What: Italian Serie A
Who: Lazio vs Napoli
When: Monday 2nd December, 2013, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy

Relishing the Challenge

Having reached the knockout round of the Europa League with an important away victory against Legia Warsaw in Poland, Lazio now turn their attention towards welcoming last season’s league runners-up Napoli in Serie A. This match comes a crucial time for the Biancoceleste, who have collected just three points from their last four domestic encounters.

Lazio’s recent victory allowed them safe passage to the next round of their continental tournament. And knowing that their league form has been poor, the win came at the right moment for the club, according to coach Vladimir Petkovic. 

“There are a lot of positive notes. This away victory ensured us qualification and we now have the chance to play for first place in the group. The team showed character, joy and desire to play football, and the ability to establish themselves even on the road. All of this is important; we now face Napoli in the league, a team that are very strong and we must also confirm our ability at home, and try to gain the three points at all costs”, commented the former midfielder.

Hot Water

Last week Napoli found themselves in an untidy situation, facing the real possibility of exiting the Champions League at the group stage after losing their last game against Borussia Dortmund. Playing in the group of death, Napoli might record 12 points from their games and still exit the competition.

Napoli’s league form of late has been average, as they have only managed to record three wins in their last six Serie A fixtures. While Rafael Benitez’s men managed a win against Fiorentina in this series of games, they still stumbled against the likes of Roma, Juventus and Parma, which sees them sit third in the Serie A standings.

Despite sharing two wins each in the last six games that pitted the two teams against each other, it has been more than five years since the last time Napoli managed a victory against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, dating back to October 2008 when they beat them 1-0.


Recent form

Parma 1-1 Lazio (10/11; Serie A)
Sampdoria 1-1 Lazio (24/11; Serie A)
Legia Warsaw 0-2 Lazio (28/11; Europa League)

Juventus 3-0 Napoli (10/11; Serie A)
Napoli 0-1 Parma (23/11; Serie A)
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Napoli (26/11; Champions League)

Key absences

Lazio: Antonio Candreva (doubt); Federico Marchetti (doubt); Andre Dias (doubt); Emiliano Alfaro; Stefano Mauri

Napoli: Marek Hamsik (doubt); Giandomenico Mesto; Juan Zuniga  

Players to watch

Lazio – Hernanes: The Brazilian will have some work on his shoulders as usual midfield accomplice Antonio Candreva is in danger of missing this game. An important pillar for his side, he will be asked to execute that last, killer pass to his striker.

Napoli – Gonzalo Higuain: Benitez recently declared the striker to be his most important man. A very dangerous presence up front, the former Real Madrid goalscorer will have to be his team’s lifeline as they hope to get back to winning ways in the Italian capital.

Match Prediction

Napoli are in dire need of a win after a series of setbacks. Despite their last loss at home in the league to Genoa, Lazio are usually solid and will put up a fight for their visitors. Expect both teams to share the spoils at the end of the day.

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