Sassuolo and Napoli converge on Emilia-Romagna this Wednesday off the back of exceptional results in Serie A at the weekend (7.45pm kick-off, UK time).
The current Serie A leaders, Napoli, executed a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing of Lazio on Sunday to consolidate their standing atop the table, while Sassuolo ended a run of three games without a win as they put 10-man Milan to the sword in a 3-1 triumph.
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Sassuolo vs Napoli build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Sassuolo were last season’s surprise package as they went the opening eight games without defeat and looked to mount an unexpected title challenge. Their form eventually petered out, but they finished a respectable eighth. This season hasn’t quite followed that same trajectory. After eight matches Alessio Dionisi’s side had only won two matches, and now after 14 they only have five triumphs on the board, but their latest was a biggie, a 3-1 victory over Milan.
Napoli meanwhile are looking like serious Scudetto challengers. The early table-toppers have lost just once all season, away to champions Inter, and are currently ensconced at the top of the table, strengthening their grip following a 4-0 mauling of Lazio on Sunday. Luciano Spalletti will be eager to carry that form over to this contest as the Campanians look to end their protracted wait for Serie A title glory, with the Scudetto eluding their grasp since 1990.
- Sassuolo (vs AC Milan): Consigli; Kyriakopoulos, Ferrari, Ayhan, Muldur; Frattesi, Henrique, Lopez; Berardi, Raspadori, Scamacca.
- Napoli (vs Lazio): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Rui; Zielinski, Lobotka, Ruiz; Lozano, Insigne, Mertens.
Victor Osimhen remains a long-term absentee with a cheekbone fracture and is not expected back until the New Year. He is joined on the sidelines for Napoli by Adam Ounas and Andre Zambo Anguissa, but Matteo Politano could return here after missing the last two games.
Dries Mertens finding his groove
Following three prolific seasons, in which the brilliant Belgian netted 28 Serie A goals (2016/17), 18 (2017/18) and 16 (2018/19), he has failed to hit double digits in the league in the past two campaigns, amassing hauls of nine in 2019/20 and 2020/21. At 34, Mertens may not be the cut-throat sharpshooter of his 2016/17 self, but he is still a deadly operator in the final third, illustrated by his well-wrought brace last time out against Lazio. His second strike was a thing of pure beauty, uncorking from his favoured left boot from outside the box, which left Pepe Reina scrambling. It means Mertens now has the best minutes/goals ratio (one goal every 64 minutes on average) of any Serie A player this season who has appeared in over 100 minutes. Napoli’s title aspirations could hinge on whether Mertens can get back to his double-digit ways.
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