept aside with ease, Lazio pose an unusually difficult threat, and will enter the match having lost only one of their last seven league games. That one defeat came on Monday night against Genoa, and the players will be determined to fix things with a massive three points on their travels this weekend.

Napoli, on the other hand, come into the match having won their last seven Serie A games - though only remain one point clear of Juventus at the top of the table. Maurizio Sarri's men will be hoping to continue their trend of recent wins on Saturday, using the home advantage to keep away from the closely chasing Old Lady.

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Napoli: WLWWWW

The hosts come into the game with their only loss of their last six matches coming against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia. However, their last league loss came on December 1st, and an unbeaten two months leaves the squad oozing with confidence in their hunt for the Serie A title.


Despite having scored 16 goals in their last six matches, Lazio haven't won a match since overcoming Udinese on January 24. A Coppa exit to AC Milan followed by a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Genoa will have left the squad eager to get back to winning ways - and who better to do it against than the league leaders?

Classic Encounter: Napoli 4-3 Lazio (3/4/2011)

It was a whole six years ago when Lazio squandered a 2-0 lead against their weekend opponents; a game which had everything - a red card, own goal, and a last minute winner to secure Edinson Cavani's hat trick - all in front of 75,000 lucky spectators at Stadio San Paolo.

It was certainly a tale of two halves. Captain Stefano Mauri gave Lazio the lead after half an hour, but that proved to be the only time the ball landed into the back of the net in the first half of the seven goal thriller.

Lazio doubled their lead 10 minutes after the second half kicked off when Andre Dias found himself on the end of a cross from Javier Garrido; it was at this point where the game really started. Ten minutes later, the score was level. A quickfire double from Andrea Dossena and Cavani sent the score to 2-2 after 62 minutes.

However, all of Napoli's hard work to get back into the game became undone - Salvatore Aronica putting the ball into his own net, and gifting the visitors the lead again.

But that day the Italian footballing gods were smiling on I Ciucciarelli. Giuseppe Biava saw himself sent off for a bad foul, and two minutes later Cavani earned his brace. It looked as though the game would veer off to an entertaining 3-3 draw; that was until Cavani sealed his third of the match after 89 minutes.

A true classic.

Key Battles

Dries Mertens vs Stefan De Vrij

Two of Serie A's most hyped up players in recent months will (hopefully) face off on the weekend, and the battle should be an interesting one.

The lightning fast Mertens has found the back of the net on 14 occasions this season and will be desperate to add to his tally on the weekend. However, he comes up against De Vrij, who has made no defensive errors yet this term.

The defender will be looking to stick tight to Mertens, knowing full well that if the Belgian is allowed even a yard, he will surely escape. While aerial balls are unlikely to be played into the striker on Saturday, De Vrij can also read the game well and cut out passes played in - having already made 43 interceptions this season.

Lucas Leiva vs Marek Hamsik

Games are won and lost in midfield, and should these two players come across each other when the two teams face off, the winner could prove a massive difference in the outcome of the match.

Hamsik will be the attacking outlet for Napoli, looking to feed the attacking trio in front of him - and it'll be Lucas' job to stop that. The Brazilian has spent his entire career cutting out attacks, but his battle against Hamsik will prove tricky, the Slovakian being one of Serie A's best creative talents.

Team News

Apart from long term absentee Fauozi Ghoulam, Sarri has a clean bill of health amongst his Napoli squad with no suspensions either. However, it'll be important to keep an eye on Jorginho - who is only one yellow card away from suspension.

For Lazio, while Davide De Gennaro is expected back soon, it's unlikely that he will return in time to face Napoli. Wallace will also miss out after picking up a shinbone injury before his side's loss to Genoa on Monday.

Senad Lulic is also at risk of suspension, having picked up four yellow cards ahead of the weekend.

Predicted Lineups

Napoli (4-3-3): Reina, Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui, Jorginho, Allan, Hamsik, Callejon, Mertens, Insigne

Lazio (3-5-2): Strakosha, Quissanga, De Vrij, Radu, Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas, Parolo, Lukaku, Luis Alberto, Immobile


Napoli look a side brimming with confidence, knowing full well that any slip up is likely to cost them the top spot. With the home advantage, backed by their form, it looks very favorable to the hosts.

Although Lazio will be desperate to bounce back from their defeat to Genoa on Monday, Napoli are undoubted favourites here.

Predicted score: Napoli 3-1 Lazio

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