MX23RW : Monday, December 21 01:23:38| >> :600:124166:124166:
Nov 1, 2020 at 5pm UK at Stadio San Paolo

Manolas (61'), Ospina (90+6')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Locatelli (59' pen.), Lopez (90+5')
Locatelli (49'), Bourabia (90')

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

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

Two of the top three clash at Stadio San Paolo on Sunday as the momentum building behind Napoli's 2020-21 Serie A campaign is set to be fiercely challenged by Roberto De Zerbi's competitive Sassuolo side.

Both teams sit on 11 points, just behind leaders AC Milan, and have so far been scoring at a prodigious rate.

Match preview

David Ospina in action for Napoli on October 3, 2018© Reuters

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli followed up last week's hard-fought win at Benevento in the Campania derby with a similarly gritty Europa League victory against La Liga leaders Real Sociedad on Thursday.

Meanwhile, opponents Sassuolo have been able to put in some shifts on the training pitch, as their last fixture was a barnstorming come-from-behind 3-3 draw last Friday night.

Napoli continued their recent Serie A ascendancy last Sunday, as both Insigne brothers - the Neapolitan club's captain Lorenzo and Benevento striker Roberto - found the net, with Andrea Petagna later replacing Dries Mertens to score the winner.

Then, for their tough trip to the Basque country, Stanislav Lobotka was surprisingly selected to support ex-SPAL striker Petagna, as the likes of Mertens and Victor Osimhen were rested - for the first hour at least.

Petagna, with two goals and two assists in 2020-21, may not be a regular starter but has taken advantage of his opportunities and been productive coming off the bench. He was initially signed in January for a fraction of the cost of Osimhen, at around £15m.

Unfortunately, Insigne seemed to suffer a recurrence of a recent thigh strain and was replaced by in-form Mexican forward Hirving Lozano. Osimhen's belated appearance was most notable for his naive dismissal, receiving two bookings in the closing stages of an otherwise satisfactory win.

Further confidence can be gleaned by head coach Gattuso from Napoli's recent record against Sunday's high-flying visitors. The Partenopei are unbeaten at home against Sassuolo in Serie A, winning five and drawing two of their seven encounters to date. They have also kept a clean sheet in each of the last two.

A particularly difficult assignment then for the Neroverdi, who have won only one of their previous league games against the hosts - back in August 2015.

Their flourishing attack, however, will not be intimidated by precedent. De Zerbi's charges have now bagged at least three goals in four consecutive matches - and they are especially potent in the final stages of matches.

Sassuolo have in fact scored more goals than any other side in Serie A this season in the last 30 minutes of play with 12 - twice the number of any other side. Incidentally, Napoli are second in this ranking with six.

Domenico Berardi pictured in October 2018© Reuters

Azzurri forward Francesco Caputo has found the back of the net in his last four top-flight appearances and Domenico Berardi has three goals and two assists, while midfielder Filip Djuricic has discovered his shooting boots - scoring three in the first five games.

This match-up should be easy on the eye too, as both sides (along with Inter) are two of the three teams with the most open play passing sequences so far this term and are renowned for their commitment to possession-based principles.

For example, Sassuolo had a remarkable 73% of the ball in the Torino game. That tie ended with a stirring fight-back, spurred by Vlad Chiriches's unstoppable goal of the season contender and the Neroverdi will need similar inspiration and fortitude to overcome Napoli on Sunday evening.

Napoli Serie A form: WWLWW
Napoli form (all competitions): WLWLWW

Sassuolo Serie A form: DWWWD

Team News

Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Napoli midfielders Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas returned to training, this week, for the first time since they tested positive for COVID-19 on October 1. They will now be eligible but are unlikely to feature from the start of this game, though Gattuso does need to rotate following Thursday night's exertions.

Last week's match-winner - with a wonderful strike against Benevento - Insigne is doubtful due to his recurring thigh injury, so Lozano could deputise.

For De Zerbi's visitors, both full-back Jeremy Toljan and Slovakian winger Lukas Haraslin are out due to positive virus tests earlier this week.

Well-travelled forward Gregoire Defrel is doubtful due to injury, but may be ready for a spot on the Sassuolo bench. Kaan Ayhan is set to contest the right-back berth with compatriot Mert Muldur.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Ruiz, Lobotka; Politano, Mertens, Insigne; Osimhen

Sassuolo possible starting lineup:
Consigli; Muldur, Chiriches, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Locatelli, Obiang; Berardi, Djuricic, Boga; Caputo

SM words green background

We say: Napoli 2-1 Sassuolo

Club legend Diego Maradona turned 60 last week and declared he would like to see Napoli win the scudetto as a birthday present. That's a lot to ask, but the Partenopei can at least seal victory over one of their closest rivals in the form table.

Both sides' records suggest a flurry of late goals and an entertaining encounter, which Napoli can edge by virtue of their numerous options in attack.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals 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.Over 2.5:data


Who will win Sunday's Serie A clash between Napoli and Sassuolo?

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