The vital clash between second-placed Napoli and Fiorentina, who are in third place, will take place on Monday night.
Both Fiorentina and Napoli were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday and now have the Serie A to concentrate on. Both sides will be looking earn three points in this game to bounce back from the disappointment of the midweek losses, as well as to keep up their title challenge. A home win would make Fiorentina a worthy candidate for the Scudetto, while Napoli can open up an eight-point gap with a win at Florence.
Mauro Zarate’s suspension will be a big factor in this game
Paulo Sousa will consider switching to a back four to counter Napoli on Monday. Mauro Zarate is out of this game after receiving a red card against Inter Milan, and this might be a big concern for Fiorentina as Federico Bernardeschi looked average in the Europa League clash in the midweek fixture. Fatigue might be an issue for the youngster but Sousa has no options on the bench. Cristian Tello might get his first start against Napoli. Milan Badelj and Matias Vecino will be the double pivot used by Sousa for this match.
Sousa was very disappointed by Fiorentina’s Europa League elimination to Tottenham, but refused to blame his squad as he chose to look forward to the league games. “We require a show of pride, just as our fans did tonight in London. We need to give consistency to what we are doing, as we believe in our project and this way will gain that winning culture and mentality we’ve been looking for since the start of the season,” he was quoted as saying by Football Italia.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu(Gk); Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Astori, Alonso; Badelj, Vecino; Bernardeschi, Valero, Tello; Kalinic
Allan and Jorginho returns for Napoli
Maurizio Sarri will have his first choice midfielders back for this game after resting them in the midweek Europa League fixture. Sarri does not look like someone who will compromise on his philosophy and hence a significant squad rotation cannot expected. The only doubt in the attack is regarding Dries Mertens and whether he will start ahead of Lorenzo Insigne. Marek Hamsik looked tired on Thursday, but Sarri is not in a position to give him a rest.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis refused to blame his players and coach after they were knocked out of Europe. He also had some interesting comments about his star striker Gonzalo Higuain. “I keep reading about a lack of goals from Higuain, but what do you expect from him? It may be that he weighs a kilo-and-a-half more, which is like walking around with a brick in your pocket. He has to rediscover the brilliant physical condition he was in a month ago, then the results will come back,” De Laurentiis was quoted as saying by news outlet Football Italia.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Reina(Gk); Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Higuain, Insigne.