Napoli host Cagliari in a mouthwatering full compliment of midweek fixtures in Serie A on Wednesday night.
Carlo Ancelotti's men will look to continue their fine form since the international break and the devastating last-ditch defeat to Juventus.
The Neapolitans go in search of a fourth consecutive victory following wins over Sampdoria, European champions Liverpool and Lecce. They will be looking to keep up pressure on the early pace setters Inter, who have a 100% record at the top.
With two 3-1 wins on the bounce, Cagliari will be no pushovers themselves as they climb the Serie A table. Giovanni Simeone has shone in those wins, scoring two in two for the Sardinians.
Former Tottenham man Fernando Llorente will expect to keep his starting place for the hosts after notching three times in two matches - including the so-called 'revenge' goal against Liverpool following Spurs' Champions League final defeat last season.
Here's 90min's preview of this intriguing Italian top flight fixture.
Where to Watch
|What Date Is the Match?||Wednesday 25 September|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||8pm|
|Where Is It Played?||Stadio San Paolo|
|TV Channel/ Live Stream?||FreeSports|
|Referee?||Marco Di Bello|
The hosts could be without two of their key players for the second match running.
Centre-back Kostas Manolas and defensive midfielder Allan are both doubts. Allan missed the weekend fixture with flu, while Manolas has a muscle problem.
There is the expectation that Napoli may decide to rotate their squad, given their confidence.
As for the visitors, Leonardo Pavoletti is out with a long term injury. Unfortunately he will not be their only absentee though, with Radja Nainggolan, Paolo Faragò and Alessio Cragno all out too.
|Napoli||Meret; Hysaj, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Callejon, Zielinski, Allan, Younes; Mertens, Milik|
|Cagliari||Olsen; Cacciatore, Pisacane, Ceppitelli, Pellegrini; Nandez, Rog, Ionita; Castro; Joao Pedro, Simeone|
Head to Head Record
Based on records alone, Napoli are overwhelming favourites to win this one.
They have won the past seven encounters and haven't dropped points to Wednesday's opponents. The Neapolitans haven't dropped points to Cagliari since 2014.
That is the away side's longest losing streak against any side in the league. Since the 3-3 draw in November that year, the home side has racked up an aggregate lead of 22-2.
Napoli have been flying since Kalidou Koulibaly inadvertently redirected the ball past his own goalkeeper to gift Juventus a last-minute 4-3 win over his side at the end of August.
They come into the match in search of their fourth consecutive victory - including the outstanding 2-0 win over Champions League holders Liverpool in their opening group match.
Either side of that victory they have comfortably beaten Sampdoria and thrashed Lecce.
Cagliari have recovered their form with back-to-back wins after they opened the season with consecutive defeats.
Crucial to their stability could be Giovanni Simeone, who seems to have stumbled across his long lost confidence in recent games.
Here's how each side has performed in their last five matches:
|Lecce 1-4 Napoli (22/09)||Cagliari 3-1 Genoa (20/09)|
|Napoli 2-1 Liverpool (17/09)||Parma 1-3 Cagliari (15/09)|
|Napoli 2-1 Sampdoria (14/09)||Cagliari 1-2 Inter (1/09)|
|Juventus 4-3 Napoli (31/08)||Cagliari 0-1 Brescia (25/08)|
|Fiorentina 3-4 Napoli (24/08)||Cagliari 2-1 Chievo (18/08)|
Cagliari's return to form make this a harder one to call than it appears on paper.
In-form loanee Simeone has good form against the team from Naples, netting his only career hat-trick against them back in April 2018 for Fiorentina.
However, that is caveated by Napoli's own outstanding form, and you would expect that to be too much for the away side to handle on Wednesday night.
Fernando Llorente is in fine form, while Dries Mertens will be raring to go and he looks to lock down his starting place. The visitors will put up a good fight, but the host's class will eventually shine through.
Prediction: Napoli 3-1 Cagliari