Serie A Matchday 35: Spezia – Napoli Match Preview

Spezia and Napoli are set to trade tackles at the Stadio Alberto Picco in an exciting Serie A match-up on Saturday afternoon. The visitors seek revenge for a dismal 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier this season. 

Only victory will do for the Partenopei as they head into proceedings trailing fourth-placed AC Milan by two points. They were minutes away from beating Cagliari at home last time out only to see Nahitan Nandez salvage a point for the Sardinians in Naples.

On the other hand, the Aquilotti hold a slender three-point lead on 18th-placed Benevento, with four league fixtures left to go.

Spezia vs. Napoli Head-To-Head

Andrea Petagna opened the scoring at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona when the two sides met on January 6 before M’Bala Nzola and Tommaso Pobega turned the game on its head. Despite succumbing to a 2-1 loss in their only previous Serie A meeting, Napoli dismantled Spezia 4-2 in their most recent encounter in the Coppa Italia.

The southern giants have won each of their three competitive trips to Spezia by an aggregate score of 6-1, albeit it’s worth noting that the last time these two met in Liguria was in September 2006.

Teams Recent Forms

Since claiming a 3-2 comeback win over already doomed Crotone on Matchday 30, Vincenzo Italiano’s men have alternated victory (two) and defeat (two) across their subsequent four Serie A games. Each loss during that four-match sequence saw Spezia concede the first-half opener and go down by a losing margin of 2+ goals.

At home, the Aquilotti have gone from strength to strength since a 1-0 reverse against Udinese on January 31, going unbeaten in six home outings in a row since then (W3, D3). 

However, Spezia’s defensive frailties have seen them keep just two clean sheets in 16 home Serie A fixtures this term, having conceded at least once in each of the last five. Particularly vulnerable in the second half of play, the hosts have recorded 66.67% of their total league goals shipped at home after half-time (14/21).

In the meantime, the visitors have racked up a five-game undefeated Serie A run (W3, D) since suffering a 2-1 loss to Juventus on April 7, with each victory in this sequence yielding a winning margin of over 1.5 goals. 

Except for the abovementioned defeat in Turin, Napoli have won four of their previous five away Serie A games by an aggregate score of 7-0, scoring the first-half opener on three occasions. Notably, the Partenopei have been relentless against newly-promoted teams lately, having won 25 of their last 28 such Serie A showdowns (L3). 

Free-scoring Gennaro Gattuso’s men have found the net in each of their last 22 Serie A outings and are only two short of equalling the club record from 1975. Indeed, only Atalanta (79) have notched more league goals than Napoli (74) so far this season.

Predicted Line-ups

Spezia (4-3-3): Ivan Provedel, Luca Vignali, Ardian Ismajli, Julian Chabot, Riccardo Marchizza, Nahuel Estevez, Matteo Ricci, Giulio Maggiore, Daniele Verde, Andrey Galabinov, Emmanuel Gyasi

Napoli (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kostas Manolas, Amir Rrahmani, Elseid Hysaj, Fabian Ruiz, Diego Demme, Hirving Lozano, Piotr Zielinski, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens