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Preview: Sampdoria vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups
23/09/2021 13:48:13

Seeking to maintain their perfect Serie A record so far, Napoli visit Sampdoria on Thursday evening (5:30PM, 23 Sept).

Both sides won handsomely last time out - with the Partenopei brushing aside Udinese on Monday, and Samp beating promoted Empoli at the weekend.

We say: Sampdoria 1-2 Napoli

Improved results of late give Sampdoria some hope against one of their recent bogey sides, but the visitors are in scintillating form around the penalty area and can punish even the slightest of errors.

For that reason, Napoli will edge a lively encounter - with a fifth straight win putting them top of the pile once more.

Match preview

After winning his first four Serie A fixtures since returning to the touchline, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti will take his side to Liguria this week in unstoppable domestic form.

Still unbeaten in all competitions, having also rescued a point against Leicester City in the Europa League last week, the Partenopei enjoyed their latest success at the hands of Udinese earlier this week, as they scored twice in each half to surge top of the early Serie A standings.

Their previous league fixture saw them come from behind to beat Juventus 2-1 - with Kalidou Koulibaly's late strike sealing a win over their most reviled rivals - so they visit Stadio Luigis Ferraris high in confidence, particularly in front of goal.

Scoring 10 times in four league games - conceding only two - demonstrates that Napoli have continued their fluent final-third play of last season under departed coach Gennaro Gattuso, which will strike fear into a team they have dominated in recent years.

In fact, the Azzurri have won each of their last five Serie A encounters with Sampdoria - leading 13-3 on aggregate during that time - and will be confident of adding another success to that streak ahead of back-to-back home matches against Cagliari and Spartak Moscow in the coming week.

At the fourth time of trying, Sampdoria registered their first league victory of the season on Sunday afternoon, as they came away from Empoli's Stadio Carlo Castellani with all three points.

Summer signing Francesco Caputo - who later apologised to the home fans after scoring a brace against his former club - helped the Blucerchiati to an impressive 3-0 win in Tuscany.

Having previously picked up a first point of the campaign against reigning champions Inter Milan, new boss Roberto D'Aversa will have been relieved to take advantage of one of Samp's less challenging games on paper, versus last term's Serie B champions.

Once the poster boy of the Empoli faithful, Caputo - who joined on loan from Sassuolo on transfer deadline day - has now formed part of a vastly experienced forward line at Marassi, as he teams up with two other experienced Italian internationals.

As the regular partner of 38-year-old Fabio Quagliarella in attack, and the recipient of crosses provided by veteran winger Antonio Candreva - who also scored on Sunday - the late-blossoming forward known as 'Ciccio' will surely feature in his team's attempts to breach the Napoli back line on Thursday.

Team News

Once again, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti is expected to be without midfielders Diego Demme and Stanislav Lobotka, who are on the road to recovery from injury. While Demme has now returned to work with the squad, he is unlikely to feature, and Lobotka is currently training on his own.

Both Dries Mertens and Faouzi Ghoulam are doubtful too, for a squad whose absence list saw them name only nine of a possible 12 players on the bench last time out.

In a fine vein of form up front, Victor Osimhen should start again as part of a three-man forward line, though Andrea Petagna is an alternative option if Spalletti opts to save his star striker's legs for the weekend.

Meanwhile, Sampdoria still have Manolo Gabbiadini and Ronaldo Vieira ruled out for Napoli's visit, but both Albin Ekdal and Ernesto Torregrossa featured on Sunday after time on the sidelines through injury.

Therefore, Ekdal could earn a start in midfield alongside Adrien Silva, as Morten Thorsby drops out of the XI having picked up a knock against Empoli.

Roberto D'Aversa may be tempted to rotate amid a packed schedule, but Francesco Caputo and Fabio Quagliarella remain favourites to start up front - with both Valerio Verre and Torregrossa waiting in the wings for a second-half cameo.

Sampdoria possible starting lineup:

Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Ekdal, Silva, Damsgaard; Caputo, Quagliarella

Napoli possible starting lineup:

Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Anguissa, Elmas, Ruiz; Politano, Osimhen, Lozano

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