Preview: Napoli vs Bologna – predictions, team news, line-ups


Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Serie A clash between Napoli and Bologna, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.

An additional victory could confirm Bologna‘s place in next season’s Champions League as surprise Serie A package takes on Naples Saturday evening.

While the Rossoblu are on the verge of a top-five finish, the hosts have won just one of their last eight league matches and could miss out on Europe altogether.

Match Preview

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Denied an expected victory by late leveler Udinese on Monday, Napoli last tasted success at the very start of March, and the 2022-23 Italian champions are limping this time around until the finish line.

Victor Osimhen had given the Partenopei the lead shortly after half-time in Udine, but they then let that lead slip away in stoppage time, against a team giving up for Serie A survival.

Napoli have now conceded at least one goal in 14 consecutive league matches, with their last clean sheet coming in a 0-0 draw against Lazio in January, marking the Campania club’s second-worst run in the league. ‘elite.

Just 12 months after the culmination of a superb Scudetto-winning campaign, they sit eighth in the Serie A table, five points from a guaranteed place in UEFA competitions for next season.

Interim head coach Francesco Calzone is not doing much better than his immediate predecessors, Rudi Garcia And Walter Mazzarriwith just three wins in 11 league matches since entering the hot seat.

Before leading Slovakia to the upcoming Euro 2024 final, Calzona must first try to end his brief reign on a high; However, fellow European contenders Bologna and Fiorentina await, ahead of a final day meeting with Lecce.

Napoli have taken just one point from their last four home matches, so despite winning eight of their last nine against Bologna at the Stadio Maradona, recent form suggests that a continuation of this trend will prove far from be simple.

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A 0-0 draw in September’s reverse fixture might have suggested that the gap between these clubs could be narrowing this season, but few would have expected Bologna to lead Napoli by 13 points with only three games left.

Occupying fourth place in Serie A and on course to earn a place in the Champions League thanks to a top-five finish, Thiago Motta‘s men were again kept goalless in last week’s outing – a dull draw against Torino – but they still sit above clubs Roma and Atalanta BC.

One of many managers to inspire Motta during an impressive playing career, Jose Mourinho would be proud of the former Inter Milan midfielder’s defensive organization, which has supported Bologna’s progress this season.

Since February, the Rossoblu have kept eight clean sheets – among Europe’s top five leagues, only Arsenal have managed more – helping them avoid defeat in all but one of their last 14 Serie A matches.

Having also built on the foundations of an excellent home record by winning four of their last six away matches – and drawing the others – Bologna can head south with the certainty of victory.

Winning at Napoli would mean that if Roma fail to take at least a point from Sunday’s crucial clash against Atalanta, Motta and co can officially celebrate their rise to Europe’s top tier.

Napoli Serie A form:

Bologna Serie A form:

Team News

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Although Giacomo Raspadori (ankle) and Piotr Zielinski (calf) are unlikely to overcome the injuries that ruled them out of Napoli’s trip to Udine, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (thigh) should be back in action this weekend.

If the latter is deemed suitable, he will have to replace him Jesper Lindstrom in the hosts’ front three, led by Victor Osimhen and also featuring the right winger Matteo Politano.

No Italian player has been directly involved in more goals in Serie A this season than Politano (14, tied with Gianluca Scamacca), after eight goals and six assists so far.

In the meantime, Joshua Zirkzee will spearhead the visitors’ attack, most likely supported by the AC Milan loanee Alexis Saelemaekers: The Belgian scored on his last visit to the Stadio Maradona – for Milan in April 2023 – and also scored Bologna’s last two goals in Serie A.

Recently named winner of the prestigious Bulgarelli Number 8 Prize for his performances in midfield, Rossoblu captain Lewis Ferguson was sidelined for several months due to a torn ACL, while another long-term absentee, Adama Soumaorohas yet to return from a similarly serious knee injury.

Naples possible starting line-up:
Méret; Di Lorenzo, Jesus, Rrahmani, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Cajuste; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupsky; Posch, Beukema, Calafiori, Kristiansen; Freuler; Orsolini, Aebischer, Fabbian, Saelemaekers; Zirkzee

We say: Napoli 1-1 Bologna

With Napoli rarely making the most of heavy possession and Bologna having a reputation for being difficult to beat at home or away, a low-scoring draw at the Stadio Maradona should be expected this weekend. end.

For data analysis of most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.

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