Roma vs Napoli: Both teams aim to stay at the
top of the standings 
Getty Images/NurPhoto

AS Roma will enter their match against Napoli coming off an impressive 4-0 win against Udinese. Scoring was opened at the 15th minute of the match by Nicolo Zaniolo. After a mistimed and poor challenge by Samir Santos, the forward received a pass and beat the defence to score and give Roma the early lead. Federico Fazio received a red card at the 35th minute, yet it didn’t make a difference for the Giallorossi as Chris Smalling, Justin Kluivert and Aleksandar Kolarov all scored in the second half. Although injuries have been the main concern for Roma this season, it hasn’t slowed the club down as they continue to win matches and stay atop of the standings.  

Napoli trail Roma by one point for the fourth spot in the standings and a place in Champions League. Napoli’s recent fixture resulted in a 2-2 tie against Atalanta which came with controversy near the end of the match. Nikola Maksimovic opened the scoring for Napoli after an impressive pass from Lorenzo Insigne, to take a 1-0 lead, however, Atalanta tied the match before half time with a goal from Remo Freuler.

Napoli, once again, took the lead in the second half with a goal from Arkadiusz Milik and it seemed as if Napoli was going to leave with the victory. With five minutes left of the match, Josip Ilicic scored for Atalanta to tie the game. Moments before his goal, Fernando Llorente seemed to be taken down by Simon Kjaer in the box. After five minutes of protesting, the decision was not overruled and Carlo Ancelotti received a red card after his disappointment with the call on the field. A strong effort and questionable call left Napoli angry and missing out on two important points in the standings.

In the forty matches that these two teams have played against one another, Roma holds a better record with 19 wins, 11 losses, and 10 draws. However, in the last three matches played at the Stadio Olimpico, Napoli has left with a win. Expect an entertaining match as at least three goals have been scored in five of the last six matches head to head. Napoli will enter the match without their manager and will need to overcome their latest setback. As for Roma, they will look to continue their strong form and overcome injuries.

Predicted line up: AS Roma vs Napoli

Roma (4-2-3-1): Pau Lopez – Florenzi, Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov – Pastore, Veretout – Kluivert, Zaniolo, Perotti – Dzeko.

Napoli (4-4-2): Meret – Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Mario Rui – Callejon, Zielinski, Fabian Ruiz, Insigne – Mertens, Milik.

Injuries and suspensions

Roma: Bryan Cristante (Out Indefinitely), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Out Indefinitely), Nikola Kalinic (Out Indefinitely), Davide Zappacosta (Out Indefinitely), Amadou Diawara (Out Indefinitely), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Questionable), Juan Jesus (Questionable)

Federico Fazio will be serving a one-game suspension after picking up a red card against Udinese.

Napoli: Faouzi Ghoulam (Out Indefinitely), Kevin Malcuit (Out Indefinitely)

Players to watch

In Roma’s past two matches against AC Milan and Udinese, Zaniolo has stepped up in a positive way and scored the winning goal in both matches. While his only two goals this season were scored in his previous two fixtures, the midfielder will enter his match with Napoli is good form and highly motivated.

Eden Dzeko has also stepped up for Roma in a positive way this season as he has five goals and one assist. After a poor campaign in 2018/19, the striker has shown the ability to make a difference this season in their matchups when he has been called upon. Roma will need to rely on their goal scorer as they not only battle injuries but also will be facing a strong backend.

As for Napoli, Milik has scored four goals in his past three matches in Serie A.  The forward returned from injury in mid-September, however, seems to be at full strength and found his stride as he’s been great for Napoli. Milik will look to continue his recent strong performance against Roma.

Kostas Manolas could return this Saturday to the lineup against Roma. The defender has played in six of their ten matches this season and has scored twice, one of them being a game-winning goal against Brescia. He has been a good addition this season as his presence has allowed Napoli to have a strong shot blocker and a physical presence in the backfield. The centre back will be playing his ex-club for the first time after being acquired by Napoli this past summer.