Napoli vs. Bologna, Preview: Will the real Napoli please stand up?

Claudio Villa

Watching Napoli play is like taking your chances on a dollar grab bag: you just never know what you're gonna get. Flip a coin and settle in to watch the final match of the Serie A weekend.

This should be simple enough for Napoli: Bologna are currently in 16th, just one point above the drop. The partenopei, in third, have yet to lose at the San Paolo. A win would move them back into second, just five points behind league leaders Juventus.

Yet nothing is ever easy for Napoli, not even a home match against a dreary side. Sure, they thrashed Pescara 5-1 in the last match in Naples, but they also drew against AC Milan and Torino, and could only manage a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona. We're gonna have a problem here...

Bologna aren't exactly the most consistent team in Serie A -- their most impressive win was a 4-0 victory over Catania, but it's usually the flip of a coin that determines whether they'll beat sides in the bottom half of the table. They did record an impressive come-from-behind win over AS Roma, but that was back in September, and it remains the only rossoblu away victory to date. They're even without a draw on the road.

But again, previous results seem to mean nothing to this Napoli side, who seem to need a kick in the pants in order to get their rears in gear. It took two first half goals from Inter Milan, and most likely a tongue-lashing from Walter Mazzarri, to provoke them into playing last weekend, but the second-half goal from Edinson Cavani just wasn't enough. Will the real Napoli please stand up?

There's really no predicting which Napoli will show up on Sunday evening: the one that demolishes the opposition? The one that needs Mazzarri-time to secure a win? Or the one that looks listless and lifeless, with no desire to even challenge for the scudetto? But with only one match left in Serie A this week, there's nothing to do but what and find out.

Cause there are others that dress like Napoli, walk talk and act like Napoli. They might be the next best thing, but they're not quite...Napoli.

Lucky for those supporters, then.

Napoli Injuries and Suspensions

Well, we're pretty sure Salvatore Aronica won't be available for this match, as reports out of Italy say he's cleaned out his locker and left the club.

Bologna Injuries and Suspensions

Robert Acquafresca, Gianluca Curci, Henry Gimenez, Filippo Lombardi, and Cesare Natali (injured); Diego Perez (in doubt)

Nothing new here. If Perez is unavailable, expect Tiberio Guarente to start.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, December 16 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples

TV: Sky Calcio 1

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