Serie A Matchday 38: Napoli – Hellas Verona Match Preview

Fourth-placed Napoli welcome half-table Hellas Verona to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the ultimate round of the 2020-21 Serie A fixtures. It is ‘do or die’ for the Partenopei when it comes to their Champions League hopes as they head into proceedings harboring a narrow one-point lead on fifth-placed Juventus.

Napoli have hit their stride following a 2-1 away loss to Juventus on April 7 as they take the field unbeaten in their last eight Serie A matches on the bounce. 

However, Gennaro Gattuso’s men have no margin for error here if they are to capitalize on an impressive domestic season. Any mistake could cost them a place in next season’s Champions League group stage.

Standing between Napoli and a top-four finish is an out-of-sorts Verona side, who last won 2-0 at Cagliari at the beginning of April. Winless in eight, the Gialloblu won’t change their fate on the final day regardless of what happens in Naples.

Napoli vs Hellas Verona Head-To-Head

Despite Hirving Lozano breaking the deadlock at Marc’Antonio Bentegodi back in late January, Verona came out 3-1 victors in the reverse fixture following a breathtaking comeback. Federico Dimarco, Antonin Barak, and Mattia Zaccagni fired the Veneto outfit to a clear-cut triumph, Hellas’ first against Napoli since March 2015.

If they can avoid losing here, it will be the first time since 1986/87 that the Gialloblu have managed to stay undefeated in both Serie A clashes against this opposition in a single campaign. However, it’s easier said than done.

None of the last 21 Serie A meetings between the Partenopei and Verona have ended level, with 17 wins and four defeats for the southern giants in that period. Furthermore, Napoli have outplayed Hellas in each of their last 11 top-flight matches on home turf, a run they embarked on in the ninth decade of the 20th century.

Napoli Recent Form

Since going down 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium in early April, Napoli have put together eight consecutive Serie A games without losing (W6, D2). Each victory in that eight-match sequence yielded a winning margin of 2+ goals.

The Partenopei haven’t lost a single home Serie A fixture since succumbing to a 2-1 defeat to Spezia on January 6 (W8, D2), albeit they’ve alternated between winning and drawing across their last five home league outings.

Gattuso‘s players have netted a resounding average of 3.00 goals per match in their last ten top-flight fixtures in Naples.

Overall this season, Napoli have scored a league joint-high 49 goals at home and are only one strike away from shattering the all-time club record.

Having said that, the hosts have notched up 2+ goals per home Serie A game in 61.11% of their league contests at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Hellas Verona Recent Form

Verona have gone winless in their last eight Serie A games (D3, L5) since beating Cagliari 2-0 on Matchday 29. Encouragingly, though, they found the net in six of those eight outings.

Since the turn of 2021, Ivan Juric’s men have won only three of their 11 away Serie A matches (D2, L7), with 55.56% of those results (win/loss) seeing the victor keep a clean sheet.

The Gialloblu have developed a habit of falling behind without recovering on the road, frustratingly ending up on the losing side in all seven away league fixtures in which they conceded first this term.

Verona’s cagey entries have seen them find the net by the 15th minute in just 13.51% of their Serie A games this season (5/37).

By contrast, 61.11% of Hellas’ away league matches have seen a goal scored/conceded beyond the 75th minute. 

Napoli vs Hellas Verona Players to Watch

Napoli talisman Lorenzo Insigne has tallied 19 Serie A goals this season. He is one strike away from becoming the first Italian player to smash a 20-goal barrier with the Partenopei in a single top-flight campaign since Antonio Vojak in 1933/34.

Serbian winger Darko Lazovic has either scored or assisted in three of Hellas Verona’s last six away Serie A matches. The 30-year-old has racked up three goals and six assists this season, with only Mattia Zaccagni (ten) having more goal contributions than him.

Napoli vs Hellas Verona Predicted Lineups

NAPOLI (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Mario Rui, Amir Rrahmani, Kostas Manolas, Giovanni Di Lorenzo; Tiemoué Bakayoko, Fabian Ruiz; Lorenzo Insigne, Piotr Zielinski, Matteo Politano; Victor Osimhen

HELLAS VERONA (3-4-3): Ivor Pandur; Federico Dimarco, Koray Guntur, Federico Ceccherini; Darko Lazovic, Marco Faraoni, Adrien Tameze, Ivan Ilic; Mattia Zaccagni, Eddie Salcedo, Nikola Kalinic