AS Roma vs Napoli, Preview: Partenopei in town to ruin Roma's perfect start

Paolo Bruno

The top two in Serie A come face to face on Friday night.

Table topping Roma will be hoping for eight wins in eight games, while high flying Napoli need a result to stay in touch with the runaway league leaders.

Rudi Garcia's side have come out of the blocks and laid down the gauntlet to the rest of Serie A. Thus far, the Giallorossi have despatched all seven league opponents with gusto. As well as avenging last season's bitter Coppa Italia defeat to city rivals Lazio, a clinical first half display saw off Inter Milan 3-0 at the San Siro before the international break.

The visitors have been just as impressive. Rafa Benitez has masterminded six wins and one draw out of Napoli's first seven domestic fixtures to keep his new side in the hunt and hot on Roma's heels. Napoli will need their attacking talent on top form if they are to break down Garcia's well organised outfit. The days of Zemanlandia are long gone, judging by the fact that Roma have conceded just a solitary goal to date, possessing the league's meanest defence to boot. Napoli can boast of having the second best defence, having conceded three more than their hosts. The two sides are also at the top of the goals scored column, with the Giallorossi (20) currently leading the Partenopei by two strikes.

Both sides were well represented during the international break, with minimal injuries to report. Roma will be without the injured Mattia Destro, while Federico Balzaretti is suspended after being sent off against Inter. Dodó is expected to deputise for the Italian international.

Benitez is sweating over the fitness of left back Juan Zuniga and must decide whether to recall Christian Maggio. The defender has been sidelined for the best part of a month after undergoing knee surgery. With a Champions League game against Marseille looming in midweek, Rafa must balance his stars to avoid burnout. The fact that Lorenzo Insigne played the whole of Italy's 2-2 draw against Armenia on Tuesday, could see him rested in favour of Dries Mertens.

Morgan De Sanctis will be looking to keep his former teammates out in the Roma goal. Gonzalo Higuain and company will have other ideas. Gervinho is tipped to retain his place in Roma's front three, keeping Adem Ljajic on the bench.

Both teams have won this fixture in recent meetings. Roma ran out 2-1 winners when the teams last met at the Olimpico in May.

AS Roma injuries and suspensions

Mattia Destro (injured) Federico Balzaretti (suspended)

Napoli injuries and suspensions

Christian Maggio, Juan Zuniga (in doubt)

Projected line ups

AS Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Dodó; Pjanic, De Rossi, Strootman; Florenzi, Totti, Gervinho

Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Armero; Inler, Behrami; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain

Match date/time: Friday October 18th at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport 1 HD (Italy) beIN Sport Play, beIN Sport Espanol (U.S) BT Sport 1 (UK)

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