Napoli will be aiming to keep the pressure on league-leaders Juventus, with a win against Genoa this Sunday. A win would take the Azzurri a step closer in securing Champions League qualification, with Roma only five points behind.
It may not be plain sailing for Napoli if the reverse fixture is anything to go by. On the 1 November 2015, Genoa held Napoli to a 0-0 draw at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Napoli dominated the game, with 60% possession and 18 shots, eight of which were on target.
Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri described the game as “one of our [Napoli's] best games, despite a playing field on which you can not play football” and that “the English League would not allow.”
Both teams have won their last two Serie A matches, and Napoli have been unbeaten in their last five in all competitions.
In the last six fixtures between the two teams, Genoa haven't recorded a single win against Napoli, drawing twice and losing four times.
Lying in 12th place, Genoa have 34 points, eight points clear of the relegation zone. With nine games left to play, you’d suggest that they’ve almost secured their Serie A status for next season.
By the time the match kicks-off, Napoli could potentially find themselves six points behind Juventus, if the Old Lady wins the Turin derby.
Speaking ahead of the game at San Paolo, Napoli's captain Marek Hamsik believes that their "strength is the union of the team. In football it's always the group that is decisive, not individual players. We are stronger together and I am sure that on Sunday, they [the fans] will still be the twelve man on the field. Our goal now is to win the three points against Genoa."
Since Alessio Cerci completed his loan move in January, he says he has "found a cheerful atmosphere, a tight-knit group. The feelings were immediately positive and I'm driven by my desire for revenge." The Italian was unable to find the net for Milan during the first half of the season, but has since scored four times for the Rossoblu.
Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin, will have to produce a similar performance as he did in the reverse fixture, to prevent Serie A's top goal scorer. Napoli's talisman Gonzalo Higuain, has 27 goals in 29 league games. Cerci will have a tough task in trying to get the better of Kalidou Koulibaly, who has arguably been one of Serie A’s most impressive defenders this season. Genoa’s Blerim Dzemaili and Goran Pandev are both in contention to face their former team.
Napoli predicted XI: Reina, Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj, Jorginho, Allan, Hamsik, Insigne, Callejon, Higuain.
Genoa predicted XI: Perin, Izzo, Burdisso, Maio, Rigoni, Laxalt, Ansaldi, Dzemali, Rincon, Cerci, Pandev.