MX23RW : Monday, January 4 11:34:02| >> :60:373:373:
Dec 6, 2020 at 5pm UK at Stadio Ezio Scida

Cuomo (45'), Pereira (53'), Reca (67')
Petriccione (50')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Insigne (31'), Lozano (58'), Demme (76'), Petagna (90+1')
Koulibaly (6'), Lobotka (81'), Politano (84')

Preview: Crotone vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Crotone and Napoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Napoli visit Serie A strugglers Crotone on Sunday, with Gennaro Gattuso's side seeking to build on last week's emotional triumph over Roma and remain in touch at the top of the table.

Bottom side Crotone, meanwhile, are the only team without a win in the opening nine Serie A rounds of the 2020-21 season and are already six points adrift of the cut-off line.

Match preview

Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Perhaps Napoli's best display of the season last week - versus southern rivals Roma - came after coach Gattuso introduced Piotr Zielinski to the midfield three, offering greater freedom to Fabian Ruiz, who subsequently notched his first goal of the season.

The Giallorossi's defensive deficiencies were certainly a contributing factor, but the return to form of Dries Mertens following a dry spell - the diminutive Belgian forward has found the target in his past two matches, in the absence of Victor Osimhen - also aided their cause.

Following a Europa League draw on Dutch soil against AZ on Thursday, Napoli must take the battle on to their final group game next week to ensure progress to the knockout rounds. Nonetheless, their league form remains the priority.

In Serie A, Gattuso's men are currently in fifth place in the standings with 17 points and could potentially have been as high as second were they not controversially punished for belatedly cancelling a fixture at Juventus.

This week, the Napoli hierarchy filed a third appeal against a 3-0 default loss and subsequent one-point penalty, with a verdict expected before Christmas. The club argue that they were operating under a travel ban by the local health authorities after both Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the game.

As the Partenopei have alternated between a win and a defeat in their last five league games, now would be an ideal time to add consistency to their obvious goalscoring prowess, as they meet Crotone and Sampdoria in successive fixtures before more challenging pre-Christmas clashes with Inter and Lazio.

Crotone manager Giovanni Stroppa pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Not only are Giovanni Stroppa's Crotone side yet to win this season, they have a historic 100% loss record against Napoli in Serie A - with four failures from four. Furthermore, Gli Squali have only recorded one win in 23 Serie A matches against an opponent from the top five of the table.

So far Crotone have collated a mere two points this season and only two of the previous 19 teams that had gained two points or fewer after the first nine games have managed to avoid relegation to Serie B - one of which was Crotone themselves, in the great escape of 2016-17.

Following last week's 1-0 reverse in Bologna, the Calabrian club have now failed to register a goal in their last three league games and are looking desperately towards star striker Simy to save them. The Nigeria international's three strikes so far make him their top scorer, but little in the way of help has come from his supporting cast.

By contrast with fellow promoted outfits Benevento and Spezia, Stroppa's side have lacked much threat in front of goal all term and will be welcoming Napoli in hope more than expectation to Stadio Ezio Scida this Sunday.

Crotone Serie A form: DLLDLL
Crotone form (all competitions): LDLDLL

Napoli Serie A form: WWLWLW
Napoli form (all competitions): WWLWWD

Team News

Fabian Ruiz in Coppa Italia action for Napoli on February 12, 2020© Reuters

Emmanuel Riviere, Luca Cigarini and Andrea Rispoli are all injured for the home side and will miss out, while key creator Ahmad Benali is struggling with a calf strain. Pedro Pereira - on loan from Benfica - is set to start in midfield.

Simy and Junior Messias will once again start up front in Stroppa's familiar 3-5-2, though they still have only four goals between them.

Napoli have striker Victor Osimhen out of action again due a shoulder injury, so coach Gennaro Gattuso will once more choose between Dries Mertens - scorer against AZ in midweek - and the greater physical presence of Andrea Petagna up front.

Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also reportedly set to miss the game, but defenders Elseid Hysaj and Amir Rrahmani have both cleared COVID-19 return-to-play protocol and could return to the squad if fit.

Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Cuomo, Marrone, Luperto; Pereira, Molina, Petriccione, Benali, Reca; Messias, Simy

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Demme, Bakayoko; Zielinski, Lozano, Petagna

SM words green background

We say: Crotone 0-2 Napoli

Another goal and win-free encounter for Crotone is on the cards, as only fatigue can potentially diminish their visitors' supreme superiority.

Napoli have the potential to sustain a Scudetto challenge this year, but simply must take advantage of such subordinate opposition as tougher tasks await at the end of the month.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:curl


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Napoli's Lorenzo Insigne celebrates scoring against Roma in Serie A on November 29, 2020
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