It’s third plays seventh in Serie A for this intriguing Coppa Italia showdown! Which players will take the field and what will happen in Naples on Thursay night?
Napoli and Fiorentina will do battle at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples, in their last-16 showdown, in the Coppa Italia on Thursday evening.
Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli, who were knocked out by Atalanta at the semi-final stage last season, are preparing for their first match in this year’s edition. La Viola, however, have already eliminated Serie B sides, Cosenza and Benevento, in rounds one and two, to qualify for this stage.
Napoli will be aware of the danger that Fiorentina will pose, but they should be confident of reaching the quarter-finals, as they have brushed La Viola aside in each of their last three encounters in all competitions, by an aggregate score of 10-1.
Fiorentina’s triumph in 2000/01 remains the last time they lifted the Coppa Italia trophy, and since then, the men from Florence have only reached the final once, in 2013-14, when they lost to Thursday’s opponent’s, Napoli.
If Vincenzo Italiano’s men are to feature in the latter stages of this year’s competition, they must defeat a Partenopei outfit, whom they have only beaten twice in their last 17 clashes across all tournaments.
For Napoli, Kalidou Koulibaly, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and Adam Ounas are all away on international duty with their respective nations at AFCON.
Therefore, Manchester United loanee, Axel Tuanzebe, may be given the nod for what would be the defender’s first start since joining the club this month. Meanwhile, forward, Matteo Politano, and midfielder, Fabián Ruiz, will also be pushing for spots in the first XI.
Italiano is expected to rotate his Fiorentina starting lineup, although star striker and Serbian international, Dušan Vlahović, who has scored 18 goals in 22 appearances this season, appears nailed on to lead the line once again.
We expect a slim Napoli victory, in an action-packed and goal-filled encounter. Our prediction is 3-2 to the home side, but with Fiorentina winning the first half.
Napoli possible starting XI:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, Ghoulam; Demme, Lobotka; Politano, Mertens, Elmas; Petagna
Fiorentina possible starting XI:
Drągowsk; Venuti, Milenković, Nastasić, Biraghi; Maleh, Pulgar, Bonaventure; Ikoné, Vlahović, Saponara