Serie A Week 27 – Sunday 27 February 2022 – Stadio Olimpico | Match preview by Tlalane Phahla – Follow her here on Twitter
Round 27 of Serie A couldn’t have started any better for Napoli. No doubt they were watching games for both Inter and Milan with enthusiasm and would have been pleased with the results. Another glorious opportunity to go on top of the league has presented itself, whether it is deserved, they probably don’t care. But first, they have to battle it out with Lazio on Sunday at the Olimpico.
The Azzurri are still reeling from their humiliating defeat on Thursday against Barcelona in the Europa League. This game not only is this an opportunity to show their will to win the scudetto but a chance put midweek horror behind them. Napoli have been described by many as a team that is happy to be around the top, but has no ambition to be on top. When pressure mounts, they curl back and fold. Their inability to capitalise on their rivals inconsistencies has often left their fans exasperated.
It is worth noting though that Napoli are unbeaten in their last five league matches and have haven’t drawn three Serie A games in a row since December 2014, They come into this having two 1-1 draws against Inter and Cagliari respectively. In 2022, Napoli have picked up the most points (15 in seven games) and conceded the fewest goals (four) in Serie A.
Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani. Koulibaly, Rui; Ruiz, Demme; Mertens, Zielinski, Insigne; Osimhen
- Dries Mertens has been involved in 13 goals in his last 14 leagues games against Lazio scoring six goals and providing seven assists.
- Lorenzo Insigne has scored seven goals against Lazio in Serie A. This season however, the Napoli captain has found the back of the net six times but has failed to score on the road.
When these two met in November last year, Napoli ran riot at home condemning I Biancocelesti to a 4-0 defeat with Mertens grabbing a brace.
Like their opponents, Lazio were dumped out of the Europa League by Porto. They are currently sixth in the table occupying a spot that will guarantee them Europa Conference League participation if they can maintain their form, but they will face a fierce competition from Fiorentina as well AS Roma who are right on their heels.
Although Lazio are currently enjoying a five game unbeaten run, their form against Napoli is horrible. In their last 10 meetings they have only two wins, losing eight. Interestingly the two games they have won, they have done without conceding, the visitors should be wary of conceding first.
Expected XI (4-3-3): Strakosha; Hysaj, Luiz Felipe, Patric, Marusic; Lucas Leiva, Luis Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic; Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni.
- Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile has been directly involved in nine goals in his last nine games against Napoli (six goals, three assists). Should he score tomorrow, he would reach his 20th goal for the sixth Serie A different season.
- Napoli (84%) and Lazio (82%) have posted the highest passing accuracy in the opposition half in Serie A this season.
Napoli are dealing with its own injury concerns and could be without several players. According to Napoli official website, on Friday, the team played a first round of bull followed by a small game. Closing with tactical exercise. Axel Tuanzebe and Anguissa did some work out in the gym. Hirving Lozano, Franck Anguissa and Stanislav Lobotka had their own customised sessions, and Kevin Malcuit had a therapy session.
Meanwhile, for Lazio Manuel Lazzari is still the only known player to be nursing a (thigh) injury and Francesco Acerbi was on the bench against Porto. It remains to be seen whether he will be involved tomorrow.