Team Form (all competitions):
Napoli – WWWLD
Genoa – WWWLL
After taking just one point from their last two matches, Napoli could step onto the field on Sunday against Genoa at -7 in the Scudetto race (Juventus play away to Spal on Saturday). That doesn’t mean that the championship has been decided, as there are still several reasons to believe, which I touched upon earlier this week. However, it does mean that the Partenopei will be under some pressure to quickly reverse their recent run of form and pick up all 3 points.
Genoa has been an interesting team this season. On the attack, they are the polar opposite of Napoli. Through 27 Serie A matches, the Grifoni have scored just 21 goals, an average of 0.78 per match. That scoring rate is the third-worst in Serie A.
Last week, they dropped a heartbreaker to Milan on a header from Andre Silva at the death. Final score 1-0. In fact, it was the 12th time this season that Genoa has finished a Serie A match with a 1-0 scoreline.
Despite their struggles to find the back of the net, they’ve managed to stay clear of the relegation battle primarily due to their work in the defensive half. They are currently 5th in Serie A in goals allowed, giving up only 28 goals to this point. It goes without saying that Goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who has been consistently mentioned as a transfer option for Napoli in the upcoming summer, has been a big part of Genoa’s success.
Now I know what you’re thinking.
Genoa can’t score and are solid defensively. And yet the final score of the previous meeting (in October) was 3-2 to Napoli. How did that happen?
Well, for one thing, Genoa was a little more attack-minded during the opening two months of the season. They scored 10 goals in their first 10 domestic matches (the Napoli match was on Matchday 10). Since that point, they have scored just 11 goals over the next 17 matches.
Napoli’s high-powered attack played a role as well. At that point in the season, the Partenopei were on an incredible streak where they scored 3 or more goals in eight of their first ten matches.
Now, it’s the aforementioned attack, led by the trident of Callejon, Mertens, and Insigne, that will be trying to re-ignite the squad once again in the ritorno.
We all know that Napoli plays a beautiful style, averaging 60% of possession and 88% pass accuracy, both tops in Serie A. They also average 17.5 shots per match, which ranks second in the league. However, they have been somewhat bottled up in the last two weeks.
That has to change on Sunday at the San Paolo. There are only 10 matches left for Napoli, and it’s now or never time if they want to keep the Scudetto dream alive.
Probable Formations from La Gazzetta dello Sport:
Napoli (4-3-3) – Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne
Genoa (3-5-2) – Perin; Biraschi, Spolli, Zukanovic; Rosi, Rigoni, Bertolacci, Hiljemark, Laxalt; Pandev, Galabinov
By Pete Winter