The runaway league leaders travel to Turin to take on the second most popular team in the city, in 8th place Torino.
Torino under Ivan Juric has had an improvement from last season where they finished 10th in Serie A, and are currently in 8th place in the standings. In his second season, Ivan Juric has brought hope of European football amongst the Torino faithful after a long lull in mid-table mediocrity in recent seasons. Some shrewd accusations in the transfer window last summer which includes the like of Ajax academy product Peer Schuurs, former Atalanta forward Alexei Miranchuk & winger Nemanja Radonjic from Marseille have all played a key part in their pursuit of European ambition.
They’ve currently accumulated 37 points from 26 matches, and a point of city rivals Juventus on 38, who occupy a UEFA Conference League spot. They’re five points of Atalanta in 6th spot, which would give them a Europa League berth, while they’d need to shave off an 11-point deficit to reach the 4th coveted Champions League, currently occupied by Milan on 48 points. Hence a crucial tie against the Italian league leaders and arguably the most in-form European side in Napoli will be of paramount importance this weekend, and a positive display will provide them with the confidence boost and momentum needed to fulfil their ambitions.
Similarly, for league leaders Napoli, they’re racing away on a course for a third Serie A title in their history since their last title came way back in 1989/90, inspired by the legendary Diego Maradona. However, the city of Naples has new heroes to cheer for after numerous failed attempts to recapture the elusive Serie A title, in Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen and Georgian winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
They’re currently the most deadly combination anywhere in Europe outside of Messi & Mbappe. Osimhen has led the Neapolitan title charge with 19 goals in 22 games, in Serie and is the top scorer of the division by a clear margin. While Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been the find of the season for Napoli, having signed him for €10M in the summer from Dynamo Batumi, leads the league in assists with 9. The duo have combined for 43 goals and assists amongst each other in the league and has been the reason, the southern Italy side has an 18-point lead at the summit of the Serie A table and looking more or less to be crowned champions. Luciano Spalletti’s men have also qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after comfortably brushing off Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 in aggregate. They’ll be looking for more of the same this Sunday, having won 11 of the 13 times they’ve travelled away from this season, and add another victory to their impressive record in Turin.
Sunday, 19-03-2023, 07:30 pm (IST)
Sunday, 19-03-2023, 02:00 pm (GMT)
Torino form (all competitions): W-W-L-D-L
Napoli form (all competitions): W-W-L-W-W
Players to watch
Torino: Antonio Sanabria
The Paraguay marksman has been in fine scoring touch in recent weeks, allowing his side to win back-to-back matches against Lecce (goal) last week, and an assist for the winner, the week prior against Bologna. He also scored in the 4-2 loss in the Turin derby against Juventus, and also impressed with his hold-up play and ability to link with Mirachuk and Radonjic up front, in a three-man attack. His four goals and assists in the last four matches make him a man in form and the onus will be on the Napoli defence to stop him at home from scoring, and one to keep an eye on.
Napoli: Victor Osimhen
Serie A’s leading marksman and Nigeria striker Osimhen is the most talked about striker in Europe at the moment. His Serie A leading tally of 18 goals has helped Napoli surge a title challenge and establish an 18-point lead at the top of the table. The number of clubs interested in acquiring his services includes Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Such has been the impact that he’s being valued at €100 minimum to prize him away from Naples. He’s scored three goals in two games recently in the Champions League knock-out round against Frankfurt, and his deadly efficiency in front of goal has brought fear amongst the opposing defences. He’ll be the man to watch out for this weekend as well.
- Napoli have won 5 consecutive away matches and have won 18 of their past 20 matches.
- Napoli have scored 2 or more goals in 17 of their last 20 matches.
- Napoli have kept 6 clean sheets in their past 10 away matches.
- Torino are unbeaten in the last three home fixtures in the Serie A since the last home defeat against Spezia (0-1), on January 15th.
Team & Injury News
Torino have centre-back Zima (knee), forward Vlasic (muscle), midfielder Viera (hamstring), and winger Lazaro(ligament) all out with injuries for this weekend’s tie against the league leaders.
For Napoli, the season has been a success due to a relatively injury-free season for key personnel, however, their only injury doubt for the weekend is forward Raspadori (muscle).
Torino wins: 4
Napoli wins: 16
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Torino predicted lineup (3-4-2-1):
Milinkovic-Savic; Singo, Djidji, Schuurs, Buongiorno, Rodriguez; Linetty, Ilic; Radonjic, Miranchuk, Sanabria
Napoli predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Rrahmani, Mathias Oliveira; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia
No team in the Italian top division has been able to match Napoli’s quality, consistency and general dominance in play. Their only recent loss came at home to a determined Lazio side, losing 1-0 on 4th March. However, the best travelling side in Serie A should have enough momentum and quality on the night to win against a European spot-chasing Torino on Sunday evening.
Prediction: Torino 1 – 3 Napoli
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