High-flying Napoli face reformed AS Roma


AS Roma face a collosal challenge ahead as they host second place Napoli on Sunday afternoon. The Rome side need all three points in order to create some stability as the Giallorossi have failed to excite their fans and may not qualify for the Champions League next season.

Napoli are doing fantastically well in the league as they set to finish second this season with Juventus 15 points ahead at the top and it is highly unlikely the Gli Azzurri will be able to catch them this season but, the club from Naples will want to get all three points to fend off the charge from Inter and AC Milan.

New man in the dugout Claudio Ranieri led them to a nervy 2-1 home win over 17th-placed Empoli in his first game, they’ve since lost by the same scoreline on the road at another bottom-six outfit in SPAL. In the last five outings Roma have recorded two wins and three losses which is poor for the side that were Champions League semi-finalists last season. Ranieri spoke on the position that Roma is in now and the use of his strong words in order to fire his team up after the SPAL defeat. He said:

“If I used strong words, it’s because I expect a strong reaction from the team.

“As a coach, you always do things for a reason. What I expect from the Roma players, who are very good players, is a big show of character.

“I believe this team has the potential to fight for a place in the Champions League. There are sides above us who are going strong but I hope my players can respond to any adversity.

“What happened between [Stephan] El Shaarawy and [Edin] Dzeko is the normal sort of thing that      happens in every family.

“It’s all sorted now and that’s the main thing.”

Napoli are the favourites to win this game following a 4-2 win at home to Udinese the Gli Azzurri will be happy with their performance and will be full of winning spirits ahead of their clash away at Roma. The visitors haven’t enjoyed much success on their travels since Christmas, going W2-D3-L3 across all competitions as they lost to both Milan clubs and Austrian Bundesliga outfit Red Bull Salzburg. Napoli’s assistant coach Davide Ancelotti, spoke on the hard work that the team has to put in as they have a tough two months ahead of them. He said:

“We’ve got two crucial months coming up – we want to get the best out of them that we can,” he said.

“This is a very strong group and we really believe in them. From now until the end of May we’ve got big challenges, but ones that can bring great happiness. We want to tighten our grip on second place and go as far as we can in the Europa League.

“It’s going to be a fascinating encounter against Arsenal – one of those games for football lovers. I think it’s a 50-50 tie.

“For now, however, we need to think about our league performance. We’ve got a big game on Sunday against Roma, and we need to be focused on that.”

Last time out the two faced off in the league was back in October at the San Paolo Stadium. Napoli dominated the game but, Roma gave Napoli the first blow as El Shaarawy scored in the 14 minute and kept the score at 1-0 until the flying Belgian Dries Mertens scored in the 90th minute to secure at least one point for Napoli.

Team News

Napoli’s concerns centre around the suspended Piotr Zielinski and injured duo Lorenzo Insigne and Raul Albiol.

It’s Roma who are in full blown crisis mode, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Kostas Manolas, Alessandro Florenzi, Aleksandar Kolarov, Javier Pastore, Daniele De Rossi and Cengiz Under all unavailable or highly doubtful.


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