Napoli will be looking to bounce back from their shock Europa League defeat when they travel to Benevento in Serie A on Sunday (2pm kick-off).
Gennaro Gattuso’s men went into their midweek clash with AZ Alkmaar flying high after beating Atalanta comfortably 4-1 the previous weekend, and were tipped for another victory. But Dani de Wit’s second-half goal was enough to condemn Napoli to defeat, which was AZ’s first away win over a team from one of Europe’s top five leagues since 2006.
But Napoli’s attention returns to Serie A where they have enjoyed a solid start including that 4-1 win over Atalanta. The Partenopei are currently fourth with three wins and one defeat, which came with a one-point deduction via forfeit against Juventus. Their opponents this Sunday have also had a somewhat respectable return to Serie A, winning two and losing two of their opening four games.
Despite sitting 10th Benevento have the worst defence in Serie A, conceding 12 goals so far, and Filippo Inzaghi will be hoping he can get one over his former AC Milan and Italy teammate Gattuso this weekend.
Where to watch Benevento vs Napoli on TV:
- UK: FreeSports
- US: ESPN+
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Benevento & Napoli’s previous line-ups:
- Benevento (vs Roma): Montipo; Letizia, Glik, Caldirola, Foulon; Ionita, Schiattarella, Dabo; Falque, Lapadula, Caprari.
- Napoli (vs AZ Alkmaar): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Fabian, Lobotka; Politano, Mertens, Lozano; Osimhen.
Benevento remain withouth Nicolas Viola and Gabriele Moncini, while Napoli could remain unchanged from the AZ match if they wish, though Gattuso may look to rotate slightly after Thursday. However, they do remain without Lorenzo Insigne, Eljif Elmas, Kevin Malcuit and Piotr Zielinski.
Players to watch:
Benevento: Gianluca Caprari. Although Benevento have conceded more goals than any other Serie A side this season, they have been clinical in front of goal, as you would expect of an Inzaghi side. One of their star men in the early stages of this season has been Caprari, who joined the club on loan from Sampdoria, with an option to buy. The 27-year-old is already well-travelled in Serie A, representing the likes of Roma, Inter Milan, Pescara and Parma and has taken little time to settle in at his new club. In the opening four games of the season, Caprari has been directly involved in four goals for Benevento, scoring three and recording one assist, more than any other player for the club. Bizarrely, all four of his goal involvements have come against former teams Roma and Inter as well as parent club Sampdoria. Caprari has no association to Napoli, but will be hopeful of adding them to his hit list for the season.
Napoli: Dries Mertens. Although he was only involved in one goal, Mertens used Napoli’s win over Atalanta to continue to prove his importance to the club. The summer arrival of Victor Osimhen may have had some worrying about Mertens’ future at Napoli, particularly after he was linked with a move away in January, but the Belgian has been in top form playing in a deeper role. An assist against Atalanta took Mertens’ total goal involvements for the season so far to five, a record only bettered by Francesco Caputo and Alejandro Gomez in Serie A. The Belgian has scored two goals to extend his record as Napoli’s all-time top scorer but the three assists have been more important to sharing the goals around the team. Whether it’s scoring or setting up his teammates, Mertens is the heart of this Napoli side.