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Dec 6, 2020 at 5pm UK
CrotoneCrotone
0-4
NapoliNapoli

Cuomo (45'), Pereira (53'), Reca (67')
Petriccione (50')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Insigne (31'), Lozano (58'), Demme (76'), Petagna (90+1')
Koulibaly (6'), Lobotka (81'), Politano (84')
/esi/1339/6_G_1_125045/index.html?art_id=424541&game_id=125045&sport_id=1&ESI

Preview: Crotone vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Napoli visit Serie A strugglers Crotone on Sunday, with Gennaro Gattuso's side seeking to build on last week's emotional triumph over Roma and remain in touch at the top of the table.

Bottom side Crotone, meanwhile, are the only team without a win in the opening nine Serie A rounds of the 2020-21 season and are already six points adrift of the cut-off line.


Match preview

Perhaps Napoli's best display of the season last week - versus southern rivals Roma - came after coach Gattuso introduced Piotr Zielinski to the midfield three, offering greater freedom to Fabian Ruiz, who subsequently notched his first goal of the season.

The Giallorossi's defensive deficiencies were certainly a contributing factor, but the return to form of Dries Mertens following a dry spell - the diminutive Belgian forward has found the target in his past two matches, in the absence of Victor Osimhen - also aided their cause.

Following a Europa League draw on Dutch soil against AZ on Thursday, Napoli must take the battle on to their final group game next week to ensure progress to the knockout rounds. Nonetheless, their league form remains the priority.

In Serie A, Gattuso's men are currently in fifth place in the standings with 17 points and could potentially have been as high as second were they not controversially punished for belatedly cancelling a fixture at Juventus.

This week, the Napoli hierarchy filed a third appeal against a 3-0 default loss and subsequent one-point penalty, with a verdict expected before Christmas. The club argue that they were operating under a travel ban by the local health authorities after both Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the game.

As the Partenopei have alternated between a win and a defeat in their last five league games, now would be an ideal time to add consistency to their obvious goalscoring prowess, as they meet Crotone and Sampdoria in successive fixtures before more challenging pre-Christmas clashes with Inter and Lazio.

Not only are Giovanni Stroppa's Crotone side yet to win this season, they have a historic 100% loss record against Napoli in Serie A - with four failures from four. Furthermore, Gli Squali have only recorded one win in 23 Serie A matches against an opponent from the top five of the table.

So far Crotone have collated a mere two points this season and only two of the previous 19 teams that had gained two points or fewer after the first nine games have managed to avoid relegation to Serie B - one of which was Crotone themselves, in the great escape of 2016-17.

Following last week's 1-0 reverse in Bologna, the Calabrian club have now failed to register a goal in their last three league games and are looking desperately towards star striker Simy to save them. The Nigeria international's three strikes so far make him their top scorer, but little in the way of help has come from his supporting cast.

By contrast with fellow promoted outfits Benevento and Spezia, Stroppa's side have lacked much threat in front of goal all term and will be welcoming Napoli in hope more than expectation to Stadio Ezio Scida this Sunday.

Crotone Serie A form: DLLDLL
Crotone form (all competitions): LDLDLL

Napoli Serie A form: WWLWLW
Napoli form (all competitions): WWLWWD


Team News

Emmanuel Riviere, Luca Cigarini and Andrea Rispoli are all injured for the home side and will miss out, while key creator Ahmad Benali is struggling with a calf strain. Pedro Pereira - on loan from Benfica - is set to start in midfield.

Simy and Junior Messias will once again start up front in Stroppa's familiar 3-5-2, though they still have only four goals between them.

Napoli have striker Victor Osimhen out of action again due a shoulder injury, so coach Gennaro Gattuso will once more choose between Dries Mertens - scorer against AZ in midweek - and the greater physical presence of Andrea Petagna up front.

Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also reportedly set to miss the game, but defenders Elseid Hysaj and Amir Rrahmani have both cleared COVID-19 return-to-play protocol and could return to the squad if fit.

Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Cuomo, Marrone, Luperto; Pereira, Molina, Petriccione, Benali, Reca; Messias, Simy

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Demme, Bakayoko; Zielinski, Lozano, Petagna


We say: Crotone 0-2 Napoli

Another goal and win-free encounter for Crotone is on the cards, as only fatigue can potentially diminish their visitors' supreme superiority.

Napoli have the potential to sustain a Scudetto challenge this year, but simply must take advantage of such subordinate opposition as tougher tasks await at the end of the month.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win 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.Away Win:curl



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Serie A Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1AC Milan19134239221743
2Inter Milan19125245232241
3Roma1911444132937
4Atalanta BCAtalanta19106344232136
5Juventus18106237181936
6Lazio1910453226634
7Napoli18111641192234
8SassuoloSassuolo198653229330
9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona198652518730
10Sampdoria198293029126
11BeneventoBenevento196492336-1322
12Fiorentina195682030-1021
13Bologna195592433-920
14SpeziaSpezia194692636-1018
15Genoa194691930-1118
16Udinese194692028-818
17CagliariCagliari1935112337-1414
18Torino192892837-914
19Parma1927101436-2213
20Crotone1933132243-2112
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City19125236132341
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd19124336251140
3Leicester CityLeicester19122535211438
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham2010553024635
5Liverpool1997337221534
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
7Everton1710252821732
8Arsenal209382620630
9Aston Villa1792631181329
10Chelsea1985633231029
11Southampton198562724329
12Leeds UnitedLeeds198293235-326
13Crystal Palace206592436-1223
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Burnley185491022-1219
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2054111934-1519
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
18Fulham1826101527-1212
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2025131548-3311
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225
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