By 90Min
September 14, 2018

Napoli continue their Serie A campaign on Saturday, as they welcome Fiorentina to the Stadio San Paolo.

With the home side's form up and down, Carlo Ancelotti's men will need to put in a solid performance if they are to beat a well drilled La Viola.

Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

Last season, the clash in Naples saw a dull encounter end goalless. The return in Florence was all about Giovanni Simeone, as the forward bagged a hat-trick after Kalidou Koulibaly's sixth minute dismissal. 

Here's what we can expect from Napoli's clash with Fiorentina this time around: 


Classic Encounter


Napoli 3-1 Fiorentina (2014 Coppa Italia Final) 


In this cup final, two of Italy's most passionate clubs met in Rome for a chance at glory.

Domestic underachievers, both Napoli and Fiorentina haven't lifted as many honours as they would've hoped for. Normally beaten by the Inter powerhouse and perennial champions Juventus, it was an opportunity to send fans home happy. 

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/GettyImages

The match was to go the way of Rafael Benitez's side, as an early double from Naples boy Lorenzo Insigne put his hometown club in the driver's seat early. A late Dries Mertens goal sealed the tie and sent travelling supporters wild.

For Partenopei, it was their second Coppa Italia success in three years. La Viola however, would be left to lick their wounds after missing out on their first piece of silverware since way back in 2001. 


Current Form

Thumped by Sampdoria before the international break in a 3-0 loss at Stadio Luigi Ferraris thoroughly surprised the city of Naples. It proved that Ancelotti's build is very much still a work in progress, as new tactics and formations are embedded.

Before that however, Napoli came back from 2-0 down against AC Milan in a real humdinger. Poor in the first 45 minutes, a second half display changed their fortunes. A Piotr Zielinski double was followed by Merten's winner, as the tide well and truly turned.

Image by Scott Saunders

Fiorentina have enjoyed some great early form, as their opener ended up in a 6-1 blowout at the expense of Chievo Verona. Amongst others, a Marco Benassi double signalled intent against a team Juventus struggled to defeat only the week prior.

Their second match resulted in a narrow win against Udinese, with Benassi's solitary goal once again making him the main man. One game behind most, the scheduled season bow at Sampdoria was postponed after the tragic Genovese bridge collapse. 


Team News


A few tweaks aside, Ancelotti is likely to stick with the team that let him down against Sampdoria. With former Tottenham man Vlad Chiriches still recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, the dependable Raul Albiol will partner Koulibaly.

Fabian Ruiz has recovered from a thigh strain and could start, while Simone Verdi's knock means Mertens and Jose Callejon will battle for a place on the wing.

Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

Things are slightly more problematic in Fiorentina's camp, as first choice goalkeeper Albin Lafont's thigh strain saw him substituted in their last match against Udinese. Still not 100%, it looks as if Bartlomiej Dragowski will start between the sticks.

Elsewhere, an loan Marko Pjaca could be in line for his first 90 minutes. The Croat has come in from Juventus, and will offer La Viola width in attack. 


Prediction

Strong at the Stadio San Paolo, Napoli will take the game to Fiorentina from the off. Dictating possession, Marek Hamsik and Zielinski's creativity in the final third is paramount.


Usually gallant in defence, they are determined to bounce back from a disappointing performance last time out. If victory is in the offing, both Koulibaly and Albiol need to have big days. 

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Fiorentina could trouble on the counter though, as young Federico Chiesa and Simeone impressed while on international duty with Italy and Argentina respectively.

All in all, Napoli have greater talent across the pitch, and its worth will be shown as the match progresses.


Prediction: Napoli 2-1 Fiorentina 

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