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Oct 25, 2020 at 2pm UK
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Preview: Benevento vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Benevento vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Benevento and Napoli, including prediction, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

High-flying Napoli meet promoted Benevento at Stadio Ciro Vigorito on Sunday, in just the third ever Serie A encounter between the Campanian clubs.

The hosts come into the match on the back of a 5-2 thumping at Roma, while their more illustrious visitors took the hitherto unstoppable Atalanta apart with a formidable first-half showing last time out.

Match preview

Napoli, however, fell to a 1-0 home defeat against Dutch side AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League in midweek. It was a defeat which came despite raining in four times as many shots as their counterparts and having 73% of the possession.

Nonetheless, their showing against Atalanta last weekend was perhaps the most spectacular yet under the aegis of fiery coach Gennaro Gattuso. His side put on a masterclass to dismantle the leaders, as Hirving Lozano bagged a richly-deserved brace and big-money buy Victor Osimhen grabbed his first Serie A goal.

The relentless pressing which so unnerved their opponents in that game is unlikely to be required against Pippo Inzaghi's more vulnerable side.

Gattuso will expect to dominate from the off, as Napoli seek to keep pace with runaway rivals AC Milan.

Remarkably, in their last seven Serie A games, Benevento have alternated between a defeat and a win and the Giallorossi have conceded 12 goals this term, more than any other team so far.

Inzaghi's commitment to attack - even at this rarefied level - is akin to that of his playing heyday, though his side will most likely be forced onto the back foot by opponents coached by his fellow World Cup winner, Gattuso.

It is fair to assume, then, that this is unlikely to be a dull encounter between the southern rivals.

Tenth-placed Benevento will not be short of confidence in front of goal - striker Gianluca Caprari has been involved in five goals (four goals, one assist) in his last five league outings, while - since the beginning of July - ex-Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula has registered six goals in nine games for Lecce and his new club.

The two in-form Gianlucas should be joined in attack by Roberto Insigne - younger brother of Napoli star Lorenzo. The pair started out in the Partenopei youth ranks together and will now go head-to-head in a rare case of Serie A sibling rivalry.

It is, of course, big brother who is expected to come out on top, as the stats weigh heavily in favour of the Neapolitan giants.

The two previous Serie A games between the clubs have seen Napoli winning both meetings without conceding a single goal. Not only that, Napoli are unbeaten in 10 games against fellow sides from Campania (W8 D2).

More illustrative, perhaps, is their ruthless record against promoted teams in recent years: Napoli have won 21 of their last 23 Serie A fixtures with top-flight new boys, scoring 66 goals at an average of nearly three per game.

Only their Thursday night labours in continental competition could possibly take the edge off their attacking threat, as all signs point towards a game full of goals and incident.

Benevento Serie A form: WLWL

Napoli Serie A form: WWLW
Napoli form (all competitions): WWLWL

Team News

Benevento's Nicolas Viola, Gabriele Moncini and Federico Barba are out through injury.

Inzaghi, though, can call on former Napoli captain Cristian Maggio at right-back, while Partenopei youth product Roberto Insigne will most likely be included in the starting XI at Iago Falque's expense. Lapadula and Caprari join Insigne junior in a dangerous-looking attack.

The usual Kamil Glik-Luca Caldirola pairing provides the foundation of the hosts' back four, while Bryan Dabo and Perparim Hetemaj contest a midfield place.

Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas return from quarantine in time for the local derby for Napoli, but are unlikely to start.

On the back of Thursday evening's exertions, Fabian Ruiz and on-loan Tiemoue Bakayoko will man the engine room, though German midfielder Diego Demme could also contend for a spot in midfield.

Victor Osimhen will lead the line again; Dries Mertens, Insigne senior and in-form Lozano should join him in a fearsome front four.

Matteo Politano could be deployed at some stage, with summer signing Andrea Petagna, too, awaiting his chance for first-team minutes.

Benevento possible starting lineup:
Montipo; Maggio, Glik, Caldirola, Letizia; Ionita, Schiattarella, Dabo; R. Insigne, Caprari; Lapadula

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Ruiz, Bakayoko; Lozano, Mertens, L. Insigne; Osimhen

We say: Benevento 1-3 Napoli

A game brimming over with the potential for goals, this Campania derby should offer plenty of fireworks - potentially at both ends.

Even taking into account their European commitments, Napoli's light should hardly be dimmed, as the increasingly confident Victor Osimhen can help his new side to a fourth win of the season.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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