The first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals commence this week, with Napoli playing host to Atalanta on Wednesday at 7.45pm (UK time).
Napoli, the defending champions, will be looking to win back-to-back Coppa Italias for the first time in their history and move level with Inter Milan and Lazio as the competition’s joint-third-most successful club, while Atalanta have only lifted the trophy once, 58 years ago.
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Where to watch Napoli vs Atalanta on TV:
- UK: BT Sport ESPN
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Napoli 1-2 Atalanta
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Napoli vs Atalanta build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Gennaro Gattuso masterminded Napoli’s third Coppa Italia victory in just eight years last season, beating Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus on penalties in the showpiece, and he will now look to book his ticket in the main event for the second campaign running, with one of Inter Milan or Andrea Pirlo’s Juve lying in wait.
Atalanta meanwhile edged Lazio in the quarter-finals, beating the capital club 3-2 in Bergamo, and will now look to end a 58-year wait for Coppa Italia success. Gian Piero Gasperini has revolutionised The Goddess since taking the reins, transforming the club into free-scoring Champions League regulars, but the Italian coach would love to back up his tactical success with something more tangible.
- Napoli (vs Parma): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Elmas, Demme, Zielinski; Lozano, Insigne, Petagna.
- Atalanta (vs Lazio): Gollini; Djimsiti, Palomino, Toloi; Maehle, De Roon, Freuler, Ruggeri; Ilicic, Miranchuk, Zapata.
Fabian Ruiz is currently unavailable for the hosts, while Dries Mertens recently returned to Belgium to visit a specialist as his ankle injury has not yet fully recovered. The vice-captain sustained the injury in mid-December during an encounter with Inter Milan and recently returned for short substituted spells against Fiorentina and Verona, but he was absent for the Parma win on Sunday and now faces another stint on the sidelines.
The visitors meanwhile are without first-teamers Hans Hateboer and Cristian Romero, as well as Bosko Sutalo.
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Players to watch:
- Napoli: With Mertens currently out of action, Gattuso will be turning to the likes of Hirving Lozano and Lorenzo Insigne for a moment of creative inspiration in the final third. Both players top the Serie A scoring charts for Napoli this term with nine goals apiece, but it is the former who is really starting to come to the fore after a difficult transition to Italian football last season. The wily Mexican forward joined the club from PSV in the summer of 2019 after making the Eredivisie his playground, but started just 10 games and netted only four goals in the league last campaign. However, it is a different story this time around, with Lozano racking up 17 starts and cementing his status as undroppable in Gattuso’s XI.
- Atalanta: It was a happy return for Mario Pasalic at the weekend. The former Chelsea midfielder has not featured since mid-November and got his first run out of the New Year against Lazio on Sunday. Pasalic may have been on the losing side, with Atalanta falling to a 3-1 defeat, but he managed to get on the scoresheet during is 36-minute cameo, marking his return in some style. The Croat will be hoping to hit the ground running after a two-month setback and could be afforded a first start since his injury, where he will be coming up against one of Italian football’s most dynamic and versatile midfields.
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