After losing to Inter on Saturday, Napoli’s Scudetto ambitions took a huge hit. They pretty much evaporated after Juventus thrashed Palermo 4-0 to move nine points clear at the top of the table. At this point, Maurizio Sarri’s men will now be focused on making sure they keep Roma at bay in order to avoid dropping into third place.
Certainly, given that they were crowned “winter champions” this season, it is a tough time to be a Partenopei fan. But at that point, Juventus were hot on their tails, just waiting for them to slip up. And once they did, the Bianconeri pounced – and have not looked back since.
Now nine points behind the reigning Scudetto champions, Napoli look set to be out of the title race. Of course, a look over to La Liga might give Partenopei fans some inspiration, as Barcelona’s recent struggles have allowed both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid back into the fold after things appeared to be all set and done.
So, with five games remaining, anything could happen, but if Napoli are watching Barcelona, so are Juventus. La Vecchia Signora, having experienced a horrible start to this season, are highly unlikely to let things slip at this point, so the objective for the Azzurri will be to simply ensure that they qualify for the Champions League for the 2016/2017 term. Gonzalo Higuain will not be able to feature for this game due to his suspension, but having had that reduced, the Argentinian star will return to the fold for Napoli’s must-win tie versus Roma this weekend.
That will certainly be some measure of good news for the home support, who probably can not wait to have Higuain back in action. After Manolo Gabbiadini’s insipid performance against Inter, Partenopei fans certainly were in fact wishing that Serie A’s current top goal-scorer had been available for Saturday’s tie at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but as the saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20”.
Napoli will come into this match with everyone else of note available, and Sarri’s side are presently undefeated in their past 16 home matches. They will be welcoming a Bologna side who are missing three key players due to injury: Godfred Donsah, Mattia Destro, Archimede Morleo. In addition, the Rossoblu have failed to win their last eight matches, whilst not scoring in six of those.
Despite that, Roberto Donadoni’s squad sit in 13th place and are just three points from safety – something that they should be able to achieve before the conclusion of this term. Having picked up just one point from their past five games, the visitors will be desperate to arrest their own poor form, but will be taking on a very angry Napoli side still reeling from seeing their Scudetto hopes disappear down the drain this past Saturday.
Will Napoli rebound with a confidence boosting win today? Or will Bologna pick up their first Serie A win since February 14th?
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