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CLASH OF ITALIAN GIANTS

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Napoli and Roma go head to head at Stadio San Paolo in what is expected to be one of the most exciting  Serie A games tomorrow.

Napoli, currently mourning   Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, sit in sixth place after eight games with their stats for the season so far reading five wins against three defeats, 16 goals scored and 10 conceded.

They have 14 points on the board which leaves the locals six off the pace set by current leaders AC Milan who are showing no signs of slowing down. Victory here could propel Napoli back into the top-four.

Despite making a strong start to the season Napoli have lost two of their last three league games and were beaten on their most recent start. They played host to AC Milan last time and were hoping to score an upset win but lost 3-1 on their patch. Ibrahimovic was the star of the show that day, scoring a double to help his team stay top.

Gennaro Gattuso’s men aim to keep their Scudetto hopes alive, and we are positive that the hosts will go all guns blazing at Roma on Matchday 9.

Bakayoko is banned, while Osimhen remains on the side-lines with injury. Both Hysaj and Rrahmani are recovering from coronavirus. Roma, on the other hand, rolled over Parma 3-0 at their Stadio Olimpico at the weekend.

The Giallorossi are higher in the charts than their opponents, placed third having won five, drawn two and losing only one game.

They have found the net 19 times in their previous eight starts and conceded 11 goals. The 17 points in the bank means they are within touching distance of AC Milan and an away win here could send them top. Roma enjoy an unbeaten run of form, winning four and drawing one of their last five games at this level. They have banked each of the last nine points up for grabs and were spotted beating Parma 3-0 a week ago. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a double that day with Mayoral chipping in with the other. There’s real talent and ambition in this Roma attack and they are playing attractive football.

Napoli are the home side and will want to make that count but to do so they must improve on their recent efforts. Roma are in a rich vein of form and take confidence from their recent winning run. Defeat would be a blow for either team’s hopes of challenging for the title and that may make this a nervy 90 minutes of football.

Napoli have lost their last two league home games: Gennaro Gattuso could become the first Napoli coach to suffer three consecutive Serie A home defeats on two occasions.

Mkhitaryan and Pedro, both Premier League cast-offs, are tipped to lead Roma into the top four.

The former has gone up a level after a solid loan spell last term, while the latter has fit in seamlessly since his summer move from Chelsea. Together, they are capable of bringing Champions League football back to the red half of Rome.

The veteran creators were at the heart of Sunday’s 3-0 destruction of a beleaguered Parma. Pedro’s ability to provide an outlet on the right and cut infield made him a useful weapon against a massed visiting defense, especially during a first half an hour when space in the final third was at a premium.

Meanwhile, Mkhitaryan was well-marshalled in the early stages but sprung to life after Borja Mayoral broke the deadlock. The Armenian ace scored one of the goals of the season so far with an astonishing first-time volley that left Luigi Sepe grasping at thin air, and he showcased his predatory instincts a few minutes later to complete a thrilling opening stanza for the hosts.

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