Napoli v Roma preview: Big implications for both sides in Derby Del Sole

Roma could halve the gap between themselves and the top four with a win on Monday evening, but it won’t be easy against Serie A title challengers Napoli.

Six points behind fourth-placed Juventus going into the game, Roma would reduce that gap to three with a win. However, that would be a first win against Napoli since November 2019, after the reverse fixture ended goalless.

Since then, a Napoli side managed by ex-Roma boss Luciano Spalletti have kept themselves in Scudetto contention. Roma are competing for different targets – Jose Mourinho insists the aim is to stay fifth – but have been in good form themselves recently. Indeed, they are 11 games unbeaten in the league.

Going into this game off the back of a 4-0 win over Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League – whereas Napoli haven’t played since a 3-2 Serie A loss to Fiorentina last Sunday – Roma will be hoping to preserve their momentum.

They have virtually a full squad available, although there have been reports that Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be rested in favour of Sergio Oliveira. Elsewhere, it could be a similar lineup to the one that beat Bodo/Glimt; hat-trick hero Nicolo Zaniolo is likely to keep his place alongside Tammy Abraham. Lorenzo Pellegrini will be back after his domestic suspension for the last Serie A matchday.

For Napoli, former Roma players Juan Jesus, Mario Rui and Matteo Politano are among the ranks. Their danger man will be striker Victor Osimhen, who actually has a better goals-per-90-minutes ratio than Abraham in the league this year, even if Roma’s main man has scored more.

Roma’s last win at Stadio San Paolo – now known as the Maradona – came back in March 2018. Just over four years on, the target is to end that wait.

Alternatively, if Napoli win, they would be two points off top; Roma would remain just one point clear of sixth and seventh. There is a lot at stake for both sides in one of their biggest remaining fixtures of the season.

The game kicks off at 6pm UK time and will be live on BT Sport 2.

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