Napoli vs Empoli: Serie A Preview, Potential Lineups & Prediction

Sunday’s Serie A action gets underway at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as Napoli and Empoli square off in contrasting circumstances. Let’s look at our match preview for this contest.

Napoli let a narrow halftime lead slip through their fingers in midweek Champions League action as Union Berlin pegged them back in a frustrating 1-1 draw in southern Italy. Rudi Garcia’s men squandered an array of promising chances in that game, failing to build on last weekend’s 2-0 Serie A victory at Salernitana.

Facing another relegation-threatened underachiever comes in handy as Napoli bid to at least maintain a seven-point distance of table-topping Inter. Partenopei pulled off an impressive second-half comeback to hold Milan to a 2-2 draw in their last home league outing. However, nothing less than three points against Empoli would do. 

Aurelio Andreazzoli’s side seemed on the verge of turning their fortunes around following a stunning 2-0 win at Fiorentina after October’s international break. However, they’ve quickly descended into disarray with back-to-back defeats to Atalanta and Frosinone, sliding to 19th in the Serie A standings. 

Despite losing 73% of their league matches at the start of the new campaign (7/11), the visitors are still within striking distance of safety. They trail 17th-placed Cagliari by only two points at the start of this round. With the Islanders heading to Juventus, Empoli could crawl out of the drop zone with an upset here.

Match Preview


Empoli’s visit could be a timely one from Garica’s perspective. The ex-Roma boss boasts a near-perfect managerial record against the Tuscan outfit (W3, D1). However, he remains under severe pressure after his underperforming Napoli side failed to get into the win column across their last four competitive home fixtures (D2, L2).

Defensive frailties have been a massive issue for Napoli. Since a 2-0 win over Sassuolo in their opening home game of 2023/24, they’ve gone six consecutive home matches without a clean sheet (W1, D2, L3), capitulating multiple times on four occasions. 

By contrast, they’ve conceded an average of 0.6 goals per game in their last five home league clashes against Empoli.

Player to Watch: Matteo Politano

Napoli may need to score at least twice to end their home duck, and Politano emerges as the likeliest candidate to get them there. The Italian winger has scored in back-to-back home appearances, including his first-half opener against Union Berlin on Wednesday.


Andreazzoli won’t hold his breath ahead of this trip, knowing Empoli have lost four of their last five away league encounters against Napoli by multiple-goal margins. A 1-0 win in December 2021 was the only exception in this run. But it’ll take something special to repeat that success, especially considering Gli Azzurri‘s travel sickness.

Except for the abovementioned victory at the Artemio Franchi, the Tuscan minnows have lost their remaining four league games on the road this season via a combined score of 14-1. Since they’re enduring their fourth-worst start in Serie A history and all three previous instances resulting in relegation, upsetting the apple cart could be a turning point.

Player to Watch: Francesco Caputo

Caputo has scored two of Empoli’s meager three goals in their last five Serie A matches. Since both his strikes came on the road, it’s only natural to single him out as Andreazzoli’s potential savior. 

Team News

Talismanic striker Victor Osimhen remains the only high-profile absentee in the Napoli camp. After Giacomo Raspadori’s dismal performance against Union Berlin, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Giovanni Simeone taking the Nigerian’s place at the heart of Garcia’s frontline on Sunday.

As for Empoli, Mattia Destro and Giuseppe Pezzella are on the sidelines injured, while Polish defender Sebastian Walukiewicz faces a race against time to make himself available for this trip. The rest of Andreazzoli’s squad remains fit.

Napoli vs Empoli Potential Lineups

Napoli (4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Natan, Amir Rrahmani, Mario Rui; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka, Piotr Zielinski; Matteo Politano, Giovanni Simeone, Kvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Etrit Berisha; Bartosz Bereszynski, Sebastiano Luperto, Ardian Ismajli, Simone Bastoni; Jacopo Fazzini, Razvan Marin, Alberto Grassi; Tommaso Baldanzi; Francesco Caputo, Nicolo Cambiaghi. 

Napoli vs Empoli Prediction

Anything other than three points would be catastrophic for Napoli, let alone their manager, who’s walking a tightrope. Garcia could hardly find a valid excuse for another potential disappointment. That’s why we back the reigning champions to deepen Empoli’s crisis. 

We wouldn’t put it past Napoli to pack a punch en route to a statement win.

Prediction: Napoli Win

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