Napoli vs Roma
Stadio San Paolo | 14:00pm 01.11.2014
This weekend’s Serie A match of the week sees joint league leaders Roma travel to Naples to face Rafa Benitez’s Napoli. After Roma defeated Cesena 2-0 in midweek and Juventus lost to a last minute goal by Genoa, Rudi Garcia’s side sit on 22 points joint top with Juventus. Napoli sit in sixth place, missing the chance of a top four place after a disappointing 1-1 draw on Wednesday with Atlanta.
Rafa Benitez’s Napoli side just haven’t got going so far this season, in fact they have only won four of their opening nine Serie A matches and are already six points behind league leaders Juve and Roma. More worrying than the six-point gap is the level of Napoli’s performances that have been inconsistent and unconvincing to say the least. They are already grumbles in the Naples camp that Benitez will not renew his contract in the summer and that President Aurelio De Laurentis is far from satisfied with the Spaniard. Benitez was clearly frustrated after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Atalanta but praised the effort of his players:
“We deserved to win, we created lots of goalscoring opportunities. It’s incredible that the win got away from us.”
“The main thing is that we showed that we are on the right track and that we are improving. We created many many opportunities and conceded a goal from the only shot they took.
“But the boys did everything they could to get all three points. I get angry when I see my team playing so well and not getting all three points. It’s happened quite a few times.
“But at the same time I have to think positively about the way we are playing and believe that the points will come. We’re on the right path, we’re controlling games, there are things we can improve on but we just need to press on with this same mindset.”
Having said that it hasn’t been a complete disaster for the Neapolitans, they are still within a point of third place and a manageable six points behind the league leaders. This Saturdays match against Roma could be a terrific chance for Benitez’s side to get their season up and running and make an attempt to fight for the title.
After Roma’s 7-1 thrashing at home to the mighty Bayern Munich a couple of weeks ago, then a goalless draw against Sampdoria things were beginning to look a little grim for Rudi Garcia’s side, however he managed to pick his side up and get a vital 2-0 victory over Cesena on Wednesday evening and they now sit joint top of the table. He commented after the game:
“Juve’s result is of no interest. I am concentrated on my team and the important thing is Roma go on their journey.We are very confident but when you play against a team that defends with 11 players behind the ball you have to break the deadlock sooner than later.”
“We managed to get a vital goal early in the first half but the game wasn’t over. To be sure of the victory we had to get a second goal and we did that in the second half. We could have scored another two goals at least but Cesena’s goalkeeper played very well and we wasted some good chances to score in one-on-one situations.”
Roma will still be hurting after that embarrassing defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League but what better way would it be for his side to exorcise those demons by taking all three points this weekend and mounting a serious challenge to three-in-a-row Scudetto winnters Juventus?
- Napoli are undefeated in 30 of their last 33 home matches in Serie A.
- Roma have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 9 matches in Serie A.
- It has been very even between the sides in their last six meetings with three wins apiece. Napoli won the corresponding fixture between the sides last season 1-0.
The Stadio San Paolo is a very tough place to go for any team but perhaps this is the best moment for Roma to have to face a struggling Napoli side. Rudi Garcia’s side may still be hurting a little from the Bayern game but I feel they can genuinely win the Scudetto this year and they may just come away with all three points.