Napoli v Pescara, preview: Dolphins in need of a life preserver

Enrico Locci

Pescara, sitting dead last in Serie A, can't be looking forward to a trip to the Stadio San Paolo, where the second-placed club is lying in wait. It doesn't help that Edinson Cavani returns for Napoli.

What on earth is Cristiano Bergodi going to do against Napoli? Pescara's new coach finds himself in an awful position for his second match. After losing 1-0 to AS Roma last week, the Dolphins now head to Naples, an intimidating atmosphere at the best of times, but certain to be even more so this week, after Napoli have regained second place.

Plus, Pescara are going to be forced to watch Lorenzo Insigne frolic about the pitch. The forward scored 18 goals for the Dolphins in Serie B last season, but the loss of him, Ciro Immobile and Marco Verratti have left the club floundering. Pescara still have good, young talent -- Juan Quintero, Vladimir Weiss and Ante Vukusic come to mind -- but no one's figured out how to make them come together effectively yet.

Napoli may not be a finely tuned machine, but they've got enough talent to make up for a few lapses in precision. Last week, the goal-scoring burden fell to Marek Hamsik, but Edinson Cavani returns from suspension to reclaim his right to lead the team. If Hamsik snaps out of the mini-slump he's been in since leaving for international duty, and starts displaying his pinpoint passing abilities once again, Napoli will be unstoppable. Or they will until Walter Mazzarri goes temporarily insane again and puts on Salvatore Aronica.

Napoli Injuries and Suspensions

Hugo Campagnaro (injured); Goran Pandev (in doubt)

Pescara Injuries and Suspensions

Manuele Blasi, Lucas Chiaretti, Giuseppe Colucci, Jonathas, Juan Quintero, Luca Savelloni, and Ante Vukusic (injured); Damiano Zanon (suspended)

Well, let's see...that's just one of last week's starters that bit the dust. No biggie. Vladimir Weiss can step in for Quintero, considering he should be starting anyway.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, December 2 at 12:30 p.m. local, 6:30 a.m. ET

Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples

TV: Sky Calcio 1, ESPN UK, RAI Internazionale

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