A huge match for both teams, as Napoli are well in sight of the top spot in the Serie A, needing a win and a Juventus loss, while Lazio, six points behind Napoli at third need the win to remain in the top three and make their Champions League hopes much harder to achieve.
Few teams have been hotter than Napoli around Europe than Napoli over the last six weeks – five wins and one draw, with a 15-3 goal scoreline, including a 2-0 win over Catania last week, keeping them only three points behind the struggling Juventus. Edinson Cavani didn’t score, but the Uruguayan striker, usually linked to Manchester City these days, has 18 goals in 20 matches this season, including 13 in his last 13.
Napoli, not a bad away team unlike the past, do have problems in tough grounds, drawing their last match tough away match at Fiorentina. The key won’t be the ability of Cavani, who can find a way to score even on bad days, but how Marek Hamsik and Goran Pandev preform against a very aggressive Lazio side, at least when they play at the Olimpico, where they have won nine of their 12 matches this season.
The hosts haven’t been in the best of form recently as well, not winning in the league since January 13, and even the big 2-1 win against Juventus in the Italian Cup not giving them the necessary boost to stop their slide, which is probably going to prevent them from winning the league title, but worse, has brought them very close to the two Milan teams and Fiorentina, coveting that third Champions League spot.
The problem for Lazio are the injuries – Miroslav Klose, the team’s top scorer with 10 goals this season, won’t be playing, and so won’t Hernanes, probably Lazio’s best player with 8 goals and 3 assists in 21 matches this season.
Predictions – Lazio have their two best players out of the lineup, which means a draw is the best they can be hoping for. Napoli are in excellent form, and won’t be losing the match at the Olimpico.