Napoli host league strugglers Bologna at Stadio San Paolo on Saturday, in a match that will see both sides look to make amends for poor results on Boxing Day.
Napoli saw a great run of domestic form come to a dramatic end away to Inter on Wednesday night, as Lautaro Martinez's late strike ensured that Inter took all three points and ended Carlo Ancelotti's side's run of ten games unbeaten in Serie A.
To contrast, Filippo Inzaghi's Bologna have not won a Serie A game since September, and extended their winless run further on Wednesday, as they fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Lazio.
Bologna's trip to Naples looks like it could well be a fruitless one, however the side from northern Italy will be hoping for a big result to reverse their fortunes, with a victory potentially dragging them out of the relegation zone.
Napoli will see the match as the perfect opportunity to return to form in front of their fans and restore some confidence after their devastating loss at the San Siro.
Here is 90min's preview of the Serie A clash.
How To Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||29 December 2018|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17:00 (BST)|
|Where Is It Played?||Stadio San Paolo|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Eleven Sports 1|
Napoli will be licking the wounds of their defeat away to Inter. Centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off for two bookable offences, which will see Ancelotti's team substantially weaker in defence. They will also be without diminutive Italian attacker Lorenzo Insigne who was also dismissed during their game at San Siro.
Club captain Marek Hamsik also looks set to miss the Bologna game, after he was forced off after just 23 minutes during the Boxing Day clash. The severity of the Slovakian's injury is not clear, however it is understood to be a muscular injury.
Long term absentee Vlad Chiriches is still out injured with an ACL injury, and is not expected to return until March.
Bologna only have the well-being of striker Diego Falcinelli to concern them ahead of their game at the Stadio San Paolo. The Italian has been suffering with flu, but If he is well enough to play, then Bologna could be looking at a fully fit squad to select from.
|Napoli||Meret; Ghoulam, Albiol, Maksimovic, Hysaj, Allan, Zielinski, F Ruiz, Callejon, Mertens, Milik|
|Bologna||Skorupski; Calabresi, Danilo, Helander, Mattiello, Poli, Nagy, Svanberg, Krejci, Santander, Palacio|
Head To Head Record
Napoli were victorious in both meetings against Bologna last season. The Partenopei recorded a 3-0 victory away and a 3-1 victory at home in the previous campaign.
Bologna will also not be comforted by the fact that they have not won at Napoli since 2012. That occasion shares many parallels to the current situation of both sides in Serie A, Napoli were challenging at the top, and Bologna were in a relegation dogfight.
The visitors shocked the Naples crowd by scoring two goals in the last five minutes to steal the three points to drag themselves out of the relegation zone, going on to finish the season in 13th place.
Napoli's impressive run of ten league games without defeat came to an end thanks to Martinez's late finish at the San Siro. The defeat was Napoli's third of the season.
The Stadio San Paolo has been a fortress yet again for Napoli this season, as they are yet to lose a single game at home this season. The fans will be expecting no less than maximum points yet again from their side, and in some style against 18th-placed Bologna.
In all competitions however, Napoli's failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League was a huge setback for the club. It is unclear as to whether Carlo Ancelotti will turn his attentions to the Europa League in the search for some silverware, as Juventus are currently looking uncatchable at the top of Serie A. Napoli returning to winning ways will help in putting some pressure on the Bianconeri however.
Bologna have failed to win any of their nine away games in Serie A this season, therefore any positive result at Napoli would be largely unexpected for Filippo Inzaghi and his team. Especially when you consider they have failed to score in their last three games.
Inzaghi has focused more on tightening up his team's defence to counter-act his team's lack of firepower, which has seen them only concede two goals in their last three Serie A matches.
Napoli have only conceded four goals at home all season, so if Bologna will be looking to gain all three points, they will need to be much more effective and clinical on the counter-attack than recently.
|Inter Milan 1-0 Napoli (26/12)||Bologna 0-2 Lazio (26/12)|
|Napoli 1-0 SPAL (22/12)||Parma 0-0 Bologna (22/12)|
|Cagliari 0-1 Napoli (16/12)||Bologna 0-0 AC Milan (18/12)|
|Napoli 4-0 Frosinone (08/12)||Empoli 2-1 Bologna (09/12)|
|Atalanta 1-2 Napoli (03/12)||Sampdoria 4-1 Bologna (01/12)|
There will be no miracle at the Stadio San Paolo. Napoli are going to win this game, however Bologna will give another strong defensive performance which will make Napoli work hard for the victory. Napoli's attack will break through the resolute defending and yet again Bologna will fire a blank.
Prediction: Napoli 2-0 Bologna