Lazio vs Napoli preview

January 17, 2015
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Napoli vs LazioLazio remained in third position despite missing a chance to beat arch rivals Roma, but the game against Napoli will be another test to their top 3 ambitions.

The Azzurri are now fourth after the Juventus defeat and they have got to try and make amends by winning at Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio recovered well from the slow start to the season and have been steadily improving their performances over the last couple of months.

Stefano Pioli’s charges are now unbeaten in last eight matches on all fronts, and they are determined to turn the season into a success.

Having eliminated Varese in the previous round, Lazio defeated Torino away to reach Coppa Italia quarter-finals, while they have been pretty impressive in the league as well.

The Biancocelesti won three of last five league fixtures, but the interesting thing is they had a two-goal lead in each of the other two games, although had to settle for 2-2 draws with Inter and Roma.

Nevertheless, having returned to winning ways against Torino, Lazio can be backed at 2.70 (17/10) to see off Napoli as well.

Stefano Pioli will be without key midfielder Felipe Anderson for three weeks, while first choice keeper Federico Marchetti is banned.

Stefan de Vrij faces a fitness test, whilst Gentiletti, Ederson, Ciani, Braafheid, Gonzalez and Lulic miss out through injury.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Berisha – Basta, Cana, Radu, Cavanda – Parolo, Biglia, Onazi – Candreva, Djordjevic, Mauri.

While they hoped to finally mount a serious title challenge in Italian Serie A, Napoli are now in danger of missing out on the Champions League berth.

The Azzurri have not been playing to their potential this term, and even if they have been quite successful in Italian Super Cup, Coppa Italia and Europa League, it is perfectly clear that the league campaign remains the priority.

Back to back wins over Parma and Cesena gave Rafael Benitez’s team reason for optimism ahead of the clash with champions Juventus, but they eventually succumbed to a 3-1 loss, which Napoli officials blamed on the referees.

Nevertheless, the reality is Napoli sit behind their next opponents in the standings and will be in all sorts of problems if they lose at Stadio Olimpico.

But, having won four away matches in the league this season, the Azzurri are available at 2.90 (19/10) to return to winning ways.

With Miguel Britos banned and Faouzi Ghoulam away on international duty, new recruit Ivan Strinic is set to be handed his debut.

Dries Mertens will be recalled to the starting line-up, but Lorenzo Insigne, Juan Camolo Zuniga and Michu remain on the sidelines.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Rafael – Maggio, Coulibaly, Albiol, Strinic – Gargano, Lopez – Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens – Higuain.

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