Serie A: Roma vs Napoli preview


Roma are looking to bounce back into the race for a top-four finish with a good result in Sunday's crucial match, they host second-placed Napoli at the Olympic Stadium. The reverse fixture ended with a 1-1 draw, Stephan El Shaarawy opened the scoring for Roma in the first half and Dries Mertens bagged the equalizer on the stroke of full time. Last season Roma won 4-2 at Napoli after having suffered a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture. Overall, Roma have won three of the last six direct matches, while Napoli have grabbed two victories and this season's draw.

Roma have been going through some rough times in March, they got hammered 3-0 by Lazio in the derby and then lost to FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League round of sixteen after having won the first leg 2-1. They also got beaten 2-1 at Spal before the international break, and that result left them four points behind fourth-placed AC Milan. That was their second defeat in the last three league matches, but they have not lost a Serie A match at home since October. Head coach Claudio Ranieri still has a bit of an injury crisis to deal with, as Javier Pastore, Alessandro Florenzi and Stephan El Shaarawy are still out of contention, while Kostas Manolas and Daniele De Rossi are injury doubts.

Napoli will most likely try to focus on the UEFA Europa League during the final months of this season as their second place in the Serie A table seems quite safe at the moment. They don't have any hopes for the title left as leaders Juventus are fifteen points ahead, while third-placed Inter are seven points behind. Before the international break Napoli grabbed a 4-2 victory over Udinese in Serie A, marking their third consecutive match without a clean sheet. Piotr Zielinski is suspended for Sunday's match, while Raul Albiol, Vlad Chiriches and Amadou Diawara are injured.

Probable line-ups:

Roma: Olsen - Karsdrop, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov - Zaniolo, Nzonzi, Cristante, Perotti - Schick, Dzeko

Napoli: Meret - Malcuit, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Rui - Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Verdi - Milik, Mertens

My prediction: 2-2 draw, Roma don't seem capable of winning this but they will fight hard enough not to lose it.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Roma win - 3.00
Draw - 3.40
Napoli win - 2.37

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